Sander: Father Placidus Sander osb

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Father Placidus Sanders

Dom Placide Sander

Dom Placidus Sander

Father Harold Vincent Sanders

The Canadian Catholic church Directories spell his last name without the “s” – SANDER.  Media coverage spells his surname SanderS.  I have opted to go with the CCCD

Benedictine priest.  Ordained 22 May 1952.  1996 – charged with four counts of indecent assault, one count of gross indecency and one count of buggery related to sex abuse of three boys age 12 to 14 between 1974 and 1978.  The boys were 12 to 14 years old at the time.  At trial said he had consensual sex with an 18-year-old student.  1997: ACQUITTED.  Went back to teach at the seminary.

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2017, 2012, 2011, 1999:  Westminster Abbey, Mission, BC (CCCD)

04 May 2008:  preached annual Ecumenical retreat in Cache Creek, BC to three Anglican, three Lutherans and 13 Catholic priest.  Bishop Monroe (Diocese of Kamloops) was in attendance ( Kamploops Diocese News letter JUNE 2008 (page 7 – Father Placidus Sander conducting retreat)

14 December 1997:  ACQUITTED (M)

December 1997:  at trial said he had consensual sex with an 18-year-old seminary student on one occasion in the 1980s. (M)

January  1996:  Charged with four counts of indecent assault, one count of gross indecency and one count of buggery related to allegations that in the 70’s he molested three boys at Christ the King Seminary, Westminister Abbey,  in Mission British Columbia

May 1993:  RCMP investigation started after first complainant came forward (M)

1974-1978:  teaching at Christ the King seminary, Westminster Abbey in Mission, BC.   – there was both a major and a minor seminary on site, both called Christ the King (M)

1973-74:  Westminster Abbey, Mission BC.  Listed in CCCD as Dom Placidus Sander (Abbot at the Abbey Right Rev. Eugene Medved.  Prior Very Rev. Wilfred Sowrby) (Rector at the Major Seminary: Very Rev. Augustine Kalberer) (Rector at the Minor Seminary:  Very Rev. Chrysostom) (CCCD)

1968-69:  Choir Director, Westminster Abbey, Mission BC.  Listed  as Dom Placide Sander (CCCD) (Abbot at the Abbey Right Rev. Eugene Medved.  Prior Very Rev. Wilfred Sowrby) ((Rector at the Major Seminary: Very Rev. Sowrby) ((Rector at the Minor Seminary:  Very Rev. Maurus Macrae) (CCCD)

1967:  Rector, Christ the King Minor Seminary, Westminster Abbey, Mission BC. (CCCD) (Abbot at the Abbey Right Rev. Eugene Medved.  Bursar: Dom Boniface Aicher)   Rector at the Major Seminary Very Rev. Dom Wilfred Sowrby (CCCD)

1959:  Rector Chirst the King Minor Seminary, Westminster Abbey, Mission BC.  Listed  as Dom Placidus Sander

1952:  ORDAINED (CCCD)

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Monk wins acquittal on sex charges

The Vancouver Province

14 December 1997

CHILLIWACK — A Westminster Abbey monk has been acquitted of all six sex-offence charges against him.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Richard Blair said the evidence given by the three complainants was unreliable and could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt the offences were committed.

Harold Vincent Sanders, 70, was on trial on charges of buggery, gross indecency and four counts of indecent assault for allegedly sexually assaulting three teenage boys at the Mission monastery.

“There were so many inconsistencies and contradictions given in the evidence,” said Blair. “I cannot convict the accused of any of the charges. I find the Crown’s case not to be beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The three complainants, who cannot be named because of a publication ban, testified they were sexually assaulted by Sanders, also known as Father Placidus, between 1974 and 1978.

Sanders refused to comment after his acquittal. Fellow Westminster Abbey monk Father Maurus Macrae said they were pleased with the decision.

One complainant said he is upset that Sanders will be returning to the monastery, particularly since during the trial Sanders admitted to having consensual sex with an 18-year-old student.

