Finnin: Father Pius Finnin

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Pius E Finnin.

Pius Emmanuel Finnin

Also listed as Pirus Finnin (Pirus E Finnin)

Priest ordained 29 June 1951 for the Diocese of Bathurst, New Brunswick.  By late 60s had relocated to the Archdiocese of Regina, Saskatchewan and eventually changed his incardination to that diocese. Between Bathurst and Regina he spent time in Miami and Oklahoma.  He spent some time in Winnipeg, Manitoba and was then off to Toronto where he was filling in for vacationing priests when he was charged with fraud, first in Manitoba, and then in Toronto.  Twice charged and convicted for fraud – sentenced to time in jail.

At some point spent time in Africa with a leper colony.

2007 – lawsuit by Albert Laval alleging child sex abuse in 1963 at the parish rectory in Cantal, Saskatchewan.  (Lawsuit settled out of court around 2010. )   It is known that in the late 50s Father Finnin abused a boy in Weyburn Sask. – the abuse was reported to authorities, ….and Father Finnin was recycled to Estevan.   He later abused at least one boy.

Listed as a priest who served as associate pastor  at St. John the Baptist in Estevan, Sakaskatchewan  (Father Pius Finnin Estevan cached page Zoominfo)

Bishops of the BATHURST Diocese during Father Father Finnin’s years: Camille-André Le Blanc (July 1942 – 8 January 1969); Edgar Godin( (9 June 1969 to  6 April 1985)

Bishops of the REGINA Archdiocese during Father Finnin’s years: Michael Cornelius O’Neill   (4 December 1947- 26 September 1973); Charles Aimé Halpin  (24 September 1973- 16 April 1994)

Archbishops of TORONTO Archdiocese during Father Finnin’s years therePhilip Francis Pocock  (30 March 1971 – 29 April 1978); Gerald Emmett Carter  (29 April 1978 – 17 March 1990)

Auxiliary Bishops of TORONTO Archdiocese during Father Finnin’s years there:  Francis Valentine Allen  (02 Jul 1954 – 07 October 1977) ; Francis Anthony Marrocco  (01 Dec 1955 – 10 June 1968);  Thomas Benjamin Fulton (28 December 1968-August 1978;) Aloysius Matthew Ambrozic (26 March 1976 – Coadjutor Archbishop: 22 May 1986); Michael Pearse Lacey (03 May 1979 – 31 May 1993); Robert Bell Clune  (03 May 1979 to 27 December 1995); Leonard James Wall  (03 May 1979 — 25 February 1992)

Bishops of Winnipeg Archdiocese during years Father Funnin may have been there:  George Bernard Flahiff, C.S.B.  (10 March 1961 Appointed – 31 March 1982 Resigned)

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04 November 1981: Priest jailed four years on 34 counts of fraud

14 September 1981 & 19 Oct. ’80:  “Catholic priest convicted in $100,000-fraud case” & “Priest is charged in fraud case”

____________________

The following information is drawn from Canadian Catholic Directories (CCCD) of that date, media (M) and internet (I) and personal (P)

07 February 1984:  died (I) – in jail (P) – buried in Bathurst, New Brunswick (P)

November 1981:  GUILTY plea in Newmarket, Ontario to 34 charges of fraud – three of his victims in this case were priests.  One priest list a $20,000 inheritance – sentenced to four years in prison – sentence to run concurrent to previous sentence from Manitoba (M)

October 1981:  Sentenced to two years in prison (M)

September 1981:  CONVICTED on two charges of defrauding a Manitoba deacon of about $100,000 in 1973.  The monies were presumably a business investment and to aid lepers in Africa (M)

October 1980:  charged with fraud – charges related to investment scheme (M)

Some time after ’73 to 1981:  in Toronto (M)

In the Archdiocese of Toronto for a number of years – date of arrival unknown, but for some period of time he was filling in for vacationing priests .  It is known that he filled in at St. Patrick’s in Markham, and at St. Thomas More in Scarborough, Ontario (CCCD) (Around 1982, after time in jail and Southdown, convicted molester Father Angus McCrae was recycled into St. Thomas More  in Scarborough, Ontario, and Father John O’Donnell, another molester, served at St. Thomas More from 1980 to 1989.

– scamming people, and driving a Cadillac (M) Name dropping and claiming contact  with businessmen, including Conrad Black (M)

1973:  On leave of absence which extended until he was charged for fraud (M)  Reasons for LOA unknown.

