Houston: Father Martin Houston

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Martin Houston (Father Martin Houston)

“The Devil of Grollier Hall”


Convicted child molester. Ordained in 1990 – after conviction – for the Diocese of Saint Boniface, Manitoba

Houston was charged and convicted in 1962 – prior to ordination – for sexually abusing five young boys  at the Grollier Hall Residential School for Indian and Inuit in Inuvik, North West Territories. The school was administered by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.  Houston worked as a lay supervisor at the school. He was declared a dangerous offender and sentenced to 10 years incarceration.

 Houston was charged and convicted again in either 1998 or 2004.  I believe these charges all related again to his time at Grollier Hall.  He received a suspended sentence and three years probation.


Grollier Hall and “The Devil of Grollier Hall”

20 August 2004:  Grollier Hall supervisor sentenced 

2002 ?: Priest’s sordid past shocks parish

11 May 2002:  School counsellor convicted of sex abuse now working as Catholic priest

19 October 2010:  BLOG A sadist


The following dates are drawn from the Canadian Catholic Church directories (CCCD) of that date, Father Martin Houston’s Obituary (Obit), media (M) Windsor Star,  information found online, and comments blogged on this site

30 August 2010:  Funeral Mass at St. Boniface Cathedral presided over by Bishop Albert Legatt. Interment in the Cathedral cemetery

25 August 2010:  Died at Concordia Hospital.

2002:  Infuriated parishioners discovered that Father Houston was a convicted child molester.  Houston retired.(M)

1997-2002:  Parochial administrator at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Carman, Manitoba and chaplaincy at St. Mary, Elm Creek, Manitoba (Obit)

1998, 1999, 2000, 2002:  Pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Carman, Manitoba and chaplaincy at St. Mary, Elm Creek, Manitoba (CCCD)

1998:  ? Second conviction for Grollier Hall crimes (it may be 2004)

1997: 151 Cathedral Ave., St. Boniface (address of the diocesan centre) (CCCD)

1992-1997: Pastor at Notre Dame du Lac, Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba and chaplaincy at Pinawa, Manitoba (Obit)

1993, 1994, 1995, 1996:  Pastor at Notre Dame du Lac, Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba and chaplaincy at Pinawa, Manitoba (CCCD)

1990-1992: parocial adminstrator at St. Joseph the Worker (Obit)

1991, 1992:  Pastor at St. Joseph the Worker, Transcona, Manitoba (CCCD)

1990Ordained by Bishop Antoine Hacault at Notre Dame du Laus Church in Powerview, Manitoba (Obit)

Mid to late 80s ? – pursued philosophy and theoolgy studies at St. Paul University (Ottawa) and St. Joseph Seminary and Newman Theological College in Edmonton, Alberta (Obit)

Sometime in 1980s: Oblate Noviate in Arnprior, Ontario – planning to pursue priesthood.  Asked to leave because of behavioural issues.  (M)

Nicodemus House in Edmonton, Alberta.  After three months asked to leave because of behavioural issues. (M)

 1962 ? – convicted for sex abuse of boys at Grollier Hall. Declared a dangerous offender.  Served nine years of a 10-year-sentence.  While in jail decided he was called to the priesthood.  He wanted to become an Oblate priest but was turned down by the Oblates.(M)

1962:  Supervisor at the Oblate administered Grollier Hall residential school, Inuvit, NWT. (I think he may have been working at the school in the mid to late 50s – am trying to get further information on his years at the school)

