MacDonald: Father Hugh MacDonald

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Hugh Vincent MacDonald

Priest, Diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Ordained 1953.  Sometime in mid 90s relocated to Orillia, Ontario.  2003 multiple charges laid related to allegations of sex abuse of young boys:  died before standing trial


Bishops of Antigonish from time of Father Hugh V. MacDonald’s ordination:  John Roderick MacDonald  (13 April 1950 – 18 December 1959 );William Edward Power (12 May 1960 – 12 December 1986 ); Colin Campbell (12 December 1986 –  26 October 2002); Raymond John Lahey (05 April 2003 – – 26 September 2009)


Archbishops of Toronto from the time Father Hugh V. MacDonald arrived in Orillia, Ontario: Aloysius Matthew Ambrozic  (17 March 1990 – – 16 December 2006 ;

Auxiliary Bishops of Toronto from time Father Hugh V. MacDonald arrived in Orillia, Ontario:  John Stephen Knight (27 Apr 1992 – 9 Apr 2000); Anthony Giroux Meagher  (30 April 1997 – 27 Apr il2002) Nicola de Angelis, C.F.I.C. (Auxiliary Bishop: 27 April 1992 to 28 December 2002);: Terrence Thomas Prendergast, S.J. ( 22 February 1995  – 30 June 1998);  Richard John Grecco (27 April 2002 – 11 July 2009)


The following information is drawn from Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD) which I have on hand, and media (M)

2004: Lawsuit launched

July 2004: DIED, age 81

March 2003:  20 charges laid charged with indecent assault, gross indecency and rape

April 2002:  David Martin commits suicide.  In his suicide not David, a former altar boy,  says he was sexually abused in the 70s by Father Hugh MacDonald

2002, 2000: address and phone number for Saint Columbkille Roman Catholic Church in Orillia, Ontario, with mission at Sacred Heart in Westminster (Pastor Father Edwin Galea – Father Galea was also pastor at Guardian Angels in Orillia with mission at Sacred Heart Mission in Westminister)

-according to media MacDonald was living at the church as a boarder.  He was obviously assisting at the church because I recall that he was removed from his duties after publicity re the allegations mounted (According to a 2009 article in Atlantic Canada Frank magazine, MacDonald was removed “from his priestly duties at Guardian Angels parish in Orillia.”)

1999, 1998:  address and phone number for Saint Columbkille Roman Catholic Church in Orillia, Ontario, with mission at Sacred Heart in Westminster (Pastor Father James Stuart Murphy)

1997:  address and phone number for Saint Columbkille Roman Catholic Church in Orillia, Ontario, with mission at Sacred Heart in Westminster (Pastor Father James P. Doyle)

1996, 1995: address and phone number for Saint Columbkille Roman Catholic Church in Orillia, Ontario, with mission at Sacred Heart in Westminster (Pastor Father John W. Weelink)  (CCCD) (Orillia is in the Archdiocese of Toronto)

19941993:  29 Xavier Dr., Apt. 4, Sydney. Nova Scotia (CCCD) This is the address for MacGillivray Guest Home)

1992, 1991:  Pastor at St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Lochaber, Nova Scotia, with missions at St. Francis in Giant’s Lake, and St. Paul RC in Sherbrooke (CCCD)

1985:  Pastor, St. Gregory’s Roman Catholic Church, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia (CCCD)

sometime in 70s:  St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church, New Waterford (M)

1973-74:  Not listed (CCCD)

1971-72:  Pastor, St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church, Sydney, Nova Scotia (CCCD)

1968-69: index puts him at  St. Columban’s  Roman Catholic Church, Lakevale, Nova Scotia but parish index shows he is at St. Gregory’s in Sydney, Nova Scotia.  I believe the latter is fact  (CCCD)

1967:  Pastor, St. Columban’s  Roman Catholic Church, Lakevale, Nova Scotia, with mission at Holy Rosary in Ballantyne’s Cove (CCCD)

1959:  St. Ninian’s Cathedral (Rector Msgr. W.J. Gallivan.  Also at cathedral Father Father T.G. Lynch) (CCCD)


Excerpt fr0m “A Church in Crisis:  A Timeline” (27 October 2009, Atlantic Canada Frank)

  • April 16: Two hikers find Dave’s truck in an old logging road, and his dead body nearby. In his suicide note, Dave explains he killed himself over childhood abuse from sexual predator Father Hughie V. Dave’s note urges his wife to go public.
  • Early May 2002: B.C. RCMP forward David’s suicide note to C.B. police, as victims come forward with their abuse histories. The official investigation into Father Hughie kicks into overdrive.

Within days, the Archdiocese of Toronto removes Father Hughie, 79, from priestly du­ties at the Guardian Angels parish in Orillia.


