Van Tighem: Father Frank Van Tighem

Share Button

Francis Patrick Van

Frank Van Tighem

Priest Diocese of Calgary, Alberta.  Ordained 04 June 1960.  In 1995 GUILTY to charges related to sex abuse of seven girls aged six to 17 – charges date from the year of Van Tighem’s ordination (1960) to 1988.  Sentenced to two years less a day in jail and two years probation

Father Van Tighem’s great uncle, Father Leonard Van Tighem, was an Oblate missionary in southern Alberta during the late 1800s and early 1900s, pastoring in Fort Macleod, Coutts, Pincher Creek, Lethbridge, Strathmore, Langdon and Taber.

Frank Van Tighem`s older brother, J.V. (Jack) Van Tighem, has been described as a major architect of the Calgary’s Catholic school system.  Jack Van Tighem served as superintendent of the Calgary Catholic Board of Education for 14 years.

___________________________________

 Bishops of Calgary, Alberta from time of Father Frank Van Tighem’s ordinationFrancis Patrick Carroll  (19 December 1935 – 28 December 1966 ) ;  Francis Joseph Klein † (25 February 1967 – 3 February 1968 );   Paul John O’Byrne † (20 June 1968 – 19 January 1998 ) ;   Frederick Bernard Henry (19 Jan 1998 Appointed – )

 Auxiliary Bishops Calgary, Alberta from time of Father Frank Van Tighem’s ordination : Joseph Lawrence Wilhelm  ( 25 June 1963 to 14 December 1966)

  ____________________________

2017:  apartment on 25th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta (CCCD)

14 April 2013: Listed as priest on Calgary Diocese website (Listed as priest on ‘Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary website)

(Father Van Tighem retired  ‘Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary ‘ )

2012, 2011, 2010:  apartment on 25th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta (CCCD)

2002, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995,  1994, 1993, 1992: 2808  26th Street S.W. Calgary (CCCD)

1991:  Pastor, St. George Roman Catholic Church, Hanna, Alberta, with missions at Holy Family in Delia, Saint Paul the Apostle in Youngstown and Cassfor Mass Station (CCCD)

January 1995:  Sentenced to two years less a day in provincial jail (M)

December 1995:  GUILTY plea

1994:  Charged (M)

1993:  Retired (M)

November 1990: Resigned as pastor in Hanna for “health reasons” (M)

1990:  When she found out Van Tighem still had access to children the victim who complained in 1989 wrote a letter to the bishop’s sexual assault advisory committee. (M)

1989:  Victim complained to Bishop Paul O’Byrne.  Nothing was done

Served as parish priest in Claresholm, Taber, Rockyford, Blairmore and Hanna before becoming director of religious education with the Calgary Catholic School Board. He was chaplain at Foothills Hospital and diocese archivist (M)

1985-85:  Pastor, St. Anne Roman Catholic Church, Blairmore, Alberta (CCCD)

1960-1987:  abusing (M)

1973-74:  Pastor, St. Rita’s Roman Catholic Church, Roxkyford, Alberta (CCCD)

1971-72: address for St. Mary’s Cathedral (Rector, Father S. A. Henke)  (CCCD)

1968-69:  Supervisor of Religious Education. Residence listed as Holy Name RC Church, Calgary [Pastor Msgr. Leo Sullivan]  (CCCD)

1967:  Supervisor of Religious Education. Calgary, Alberta  (CCCD)

4 June 1960:  ORDAINED

1955-1960:  attended St. Joseph Seminary, Edmonton, Alberta  (M)

As a layman taught at schools in Airdrie and Okotoks

1949:  B.Ed,,  University of Alberta (M)

1948:  B.Sc., University of Alberta (M)

Born in Calgary, Alberta (M)

____________________________________________

A trust betrayed: Sex-abuse allegation spotlights church’s dilemma

The Calgary Herald

21 June 1998

Gordon Legge

Linda Sun’s test of faith began in 1964 on the hot summer afternoon she was allegedly sexually abused by her priest.

It ended last year when Calgary’s Anglican archbishop ignored the advice of a church investigating committee and decided not to reprimand the priest.

“I don’t have words to express how betrayed I feel,” Sun said Wednesday when she learned the full details of the case.

Sun, 50, says she has been the victim of both the abuse as a teenager and the abuse of her faith in God, the church and its ability to sit in judgment of clergy accused of misconduct.

Archbishop Barry Curtis said he did not reprimand the priest because the diocesan lawyer advised it could expose the church to a lawsuit.

It was Sun’s word against that of the priest, who doesn’t recall the alleged incident of that afternoon or another alleged to have occurred months later.

Since revelations about clergy sexual abuse surfaced in Canada in the late 1980s, Christian denominations have struggled with dealing with sexual misconduct. Church leaders want to help victims without contravening the legal rights of the accused or imperilling public trust in the church.

