1972 buggery charge dropped against Catholic chaplain

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NEWS / Cases like these are chilling for Canadian seniors, says Richard Hudler

Xtra! Canada’s Gay & Lesbian News

Neil McKinnon / National / Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A former military chaplain arrested on seven charges, including buggery, saw all charges dropped by the Crown in a Barrie court last week.

Roger Bazin, 74, of Manitoba, was arrested in Barrie in February 2010 and charged with buggery, gross indecency and indecent assault on a teenager. The arrest followed a June 2009 complaint, causing the military to investigate incidents dating back to 1972, when Bazin was based at CFB Borden, just outside Barrie.

Crown Michael Minns withdrew the charges because “there did not exist a reasonable prospect of conviction.”

Gay people followed the case because of the buggery charge. Buggery is no longer illegal in Canada, but since sexual assault has no statute of limitation, Bazin was charged for having anal sex, even though it is no longer considered a crime in Canada.

Canada inherited its buggery law — which covers both anal sex and bestiality — from Britain. In 1969, the law was relaxed to exclude consensual sex if both partners were over the age of 21. In 1988, the buggery law was scrapped altogether and replaced with a prohibition on anal sex for people under the age of 18. That law has been struck down in several jurisdictions, including Ontario, because it sets a different age of consent for gay sex, 18, than straight sex, 16.

Queer Ontario member Richard Hudler says he feels cases like these are chilling for gay Canadian seniors. The 68-year-old gay man feels the government has no business using outdated charges.

“It’s good to hear the charges were dropped. But I was actively gay before the law was changed. So that means [the government] could go back and charge me for anything. If they went back before 1969, any gay activity was illegal. If they decided they want to get you on something, they can use something like [buggery],” says Hudler.

Bishop Donald Thériault, head of the Roman Catholic Military Diocese of Canada, says he is pleased with this case because “it removes the suspicion of one of our priests who had a wonderful career.”

“We have to presume justice was done. In all fairness for the alleged victim, I don’t know him, but I wish him well. Roger is very happy with the outcome and wants to pursue his life as a retiree,” says Thériault.

Thériault says there is a fear among Cathoic priests of being falsely accused of sex crimes. In the last year, he has spoken with Bazin; he noted that the former priest went through a difficult time but says he will move on with his life.

“I think when a priest is found innocent, I think he has the inner resources and personal satisfaction to put the weight on his ministry, rely on God and move on and help people. Roger has been a dedicated man even in retirement. I hope he will continue to be a happy man and in good health. But those sorts of situations are always a black eye, tarnishing the church and clergy.”

“For the media, stories like these go up their alley of sensationalism. Because priests are supposed to be celibate, there’s an appreciation of a priest as a trusted person, and there are always questions in people’s minds. People tend to point at priests involved in illicit or inappropriate behaviour. That’s really not the case. Statistics show we have way fewer incidents than other social professions. But the damage has already been done when priests are found innocent or have their charges dropped. It’s a hard thing to deal with in the church, but if we lose confidence, it makes it hard for us to serve people,” says Thériault.

Thériault would not comment on the state of Bazin’s personal health, saying only that there is nothing significant going on in his life at the moment.

“We don’t intend to make any statement. It was a civilian case,” says military spokesperson Marie Tremblay.

Xtra was unable to reach Bazin’s lawyer, Sheldon Pinx.

Bazin lives in Manitoba with his 79-year-old sister. Over the last year, he had several Barrie court appearances. He was present in court only once and was quietly whisked away after his appearance.

Bazin was ordained in 1962 and later became a chaplain with the Canadian Armed Forces. He eventually rose to the rank of chaplain-general and later, brigadier-general and eventually, chief military chaplain in 1992. He retired in 1995.

In 2005, Bazin was accused by a Thunder Bay family of engaging in “inappropriate activity” with a 16-year-old boy. At the time, Bazin was working in a Thunder Bay Catholic church. Criminal charges were never filed, but church officials later confirmed that Bazin had settled privately with the family and paid them $24,000.

23 Responses to 1972 buggery charge dropped against Catholic chaplain

  1. Sylvia says:

    This is ridiculous. There is quite a difference between charging a Roman Catholic priest for seducing and sodomizing a boy and charging a man for engaging in sodomy with a consenting adult.

    ” I think when a priest is found innocent,” said Bishop Donald Theriault.

