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.

82 Responses to Sander: Father Placidus Sander osb

  1. Sylvia says:

    Quite amazing.  Father Sander denied abusing those boys, and the judge unfortunately chose to believe him.  BUT, Sander – a Roman Catholic priest –  testified that he had had consensual sex with a seminary student once.

    According to media reports, Sander was back teaching at Christ the King after his acquittal.    If that’s the case he was obviously deemed a good example by his Benedictine superiors and fit to teach, provide spiritual direction, hear confessions and form future priests.  Can anyone confirm that Father Sander was teaching in the seminary after 1997?  I can find nothing online.

  2. Sylvia says:

    I did find him preaching the annual Ecumenical retreat in Cache Creek, BC to three Anglican,
    three Lutherans and 13 Catholic priest.  Bishop Monroe (Diocese of
    Kamloops) was in attendance.

    I suppose if he is considered fit to conduct retreats for priests, and the bishop has no problems allowing it and sitting in, why not let him teach and form out future priests?

    Anyway – I have added the info and link to the newsletter.

  3. UIOGD says:

    *I was a student in the minor seminary in the early 60s.He was the rector at the time.

    Monastic life is like prison in that you stay the same age as you were when you entered it.My memories of the monks ,with very few exceptions, are of petty,  immature men, with little insight, almost all still stuck in adolescence , many if not most, homosexual.

    That Sander considers his sexual relationship with an 18 year old boy to be consensual, when he would have been at least twice the boys age,  is  not surprising.He is developmentally not much older himself.

    • Mark says:

      It’s time to wake up the monastery

      • mark says:

        Father Mark taught our science class how to get away from a drunk driving charge by having a miki of booze with you in the car and to start drinking it so they cant prove you are drinking and driving. He caught Shawn Rhoback having sex with a high school student and did what? Very little.

  4. JVO says:

    UIOGD- might you have known my spouse?  In the 60’s his name was Gerry Van Loon.

    • Ann Van Regan (former spouse of Van Loon) says:

      Glad to see your comment.. The dates of the abuse of Gerry and others would pre-date the abuses that led to the court case in the cases notes here..

  5. *I knew Gerry well and was in the same class as him from 1962 until I left  in 1965 and Gerry stayed on. I lost touch with him after that as contact with those who had left was deemed a no-no.

    If you would like to contact me, my email address is [email protected]

  6. Joe says:

    I was at that seminary during the time of the complaints (77-79). I was not aware of anything at the time. I know who one complainant is (broken arm) and am pretty sure who one other is (art class). I was in that art class that day. I know because he wasn’t the regular art teacher, he just sat in for one day. And we drew his profile. I heard of the accusations when he was first arrested and I wondered if a certain fellow student was a victim. Reading the above accounts I am pretty sure he was one of the complainants.

    • Mark says:

      Hi Student
      Actually both upper arm had complete fractures.
      One was compound.
      Think about being 15 yrs old and both upper arms were broken. Not
      1 but 2. One by brother emric out of anger.

  7. John O' says:

    I was told that his acquittal was a “win” by his superior and I could barely stomach the comment and his superior following that moment. Father Placidus should have been locked up in one of the nearby federal prison institutions that grace the neighbourhood of Westminster Abbey, Mission BC

      • Mark says:

        Placidus sanders osb should have gone to jail.
        I was under K.N. bed when placidus came to it and touched the kid while I was hiding from him.
        Shawn Rhorback assaulted many students there and Father Damasus’s murder was part of that pedophiles violent acts.
        The police threw out the file because they thought his fall was an accident.
        Clearly not…..

  8. D.B. says:

    I was a student at the Seminary of Christ the King from 75-77. I knew the student who fell off the roof. From what I recall, he broke his arm. I don’t remember there being anything wrong with his legs. He tried to contact me when he made the allegations thinking that perhaps I, too, was molested because I spent a lot of time with the monks working on the farm, library or in the barn. Never, ever, was there anything inappropriate done by any of the monks to me or anyone I knew there.