N.S. man sues Catholic diocese over alleged abuse

October 08, 2009

A Cape  Breton  man who claims he was molested as an altar boy by a Catholic priest has pulled out of a class action lawsuit settlement to file his own civil claim.

Philip Latimer, 47, filed his own lawsuit against the diocese of Antigonish and the archdiocese of  Halifax  on Wednesday, instead of joining the landmark $15-million settlement for people who were sexually abused by priests in Antigonish since the 1950s.

Antigonish is the diocese where Bishop Raymond Lahey used to be Archbishop. Lahey helped orchestrate the settlement and is now facing child pornography charges in  Ottawa.

In a 22-page claim, Latimer alleges he was sexually molested in the mid-1970s by a different priest, Rev. Allan MacDonald, for four years when he was around 11 years old in the seaside community of Havre Boucher. MacDonald has since died.

The allegations in the lawsuit have not been proven in court. In a Thursday morning news conference, Latimer told reporters he is seeking $2 million but that what he really wants is answers. Latimer says the settlement orchestrated with the help of Bishop Lahey is unfair to the victims and fails to allow proper investigation into the diocese’s actions.

Latimer’s lawyer says his client wants a full investigation and exposure of the diocese’s awareness and reaction to the problem of sexually abusive priests in the Antigonish diocese. “I would suspect the people of this province and the people of this particular diocese want to know what went on, want to know how deep the rot was, or is, and need to know,” lawyer Rob Talach told reporters at a Thursday news conference in Halifax announcing the lawsuit. “If we’re all happy to pay off everyone and move on, then things are great. But if you want more, you have to ask for more, and I think that’s what Mr. Latimer is doing here today.”

The lawsuit’s statement of claim alleges the dioceses failed to investigate MacDonald’s “background, character and psychological state,” or warn supervisors and parishioners of his “difficulties as a priest.”

The suit also alleges the dioceses fostered rules and ideologies in which “deviant sexual practices were bound to develop among a percentage of the priests.”

Neither diocese has reacted to the allegations in the claim. Lahey says he decided to launch his suit after hearing that Lahey was recently charged in  Ottawa  with importing and possessing child pornography after Border Service Agency examined his laptop computer and allegedly found images “of concern.” He says the arrest made him question the integrity of the settlement. “That triggered something within me,” Latimer told reporters. “I was putting it out of my mind as best I could, but when the man that orchestrated the deal was no different than the men who committed the crime allegedly… that did it, that did it for me,” he said.

The settlement is intended to compensate anyone who was allegedly and known to have been sexually assaulted by Catholic priests in Antigonish since Jan. 1, 1950. Latimer wants to alert other victims that there is a Dec. 4, 2009 deadline for opting out of the settlement. He hopes others will join him in speaking out. ”

As of Dec. 4, if no one else steps out and reveals the truth about the things that are going to be hidden. They can never step out again,” he told  Canada  AM earlier Thursday.

“[Halifax Archbishop Anthony] Mancini says this is a time of healing. But the healing will start and stop on Dec. 4. If they truly want healing they wouldn’t put a timeframe on it.” Latimer added that the abuse destroyed his life and his Catholic faith. He hopes others will hold on to their beliefs. “Don’t lose faith in God. We have lost faith in the Church. But I’m going to ask you: don’t leave your church. You can’t trust men but you can trust God,” he said. He added: “It’s not easy to come out and reveal things that are very hard to speak about in public and put themselves in a vulnerable state. I’m doing it myself and realize it’s not easy.” News Staff


Class-action filed against N.S. Catholic diocese

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish for compensation for alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests from the diocese. 


ANTIGONISH, N.S. – A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish for compensation for alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests from the diocese.

The Roman Catholic Church, the bishop of Antigonish and the diocese “kept the priests’ sexual deviance secret and failed to warn or protect children within the diocese,” states a release on the website of Halifax lawyer John McKiggan, who represents the plaintiff, Ronald Martin.

Martin’s brother, David, committed suicide six years ago, leaving behind a note that alleged he had been sexually abused by Father Hugh Vincent MacDonald, a former priest of the Antigonish Diocese.

A criminal investigation by the RCMP and the Cape Breton Regional Police led to charges of rape, buggery and indecent assault against MacDonald, involving more than 15 children in incidents spanning the 1960s and 70s. MacDonald died in 2004 before the case against him was concluded.

The release on McKiggan’s website says several priests from the Antigonish Diocese have been previously convicted of sexually abusing children.

Martin says he was motivated to file the class action to obtain “an acceptance of responsibility for what happened to David, to us and all the others who had been abused by a representative of the church.”

The claim, filed Tuesday, is the first class action in Nova Scotia filed under the province’s new Class Proceedings Act.


