Ontario priest gets 18 months for preying on Haitian youths

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Windsor Star

02 April 2010

By Don Lajoie, Windsor Star

WINDSOR, Ont. — Former priest John Duarte begged for forgiveness Thursday as he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for sexually abusing adolescent boys at the mission he founded in Haiti.

A tearful Duarte told Justice Bruce Thomas that he went to Haiti “for all the right reasons, but in the middle of it all, I got lost.”

Duarte asked for forgiveness from his family and friends, the people of Haiti and “especially the victims and all those who feel betrayed.”

The Windsor missionary, who was arrested in the Dominican Republic and originally charged with nine counts of sexual exploitation in October for sex crimes committed in the impoverished fishing village of Labadie on Haiti’s north coast and the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince, pleaded guilty to three counts in Superior Court.

Duarte, 44, entered his plea as a result of a deal reached between the Crown and defence lawyer Andrew Bradie.

Duarte, who has spent five months in custody, will be given credit on a two-for-one basis for each day spent in pretrial custody. He will be released in eight months or less.

As the charges were read out in a sombre courtroom filled with his supporters and board members from Hearts Together For Haiti, the charity he began, the man once touted for an Order of Canada for his humanitarian work replied in a quiet subdued voice “guilty,” to each.

“You’ve left another dark smudge on your church,” Thomas said.

“Your offence victimized the most vulnerable in the worst slums and most remote villages . . . You who had so much to offer and these three young men had nothing.”

Court was told that Duarte abused the victims at the mission house in Labadie, in a storage room at the school the charity built and in vehicles driven to nearby towns.

Prosecutor Walter Costa said the storage room had a bolt that locked from the inside and a police investigation discovered a stained mattress. The priest exchanged money for food, school supplies, tuition and clothing for sex that included anal penetration, fellatio and masturbation.

Costa said in one case a youth, believed to be 16 or 17, went to the missionary and told him he needed shoes. Duarte told him he could help but first “you need to do something for Father John.”

He grabbed the teen’s hand, put it on his penis and said “yeah, I need it.” In another case he took a youth to the storage room and had anal sex. Duarte invited the victim to his house where they watched pornography and had oral and anal sex.

Crown prosecutor Walter Costa said a fourth charge had to be dropped because authorities have been unable to contact the alleged victim since the Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated Haiti.

After counselling, Duarte notified the diocese of London, Ont., that he intended to resign from the priesthood and left the country, ending up in the Dominican Republic.

Last October, OPP investigators travelled to the Dominican Republic and arrested Duarte under Canada’s sex tourism laws.

Duarte was returned to Windsor Oct. 26 and has been in custody since.

In addition to his time in prison, Duarte will be on probation for three years, will submit a sample of DNA to authorities and will be entered on the Canadian sex offender registry for 20 years.

Windsor Star

© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service

6 Responses to Ontario priest gets 18 months for preying on Haitian youths

  1. Deborah Kloos says:

    John Duarte was at my old parish, OLPH, in Windsor, Ontario. He just got a slap on the hand. Someone who takes advantage of the poor like he did should be in jail for life. He was involved with Hearts for Haiti. These people involved in Hearts for Haiti worked hard to help the people and someone like him doing what he did to those that he was supposed to help is just terrible. I don’t understand how his sentence can be justified. I don’t understand how people could hurt such a vulnerable population of people and take advantage of them.

  2. Mike says:

    Deborah;
    Please look up Mr. Richard Sipe ‘s website. He is a former priest and his findings will help you to understand why these men do what they do. Mike.

  3. Larry Green says:

    When I hear a priest or any child sexual preditor stand before a court and in defiance to God , based on some legal conceptual definition of the charges against HIM , deny any wrong doing, it makes my stomach sick. When I hear them say that their accusers are the culprits, I actually vomit. When I hear one who begs for forgiveness, I forgive him.

  4. jon smith says:

    Right on Larry!

  5. Jeff says:

    He should be locked up for life, and shouldnt be able to be working in the resturant where he is working. Or be around children. It makes me sick!!!!

  6. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Jeff, he is a VERY sick creature! Unfortunately the church has actively recruited this type of psycho-sexually immature man to the priesthood for a long time now, and it appears to be continuing. The church does this because the psycho-sexually immature male is somewhat uncomfortable in the presence of adult females, has a pathological need to be obedient to a dominant male figure (ie – the bishop), and is comfortably attracted to 12-13 year old boys because of his own sexual immaturity.
    Hang in there. There is light at the end of the tunnel! Mike.

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