    • Mark says:

      Hi DB
      Both of my knees have ligament reconstructions and the surgery began a few years after high school ended.
      You were lucky brother emric didn’t snap on you.
      He also snapped my arm completely in half and left me on the floor to continue doing dishes.
      They then hid me upstairs for hours away from the students so they couldn’t see it.
      My upper humerus bone was behind my back.
      After they took me to the hospital hours later the nurses gave me a set of xrays to keep.

    • Mark says:

      WCB has protocol for treating people who survive falls of around 30ft. Think about it.
      My MRIs are not looking good. Fell head first.
      What protocol is there for also breaking a students arm?

  9. Sylvia says:

    D.B., did you miss the part where Father Sanders admitted he had engaged in ‘consensual’ sex with an 18-year-old seminarian. True, he got an acquittal on the other charges, but, this a priest saying he, a teacher at the seminary, engaged in sex with a student at the seminary.

    Perhaps you didn’t know the lad he admitted having sex with? Perhaps that’s why you say “never, ever was there anything inappropriate done by any of the monks to me or anyone I knew there”?

    I don’t know about you, but as a Roman Catholic I think it is highly inappropriate for a priest to engage in sex with with anyone, in this case with an 18-year-old seminarian when he, a Benedictine priest teaching at a seminary, was probably somewhere in his 50s.

    Did you not notice that Father Sanders had the audacity to say in public that he never touched boys without their consent: “I respect people. That is such an important thing in my beliefs.” “

    In upholding his “beliefs,” how many students did Sanders feel free to ‘touch’?

    I wonder too if Father Sanders would tell us or anyone how many students rejected his sexual invitations?

    What beliefs is he talking about? Do you know? I certainly don’t.

    • Mark says:

      DB does not know students who were abused.
      Okay then….
      How many of them are dead by suicide?
      I can and will tell that JF is SF is SM is I should have but thanks to my dog I never did..
      There are an unusual amount of early deaths.
      J F was abused by Shawn Rhorback the American University student.
      He also got ahold of me.
      He murdered Father Damasus plain and simply….

  10. Leona says:

    I’m glad that D.B brought this case to my attention again, by posting a comment. Based on some of the past comments, Sanders’ defense managed to outdo the resources of the crown. That the judge managed to find Sanders not guilty due to inconsistencies in testimony, e. g. Sanders ‘never’ taught art when it appears with a more thorough search or a search for the truth truly supported by the diocese would have found witnesses willing to testify, that in their memory on at least one occasion, Sanders say in in the art class.
    I believe the church has a responsibility to use all of their resources to seek out the truth, and in this case they neglected their job. That they reinstated Sanders is appalling. Were subsequent victims silenced because of what they saw these victims go through? Is he still at the Abbey teaching? Hmmm, perhaps it’s time to check out his status with the college of teachers in BC.

  11. Larry Green says:

    I have always assumed that so many among the Catholic laity are in such deep denial of clerical sex molestation – but it is becoming evermore apparent that it isn’t so much a question of denial as it is a question of moral acceptability.
    That truly is much worse. I wish it were all about denial now… but I am so afraid that it isn’t.

  12. Larry Green says:

    It seems that for many Catholic people , the white collars ( to use PJ’s term) are not subject to the same moral standard as the rest of us ‘low life’ i.e non- white collar beings.

  13. heartbroken alumnus says:

    Sylvia, I went to Seminary of Christ the King but after the trial happened. I did hear some stuff, but not from the seminarians who were there at the time. I can send you an e-mail about what I do recall. I was not in the seminary during the trial as I arrived after the acquittal. I will send you an e-mail soon.

  14. Martin says:

    Easy to talk trash about a servant of God!

    • Robin DaHood says:

      Martin, the men who commit these crimes are not servants of God. These men are imposters and have infiltrated positions of which are reserved for devout faithful followers. I find it very upsetting that disgusting filth such as Sanders invade these reserved places because they are too weak, pathetic, and dishonorable to rise above their perverse fantasies. Therefore, ultimately making less room for true men of faith whom love the LORD so much that they are willing to fulfill vows of chaste so that they may share the LORD’s love to those that come seeking it. Men of temptation cannot offer that, and unfortunately often destroying the faith in those whom were defiled by them when they came to know God more intimately. It is important that you understand that titles and appearance are not what makes a servant of God. It was men like him that Jesus flipped out in the merchants court. It is men like this who demanded Ceasar to punish Jesus by death for knowing and wholeheartedly serving God. They are, liars, perverts, and phonies Martin, that only use God to serve themselves.

