Eight charges dropped

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Pembroke Observer

15 July 2010


A Pembroke priest will stand trial on four sex-related charges.

Monsignor Robert Borne, 61, will be tried on two counts each of gross indecency and indecent assault in relation to two alleged male victims. He has elected to be tried by judge alone in superior court.

Justice Robert Selkirk rendered his decision in Pembroke Provincial Court Wednesday morning as Msgr. Borne and his Ottawa-based lawyer, Robert Carew, sat at a table near the front of the courtroom and a handful of supporters present in the body of the court.

Justice Selkirk ruled eight additional charges pertaining to three other alleged victims should not proceed to trial.

His decision was based on the evidence and arguments provided by Mr. Carew and Assistant Crown attorney John Pepper during a preliminary hearing in Pembroke June 14.

The charges going forward to trial stem from incidents alleged to have occurred in 1977 and 1981.

A publication ban has been imposed to protect the identities of the alleged victims.

A judicial pretrial is scheduled for Sept. 13.

An investigation was launched by the Renfrew County Crime Unit of the Ontario Provincial Police in January 2008 after receiving a complaint of an alleged sexual assault that occurred while a (then) teenage boy visited Msgr. Borne. As a result of the original investigation others then came forward.

Charges in relation to three alleged victims were first laid against the priest in April 2009. Then in June, police began looking into allegations that Msgr. Borne sexually assaulted other teenage boys.

Msgr. Borne was arrested June 5, 2009 when he turned himself in at the Renfrew OPP detachment.

According to the Diocese of Pembroke, Msgr. Borne has not been performing official duties ssince the charges were laid. The diocese is hopeful justice will be served in the forthcoming trial in a way that will lead to healing for all concerned.

“The Diocese of Pembroke extends support for any parties concerned in this case, and prays that the truth concerning this matter may be brought to light,” the Most Reverend Michael Mulhall, Bishop of Pembroke, said in a statement released Wednesday.

The diocese will continue to offer its complete co-operation with civil officials as the process unfolds and will encourage and support the healing process for all parties concerned following the resolution of the case.

A Pembroke native, Msgr. Borne was ordained April 20, 1974. He was a curate in Mattawa between 1974 and 1975.

From 1975 until 2003 he served in a number of administrative roles including chancellor of the diocese, secretary to the bishop and curate at Our Lady of Lourdes.

Msgr. Borne became pastor of St. James Parish in Eganville and Nativity of Our Lady Mission in Golden Lake in 2003.

On Sept. 1, 2004, he was appointed priest co-ordinator of St. Ann Parish, Cormac with particular responsibility for the annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. Ann, Cormac.

Tina Peplinskie is a Daily Observer reporter

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