The Ottawa Citizen
16 April 2012 10:02 PM
By LAURA ARMSTRONG
OTTAWA — A former priest from Eganville was handed a nine-month conditional sentence last week after being charged with indecently assaulting a local teen more than 30 years ago.
Monsignor Robert Borne, 63, will serve the first five months under house arrest, with the latter four months to be served within the community, Justice Julianne Parfett said at Msgr. Borne’s sentencing hearing Tuesday, April 10th at the Pembroke courthouse.
Msgr. Borne was found guilty last November of assaulting a teenage boy while the two were on an overnight trip in Griffith, Ontario in 1979. During the trial, the court heard the priest and the boy were sharing a bed when Msgr. Borne began kissing the then 16-year-old before performing oral sex on him.
He met the boy through the boy’s older brother, Msgr. Borne testified during his trial. Although mutual groping occurred between himself and the teenager, Msgr. Borne denied the relations were non-consentual. He also denied Assistant Crown Attorney John Pepper’s suggestion that a sexual encounter with the boy was always Msgr. Borne’s intention.
At trial in November the priest was faced with four charges, two for indecent assault and two for gross indecency in relation to separate alleged incidents in 1979 and 1981. Msgr. Borne was found guilty of both charges relating to the 1979 assault but was acquitted of the other two charges, as Parfett said the alleged victims in the 1981 assault gave an unreliable testimony.
Under conditions of his sentencing, Msgr. Borne will be allowed to attend mass, make emergency medical visits and have three hours on Saturdays to buy weekly necessities during his five months of house arrest. Msgr. Borne is prohibited from contacting the victim’s family and is forbidden to associate with anyone under the age of 18 without an adult present. He will also serve two years of probation.
The victim, now in his 40s and with his identity protected by a publication ban, gave his impact statement at Tuesday’s sentencing. A member of a Polish-French family that were strong Catholics, the man said he once valued his religion but lost faith in the Catholic church after the assault.
Msgr. Borne was ordained in 1974. He held a variety of positions through the diocese, though in his testimony Msgr. Borne told the court that he no longer has any status in the Catholic church due to the charges against him. His most recent position was at St. James Parish in Eganville.
For some, Msgr. Borne’s reputation within the community surpassed the negative publicity he was receiving; his lawyer, Robert Carew, filed 59 letters to the court in support of Msgr. Borne.