The issue emerged with charges against the Christian Brothers at Mount Cashel in Newfoundland. Since then, several brothers have been convicted. At least one victim is seeking compensation from the order, the individual brothers and the provincial government.

In 1990, a former Calgary priest, Rev. Robert Whyte, was sentenced to four years in jail after admitting to indecently assaulting several young boys.

A series of charges emerged from investigations into the native residential school system in Canada, including a high profile case against Roman Catholic Bishop Hubert O’Connor who apologized this week in Alkali Lake, B.C., after being convicted in 1996.

Earlier this month, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that the United Church must compensate men who were sexually assaulted years ago at a church-run native school on Vancouver Island.

Sun, who now lives in Victoria, brought her complaint to the Calgary diocese because the priest resided in southern Alberta at the time. She did not learn that the committee’s recommendation of a reprimand had been overruled until the Herald looked into the case.

“They don’t understand that when a child is violated by a clerical collar, the child has no reference or trust for who or what God is,” said Sun.

Earlier this month, the priest told the Herald he could not recollect the incidents. Instead, he explained away Sun’s allegations by labelling her “a modern woman”.

“She’s just a bitch,” he added.

The priest allegedly exposed himself and compelled her to touch his groin area. She was 15 at the time.

Sun brought the charges to the church in 1995. RCMP would not pursue the case, saying it was too old to prove.

Sun’s disillusionment goes to the core of her faith.

“It is not safe to approach the church for help to heal because the church has a conflicting, undeclared agenda and, therefore, healing for the survivor is not the church’s priority.”

It was the first case — and also the last — the diocese dealt with under a set of protocols approved in 1993. The Calgary diocesan sexual-abuse policy was totally revamped — paragraph by paragraph – – after Sun’s case was closed. A new policy was introduced last fall, which Archbishop Curtis believes will be more effective.

Although the committee concluded the priest was guilty, it was unable to substantiate Linda Sun’s allegations that she was harassed and abused as a teenager living in B.C.

Archbishop Curtis says the church tried its best to help Sun, attempting to provide several qualified women who could support her during the complaint-review process. The church also paid for 38 counselling sessions.

It has learned from the process, Curtis said.

“I’m not for a moment saying we could not have done things a whole lot better,” he said. “I think we’ve learned a lot and hopefully, we’d do it differently . . . hopefully we’d do it better.”

Curtis says he empathizes with Sun’s frustration that the complaint went unresolved.

“I felt as badly as she did,” he said. “The whole thing was left hanging.”

In 1990, a former Calgary priest, Rev. Robert Whyte, was sentenced to four years in jail after admitting to indecently assaulting several young boys.

A series of charges emerged from investigations into the native residential school system, including a high-profile case against Roman Catholic Bishop Hubert O’Connor, who apologized last week in Alkali Lake, B.C., after being convicted in 1996.

This month, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that the United Church must compensate men who were sexually assaulted years ago at a church-run native school on Vancouver Island.

Sun, who lives in Victoria, brought her complaint to the Calgary diocese, because the priest resided in southern Alberta at the time.

She did not learn that the committee’s recommendation of a reprimand had been overruled until the Herald looked into the case.

“They don’t understand that when a child is violated by a clerical collar, the child has no reference or trust for who or what God is,” Sun said.

This month, the priest told the Herald he could not recollect the incidents. Instead, he explained Sun’s allegations by saying she is “a modern woman. “She’s just a bitch,” he added.

The priest allegedly exposed himself and compelled her to touch his groin. She was 15 at the time.

Sun brought the charges to the church in 1995. RCMP would not pursue the 36-year-old case, saying it was too old to prove.

Sun’s disillusion goes to the core of her faith. “It is not safe to approach the church for help to heal, because the church has a conflicting, undeclared agenda and, therefore, healing for the survivor is not the church’s priority.”

It was the first case — and the last — the diocese dealt with under a set of protocols approved in 1993. The Calgary diocesan sexual-abuse policy was revamped — paragraph by paragraph — after Sun’s case was closed. A new policy was introduced last fall, which Curtis believes will be more effective.

Although the committee concluded that the priest is guilty, it was unable to find proof of Sun’s allegation.

Curtis said the church tried its best to help Sun, attempting to provide several qualified women who could support her during the review. The church paid for 38 counselling sessions.

It has learned from the process, Curtis said.

“I’m not for a moment saying we could not have done things a whole lot better,” he said.

“I think we’ve learned a lot and hopefully, we’d do it differently . . . hopefully we’d do it better.”

Church Sexual Assault Convictions

– In 1989, charges involving sexual and physical abuse were filed against the Christian Brothers in Newfoundland.

– Roman Catholic Bishop Hurbert O’Conner was convicted of rape and indecent assault in 1996.

