A Roman Catholic priest has been found guilty of indecently assaulting a teenage boy in 1979.
Monsignor Robert Borne, 63, was also found guilty of gross indecency, but acquitted of the same charges in relation to another alleged assault in 1981.
Justice Julianne Parfett said she found the alleged victim from the 1981 events to be an unreliable witness because of the number of contradictions and inconsistencies in his testimony. But she also said Borne was evasive in his own testimony.
On the charges Borne was convicted on, Parfett said the victim’s evidence was consistent throughout, adding he was “scrupulously honest” while giving his testimony.
Borne denied having non-consensual relations with either of the boys, who are now in their 40s.
He admitted to mutual groping between himself and a 16-year-old boy at a rectory in Griffith, Ont., located 150 km west of Ottawa, on a weekend when he was filling in for another priest.
He told the court he did not have any intentions of coming onto the boy. He said the teenager began telling him about a recent sexual encounter with a girl at a party when he was drunk. The teenager told the priest he didn’t mind having sex with men or women, Borne testified.
It was after the discussion that the groping occurred.
Following the conviction, the Diocese of Pembroke issued a release expressing its sincere compassion to the individuals who brought forth the charges.
“We recognize the anguish with which they are struggling,” the release said. “These charges are challenging for all involved in the process. In respect to the decision rendered by the court, the Diocese of Pembroke continues to pledge pastoral concern to all involved in this matter.”
Bruce Pappin, spokesman for the diocese, confirmed Borne remains relieved of his duties within the church, which occurred when he was charged in 2009. The matter has been referred to the Vatican for further investigation.
Borne will be sentenced April 10.