“I find this is so bizarre, that he admitted to having sex with a high-school student at the seminary and now he’s going back there to teach,” he said.

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Evidence unreliable, monk’s lawyer argues

The Vancouver Province

09 December 1997

CHILLIWACK — A monk facing sex-offence charges should be acquitted because of unreliable evidence and inconsistent memories recounted by the three complainants, says lawyer Richard Peck.

“The Crown’s case is so full of inconsistency and some points of exaggeration, the standards of proof point to reasonable doubt,” Peck told B.C. Supreme Court yesterday.

Peck is defending Harold Vincent Sanders, a monk at Mission’s Westminster Abbey, against charges of buggery, gross indecency and indecent assault involving three teenage boys in the 1970s.

One complainant testified he remembers drawing a profile of his art teacher, Sanders, known as Father Placidus, during class. He said the monk told him to come to his office afterward for what the then-13-year-old thought would be a whipping. But when he went to the office, he said, the monk forced him to submit to anal intercourse.

Peck, however, said Father Placidus never taught art class.

“The details (the complainant) describes are sketchy,” he said during final arguments. “It appears his evidence was totally unreliable.”

Peck said the testimony of another complainant who claimed he was fondled by the monk may have been financially motivated. He said the complainant phoned the abbey in the late 1980s and asked for compensation for a broken arm he suffered at the monastery almost a decade earlier.

“His business went bankrupt, so he called the monastery asking for money,” said Peck.

He said the third complainant has an extensive record of “dishonest” crimes.

But Crown counsel Jack Gibson said Father Placidus, as dormitory supervisor at the abbey, had the opportunity to assault the boys as alleged.

Justice Richard Blair is to hand down his decision Friday.

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Assaults on boys denied by monk

The Vancouver Province

07 December 1997

CHILLIWACK — A monk on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting three teenage boys testified he would never commit such “serious offences” in the eyes of God.

“What is alleged is a serious offence against a person and a serious offence against God,” Harold Vincent Sanders told the B.C. Supreme Court. “Categorically, they did not happen.”

The Westminster Abbey monk, known as Father Placidus, was charged in 1996 with buggery, gross indecency and indecent assault after three complainants alleged they were assaulted by him while living in the monastery as students in the 1970s.

One testified that Father Placidus fondled his genitals while giving him a sponge bath. The 13-year-old boy was unable to wash himself because his arm was broken.

He said Sanders, on another occasion, came to his bed in the middle of the night and fondled him.

Sanders has admitted he gave the complainant a sponge bath but said he did not wash his genitals.

“I did not wash his genitals because he had one arm he could use for that purpose,” he said. “I am definite about the fact that I did not do that.”

Crown counsel asked Sanders whether he had perhaps blocked out the memory.

“I could not have blocked it out. I say this before the court and before God. I don’t see how any human being could block that out. The conscience of someone would have to be hardened.”

A second complainant testified last week that he was called to Father Placidus’s office for what he believed was a strapping but instead was raped.

Sanders was the dormitory supervisor in the 1970s.

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Chilliwack: Ex-Abbey Student Says Monk Fondled Him

The Vancouver Sun

05 December 1997

Another former Westminster Abbey student testified he was fondled by Father Placidus on two occasions in 1977 as the monk’s B.C. Supreme Court trial continued this week in Chilliwack.

The 33-year-old man said he had just turned 13 when Harold Vincent Sanders, known as Father Placidus, came to his bed in the middle of the night and fondled him. Sanders, 70, is on trial for buggery, gross indecency and four counts of indecent assault for incidents involving three seminary students in the 1970s.

Defence lawyer Richard Peck pointed out the complainant originally said he did not experience sexual abuse at the monastery and, in a statement to the Mission RCMP in 1993, said his year at the monastery was the best year of his life.

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Monk admits consensual sex

The Vancouver Province

05 December 1997

CHILLIWACK — A Westminster Abbey monk on trial on sexual- assault charges says he had consensual homosexual relations with an older student.