– This month, the B.C. Supreme Court ordered the United Church to compensate men sexually assaulted as boys at a church-run school.

– In Calgary, Roman Catholic priest Robert White gets four years in 1990 for assaulting boys for 20 years.

– Evangelical Christian Sunday school teacher Brian Scott Barker gets four years in April 1990 for sexually assaulting two boys, 13 and 14. Also convicted of anal intercourse.

– Sikh priest Balraj Singh Sidhu of the Brahm Bunga Spiritual Fellowship gets 4 1/2 years in 1992 for sexually assaulting two teen girls.

– Calgary Lutheran pastor Curtis Satre gets six months in 1992 for six counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault from 1971 to 1985.

– Calgary Roman Catholic priest Frank Van Tighem gets two years less a day in January 1995 after pleading guilty to four charges each of sexual assault and indecent assault against seven girls six to 17.

___________________________________

 Bishop must be accountable

The Calgary Herald

Letters to the Editor

11 February 1995

Re “Priest continued work despite complaints,” Gordon Legge, Herald, Jan. 20.

This article, and the recent finding of Melanie Carpenter’s body near Hope, B.C., made me extremely angry with the way our so-called responsible institutions handle problems related to sexual offenders.

In the Catholic Diocese of Southern Alberta, Bishop Paul O’Byrne is the chief executive officer and must be held accountable for the actions of his priests.

According to the article, the bishop knew from one of the victims, as early as Oct., 1989, about Fr. Frank Van Tighem’s sexual problems. However, he let Van Tighem continue to function in his position as a priest for another 14 months. O’Byrne justified this lack of action by referring to advice he received from a Calgary therapist, namely, that there was no need to worry.

What about the victim’s complaint? How much weight did O’Byrne give to the pain and anguish of the victim, the victim’s family and the parish community?

A clear breach of trust came with Van Tighem’s actions and a further breach of trust came with the lack of action of the bishop’s office. That’s the real scandal. All of our institutions are under scrutiny. They have lost their appearance of justice and/or godliness. The people are aware and demand accountability.

The church is an important institution in our society and church leaders must take responsibility to act quickly and openly to protect the innocent for which they have the greatest of responsibilities.

BYRON PRICE,

Calgary.

___________________________________

 JUDGMENT AND JUSTICE: They intersect when benefit of doubt involved

The Calgary Herald

28 January 1995

Gordon Legge

When do you give someone the benefit of the doubt? That’s the question that keeps coming to mind in reflecting on the case of Catholic priest Rev.Frank Van Tighem.

Van Tighem, 69, was sentenced to two years less a day in a provincial jail last week after being convicted of sexually abusing seven girls aged six to 17 in his parishes between 1960 and 1987.

Van Tighem’s case first came to light in the fall of 1989 when one of his victims complained to Rt. Rev. Paul O’Byrne, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary.

But it wasn’t until a year later that Van Tighem was pulled from parish work after the same victim, aghast at learning the priest was still in a position where he had access to children, wrote a letter to the bishop’s sexual assault advisory committee.

That was five years ago. Today, both the bishop and his committee admit they could have been more vigilant.

The committee feels confident that now, as much as possible, no alleged abuser can remain in a parish once a formal complaint has been laid with them.

What happens, however, if the victim only goes to the bishop?

“The bishop can know things in what I call the `internal forum’ where people come to him in confidence like the victim did and he ends up, sometimes, in a bit of a hands-tied position,” says Jack McDonald, the former chairman of the bishop’s advisory committee.

There can be a “significant” time lag between when the bishop becomes aware in the internal forum and the committee is either advised or a complaint is laid, says McDonald, a social work professor at the University of Calgary who resigned from the committee a year ago but remains in contact with it.

The internal forum is not the confessional but a confidential forum, similar to a professional secret in ethics. The bishop has, at times, both the right and the responsibility not to act on information until it has moved further, such as in the event of a criminal investigation, says McDonald.

But the advisory committee does provide the bishop with another direction to take. “It gives him the opportunity to say, `I’m not going to investigate that myself. I’m going to leave it to a committee and to some experts to look into and examine and make recommendations with regard to it.”’

At the same time, in some instances, the bishop makes a decision about whether to take it to the committee personally or simply inform the alleged victim that, if they wish, they may approach the committee themselves.

“So in . . . advertising the existence of the committee, we quite openly encourage people to come directly to the committee, if they wish, or to the bishop.”

Is the bishop under any compunction to advise the victim that the committee exists?

“Only his own,” says McDonald. “I would expect that he always does that. Any experience I’ve had over the five or six years, he’s never sort of tried to shield people from the committee or the committee from people.

“In fact, it’s really in his best interests if the matter comes to the committee. Now there may be some instances where people might say, `I don’t want this to go any further than you or I.’