– I have been told that people in the Archdiocese  of Regina were NOT told that he was on a LOA, but that  that he had gone to serve in the Diocese of St. Boniface, Manitoba.  Years later Albert Laval contacted the St. Boniface Diocese and was told there was no record of him ever serving there (P)  However, the Manitoba fraud charges stem from him defrauding a deacon in Winnipeg of $100,000 in 1973 (M)

1973-74: Pastor, St. Raphael’s RC Church, Cantal, Saskatchewan with missions in Storthoaks, Alida and White Bear Indian Res. (CCCD)

1971-1972:  Pastor, St. Raphael’s RC Church, Cantal Saskatchewan with mission St. Jean Regis in Wauchope, Saskatchewan (Archbishop Michael Cornelius O’Neill) incardination shown as Regina (CCCD)

1968-69, 1967:  administrator,  St. Raphael, Alida (Cantal) Saskatchewan shows incardination in Bathurst and Regina (Archbishop Michael Cornelius O’Neill) (CCCD)

1963-1968:  St. Jean Regis in Wauchope, Saskatchewan (Father Finnin at St. Regis)

– sex abuse of Albert Laval transpired in 1963 (P)

– drove an Oldsmobile 98.  Used to let the young boys use his car.  He was always surrounded by young boys.  (P)

– He used to ply young boys with alcohol. (P)

– He was forever asking people to invest in some business, and word is that he even asked a penitent for money in the confessional.  He also asked for money for the lepers in Africa (P)

About 1961 or’62:  St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, Estevan

Late 50’s to about 1961:  St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, Weyburn, Saskatchewan (P)  I have been told that he was packed off to Estevan after a complaint that he sexually abused a young lad (P)

1959:  United States (incardination shown as Bathurst) (Bishop of Bathurst Diocese Camille-André Leblanc) (at the end of the Bathurst Diocese section of the directory listed as absent from the Diocese “aux Etats-Unis”)  (Bishop of Bathurst Camille Andre Leblanc) (CCCD)

– according to media reports, spent time in Miami and Oklahoma (M)

– according to media reports at some time spent time a the Holy Angels Leprosarium in Benin, Nigeria (M)

1951: ordained, probably for the Diocese of Bathurst, New Brunswick (CCCD)

Born in Woodstock, PEI

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Allan man alleges abuse by priest

An Allan, Sask., man is suing the Archiepiscopal Corporation of Regina, or the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, alleging he was sexually abused by a priest as a youth.

Leader Post

12 June 2007

An Allan, Sask., man is suing the Archiepiscopal Corporation of Regina, or the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, alleging he was sexually abused by a priest as a youth.

In his statement of claim filed in March, Albert Laval claims he was abused in or around November 1963 when he spent two nights at the Cantal, Sask., parish rectory.

Laval alleges the now-deceased Pius Finnin, then the parish priest in Wauchope, Sask., abused him knowing Laval was neither consenting, nor of an age where consent was relevant.

A statement of claim contains allegations that have not been proven in court. Jay Watson, Laval’s Saskatoon lawyer, could not be reached for comment on Monday afternoon.

Laval claims the archdiocese is liable for failing to protect him, in part by permitting “unqualified individuals to hire the Deceased as a priest for the Parish.”

The claim goes on to further allege the archdiocese “lacked policies and/or guidelines respecting the hiring of adequate persons to serve as its servants, agents or employees,” or did not follow policies that were in place.

Laval adds the archdiocese as employer failed to remove Finnin from his duties after learning of allegations against him of sexual misconduct — including allegations that pre-dated his employment with the Regina archdiocese.

But in a statement of defence filed in late May, the lawyer for the archdiocese argues that while Finnin was a priest working in the area governed by the archdiocese, he was not in fact considered an “agent or employee” of the archdiocese.

When contacted on Monday, archdiocese lawyer Paul Harasen said the exact nature of the employment relationship between the priest and the archdiocese will have to be determined.

But in any case, the archdiocese “denies that it had a relationship with Pius Finnin which would make the Archdiocese vicariously liable for any acts or omissions of Pius Finnin,” the statement of defence reads.

It goes on to say the archdiocese did not know or ought to have known about the alleged sexual assaults or any alleged potential for assaults, meaning the archdiocese cannot be held responsible for any negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and/or breach of trust.

Harasen added that any allegations of abuse will have to be proven by the plaintiff in court.

Laval claims the archdiocese also did not offer counselling or any other assistance after learning of the alleged abuse. He claims that as a result of abuse, he suffered physical, emotional and psychological trauma, among other classifications of pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of amenities.

He is asking for an unspecified amount of damages and costs.