    • Mark says:

      Very easy…

    • mark says:

      You are odviously clued out and in denial..
      Servant of which God?
      So now that there are a few new revelations what does that servant of God look like to you now?

  15. northern fancy says:

    Martin: Why do you feel a need to malign “Heartbroken” when you don’t even know what he plans to share with Sylvia? Should “Heartbroken” not be allowed to speak? Are you not insulting “Heartbroken” needlessly? Are you protecting someone/something? What exactly are you trying to achieve?

  16. uiogd says:

    Sanders hardly a servant of God. He was a nasty man and generally thought so by the boys who were there in the 60s. I am sure he still is, altho a cracked old crock by now.

  17. Saddened and sickened says:

    I just found this blog now. I knew all of the boys involved in this court case, and others whose lives were completely ruined by this man, as well as a certain seminarian, one who threatened, and pursued the boys for years, and years. Some fleed to other countries, threats were that terrible. It never made any sense why more of the monks weren’t cross examined better, nor this certain other seminarian, evil doer of similar sexual acts. After viewing the movie “Spotlight”, it would stand to reason this entire case should be reopened again. After all, these boys who are now grown men, still fearful of threats made, were NOT lying! Where is justice for their sakes?

  18. Tara says:

    This incident destroyed my life. Has anyone spoken about the spouses of these young men who were raped by Placidus? – I refuse to call him Father. My soon to be former husband was the victim who testified to all of the counts against Placidus. I was there for the court case; it was a gong show. The Church hired a top-notch lawyer, and the Crown sought counsel with an imbecile. He was not a competent lawyer ; I was there. The man admitted to having sex with an 18 year old, and still got off. I recall when the verdict was read; I keeled over, almost puked, and screamed, “NOOOOO”. Once again, my husband was victimized by this.

    The abuse on my husband when he was thirteen altered the course of his entire life. He has suffered years of depression, low self-esteem, and really never reached his full potential. The subsequent court case and the acquittal of this man cost us everything at the time. It sent my husband into a tailspin of darkness, depression, and suicidal ideation. It took us years to recover. Eventually, we parted, and I have always felt that the root of all of our troubles was Placidus. My children have suffered as a result of this as well.

    This man never should have been acquitted. He ruined the lives of not only his victims he stained the lives of the victim’s families as well. The guilt felt by the parents for sending their child there, the years of anguish experience by the spouses who worked through the pain, the loss of employment due to emotional instability, I could go on and on! I just found this blog today, as this is the eve of my divorce, and many painful emotions are surfacing.

    Before my husband revealed his painful experience to me, I re-call whenever he and two of his buddies, who had also gone to “The Sem”, would mention Placidus,their reaction was ALWAYS the same…they would shudder, tense up their shoulders, and turn grey in complexion. I always knew something was deeply wrong.

    This case should be re-opened. These men deserve some form of closure. It was not a lie.

    Thanks for listening.

  19. Sylvia says:

    My heart goes out to you Tara, as it does to your soon to be ex and your children. Such a sad, but, sadly, not atypical outcome. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    Re re-opening the case: Unfortunately, once criminal charges have gone through the courts and resulted in an acquittal , barring an appeal, they can not be re-tried on those charges. It’s too late for an appeal, so there is no way those specific charges can be addressed again criminally. It’s a different matter if new complainants were to contact police with sex abuse allegations. Let’s pray that if there are others out there they speak up.

    There is also the civil route. A lawsuit can be launched. The fact that he was acquitted on the criminal charges does not negate filing a lawsuit. For some this becomes a means of closure.

  20. Tara says:

    Hi Sylvia,

    Thank you for your response and care around this. We did know that the only route was civil case. We, at the time, decided to not go that route.

    I really appreciate your support in starting this page and maintaining it.

