James Bernard Scoles (Father Bernard Scoles)
Priest, Diocese Hamilton, Ontario. Ordained 1962. Spent time at Southdown – received favourable reports. Recyled after it was known to Diocesan officials that he was a molester: molested again.
1996: guilty plea to three counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault involving four boys. Sentenced to four years. Died 20 August 2011 at age 78.
Bishops of the Diocese of Hamilton from the time of Father Bernard Scoles’ ordination until his death: Joseph Francis Ryan (16 August 1937 – 27 March 1973); Paul Francis Reding (14 September 1973 – 08 December 1983); Anthony Frederick Tonnos (02 May 1984 – 24 September 2010) ; David Douglas Crosby, O.M.I. (24 Sep 2010 – – )
Garrett Funeral Chapels website
FATHER JAMES SCOLES
Father James Bernard Scoles of Ayton, passed away at the Hanover and District Hospital on Saturday, August 20, 2011 at the age of 79 years. Dear brother of Rosemary and John Murphy and Joan and Pat Horrigan all of Normanby twp. Also survived by a number of nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
Ordained on June 2, 1962, Father Scoles served in the parishes of St. Anthony’s and St. Patrick’s in Hamilton, St. Basil’s in Brantford, Holy Rosary in Milton and St. Teresa’s in Kitchener.
Visitation at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Ayton, on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 from 10:00am until the time of funeral mass at 11:00am. Interment St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery, Ayton. Memorial donations to the charity of one’s choice would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.
(a similar notice appeared on lifenews.ca)
The following information is drawn from the Canadian Catholic Directories (CCCD) which I happen to have on hand, the 1980 Ontario Catholic Directory (OCD) and media (M)
23 August 2011: funeral Mass at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Ayton. Interment St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery, Ayton, Ontario
20 August 2011: Died.
2011: P.O. Box 178, Ayton, Ontario (CCCD) (misspelled as Scole. Index lists him thus: SCOLE JAMES – (1962) (Ham*) The asterisk by Ham. indicates incardinated outside Canada but serving in Hamilton Diocese. I checked with the Chancellor of Hamilton Diocese, Monsignor Kerr, and was told that upon release from prison Father Scoles lived “in retirement from pastoral ministry” in his native village of Ayton. Father Scoles ‘belonged’ to the Diocese of Hamilton from the time of his ordination until his death.)
2010: P.O. Box 178, Ayton, Ontario (CCCD) (misspelled as Scole – Index lists him thus: SCOLE JAMES – (1962) (Ham*) The asterisk by Ham. indicates incardinated outside Canada but serving in Hamilton Diocese. See above.)
2002, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997: not listed (CCCD)
1996, 1995, 1994: P.O. Box 115, Ayton, Ontario. 519-665-2244 (CCCD)
1996: according to media, not allowed to engage in public ministry (M)
1993: Ayton, Ontario (CCCD)
1991: Ayton, Ontario Phone 519-665-2244 (CCCD) (St. Peter’s Church in Ayton is a Mission of St. Mary in Mount Forest. I see nothing to indicate he was serving there, but, he may have been.)
around 1987: housekeeper at St. Theresa’s complained that boys were spending the night at the rectory. According to media reports, Scoles was “urged” to resign (M)
sent for another round of ‘treatment’ at Southdown.
1985 – 1986: Pastor at St. Theresa’s, Kitchener, Ontario.
1984: molested a teen in Milton parish – that offence not reported until ten years later when victim went to police (M)
Fall 1983: assigned as associate pastor Holy Rosary in Milton, Ontario. Put in charge of altar boys. Parishioners were not told that he was a molester (M)
conviction related to sex abuse while he was serving at Holy Rosary
1971-1983: St. Basil Roman Catholic Church in Brantford, Ontario (M)
1982: Sent to Southdown after a mother reported he had sexually abused her son. Received favourable reports from therapists in Southdown. Put back into a parish in Milton Ontario (M)
1980: St. Basil Roman Catholic Church in Brantford, Ontario – with Father R.J. King (OCD).
1973-74: St. Basil Roman Catholic Church, Brantford, Ontario (Pastor Father P.L. Duffy vf) (CCCD)
some of the sex abuse convictions relate to his time at St. Basil’s
1971-72: listed as “Notary” in index. Address 700 King St. W., which is the address for the Hamilton Diocesan Centre.
I have been advised that between 1971 and 1972 Father Scoles served as Chaplian at the Hamilton General Hospitial (P)
1968-69, 1967: St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, Hamilton, Ontario (Pastor Father S. V. Sardo)
Priest gets five years for sexually abusing boys
February 12, 1996 21.03 EST
MILTON, Ont. (CP)
A retired Roman Catholic priest who molested altar boys has been sentenced to five years in prison for what the judge described as sex acts of “the most abhorrent nature.”
“We’re dealing with a most serious type of sexual misbehavior,” Justice Chris Speyer said Monday.
James Scoles, 63, earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault involving four boys.
Court heard he molested the boys in church ‑‑ even as he heard confession.
