Priest and ex-Windsor teacher pleads guilty to sex assault for second time in a year

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The Windsor Star

Jan 24, 2013 – 4:11 PM EST
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2013 – 6:11 PM EST

Postmedia News

In this file photo, Father John Kenneth O’Keefe leaves an Ottawa courtroom in September, 2012. On Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, the retired priest who taught at various high schools in the Ottawa region, including Assumption in Windsor, has pleaded guilty for the second time in a year to sexually assaulting a teen boy in his care. (Photograph by: Mike Carroccetto , The Ottawa Citizen)

OTTAWA — An elderly Catholic priest who once taught at Windsor’s Assumption high school as well as various high schools in the Ottawa region has pleaded guilty for the second time in a year to sexually assaulting a teen boy in his care.

Father Kenneth John O’Keefe, 82, pleaded guilty in a Hull courtroom this week to “indecently assaulting” a then-17-year-old boy over the course of four months between September and December, 1969.

He also pleaded guilty to “an act of gross indecency” during the same period, with the same victim, known only as G-L.B.

G-L.B. was a student at Ottawa’s St. Joseph’s Catholic School.

The judge sentenced the former teacher to nine months of house arrest, to be served at the retirement home for Basilian priests where he currently lives in Toronto.

O’Keefe, who was ordained into the Basilian priesthood in 1958 and who the judge says is “not likely to reoffend,” will also be subject to one year of surveillance.

In Sept. 2012, O’Keefe pleaded guilty to a 1974 indecent assault against a 16-year-old student at Ottawa’s St. Pius high school. That assault took place while he was a teacher at the school.

He was to serve a nine-month conditional sentence in the community, six months of which were to be spent under house arrest.

During the sentencing hearing for the 1974 offence, court heard the Grade 11 student had been fighting with his parents when he went to see the priest, who was also his homeroom teacher.

O’Keefe invited him to stay and offered to share his bed.

The teen later woke up to find the naked and sexually aroused priest grinding against him from behind. O’Keefe was also reaching around with his hand in the boy’s underwear, touching him.

The victim said he told his parents, who phoned the school principal the following day, but that there was never any response from the school or O’Keefe.

The victim, now in his 50s, came forward in 2010 after learning another teacher at the school had also been accused of molesting a student.

Court heard O’Keefe is a recovering alcoholic who now suffers from dementia.

For their part, the Basilian Fathers, the order of which O’Keefe is a member, apologized “unreservedly” to any person their fellow priest had harmed.

“This should never have happened,” said a written statement, in which the order also offered to provide “support for restorative therapy to any victims.”

The Fathers are a Roman Catholic congregation of priests and students for the priesthood who minister in high schools, universities, and parishes in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Colombia and France.

Throughout his long career, O’Keefe taught at several schools across Ontario, including the Basilian Fathers of London, the Newman Centre at the University of Toronto and University of Western Ontario and Brescia University College.

He retired from active ministry in 2006 and moved into the Cardinal Flahiff Basilian Centre in Toronto, where he will serve his house-arrest sentences.

Tags: Kenneth John O’Keefe


Comments on Windsor Star website

Doye De Lauw ·  Top Commenter · University of Windsor
House arrest my butt. Will no one put a priest in jail? What a travesty. What a slap in the face to the victims. I don’t care how much this pervert is demented. Send him to jail.


Kelly James Jewell ·  Top Commenter · President and head bottle washer at Metrology Solutions Inc.
geez, another Catholic priest found guilty of what can only be descibed as the most demonic thing that could happen to a young man. its bad enough a young man went through this, but somebody of such trust is pathetic! married to God, my butt! maybe if the catholic leaders would take their head out of their “religion” for a while, they might allow priests to marry and live a real life here on earth…this really angers me, this is hardly an isolated incident and will drive more people away from the catholic church….ohhh house arrest for molezting a young boy….if any of us were found guilty, it would be different.

Mak Roman ·  Top Commenter · University a michigan
another didler on house arrest where nobody can get to them, that’s why they put them there instead of jail.
so they don’t get there assss kicked daily or killed, GOD FORBID.

Chris Davies ·  Top Commenter · Windsor, Ontario
The second he said guilty, he should have been walked outside to a firing squad. He doesn’t deserve to live.
SoulKat Gauthier ·  Top Commenter · Works at Some others & currently broken
I second that. I am a catholic n the ever judgemental churches I’ve belonged n these rules of theirs hv kept me at bay. It should be come as u are $$ or no $$ dressed in ur Sunday best or not. I have strongly believed that if these priests who are human with human feelings should be allowed to worship God n be married. Nuns are allowed to marry. In fact the sister that visited my home was divorced with four children!!! How can they be devoted to God n marry n A priest not?!?!? It’s very sad that it’s boys this happens too I’m sure some girls too. However it’s boys whom mostly filled the alter server positions n unfortunately are targeted. I in no way shape or form believe it’s ok to assault these young boys but I do believe allowing the priests to marry would almst stop this abuse. Maybe not all but a large number.

Mary Munroe
I Agree, send him to jail and let the inmates handle him, he wants sex then maybe he’ll get what he wants in there, he should never, never be let out into the public, It is about time our law system changes and start to put these guys away or into a boot camp with others like themselves!

Frank Michaluk ·  Top Commenter
After this, I can see more “FOR SALE” signs on Catholic churches. Although not a Catholic, I always found it weird, as a child, WHY priests weren’t allow to marry.

Donna Auger ·  Top Commenter
some pervert that wears a clerical collar openly admits his guilt in court that he is a pervert and gets a mere nine months for a second offence. He should be castrated.

Ron Moisenko ·  Top Commenter
At least one priest was jailed for sexual abuse in this area. Father Charles Sylvestre was sent to jail. The retired Roman Catholic priest died in 2007, three months into a three-year prison sentence for 47 counts of indecent assault on girls, from 1954 to 1986, from parishes in Windsor, London, Sarnia, Chatham and Pain Court. Just Google “Reverend Charles Sylvestre’. There are numerous articles about him. Just reading one article is nauseating. Deb (Charette) Moisenko.

Kelly James Jewell ·  Top Commenter · President and head bottle washer at Metrology Solutions Inc.
yes, but that was only ONE….i have a feeling there was more victims that came forward, who would want to have to relive that in court ? there has been more than 2 priests to commit this crime in this country too….it sounds like, in my opinion, that the diocese knew about this and just moved these child molesters around….they should be punished too.

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