    I know that Placidus did pass away, and I truly hope that this abuse died with him.

    • mary says:

      yes my son went there when did placid paws away

    • Sylvia says:

      I can find no record of his death. Is there an obituary to which you can direct us? or can you provide further information?

      • JD says:

        He is not deceased. He still lives at the Abbey. As an elderly monk, he fills in for various positions as needed including giving days of recollection (ie: guest master, kitchen, serving meals for retreatants, etc).

  21. uiogd says:

    If he is dead he assuredly is in Hell .

  22. Charles says:

    I was a student at the major seminary about a decade ago. At that time, the (quietly spoken) word was that he had been deprived of all his teaching responsibilities at the time of the accusations, and they had never been restored. He certainly had no contact with the minor seminarians when I was there – although even older and less healthy monks continued to teach.

    One further note – I read the judgment, and it seems the judge had little choice but to acquit. There were many serious problems with the testimony of the complainants. An acquittal does not mean that the accused is factually innocent, but there certainly appeared to be a reasonable doubt.

    • Mark says:

      There were 4 or 5 inconsistencies that did not get addressed properly at a trial that was without competent legal representation.
      Our lawyer had a short walk and talk with me for a few minutes and knew absolutely not 1 thing about any of the 3 of us.
      All of the inconsistencies can be shown to be understood with a competent lawyer.
      I was there when that monk was killed period.

  23. Susan says:

    JUST FOUND THIS SITE AND HAVE TO SAY I WENT TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WITH ONE OF THESE MEN AND OTHERS FROM OUR CATHOLIC SCHOOL WENT TO THE MISSIONARY FOR HIGH SCHOOL.
    I HAVE SO MUCH EMPATHY FOR THE STUDENTS PLACEDUIS HAS MENTALLY AND ABUSIVELY HURT.. I ALSO BELIEVE ANY TEACHER IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL WOULD BE FIRED AND NOT ALLOWED TO TEACH ANYWHERE. IF IN FACT HIS TEACHING CREDENTIALS WERE TAKEN FROM HIM THAT IS GREAT!!
    I ACTUALLY WENT TO THE ABBY FOR MASS WHEN VISTING MY GRANDPARENTS WHO LIVED DOWN BELOW. IN FACT THE CROSS ON THE ABBY WAS MY GRANNYS CHIMMNEY. I LOVED GOING THERE FOR MASS BUT HEARING ABOUT THESE BOYS I HAVE NOT BEEN . I ALSO DO NOT GO TO MASS ANYMORE DUE TO ALL THE ALLEGATIONS ALL OVER THE WORLD AND MY HEALTH. ALL THE COVER UP SICKENS ME FROM THE PRIESTS ON UP TO THE BISHOPS AND HIGHER.

  24. So many false truths about this story still haunt many! says:

    With recent news of more sexual abuse on boys by priests, I think the reality is, it stops all of those who have historically been affected in their tracks, including their families & friends, all who have TRIED TO MOVE FORWARD, no matter how long the time span has been since this seminary abuse in Mission, B.C took place. Hushed secrets, silenced media, and incompetent, or ignorant Bishops abound in the Archdiocese of Vancouver’s past. There were incidences of altar boys touched in Maple Ridge, and seminarians in town staying in parishes in both Abbotsford, and Aldergrove, where their “locked” doorknobs were fiddled with during the night. Wake up parents! Don’t allow your boys around priests, or seminarians alone, not ever! Where is the justice on behalf of these boys? Some of you say you went to school there, but never saw, or heard of any of this? I say you’ve got to be kidding, right? The rumors, for years afterwards, were swelling the walls right out of the seminary! So, if you never knew, you either forget, or you are in denial, or maybe yet, paid off! Yes, The Seminary of Christ the King, AND, the Archdiocese of Vancouver have “hushed”, and “silenced” too many incidences, SHAME ON YOU!!! Bishop Carney and all Bishops since were well aware of what was happening! I know of several incidences, because close friends made appointments, and were present in the office with Bishop Carney to leak out situations, and several other friends years later were there again. The one seminarian in particular who made it his duty to become master over all the Grade 8 boys, driving them about in his cube van, taking them hiking one on one, so much, well, guess what, no surprise, he was given a reference to work with Native boys in Washington, DC. No surprise…

  25. Ann says:

    Could someone who has seen placidus please go to the Westminster Abbey website and tell me if there are any pictures of him there. I’m also looking for photos of a mural that I think he did. It was bluish and seemed to have a young child on it. My ex was the model for it.