The archdiocese is asking the lawsuit be dismissed with costs awarded to the defendant.

Harasen said the lawsuit will have to next go through a mandatory mediation hearing before proceeding any further. While a date for that hearing has not yet been set, it could be held sometime his summer, he said.

23 Responses to Finnin: Father Pius Finnin

  1. Sylvia says:

    I learned today that this lawsuit was settled out of court about three years ago. I was also told that Father Finnan was buried in Bathurst, New Brunswick. I will see if I can get any further information on that.

  2. Sylvia says:

    Well, there certainly is much more to Father Pius Finn than initially meets the eye. I have posted a small article from the 04 November 1981 Ottawa Citizen: “Priest jailed four years on 34 counts of fraud ” I have another two small ones that were stashed away in my computer which I will post later -both dealing with fraud.

    But, I found a large article by Paul McGrath which ran in the the 14 November 1981 Toronto Globe and Mail. “The Flim-Flam Man” It is copyrighted – I really would like to post it – have sent and email to the Toronto Globe and Mail with hopes that I can get the okay for a reasonable price, or better still, free :). We shall see. I probably won’t hear anything for about three days, so before then I will pull out some of the info .

    As you see in this article, in October 1981 he was sentenced in Winnipeg to two years in jail for defrauding a deacon of $100,000. And in November of that year he was found guilty in Newmarket Ontario on 34 charges of fraud and sentenced to four years in jail.

    A real con man! A swindler.

    I wonder did anyone aside his victims know, 1981, at that time that he was not only scam artist but a molester?

    He died in 1985. In jail? I don’t know. If not in jail then his death must have come shortly after he was out?

    Anyway, there’s another little look at Father Pius Emmanuel Finnin.

    He was apparently sent back to Bathurst for burial.

    Does anyone in New Brunswick remember him, or recall hearing of him?

  3. Sylvia says:

    A lot of new information has been added to the Father Pius Finnin page, – none of it pleasant. I has planned to blog to give an update on what has been added, but, – time has passed me by and it’s just too late 🙁

    Much of the new info has been drawn from the Globe and Mail article I referenced yesterday, and the rest is very private conversations

    You will see that he was all over creation, and that he was recycled in the Archdiocese of Regina after he was reported as an abuser, and sadly molested at least one more young lad (Albert Laval). Then he was off to Toronto. According to some media reports he was on a Leave of Absence from 1973 until he was facing fraud charges in 1980, but according to others he was relieving for vacationing priests .

    Note that one of the parishes he assisted at from time to time was St. Thomas More in Scarborough, Ontario. He was charged in 1980.

    Well, around 1982, after time in jail and then in Southdown, convicted molester Father Angus McCrae was recycled into St. Thomas More in Scarborough, Ontario. Not only that, but Father John O’Donnell, another molester, served at St. Thomas More from 1980 to 1989.

    • jean hyde says:

      he sexauley assulated lots of younge boys in southern sask me being one never got over it fully and catholic chuch cover it up

  4. JG says:

    When I saw his name associated with Bathurst and Bishop Edgar Godin I immediately wondered if he might have been one of those names sealed by the Courts in the Bastarache reconciliation??!!… He sure sounds like he was a good candidate and like many of the others who were abusers, he seems to have been quite a “traveller”…when it was necessary to blurr the trails!!! From Bathurst, the US, Saskatchewan, Africa…
    Finally brought back to be buried in Bathurst! They might have buried him in Belledune where the soil is already contaminated by industrial waste…

    jg

    • Sylvia says:

      Good thought JG. We’ll never know, will we? Unless, of course, some day someone somewhere talks?

      • Rita plestid says:

        Pius Finnin was the worst evil man walking on the face of the earth.He was BAD to the core. I know because my husband’s sister was married to his brother Gabe. He took us for a large amount of money which we never got back. Fr. Pius pardon the title died on PEI & was from Bloomfield. They gave him a BIG funeral with a children’s choir & all. I can well imagine the Devil was there to greet him when he drew his last breath

      • jean hyde says:

        I have lots to tell if some one is interested

  5. Rita plestid says:

    I don’t know why he was sent back to Bathurst Unless PEI wouldn’t have anything to do with him. I do know they wouldn’t ordain him on the Island. There was quite a write up in the Paper about his Funeral on PEI so they must have shipped him over to Bathurst after that.