Abusive priest dies, so victims sue diocese

Last Updated: Friday, July 9, 2004 | 1:19 PM ET

CBC News

A Roman Catholic priest avoided charges of sexually abusing children when he died last week, so three men who say they were among his victims are suing the diocese that once supervised him.

The men say the bishop of Antigonish, N.S., and the diocese should have protected them from abuse by Rev. Hugh Vincent MacDonald.

MacDonald died on June 27, before he could be tried for alleged offences involving 18 children ages eight to 15.

“Now their only avenue for someone to be held accountable … is to file a civil suit against the parties who employed Hugh Vincent MacDonald,” said lawyer John McKiggan, who is representing the three plaintiffs.

MacDonald was accused of inappropriate sexual contact including touching and fondling in churches in Cape Breton and in Antigonish in the 1950s and 60s.

The three men are asking for general and punitive damages from the diocese. No amount of money was set out.

The allegations of abuse haven’t been proven in court. There has been no statement of defence filed with the court.


Parishioners will pay court costs for priest: Diocese of Antigonish will pay legal expenses of Rev. Hugh Vincent MacDonald, facing sex- related charges

Priest, 80, to face 26 sex charges

The Toronto Star

10 June 2001

An elderly Roman Catholic priest will face 26 sex-related charges when he appears in a Cape Breton courtroom this month.

Three of the charges against Hugh Vincent MacDonald, 80, have been transferred from Antigonish to Sydney. He will appear in court on June 19.

The Antigonish charges stem from alleged incidents back in the 1950s and ’60s, when MacDonald was parish priest at St. Ninian’s Cathedral in Antigonish and at St. Columbus parish in Lakevale.

The 23 other charges date back to his time serving in parishes in Sydney and New Waterford between 1961 and 1975.

Last year, MacDonald was removed from an Orillia parish where he had been living as a boarder after allegations of sexual abuse were first made against him in the suicide note of David Martin, a 39- year-old B.C. contractor who killed himself in April, 2002.



Nova Scotia priest charged with sexual abuse

CBC News

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 | 12:53 AM ET

An 80-year-old retired priest in Cape Breton faced more than 20 sex-related charges in a court in Sydney on Tuesday.

Fr. Hugh Vincent MacDonald is accused of indecent assault, gross indecency and rape. Most of the charges date back nearly 30 years.

The investigation began after David Martin committed suicide last April, but in his suicide note he accused MacDonald of sexually abusing him in the 1970s.

MacDonald was the pastor at St. Agnes Church, in New Waterford, a coal mining town near Sydney. Martin had been an altar boy.

When Martin’s accusation became public, police began receiving similar complaints from more than a dozen people, men and women.

“The offences are alleged to have occurred when the complainants were children, most of them under the age of 15 years,” said Diane McGrath, the special prosecutor assigned to the case.

The youngest complainant was eight at the time the assault was alleged to have happened.

MacDonald appeared in court surrounded by police. He did not speak during his 10-minute court appearance.

He has been released under a number of restrictions imposed by the court, including one keeping him away from children under 14.

MacDonald’s lawyer will enter pleas on his client’s behalf at the end of May.


Suicide note leads to sex charges

Edmonton Journal

25 March 2003

SYDNEY, N.S. – An investigation that began with a suicide note from a former altar boy has led to 23 sex-related charges against a Roman Catholic priest who served at several parishes in Cape Breton.

Rev. Hugh Vincent MacDonald, 80, currently living in Ontario, will be arraigned in Sydney provincial court on charges of indecent assault and gross indecency, police said. The charges stem from alleged incidents in the 1960s and 1970s involving 10 women and five men. MacDonald also faces a single count of rape.


Sixth Nova Scotian claims he was abused by priest

The Windsor Star

17 May 2001

A sixth person has come forward to police claiming to have been sexually abused almost 30 years ago by a Roman Catholic priest.

Cape Breton police said they were phoned Wednesday by a man who claimed Rev. Hugh Vincent MacDonald abused him when he was a teen.

The man told police the abuse occurred at a Sydney church in 1973.

“It’s the same priest, but not the same church,” Const. Brad Burke said of the latest complaint. “In this case it’s just another complaint that we have to investigate a little more.”

MacDonald, who has not been charged and now lives in Ontario, was serving at that time at St. Agnes Church in New Waterford, N.S.

1 Response to MacDonald: Father Hugh MacDonald

  1. C G says:

    I live in Alberta. Grew up in A Diocese. Have always had memories of abuse by a priest but could never sort it out. Diocese wouldn’ttake my case due to the home environment. Parents were sucked into the cult. I know I spent time at St. Gregory’s. Brother drove us there. When he tried to ask questions mother told him to shut up.

    So only kids from fine home get abused? Kids who are already showing signs of vulnerability are safe from priests and bishops?

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