    No, sorry Bishop Theriault, Msgr. Bazin was was not found innocent. He was not delcared “innocent.” The charges were dropped because the Crown decided “there did not exist a reasonable prospect of conviction.” That does not by any stretch of the imagination mean that Roger Bazin did not sodomize/bugger that boy.

    Therialult also is quoted as saying that this “removes the suspicion of one of our priests who had a wonderful career.”

    ?? How? How does this remove “the suspicion”? This priest with a wonderful career paid off a victim in a hush hush out of court settlement. That pay-off came to light only after these charges were laid. So how, pray tell, does dropping the charges in this case and under these circumstances remove suspicion? –

    Therialut apparently also talked of a fear among priests of being falsely accused.

    Read the article through. I’d say the Bishop’s overall message is that Bazin was falsely accused and ergo the plaintiff is an outright liar.

    This is disgusting.

    • michael says:

      Ultimately everything comes down to money! No one would have sued the church if there was no money involved! Most of this so called victims had a good time with their so called abusers . Who knows some of these victims themselves were seducers of innocent priests to get some money at that time and later????. As long as these so called victims asks for money, their stories are cooked up. May not be tru even!!?? That is why no one cares about this money crazy so called victims. Good bye and good luck

      • Nellie from Toronto says:

        You are one brick short of a load, sir. If you knew what it took for a victim to come forward you would realize how wrong you are…

      • PJ says:

        Michael: You are an idiot. And just in case you’re too stupid to get it, I’ll repeat my statement but just a little slower…Y o u a r e a n i d i o t.

    • M says:

      An actively gay priest, engaging in sex, sometimes with an unconsenting child, had a wonderful carreer ? In what land ? I hope I don’t have any of those wonderful priests in my life/area. Disgusting, stupid comment, made by a bishop, no less.

  2. Tim says:

    This is one more case of military personnel getting off with queer offences. This should assuage some of the gay community- they wish to bring down the Catholic Church, and this gives them a modicum of success-again!
    Satan works his evil where he can. And many are willing to co-operate ! Tim

  3. Larry Green says:

    If I didn’t know that the assertions and propositions articulated above were those of bishop Donald Thériault , I would guess – with very little doubt-that they were the rantings of one or both of a certain pair who routineley and persistantly on this site spew precisley the same.

  4. 1yellowknife says:

    Well said, Mr Green!!

  5. Larry Green says:

    When I initially arrived at this site I very stupidly and very regretably made some offensive comments of my own that were thoughtless, inconsiderate and disrespectfull. I’m sincerely sorry for any pain I have caused 1yellowknife.

  6. 1yellowknife says:

    Forgotten already. Keep up the good work.

  7. Charlene says:

    Boy oh Boy if flies could talk…
    Not so fast …Dropped but not forgotten reason’s untold, this does not mean he did not do anything, Altar boys of that age are now in there mid 50’s , health issues happen ,family illness. Lets face it do you try to stay alive or do you just dye pursuing it .. or do you kill your old army Father{ who loved the Military} in his late 70’s with guilt or shame, he was always gone some times for 1 year at a time, with 4 kids at home and a wife trying to keep it together, sending her son’s to church to have a male figure in there life……..
    Sister of a survivor CFB Borden

  8. Sylvia says:

    It’s good Charlene that he has a sister like you who cares, understands and supports him

  9. Linda says:

    The article above mentions, “In 2005, Bazin was accused by a Thunder Bay family of engaging in “inappropriate activity” with a 16-year-old boy. At the time, Bazin was working in a Thunder Bay Catholic church. Criminal charges were never filed, but church officials later confirmed that Bazin had settled privately with the family and paid them $24,000.”

    Does anyone know what church in Thunder Bay?

    Thank you!

    • Sylvia says:

      Check here for the info on Msgr. Bazin Linda: http://www.theinquiry.ca/wordpress/charged/roger-bazin/

      Here is what I have on that page:

      Late 2005: allegations of sexual abuse reported to the Bishop of Saint Boniface Manitoba Diocese. The allegations related to Bazin’s time at St. Louis Church in Keewatin, Ontario (Diocese of Thunder Bay ,Ontario)

      2002: 222-1st Street North, Kenora Ontario = Notre-Dame-du-Portage (pastor is listed as Father A. Campeau) (CCCD)

      2000: Pastor – Saint Louis Church, Keewatin, Ontario (Bishop of Thunder Bay now Fred Colli) address in index still given as Longbow Lake, Ontario, POX IHO vs that of the church. (CCCD)