22 January 1937:  Born in Pineview, Manitoba


28 August 2010 Winnipeg Free Press

FATHER MARTIN HOUSTON Passed away peacefully on Wednesday afternoon, August 25, 2010, at Concordia Hospital. He was 73 years old. Martin, son of Joseph Adelard Houston and Alice Jane Houston, was born in Pine Falls, MB, on January 22, 1937. Besides the St. Boniface presbyterium, he will be remembered by his brothers Frank, David (Madeline), Joseph (Iris) and Edward (Mary). He was predeceased by his father and mother, his sister Doris and brothers John, Henry and Ernest. Martin attended school in Powerview, followed by correspondence courses. He took two years of accounting at McMaster University, Windsor, ON. After spending some time with the Oblate community, he pursued his philosophy and theology training at St. Paul University in Ottawa, at St. Joseph Seminary and Newman Theological College in Edmonton. Archbishop Antoine Hacault, Archbishop of St. Boniface, ordained him to the priesthood in Notre Dame du Laus Church in Powerview, for the Archdiocese of St. Boniface, on August 17, 1990. As a first appointment, Father Houston was Parochial Administrator of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Transcona (1990-1992). He was Pastor of Notre Dame du Lac Parish, Lac du Bonnet, and of Pinawa Chaplaincy (1992 1997); Parochial Administrator of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Carman and of St. Mary’s Chaplaincy in Elm Creek (1997- 2002). Father Martin retired from active parochial ministry at the age of 65, and lived since at St. Antoine Residence for priests in St. Boniface. Father Houston had a number of health issues, and at the end of June 2010, he was admitted to Concordia Hospital following a car accident. Though it did not appear that he suffered any serious injuries, he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the same hospital a few days later, and was not able to recover from his illness. The Funeral Mass for Father Martin Houston, preceded by viewing at 1:30 p.m., will be presided by the Archbishop of St. Boniface, Albert LeGatt, D.D., on Monday, August 30, at 2:00 p.m., in St. Boniface Cathedral. Interment will be in the Cathedral cemetery. Pallbearers will be six nephews. CROPO FUNERAL CHAPEL 586-8044



Former priest pleads guilty to sex charges [1960s Houston] — boys, multiple offender, suspended sentence.

CANADA CBC, http://winnipeg.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=mb_priest 20040818 , Aug 18 2004

INUVIK, N.W.T. – A former priest in Carman has pleaded guilty to sex crimes against three boys dating back to the early 1960s.

Martin Houston, 67, was charged with sexually assaulting two boys in his care and trying to assault another while he was a supervisor at the now-infamous Grollier Hall residential school in Inuvik, N.W.T. He was given a suspended sentence and three years’ probation.

This is the second time Houston has faced sex charges related to his two years as a supervisor of a boys’ dormitory at Grollier Hall. In 1962, he pleaded guilty to assaulting five boys.

He was declared a dangerous sexual offender and served nine years before being released.

In 1990, Houston was ordained by the Archdiocese of St. Boniface. He was a priest in Carman at Our Lady of Mount Carmel until 2002, when he resigned after news of his past came to light.


Former Residential School Supervisor Gets
 10-year Jail Sentence for Abuse

Date: Sunday August 16, 1998
Written By: Unknown
Published By: The Lethbridge Herald

Inuvik, N.W.T. (CP)– A former residential school supervisor was sentenced Saturday to 10 years in prison for sexually abusing teenage students in his care from 1967 to 1979.

Paul Leroux, 58, sat motionless with his right hand firmly clutching his forehead while Justice John Vertes addressed each of the 14 counts he had been convicted of Friday relating to his 12 years at Grollier Hall.

“In a trial such as this, my judgement must take into account the guilty pleas entered by the accused,” said Vertes, referring to the nine counts of gross indecency Leroux, 58, had pleaded guilty to when the trial began August, 4.

“But I must also take into account the gross misuse of trust the accused showed towards those in his care and he must be punished.”

In addition to the nine counts of gross indecency, Vertes found Leroux guilty of three counts of indecent assault, one count of attempt to commit indecent assault and one count of attempted buggery.  He was also given a 10-year weapons prohibition.

“The 14 victims are all grown men now but many bear significant psychological wounds as outlined in the victim impact statements I have reviewed,” said the judge.

“I understand my judgement may not be significant to some in their healing process.  The ruling to be made today is one that deals with protection of society.”

Leroux was found not guilty of seven additional counts including gross indecency and indecent assault.  The sentence will include the nearly 15 months Leroux has served in remand custody since his arrest.