Harold Vincent Sanders, known as Father Placidus, told B.C. Supreme Court yesterday he had consensual sex with an 18-year-old seminary student on one occasion in the 1980s. He said he often gave students hugs and kissed one student on the lips twice.

But the 70-year-old monk insisted he never touched boys without their consent: “I respect people. That is such an important thing in my beliefs.”

He is charged with buggery, gross indecency and indecent assault relating to a series of alleged incidents in the 1970s.

Three complainants testified Sanders sexually assaulted them when they were teens living at the monastery and he was responsible for monitoring the junior boys’ dormitory.

He remains a teacher at the Mission abbey.

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Alleged rape ended dream of priesthood

The Vancouver Sun

03 December 1997

CHILLIWACK — A child’s dream of becoming a priest was shattered when he was raped by a monk at Mission’s Westminster Abbey monastery, a man told B.C. Supreme Court yesterday.

The complainant, 34, said monk Harold Vincent Sanders, now 70, sodomized him when he was a 13-year-old living at the monastery.

“I no longer believe in God,” the alleged victim told the court. “After that incident, I didn’t want to become a priest any more. I was thinking differently. I had an experience I didn’t quite know how to deal with, and my belief in that institution had been destroyed.”

Sanders, known as Father Placidus at the monastery, is charged with buggery, gross indecency and four counts of indecent assault for alleged attacks on three boys in the 1970s.

“I attended the school in 1977 because I wanted to become a priest. Father Placidus taught Latin and art classes and was the dormitory supervisor,” he said.

During an art class, students were asked to sketch a profile of Father Placidus, he said. When the drawings were turned in, the monk asked the complainant to see him in his office.

The complainant said he thought he was going to get a whipping for doing something wrong. Instead, he said, Father Placidus sodomized him.

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Monk molested me: Ex-student

The Vancouver Province

02 December 1997

CHILLIWACK — A monk charged with sexually assaulting three boys at Westminster Abbey in Mission pleaded not guilty in B.C. Supreme Court yesterday.

Harold Vincent Sanders, 69, was charged in January 1996 with buggery, gross indecency and four counts of indecent assault.

A three-year police investigation examined complaints by three men stemming from alleged incidents in the mid-1970s.

The first of the complainants testified he was assaulted by “Father Placidus” on at least three occasions while he lived at Christ the King Seminary, part of the abbey.

The 36-year-old complainant, who because of a publication ban cannot be named, said the first assault took place when he was in Grade 8 after his arm was “intentionally broken” by another monk.

“I had a cast that went around my whole arm and I couldn’t move it whatsoever,” he said. “I had to be bathed in the infirmary by the monks.

“I’m in the infirmary. I remember the door being shut. I didn’t have anything on at all. I remember I was being sponge-bathed. (Sanders) seemed to be fixating on cleaning my penis and genital area a little more than necessary. I remember him playing with me. . . . The same thing happened the second time — he fondled and masturbated me.”

The witness testified: “When I was in Grade 9, I woke up and found him on the side of my bed. He had his hand down by my genital area and was stroking me.”

When asked by Crown counsel Jack Gibson whether he ever consented to these actions, the man replied, “Not a chance.”

Defence lawyer Richard Peck asked the witness why he didn’t mention the alleged sexual assaults in complaints filed with Delta police and Mission RCMP in 1993.

The complainant said he tried to tell the police about the assault on both occasions.

Sanders, who still lives at the abbey, refused a jury. He was released on $2,500 bond. A second complainant is expected to testify today.

TEACHER AT ABBEY SEMINARY

– Harold (Father Placidus) Sanders served as a Benedictine monk at Westminster Abbey and taught at the Seminary of Christ the King.

– About 55 students at the seminary, ranging in age from 13 to the mid-50s, take high-school, college and theology classes. There are about 15 teachers, some of whom are monks.

– The monastery is self-sufficient in food. The monks grow vegetables and maintain a large herd of cattle.