      19 January 1998- 02 February 1999: Diocesan Administrator for Diocese of Thunder Bay, Ontario. (bishop seat vacant) also listed as Pastor – Saint Louis Church, Keewatin, Ontario but address in index now given as Longbow Lake, Ontario, POX IHO vs that of the church. (CCCD)

      1997: Pastor – Saint Louis Church, Keewatin, Ontario (Bishop Fred Henry – Bishop Diocese Thunder Bay, Ontario) P.O. Box 843, Keewatin (CCCD)

      1996: Pastor – Saint Louis Church, Keewatin, Ontario (Bishop Fred Henry – Bishop Diocese Thunder Bay, Ontario) P.O. Box 843, Keewatin (CCCD)

      So, the parish in which he served was not IN the city of Thunder Bay, but at St. Louis Church in Keewatin, part of the Diocese of Thunder Bay.

      Note that Monsignor Bazin also served as Administrator of the Diocese of Thunder Bay for a year following the departure of Bishop Frederick Henry (now Archbishop of Calgary) and until the arrival of Bishop Fred Colli. (Monsignor Bazin would have been taken into the Diocese of Thunder Bay by Bishop Henry. Bazin then ran the diocese after Bishop Henry’s departure in January 1998 and until the arrival of Bishop Fred Colli in February 0f 1999. The $24,000 ‘pay-off’ was made in 2006, well after Fred Colli became bishop.)

  10. Bobbie Bees says:

    Glad to see your site is still going strong Sylvie.
    I just recently discovered why the charges against retired Canadian Forces officer Brig. Gen. Roger Bazin may have been dropped.
    Section 59 of the 1970 National Defence Act, which was in power when Bazin assaulted this boy, imposed a 3 year “time bar” as the maximum amount of time that could exist between the commission of a crime and the commencement of a disciplinary matter.

    As Criminal Code matters are enumerated into the National Defence Act, Bazin, even though long since retired, could have faced a court martial. However, if the events occurred in 1974, the latest that Bazin could have been charged would have been 1977.

    • Sylvia says:

      Good to hear from you Bobbie. It’s been a long time.

      As for the charges being dropped, perhaps that is the case, but the reason given by the Crown for withdrawing the charges was that “there did not exist a reasonable prospect of conviction.” If you go back and read through the articles and blogs on the4 Monsignor Roger Bazin page you will see that, unfortunately, there was a lot of politics at play here.

      Bottom line I suppose is that Monsignor Bazin managed to have the charges withdrawn and therby trial. Please keep the complainant in your prayers.

      • Bobbie Bees says:

        Just so you know, the investigation into my complaint against P.S. was started up again in September of 2015. An RCMP Inspector on secondment to the CFNIS reviewed the 2011 investigation and came to the conclusion that errors had been made and that certain aspects of the case had to be redone.

        This seems to jive with the findings of Madame Marie Deschamps which were released in May of 2015 which cast some very serious doubts on the ability of the military police to conduct sexual assault investigations.

        In 2013 I learnt that my father didn’t actually have legal custody of my brother and I as kids. There was a report from May of 2000 that looked at spousal abuse in the military and it discussed the topic of child custody. Anyways, I asked the investigator currently looking into my complaint of sexual assault against P.S. to look at charging my father with a Code of Service Discipline charge for violating section 250 of the 1970 Criminal Code.
        It took a little bit, but the investigator was able to finally get a legal opinion and told me that the CFNIS would be unable to bring charges against my father as section 59 of the 1970 National Defence Act places a “time bar” on Code of Service discipline matters.

        *Period of liability under Code of Service Discipline*
        59(1) Everyone in respect of the service offences in subsection (2), no person is liable to be tried by a service tribunal unless his trial begins before the expiration of a period of three years from the day upon which the service offence was alleged to have been committed.
        (2) Every person, subject to the Code of Service Discipline at the time of the alleged commission by him of a service offence of mutiny, desertion, or absence without leave or a service offence for which the highest punishment that may be imposed is death, continues to be liable to be charged, dealt with and tried at any time under the Code of Service Discipline.

        Section 120 of the 1970 NDA enumerates all criminal code offences save for “murder, manslaughter, and rape” as service offences that can be dealt with by military tribunal.

        Right now the civilian police are starting the groundwork to possibly look at charging my father with child abduction.
        This should be fun.

        And from what I’ve been told, good progress has actually been made in the case against P.S.

  11. june says:

    that’s the problem with our legal system we protect our criminals our governments do not amend laws to reflect what is just and morally right.

