Sask. police are examining abuse allegations

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Cornwall Standard Freeholder

Thursday, August 30, 2007 – 08:00

Elisabeth Johns

Local News – Prince Albert, Sask., police are now looking into allegations a Cornwall priest sexually abused a boy decades ago while he resided in that region.

“This is totally new to us,” said Insp. Howard Georgeson, with the Prince Albert Police Service, who added the police are obliged to look into the complaint.

The Alexandria-Cornwall Catholic Diocese issued a press release Tuesday stating Rev. Gaetan Deschamps was retiring amidst these allegations.

However, Deschamps denies the accusations and has never been charged under any jurisdiction for this complaint.

Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher said he was informed by the bishop from the Prince Albert Diocese of the complaint of historical sexual abuse.

Georgeson explained that he would follow up on the press release by trying to find out whether a complaint had been lodged with the police organization with jurisdiction outside the city.

Unlike in Ontario, where rural areas would fall under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Provincial Police, there is no provincial police force in Saskatchewan. The RCMP would handle anything that would fall outside of city limits.

The inspector said it’s “prudent as a police organization we will look into this.”

According to the press release from the diocese, the complainant “wished to have this issue dealt with in confidence” and “simply wanted to ensure that Father Deschamps is no longer involved in ministry.”

Deschamps moved to Cornwall about 10 years ago and presided over Blessed Sacrament, a church in the city’s north end, for five years until 2006. He was also involved in a marriage preparation course.

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