    Thanks and wishes for peaceful hearts.

  26. Ann says:

    The Diocese of Vancouver website lists Placidus Sander as a priest at Christ the King or the Abbey…forget which.
    It’s a bit of a run around to find the priests directory but it’s there. Included is a phone number but I’m not sure if it is his or the monastery’s number.
    Both the Diocese of Vancouver and the Angel Abbey, from which Westminster Abbey grew have strong sexual assault statements. I suppose that since Placidus was found not guilty that there are no restrictions imposed on him.
    Going to rest now.

    • mark says:

      Placidus in court admitted kissing a boy on the lips 2x.
      I have talked to him. He confronted Placidus before the trial and told Mark that he couldnt remember the incident. He somehow remembered in court. He told the court he had sex with a high scool student.
      He told the court that he only touched the kids with their consent. That means many boys willingly alowed him to fondel and penetrate them….I dont think that was the case…..

  27. Leona says:

    Wow! Thank you for your courage in continuing to draw attention to this horrific story. I have recently been contacted by several Vancouver media outlets to give a statement on both the Archbishop’s letter which was read to BC congregations on Sunday, as well as the Pope’s letter. People are listening. I’m with those who think that this story needs to be revisited. Thank you Mark and Tara.

  28. Ann says:

    There was an interview with the Archbishop of the Ottawa, Canada Catholic diocese this morning on CBC Radio Morning. The bishop, Terrence Pendergrast said all the usual things being said about the Pennsylvania report. After the interview, I sent an email note to the radio show as well as a similar one to the bishop. In both, I wrote that there were 3 things they could do if they seriously wanted to make a difference. 1. The wearing of cassocks in public should be banned for both diocesan priests and Ordered priests. 2. There should be a complete and on-line list at the diocese website of all reported and suspected perpetrators. 3. That every time the Prayers of the Faithful are said in Mass that prayers should b said for the victims and that the perps should not be mentioned. I wonder if I’ll hear back.

    • Nancy says:

      How is the the banning of the cassock going to help? The prayers of the faithful is a good idea from time to time, but not every time. However a database is a great idea. But this idea that banning cassock is somehow going to help is deluded. It is better if we can identify them. Indeed few priests wear them already. I rather know who is a priest than who is not.
      Bishop Miller did a very courageous thing by issuing that letter. He could have done nothing, after all the report is from Pennsylvania. He encourages us to report any abuse if we remember it. Those of us in Vancouver are in a better situation than the rest of the country. I thank bishops Carney and Miller for strong leadership

      • Ann Van Regan says:

        Hi Nancy, That’s an interesting perspective..wanting to be able to identify clergy. I find that I get agitated when I see a person in a cassock or habit. It can trigger victims when they suddenly see that is their day to day life. I recently ran into a priest in a cassock in the grocery store. Men in dresses but that is not so unusual today.
        Someone mentioned that there be no more gag orders which is a kind and freeing way to treat victims who have used the legal system.
        Thanks for your comments.

  29. Leona says:

    Hi Ann,

    Good for you. Archbishop Pendergast is the priest who allowed Fr. Jack McCann faculties in his archdiocese despite his being a convicted sex offender. I have little hope in his ability to create a church where both children and survivors of clergy abuse feel safe. I have been asking for three additional things the church can do.
    1. turn over the secret archives to an independent agency who can examine them for criminal activity
    2. stop playing hardball in the courts with survivors by continual delays and stonewalling
    3. release survivors from non-disclosure agreements

    • Ann says:

      yes, especially the non-disclosure agreements. Those just keep the victim boxed in forever. I enjoyed breaking mine that was with the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

    • charles says:

      Prendergast was not Archbishop of Ottawa when McCann was reportedly transferred to Ottawa. Blame either goes to the then-Archbishop Gervais or the Oblates for not informing the archdiocese.