  12. Helen F. says:

    The National Defence Act is out of date. Null and void as it does not encompass new technology that the Defence Department has at their disposal. If the National Defence Act only had three years for sexual assault then they are covering up for criminals. Sexual assault should never have a statute of limitations whatsoever. The victims carry the sexual assault baggage the rest of their lives therefore sexual assault has no time limit on it and unless our government decides to get tough on criminals then they are aiding and abetting criminals. Has the government changed the 3 year time limit as its an embarassment to the government and the military?

    Perhaps I will tell everyone on here about new technology that goes along raping. Very interesting and the Defence Department knows all about it and they want to stifle expose and we ask the tough questions-is our Defence Department using this technology to cover up for criminals??? criminals with maffia connection?? do they cover up maffia connection into government. Remember if this type of technology is used against the little guy then the government of the province and the government of Canada are all on the hook for raping.

    The Catholic Church has covered up these criminal priests for many decades. They could only do so with the help of a network of criminal cops, criminal lawyers, criminal government.

    Did you know that they can use military stuff to spy on your windows and not just a window with no blinds on it. Through the wall spying. They can put bugs in your bed to rape you in the most intimate and private part of your life.

    The church is welcome to try and sue this investigation by all means. Perhaps Bobbie Bees you can tell us the best lawyers to use for representing the Church with its criminal priests that rape children. I think a sting or grand jury investigation of the Church and all those who cover up for it should be commenced. Dont you think so. Love your name I just couldnt help myself using the term “a sting”. I think law abiding citizens would love to see all these sorry priests and higher ups in the church and crooked cops and crooked government hauled into a grand jury investigation. Not just an inquiry but a much greater investigation encompassing all of Canada. I think that we need to bring in witnesses that will testify to this type of military raping. Im sure there would be a long line up of people. Perhaps we can list names of those who are under suspicion for engaging in this type of military raping to cover up their crimes. There is no statutory limitations on this type of raping as it is new and therefore needs to be worked into the criminal code of canada and definitely into the National Defence Act.

    Perhaps we could list those police forces under suspicion for aiding and abetting criminals. The abusing priests and the huge cover up all go hand and hand. They couldnt cover up for so long, there would be no reason to put a hit on a policeman and his family if there was nothing to cover up and since Hits seem to be synonymous with maffia and organized crime then we can ask that tough question-does the Catholic Church engage in maffia type activities? Since they do not seem to have any problems with taking the money of maffioso by allowing them to go to Mass and put into that collection plate or whatever other means they pay money yet they continually sin against God and the Bible states that dont even eat with such a man who do not repent of their sin and who continue to commit acts detestable to God such as murderers, homosexuals, and definitely rapists then I guess money is more important than what God thinks or commands them to do. Such hypocrisy really proves what else they might be capable of doing.

  13. Germaine says:

    Criminals are protected using their charter of rights to get them off for waiting too long for trial even though there is so much fantastic evidence to put them away for first degree murder. However common sense dictates that the victims rights overshadow the criminals. So yes Helen I think they need to get some common sense in the justice system. This thread of Sylvias site really shows interesting stuff that occurs to cover up for people with power and money. The internet though is now beginning to stop huge cover ups. I would be careful Helen they might put a hit on you.!!!!! Oh thats right dont worry. WE have all read what you said. So if they did they would expose their cover ups and what you state is true.

    • Helen says:

      Actually everything I say on here is just been said by so many on the internet-in newspapers etc. So why would I be scared of voicing what others say as well and evidence is out there to back it up. That would muzzle free speech and of course many people get scared if they are intimidated and many are not intimidated. Would the fact I have names that are under suspicion cause someone to want to hurt me. Yes that would prove I am right with the suspicion. So always be two steps ahead of dirty crooked people. Remember what specific people do to intimidate or frame people-they put stuff on their computer, switch stuff around to make you look bad etc. But why worry about that. Just pay attention and anything suspicious log it and take pictures. I always say have fun with crooked people. Its the crooked people who need to cover up and in the cover up they make lots of mistakes. I love those who state that these raping priests are no different then terrorists. They terrorized the children while abusing them over and over again and when caught they were moved to continue terrorizing in another area. They have caused children to commit suicide and those that come forward endure being crucified on the stand as to their credibility. Many children have gotten into drugs and other forms of abuse as well. So the question is-does power and money protect ones from accountability? Does power and money cause slap on the wrist charges or none whatsoever.

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