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Accused priest in court

The Vancouver Sun

08 February 1996

A priest charged with sexually assaulting students at a seminary school at Westminster Abbey in Mission during the 1970s made a first appearance in court Wednesday.

Father Placidus, 68, also known as Harold Vincent Sanders, is charged with four counts of indecent assault, one count of gross indecency and one count of buggery.

At the time of the alleged abuse, the accused was a teaching father at the seminary school. He was released on bail and ordered not to be alone with persons aged under 16. His next court appearance will be March 1.

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Priest facing 6 sex charges: Counts allege seminary teacher assaulted boys

The Vancouver Province

08 February 1996

John Bermingham

A 68-year-old Mission priest turned himself in yesterday to face multiple sex charges from 20 years ago.

Father Placidus Sanders of Westminster Abbey in Mission, also known as Harold Vincent Sanders, was released on his own recognizance and a $2,500 surety yesterday at Abbotsford provincial court.

Sanders is charged with a total of four counts of indecent assault, one count of gross indecency and one count of buggery against three male victims.

The acts are alleged to have taken place between 1974 and 1978, when the men were seminary students aged 12 to 14 years old.

Crown prosecutor Gregg Goodfellow told The Province that Sanders was a teaching father at the seminary at the time of the alleged acts.

The Mission RCMP investigation started in May 1993, when the initial complaints were made.

There are two publication bans preventing any further details becoming public.

Sanders’ next court appearance is in Abbotsford March 1.

An alleged victim told The Province in an interview that his life became a nightmare after a four-year stint at Westminster Abbey.

He said during his stay at the abbey he fell off the roof and severely damaged both his legs.

“I’ve hardly ever been able to hold a job,” he said yesterday. “Every time I do, my body gives out. I’m a basket case.”

Coming forward, he said, will help to restore his self- confidence.

164 Responses to Sander: Father Placidus Sander osb

  1. Mark ONeill says:

    I sure would like to ask Bishop Exner if he knew anything about the 215 Indigenous deaths on the Kamloops reserve. Oh boy those poor kids.

    • Phil Johnson says:

      My heart goes out to all those innocent victims who were cast aside and buried without dignity likely by church officials and collars. Sad sad sad.

      • Cielo H. says:

        There is no word to describe the unspeakable evil that has been inflicted upon our indigenous brothers and sisters in this country. They were never treated as human beings.

        • Phil Johnson says:

          I hear you loud and clear…shameful on many fronts. I always go out of my way to thank Mi’kmaq when I meet them for saving my ancestor. If it wasn’t for them taking in my Acadian forefather and his family during the Expulsion, I would not be here today.

  2. Uiogd says:

    Beasts let loose on innocents.

  3. Mark ONeill says:

    Father Placidus and Shawn Rhorback both taught catechism at St.Mary’s residential school in Mission in the 60s ? through to 1986.
    Both men are know to be pedophiles from The Seminary of Christ the King in Mission, BC.
    Any former indigious students affected by the employees of Westminster Abbey please come forward. This is the right time.
    The monks have records about their involvement with residential schools in BC.

  4. UIOGD says:

    Odd that although Sanders admitted to a sexual relationship with an 18 year old seminarian , that he is not cited in the archdiocese’ list of abusers.

    At the time of the “consensual” sex with the boy, Sanders would have been in his 50s or perhaps older.As a senior monk at the abbey and as a roman catholic priest ,he is clearly in a position of power and influence over a seminarian who is still a child. A situation where informed consent from the boy is impossible.

    So why is Sanders not on the list?

  5. Uiogd says:

    I am glad he is dead. But angry that the Abbey and the Archdiocese did not throw him out for all the evil he wreaked on little boys.

    The archbishops initiative is primarily intended to protect the archdiocese. Clerical, loveless and defensive. The Church as always.

    It is good to know however that Sanders is gone from this world forever. And on the slight chance that there is a god he is down there shoveling coal with other pedophile priests.

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