  30. Michael says:

    Reading through all of this leaves me in mixed of emotions. I too was a student at the seminary of Christ the King. I am shocked that I am not aware of all of these issues at hand. I guess my generation was much better. My experience of the seminary was great the monks were really good to me. In all of the recent exposures scandals within the church I feel angry and sadden by the people who represents Jesus but turned into predators. I am of the younger generation and it pains me to see the seminary which I truly treasure had these issues. It may not be much but I, as a member of the Catholic Church, am sorry to all the victims.

    In this particular case, I would like to say I am ashamed that these incidents had happened. If these indecent behaviors did occur I am sadden and angry at what little effort have been done to expose the truth. However, my thoughts on the present are a bit different. Although these allegations have been made in the 70s I am not excusing the incidents but just proposing a thought. If the victims are still clinging onto the faith I hope that you may find it in yourselves to forgive Father Placidus. I hope these past 40 years Father Placidus had repented and tried his best to make right with himself and God. As for those that lost the faith due to these accidents, I apologized for what you have been through and I also hope that you may be able to find in yourselves to forgive his sins. I hope you will find peace and courage to carry on life. Father Placidus is now in his 90s and I don’t think going to jail will do any good for us all. I think you might want revenge but I think it will just end up hurting others and yourselves more.

    The Catholic Church is weaker than ever, those of us that still haven’t lost faith I think it is time to focus on the future generations. We need to do what we haven’t been doing, help the Church produce good priests to lead the future generations. Holy priests are needed now more than ever, strong men of the faith to lead the Church. I hope we will continue to do the best to make sure these incidents never occur in the Church. I strongly believe that with your forgiveness and strength we can move forward together and make something great from these rotten times.

    • Ann says:

      Michael, I will reply in more detail when I have found a way to say what is on my mind. Your support of the church and of the perpetrator over the victims is so painful.

      6 children lost their father due to this abuse and he lost the chance to know a whole batch of grand-children. Don’t talk to us about forgiveness. It is just not appropriate.

      • Michael says:

        I think you are misunderstanding what I am saying. I support the Church because its of its roots. I am just offering a solution and I think we are right to feel emotional about this issue but we also need to look at what needs to be done. I want the criminals in jail regardless if they are priests or not. How would you deal with the pains and anguish of the victims? Is there a better solution to their pains than forgiveness? If yes I would like to know! I may be ignorant of a better solution, I just want them to have peace in their mind and hope that they will be able to continue their life journey.

  31. Diane says:

    I do not agree with you, Michael. It does not matter how old people are – they are still responsible for their crimes and justice should be done. Forgiveness has nothing to do with it. This idea that the elderly should not face what they deserve is contrary to Catholic teaching and it also deprives the guilty of their last opportunity to repent. Criminals who have been getting away with their perversions and lies for years and years are immune to “mercy” as an aid to repentance. Only the shock and humiliation of the punishment they so richly deserve is likely to bring them to it. And the lack of justice leaves the victims abandoned to their lonely anguish and they walk away from the Church – and who can blame them? If we truly want to save people’s souls we must seek justice for the innocent.

    • Michael says:

      I completely agree with you that justice for the innocent and the criminal should pay for their crimes. I am not excusing anyone from that. I want the priests who have commited these crimes tried and jailed as everyone. The Church needs to throw all the higher-ups that have been hiding these cases for all these years and have turned a blind eyes out.

      However, when we sit down and talk about the details what can we do with Father Placidus’s case? Trial will take time. Then the question is what will we do with him? He’s over 90 and needs elder care. What do you propose? Put him a old folks jail? Where we pay money to have him cared? Kill him? What good is that? We need a solution not just expose the case and that’s it. All I am saying is what is to be done?

  32. B says:

    Michael, please read more to educate yourself about sexual abuse. For one thing, it is extremely difficult for victims to “cling to the faith” when they have been victimized both by an ungodly priest and also by the evil deeds of other priests, bishops, etc, who covered for that priest.