  6. Lyle says:

    Sylvia, kudos, most excellent good work on the info gathering. I ran into him when he was in Estevan in the early 60’s. What I knew of him matches completely with your data, although of course I only saw a small fraction of it. Eg, I never heard anything about the financial fraud till a few years ago. But his proclivity for the company of pubescent boys was well known and whispered about, yet no one ever would want to outloud talk about it. Or do anything about it, whether they were Catholic or not I hate to say.

    But now after I read this I have so many more questions. Like what did he die of. Was the extensive and multi-faceted nature of his sins of abuse known to his Bathurst community and family. Did he ever express remorse to his church, his family or any of his victims? Did he ever try to make amends to anyone in any way before he died? Did the church ever apologize? And what (or who for that matter, seeing as how it was in prison supposedly) killed him? Does anyone know? Google hasn’t had anything new for quite a while.

    So, who else had some sort of acquaintance or relationship with him that might remember more about him I wonder?

  7. jean hyde says:

    I am 69 years old and a victim of pius finnin I had heart surgery in regina feb 20013 and had 2 new valvies put in my heart I was in coma ccu regina fore 18 days and relived what pius finnin did to me and my 3brothers in the 60 my 1 brother still has not got over it he fought and punced the baster I don’t know if he abused him or not but he abused me and my 2 other brothes he gave us money and got us so drunk we did know what was happing till we soberd up lasted about 5 years I had trouble in school as was deslecsic and I mixed numbers and sometimes I stil don’t spell very good I tried to ignor it fore years iknew knew it was not right at the put he got power over acohall and money fast cars dragged me around Canada and usa ina drunked as teenager finally took me expo 67 montreal my unkels told me in 2010 they knew what was happening put the chuch just swep it under rug father gorge stortowhawks must have known what was going on and if the church had done its jop and got rid of him after weyburen and they run him out etevan in early 60 I an scotty munro and oteher in the western hockey league knew about his petifill ways stan james propally got leesons from finnin I blame the catholic chuch and the older people and government fore letting it happen fore years after they first new about and I am not aborigina I know lots yonge boys where his victims and propally and some estevan brunis and weatern hockey league players lots off people in position of trust knew put no body did any thing imet gabe finnin and his wife he knew pius was apetife pius always good find anoter victim I toid a few people about him in my drunken stuper s in 60 and 70 put no body bellived me igot away from him in early 70 he got ahold me when they locked him the first time in the 70 he he head I my father had died and figered I had got some momey he wanted me to bail him out I told him blank of you don’t have any more power over me it has affected greaty over my life time lots boys all over Canada and usa he abused since my open heart surgery it has botherd me lots so I googed his nane and found this web site he was the scum of the earth I am 69 years old and it still bothehers me lots you can get a hold of me at this e mail or xxxxxxxx jean hyde ps you can put it out fore the whole world knous I haeve to get over it my wife knows the whole story now she read this she out part on her own put not all the sorid detail

  8. jean hyde says:

    I did not know this sight exsited till to day I googed father pius scunbag found this site and got lots off my chest fell better

  9. jean hyde says:

    if the catholic church had not covered it up when father pius finnin sexual assultaed the boyo in 196 1 weyburetevn and sehent him to estevan and I think when it got around estevan in the sixtes scoot mumro years in the western hockey years that father pius finnin was sexauley molesting hokey players some of who whent to the nhl I know lots of western hockey league isupect like my self that where a bused by father pius finnin if the catholic chuch uner the gudinnce arcobisop o neil the time done his jop at the time instead estevan just running him out town and shpping father pisus finnin t0 cantall alida sk albert lavla myself and have lot of uther boy would not have

  10. 1yellowknife says:

    Jean: This is a site where people know/have lived cleric abuse. It is good to have a place to tell your story So very sorry this happened to you, Jean.

    Rita: Big-ass, over the top funerals are OFTEN given to cleric abusers. The disdain and disrespect shown to the victims – by this action – could not be more clearly evident. It sends a horrible message to their survivors.

    • Rita Plestid says:

      Pius Finnin would come to Toronto to visit his brother Gabe & sister-in -law Veronica (Bonnie )Finnin & had a young boy with him he called his driver.He was good at name dropping to make an impression that he was a friend of important people. He bought Bonnie a big trailer & then bragged he pinned a $100.00 bill to the seat because he burned it with a cigarette.(other peoples money) and she was sporting a long mink coat.He kept telling us we were going to get our money but it didn’t happen so we blocked his car in when he came out to our place. We kept it for a couple years & were moving so he had it towed sugar in the engine an all. I could go on & on but the beast is dead & has to answer to our Father in Heaven. May the good Lord have Mercy on his Soul

      • Rita Plestid says:

        I forgot to tell that we kept his suitcase as well. in his suitcase was his CONDOMS beside his BREVERY (PRAYER BOOK. )Veronica said Pius needed his prayer book because there was certain prayers he had to say every day .I guess the Condoms kept him busy & he wouldn’t have time to pray anyway.Rita

  11. Lyle says:

    Jean, I am glad you got got lots off your chest and feel better, as you say. I know it is not easy to talk about, and only people who have experienced it firsthand know just how hard. I am only an “almost victim” of his–I escaped, fortunately, albeit narrowly and it was still the most terrifying experience of my entire life. But even I did not tell anyone, until the year 2000 actually, I brought it up at my high school reunion with a few friends, standing on the old school steps. As far as I am aware, you are only the second victim to come forward in all these years, the first being the brave Albert Laval above. I am sure there are many more Finnin victims than just you two and your family, just how many is a matter for guessing but given his M.O. I have a hunch it is no small number. I congratulate you on your courage for stepping up and telling the painful truth. Sometimes professional help, e.g. counsellors can be helpful in dealing with all the hurt and confusion, something to consider. So can speaking to others who have been through the same thing, finding out you are not alone. It is good to hear from you, Jean, and you take care of yourself now, hear?

  12. Bill says:

    Sylvia,

    Regarding Fr. Pius Finnin, during the late 1970s, a relative of mine was invited to invest with this priest who said he was raising money to fund missionary work in Africa. A special investment opportunity existed, the priest said, where after a year the money would double.

    Some time later, he was invited to invest in a second investment opportunity which had arisen. Meanwhile profits from his first investment of $15,000 would continued to accrue.

    I too was invited to invest, but was skeptical of any investment promising such stellar returns. When I asked about receipts I was told that receipts were not provided. The reason given was that receipts would result in a “paper trail”, and a paper trail would lead to tax consequences. To me, this came across as a tax avoidance scheme.

    I also wondered why, if he was such a skillful investor, he was not working full time investing the funds of the Archdiocese or the Vatican. Why did he have to solicit money from strangers?

    I suspected that this man was passing himself off as a priest so that he could take advantage of the faithful to defraud them of their money. I urged my relative not to give him more money, but he insisted that this man could be trusted because he was a “priest”. My warning fell on deaf ears and he put up another $12,500, which was all he could raise, into the second investment.

    When the term of the first investment was up and my relative wanted to cash out, he was advised that this would not be a good time because the investments were doing so well, and was told to roll it over so the profits could continue to accrue. He lost his life savings.

    Some people didn’t like paying taxes which supported government programs that they opposed on ethical grounds. Having been solicited by a priest to invest in a scheme which enabled them to avoid taxes, they wolud feel morally justified. In the event of fraud, because of fear of possible legal consequences, they would be reluctant to go to the authorities to report it.

    This sets the victims up as perfect prey, much like those who are sexually abused. The preditors can count on the continued silence of these victims due to their fear and/or embarassment. This enables the perpetrators to continue seeking out more victims with less chance of being discovered. I wonder how many other people lost their life savings and never reported it.

    How ironic to discover that this guy really was a priest – and a pedophile too ! ! ! Losing one’s money to some scam artist is terrible, but one can hopefully recover from it. Being sexually abused as a youngster, epecially by a trusted adult such as a priest, can leave one scarred for life. That is so much worse.

    I did not understand how he could have so much free time to travel out west for weeks or months at a time if he was assigned to a parish in Scarboro. Now I see that he was on a leave of absence since 1973.

    Bill

  13. Gerry H says:

    Part of the reason for Finnin and other Priests getting away with abusing young guys is the upbringing of children by the parents. We were taught that Priests were to be respected and had superior status. Telling anyone about the abuse was not believed and if some of the parents( fathers) especially had known what was happening they would have hunted Finnin down with a gun. Then who would have went to jail.
    I was a youth at the time and had 4 brothers who were abused and had to much contact and were encouraged to be altar servers by parent. This action remained with my brothers for over 50 years and had a very big impact on them for all of their lives.
    I still pray today but it is to God and not because of any priest. Unfortunately priests are human beings and hide behind the Catholic Church. I believe they should be expelled from the church for their sins and not transferred to another Diocese. I went to the movie about the abuse within the church and it certainly hit home. I firmly believe Finnin abused hundreds of youth, and some were fortunate to walk away, others were not.

  14. Marilyn Davey says:

    Pius was a devil, all the life’s he destroyed. This man should have been put in jail,not transferred to other churches. The catholic church should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to happen.

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