Bishop facing sex allegations

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The Catholic Register

Week of March 13, 2000

Catholic Register Staff

Toronto

The archdiocese of Toronto is investigating an allegation of sexual misconduct against Auxiliary Bishop John Knight.

Knight has been put on administrative leave since the investigation began in late February.  Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, archbishop of Toronto, informed all the priests and deacons in a letter March 1.

“I want you to hear this from me rather than from other sources,” he said in his letter. 

The bishop denies the allegations.

Msgr. Edward Boehler, P.H., the archdiocesan judicial vicar, told The Catholic Register March 9 that the allegation was substantive enough to warrant a full examination under the official procedure for complaints about those under archdiocesan authority.

“It took a little while to gauge that it was a substantive allegation,” he said.  “We wanted to rule out that it was frivioulous or vindictive or anonymous.”

Boehler would not divulge any details about the allegations except that it would take some time to finish the investigation. 

Knight, 58, has been bishop in Toronto since 1992.  He currently oversees parishes in the western region of the archdiocese, mainly in Mississauga.  He has been a priest since 1967 and served parishes in St. Catharines diocese until he was appointed president of the Catholic Church Extension Society (missions Canada) in 1984.  His term ended in 1990.

As bishop Knight has served on Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ commission for Christian Education.  He is also a member of the boards of directors of The Catholic Register and the Institute for Catholic Education.

No allegations against the bishop have been reported to the police.  Boehler said that it is up to the complainant, who was over 16 at the time of the alleged incident, to take it up with the police.

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 Bishop faces charge of sexual misconduct

Official relieved of duties while complaint probed

The Toronto Star,  Page A8

Friday, March 10, 2000

By Carol Coles

Staff Reporter

An auxiliary bishop with Toronto’s Catholic archdiocese has been relieved of his duties pending the outcome of an internal investigation into sexual misconduct.

Bishop John Knight, 58, denies the charge, which is based on a single complaint, said the official conducting the inquiry.

Monsignor Edward Boehler said Knight “is on administrative leave.  He’s been relieved of all public duties.  Right now, he’s just doing other things, like private greeting and prayer.”

Knight has been with the archdiocese as an auxiliary bishop since 1992, spending the past two years overseeing some 50 or 60 Churches in the western pastoral region that encompasses Mississauga.

Prior to his appointment to Toronto, he spent 25 years as a priest in the St. Catharines diocese.

On March 1, a “private and confidential” letter from Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic was faxed to hundreds of priests within Toronto’s archdiocese, alerting them to events.

Boehler would not comment on either when or where the alleged offence occurred or whether police here or in St. Catharines are investigating.

Toronto police couldn’t confirm whether they are looking into the complaint.

Boehler said he plans to conduct his inquiry “very thoroughly and very carefully.  I have no ideal how long it will take.”

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