    Also, you “hope that Father Placidus has repented and tried to make right with himself and God.” For one thing, sexual abusers rarely ever admit to their abuse, preferring to deny, rationalize, minimize and play the victim. How could an abuser possibly make himself right with God without openly admitting his guilt and making amends?

    Finally, forgiveness is a state which victims MAY reach after much healing has been done. It is a personal stage in which they rid themselves of the burden of what has been done to them, but has NOTHING to do with legal repercussions on the perpetrator, which must still happen.

    The Catholic Church does need good priests. But until it names, prosecutes and defrocks all the sexual deviants and their supporters, who would trust that it has changed?

    • Michael says:

      I understand what you are saying. I am all for justice and expose these cases and putting priests as criminals if they truly did the crime. I want these priests who did commit these acts to pay for their crimes after they have been tried and proven guilty.

      As I mentioned in this particular case, is it still possible to bring it back? And what comes of it? Even if Father Placidus is proven guilty what should be done? Put a 90 yr old man in jail? He had lots of heath problems that would be a waste of our justice system. These are the things I think needs to be taken into consideration. I am with you all for exposing the truth and make sure the Church never ever let this happen again but we need also an ending result. What should we do with all these old predators? What happened if they have repented? Also if they have gone to jail the jailing period is what? Etc …

      • Jean-Louis says:

        Michael,

        Don’t worry so much about the “sentencing” part… it comes AFTER the accused has been found GUILTY by the court. Therefore, your “what ifs” are irrelevant to bringing an accused to trial… If the ole’ guy is competent to stand trial, then so he should – NOT because he wouldn’t be able to do the time.

        I’ve worked as an RN in the correctional system, and know FIRST-HAND that the elderly DO go to jail, sometimes for many years. So please, give up that argument.

      • Jean-Louis says:

        Michael,

        Don’t worry so much about the “sentencing” part… it comes AFTER the accused has been found GUILTY by the court. Therefore, your “what ifs” are irrelevant to bringing an accused to trial… If the ole’ guy is competent to stand trial, then so he should – NOT because he wouldn’t be able to do the time.

        I’ve worked as a healthcare professional the correctional system, and know FIRST-HAND that the elderly DO go to jail, sometimes for many years.

        • Michael says:

          Thats great if you know for sure he recieves the proper care. We should not treat him any differently just because he is guilty of a crime. He is still a human being and have the right to have access to proper care. My thoughts have always been getting to the truth regardless. My only concern is about the victims how they can find peace and a fair sentencing for the guilty. On this topic I believe we are often driven by emotions that could cloud our judgements.

          My thoughts is what is the purpose of putting the old man in jail? What are we trying to get at?

          • Jean-Louis says:

            Michael,

            Why would you think incarcerated people wouldn’t receive healthcare in Canadian prisons? Perhaps you’ve watched too many movies of third-world countries with underground dungeons?

            The “purpose” of putting anyone in jail, or what “we’re trying to get at” (in your words), is very simple – to seek the truth, to see justice served, to see convicted pedophiles punished (when they are either fit, or still ALIVE!), and to find some sort of solace for victims. You talk of a “fair sentencing of the guilty”… Nothing will undo the sexual abuse that took place – no jail time is enough, no financial settlement will erase the past (in civil courts). A “fair sentencing” is that the guilty would GET SENTENCED!

            Have YOU ever been molested, Michael, by someone who was supposed to protect you, when you were a child? If so, perhaps you wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss “emotions” in these situations. The LAW, however, remains free of emotions when trying, convicting, and sentencing pedophiles. Stop confusing victims and the law as being one and the same.

            And, with this, I’m done with this line of discussion. Cheers.

      • B says:

        It is almost impossible to “expose priests as criminals” whenever the Church puts all its efforts, moneys and lawyers towards silencing the victim and ensuring that the abuser is moved and protected.

        Why all these straw man “what ifs?” Why is all your concern for the predators, and not where it should be, with the victims?

        “What should be done with all the old predators?” As I stated, all abuser priests must be exposed and defrocked by the Church, if anyone is to believe that it has changed.