Scoles showed little emotion during sentencing and said nothing as he was led away in handcuffs.
The charges against him involved sex acts while he was a priest at St. Basil’s parish in Brantford from 1971 to 1982 and at Holy Rosary Church in Milton in 1983.
Scoles was forced to resign in 1987 after a housekeeper at St. Theresa’s parish in Kitchener complained about the priest having young boys stay overnight in the rectory.
Several of Scoles’ supporters testified last week that the priest told them he had little recollection of the allegations against him. He told one man that the victims weren’t very credible and exaggerated the charges.
The remarks indicate Scoles was trying to minimize responsibility for what he did, Speyer said.
However, the judge noted Scoles had brought spiritual comfort to a number of people and said it’s unlikely he will reoffend after he gets out of prison.
One of the priest’s victims, a 27‑year‑old Brantford man, said in an interview that no sentence could erase the effects of the abuse he suffered over several years.
He and an older brother were molested while they were altar boys at St. Basil’s church.
Diocese knew of abusive priest: First allegation surfaced in 1982
03 February 1996
A Roman Catholic priest was allowed to continue working with
children for almost five years after the Hamilton diocese first
learned he had been accused of sexually abusing an altar boy.
During that period, Bernard Scoles sexually abused a second altar
boy, and may have had inappropriate relations with several other
Despite two separate reports of suspected abuse – in 1982 and 1987
-church officials never alerted police.
Since 1978, provincial legislation has made it mandatory for anyone
working with children who has “reasonable grounds to suspect” child
abuse to report it to authorities.
In 1984, the act was amended to explicitly identify the professions
with a special responsibility for reporting suspicions of abuse.
Priests and other clergy are part of that group, along with
teachers, doctors and others who regularly come into professional
contact with children.
A spokesman for the diocese said Scoles’ sexual transgressions
would be handled differently today.
Father Gerard Bergie, chancellor of the diocese, said then-Bishop
Paul Reding had little experience dealing with such issues when he
was confronted in 1982 with reports Scoles had sexually abused a
youth in his Brantford parish.
“I can’t speak for Bishop Reding. But if people knew then what we
know now, he would not be put back in a parish where he was in a
relationship with children,” he said.
The church has also adopted a protocol since the Scoles affair that
dictates authorities be contacted if abuse is believed to have
occurred, he said.
Scoles – who once taught at Bishop Ryan High School and ministered
at St. Anthony’s and St. Patrick’s churches in Hamilton – has since
admitted molesting four boys.
Last year, he pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault and
three counts of indecent assault for sexually abusing children in
Milton and Brantford between 1971 and 1984. He will be sentenced
Court documents reveal the church first learned of Scoles’ abuse in
1982 when a Brantford mother complained the priest had molested her
son. Scoles was quietly removed from St. Basil’s parish and sent to
Southdown, a treatment facility for priests near Aurora.
During his six months at Southdown, he received favorable reports
from his therapists and was welcomed back into an active ministry in
the fall of 1982 with his appointment as associate pastor at Holy
Rosary Parish in Milton.
“We definitely want him to return to a parish ministry …,” Bishop
Reding wrote at the time. The bishop, who died in 1983, offered
“unqualified” support for Scoles.
“It was felt at the time he was able to handle his depression and
sexuality,” lawyers for the diocese later argued in a civil lawsuit
filed by one of the victims.
In 1984, Scoles molested a teen in the Milton parish, although that
incident would not come to light until almost 10 years later when
the victim complained to police.
John Bradley, 67, a long-time member of Holy Rosary, said
churchgoers weren’t told anything about Scoles’ background when he
came to the parish.
He can’t understand why Scoles was put in charge of the altar boys
and youth group at the church. “It’s like putting the fox in the hen
house,” he said.
In 1985, Scoles was transferred to St. Theresa’s parish in
Kitchener as a full pastor.
Less than two years later, the diocese stepped in and urged him to
resign from the parish after a housekeeper complained that young
boys were spending the night at the rectory. Bishop Anthony Tonnos
was not available for comment.
Scoles was sent for another stint at Southdown, where he told
therapists he had invited the boys to the rectory because of a “need
for physical affection without genital contact.”
Civil court records indicate he admitted occasionally “overstepping
Southdown therapists recommended against sending him back to a
parish because they felt he’d have trouble controlling his sexual
Scoles is still officially a priest, but he is no longer allowed to
conduct a public ministry. He declined comment.
Father John Loftus – a psychology professor and former director of
Southdown – said the psychiatric profession was relatively ignorant
about sexual disorders when the church first learned of Scoles’
“In 1982, my guess is that it was seen as a moral failing and that
(church leaders) would have been more optimistic about the success
of treatment because the whole science of diagnosis and treatment of
sexual disorders was in its infancy,” he said.
Often, he added, when a priest was sent to Southdown after abusing
boys, his behavior was blamed on alcohol – “Oh, father had too much
“In my 20 years of working with the clergy, I have not seen a
systematic coverup (of sexual abuse),” Rev. Loftus said.
“Were there mistakes made? Errors in judgment? Yes.”