Crown prosecutor Scott Couper had requested a 15-year sentence for Leroux while the defence suggested three years be added to time already served.

Those attending the Saturday sentencing showed little emotion as the frail looking Leroux was ushered from the courtroom.

Outside, family members, most of whom are of Native ancestry, hugged and at least two of Leroux’s victims embraced one another.  Several approached Couper for a hug or a handshake.

Grollier Hall opened in 1959 and was run by the Catholic church until 1985.  When it closed in 1997 it was one of Canada’s last residential schools.

Leroux, who once served as a justice of the peace and later as a complaints investigato for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, is the third supervisor from Grollier Hall to be convicted of sexual abuse.  The other two are currently serving jail time.

Jerzy George Maczynski, now 68, was sentenced to four years in March last year after pleading guilty to five counts including indecent assault, gross indecency and buggery stemming from incidents in the early 1960’s.

While reading his sentence, Vertes referred to a trial involving Maczynski in British Columbia where he was given a 16 year sentence for similar offences he committed at a residential school there.

Jean Comeau, 64, was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to two counts of indecent assault in February.  Comeau was also a supervisor at Grollier Hall in the early 1960’s.


5 Responses to Houston: Father Martin Houston

  1. 1yellowknife says:

    Excellent, accurate summary.

    Thank you for bringing this travesty to light. The Devil of Grollier Hall, who avoided making amends to his victims and left a legacy of harm, received the bells-and-whistles cathedral funeral of a well-respected, well-deserving servant of the church and of God.

  2. Sylvia says:

    I have just had contact with a priest who kindly tracked me down to give me a little information.

    The priest happened to be in seminary at St. Joseph Seminary, Edmonton, Alberta, while Houston was there. He believes that Houston was there from around 1986 until his ordination in 1990. He was shocked to learn just now that Houston was a convicted child molester. The seminarians were not informed of Houston’s past.

    This priest did not know Houston well. They were in different years. He does however recall that Houston was “aggressive,” “defensive” and had quite a temper. Apparently it was not uncommon for Houston to erupt with “Why don’t you keep your F…n’ mouth shut?” The seminarians “avoided him like the plague.”

    For those reasons alone Father was surprised that Houston was ever ordained. He is surprised that Bishop Hacault ever agreed to take Houston in as a priest in the Diocese of St. Boniface, Manitoba.

    He also recalls that Houston assisted a few times with the RCIA program (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) at the Cathedral in Edmonton. Joseph MacNeil was Arcbishop of the Edmonton Archdiocese 1973-1999.

    He thinks that Houston was once a religious brother with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. I think that makes sense – he may well have been an Oblate brother while he was working at Grollier Hall.

  3. 1yellowknife says:

    Sylvia: I am encouraged by the telephone call you received from a fellow seminarian of Houston. The depravity of the Devil of Grollier Hall is a sordid story which needs to be told. Houston’s ordination as RC priest, after being declared a dangerous sexual offender by the court, is truly mind-boggling. How could his superiors take such monumental risk with children Houston would encounter in that role — I just don’t get it. A key spokesperson for the Grollier Hall Residential School Healing Circle asked these questions of Houston’s superior — he travelled from the NWT to Winnipeg for this meeting. He reports there was no remorse; no insight; no concern. He felt dismissed on all levels. This wilful disregard of Houston’s actions at Grollier Hall and the chilling risk to the safety of children exposed to Houston thereafter (for the rest of Houstson’s life) deserves …. an investigation. Now, what would that entail…

  4. Sylvia says:

    I have some more information 1yellowknife. I will get it posted later today.

  5. 1yellowknife says:

    The Devil of Grollier Hall has dead. His funeral was a disgusting whitewash of a monster. Why….Probably because most of his victims were in Northern Canada and unlikely to show up. If only an APTN or CBC crew could travel to Manitoba and demand answers from the Archbishop who officiated; and have the voice heard of a Houston victim or those who know first hand of this horrendous abuse. He was buried as a prince of the church…. How could that be. Did the victims matter so little…

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