        What do you mean, “what happens if they have repented?” Repentance would require openly admitting their sins and requesting forgiveness–it would be clear to see.

        • Michael says:

          Personally seems like everyone will treat a view as ignorant or with condescending thoughts if ítn’t fill with hatred or revenge for the abuser. You are all right, I haven’t been molested and yes nothing can replace what have been damaged my thoughts are simply ignorant because I don’t have the same view as all of you.

          The Church has it flaws and the younger generation realize that and is hard to fight what is sick and despicable. If we can’t have common ground there is no room for logical discussion.

          The purpose of this is trying to see all the views and come to a possible solution. I wanted the truth as much as all of you. I won’t hesitate to put anyone behind bars for their crime even if they are priests or Cardinals. The Church should be defender of the truth.

          I am trying my best to find common ground with all your views and trying to make things right. However, if all this become a big emotion fest then I guess I am not fit to have my opinion heard. I am sorry if I shave been stepping on all your toes for my “ignorance” but we don’t have common grounds to work with. Cheers

          • B says:

            Nobody is advocating “hatred or revenge for the abuser.” You are equating seeking justice and truth and exposure of crimes with hatred, but that is your perception.

            You state, “if all this becomes a big emotion fest then I guess I am not fit to have my opinion heard.” Could you try to consider WHY victims might be filled with anger, after the ways they have been abused? Can you understand why even those who have not personally been victimized are furious about all the cover-ups and hypocrisy of Church leaders on this subject?
            Why are you so quick to dismiss emotional reactions as wrong?

  33. Ann says:

    Michael,
    Twice you have mentioned something along the line of “if it happened”. This is quite disturbing because it has an undertone of “perhaps the victims are lying”. There is nothing to be gained by lying. It is with deep anguish that a victim comes forward and then goes through a terrible shaming and blaming trial.
    This is not so much about how the church is handling things but how the victims are supported and cared for.
    When you are open to hearing what victims have to say I would be willing to speak with you. Best wishes,

    • Michael says:

      I think our justice system works on the basis of “innocent until proven guilty”. I cannot conclude the actual incident did occur. You could be right that there is nothing to be gained but I think we can’t just come to that conclusion that it is the truth from one side of the story. I am very open to what the victims have to say and I am willing to listen to the other side as well to come to a conclusion. I am not saying that this happened in this case but there had been times where people have taken advantage of sexual abuse cases. I am very much with you that yes! We need to come to the truth but if anything I think we need the whole story to come to a conclusion and a fair judgement. I am sorry that what I have said you may feel offended but I want the whole truth so that neither side is based.

  34. Ann says:

    One other thought. Of the 4 victims that I know of by that seminary priest, 2 have committed suicide.
    I received a letter from the bishop where my ex worked for the diocese at the time of his suicide. That letter said that he(the bishop) was sorry for his death on May 19 or 20th. Do you think that he could have found out the date? Do you think that the diocese could have supported his children by flying them to the funeral? Do you think that his ashes could be brought into the church? Do you think that his income could have continued for a month or two while the family paid for everything?
    These are the hurtful things that continue the pain.

  35. Uiogd says:

    I’d be ok with what Jesus said;

    ” If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble it would be better for him to have a millstone fastened around his neck and be drowned in the depth of the sea”

    Enough said. No exemption for 90 year olds.

    He tried it with me but was interrupted. I was 15 a naïf who had been taught that priests were like Christ himself. I still get angry when I think of what he said to me This over 50 years ago. So I can imagine how those boys he physically violated could never be able forgive him.

    Michael you do not know what you are talking about.

  36. Tara says:

    Thank you, Uiogd, for the words from Jesus.

    Placid altered the lives of many. Not just his victims, but those who loved and supported the victims. The pain is generational. I know this first hand. He should never have been acquitted! It was a joke; I was there.

  37. Ann says:

    The Archbishop in Ottawa never replied to my email nor snail mail letter.

    I think that I might write to Placidus. I hear that he is now in the monastery and that he is kept away from kids. I wonder if that’s true. Do you suppose that the monks get their mail unopened?

  38. uiogd says:

    Ann
    Write to him. Copy the Abbot.

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