Trial of Pembroke priest to start Nov. 14

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16 March 2011

By SEAN CHASE

A Pembroke priest facing a number of sex-related charges will stand trial this fall.

Monsignor Robert Borne will be tried by judge alone in Pembroke superior court beginning Nov. 14. The trial is expected to take two weeks.

The 62-year-old Roman Catholic priest is to be tried on two counts each of gross indecency and indecent assault in relation to two alleged male victims.

Pre-trial proceedings esday with Justice Julianne Parfett hearing defence applications filed by Robert Carew, Msgr. Borne’s Ottawa based lawyer. Representing the crown was assistant Crown attorney John Pepper.

Both sides agreed to cancel subsequent court dates for April, June and August. The week of Sept. 26 will now be set aside for the judge to consider any further pre-trial motions.

The charges against Msgr. Borne 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.

In January 2008, an investigation was launched by the Renfrew County Crime Unit of the Ontario Provincial Police after they received a complaint of an alleged sexual assault that occurred while a (then) teenage boy visited the priest. As a result of the original investigation, others then came forward.

In April 2009, Msgr. Borne was charged in relation to three alleged victims. Last summer, Justice Robert Selkirk ruled eight additional charges pertaining to three other alleged victims should not proceed to trial.

A Pembroke native, Msgr. Borne was ordained on April 20, 1974. 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.

In September 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. According to the Diocese of Pembroke, Msgr. Borne has not been performing official duties since the charges were laid.

Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist

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