“If he agrees with that, and says, `I’ll honor that,’ then he’s created an internal agreement between himself and a person who’s come to him. He needs to honor that.”

Does the system work?

“I certainly gained more confidence in my respect for the bishop and his care in making judgments about what he would bring to the committee or what he would not bring to the committee,” says McDonald.

“There’s a zone where he exercises what we’ll call his `episcopal wisdom.’ ”

People may not always agree with the bishop’s decision or how he proceeded. But it’s wrong to presume that the bishop’s decision not to act is either imprudent or favoring the church, says McDonald.

So where is the benefit of the doubt?

“I think the benefit of the doubt needs to rest with the confidentiality of the matter rather than the presumption that he should violate what may be confidentialities,” says McDonald.

That’s where judgment and justice intersect.

 _____________________________________

 Priest continued work despite complaints

The Calgary Herald

20 January 1995

Gordon Legge

A Calgary priest being sentenced today on eight charges of sexual and indecent assault continued parish work for over a year after the church first heard complaints about his actions.

Most Rev. Paul O’Byrne, Roman Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of Calgary, received a complaint about Rev. Frank Van Tighem from one of his victims in October 1989.

It was not until almost 14 months later that O’Byrne put Van Tighem on an indefinite leave of absence for “health” reasons.

Van Tighem , 69, a member of one of southern Alberta’s most prominent Catholic families, is to be sentenced in provincial court today after pleading guilty in December to charges of sexually touching seven girls aged six to 17 during the period 1960 to 1988.

It was the first such case the diocese had dealt with, O’Byrne told the Herald Thursday. He said he was operating with some degree of uncertainty: “I was learning how to spell pedophile.”

After receiving the complaint,

O’Byrne confronted Van Tighem, who admitted there had been “misconduct.”

He sent Van Tighem to a local therapist and had concerns about his continued activity in a parish setting, but the advice he received didn’t indicate a need to worry. “The message seemed to me to be that there was a problem, but there wasn’t anything that could be done about it at the age that Frank had attained.”

At the same time, in the fall of 1989, O’Byrne put in place an advisory committee related to sexual assaults and apprised them of the Van Tighem case.

The former chairman of the advisory committee, which handled the victim’s complaint, said the committee shares responsibility for not adequately policing what happened to Van Tighem.

Founding chairman Jack McDonald said the case was a first and no formal protocols were in place.

The victim says her family was told Van Tighem was in therapy, but didn’t know he remained on as pastor in the Crowsnest Pass parish in Blairmore.

Ten months after the original complaint, the bishop transferred Van Tighem to a parish inHanna, angering the family. “I thought it was an incredibly destructive thing to do,” she told the Herald, noting she had concerns about children in the diocese.

In the fall of 1990, she complained to the bishop’s sexual assault advisory committee, which then advised the bishop to remove Van Tighem. In November, Van Tighem resigned as pastor for “health” reasons.

At the same time O’Byrne wrote the victim an unconditional apology and offered to reimburse her for any counselling costs.

“Unfortunately, the church generally speaking was very unfamiliar and uncomfortable in knowing how to properly deal with both victims and the accused. Therefore, if mistakes were made, I want to assure you that these were totally unintentional.”

Van Tighem was put on an indefinite leave of absence, sent to Toronto for counselling and later given an office position at the Catholic Pastoral Centre. He resigned in 1993 after the committee recommended his removal from any situation where he might have contact with children.

 In early 1994, he was arrested after another victim, dissatisfied with the church’s response, reported him to police.

 __________________________________

 Priest jailed for years of sexual abuse

The Edmonton Journal

21 January 1995

Daryl Slade, Gordon Legge

As a Calgary Catholic priest went to jail Friday for sexual assault, the parents of one of his victims left the courtroom filled with relief, anguish and disappointment.

“What a paradox — saving souls and murdering souls,” said the mother. “Oh my God.”

Provincial court judge John James chastised Frank Van Tighem for his blatant “abuse of trust” over a 27-year period, before he imposed a jail sentence of two years less a day against the now-retired priest.

“The accused was in a position of trust with respect to each of the victims,” said James. “The results were devastating.”

Van Tighem pleaded guilty in December to four charges each of sexual assault and indecent assault against seven girls aged six to 17 in his parishes between 1960 and 1987.

He will also be on probation for two years following his release, required to report regularly to the forensic unit of the Calgary General Hospital for evaluation.

James said although there was no single assault that involved more than touching or fondling, the sum of numerous such assaults against each of four of the victims over prolonged periods of time constituted “major sexual assault” as far as the victims were concerned.

At the same time, he took into consideration that Van Tighem recognized his problem long before charges were laid and gave a substantial amount of money to one of the victims for counselling.

“The aggravating circumstances are the number of victims and their ages, the position of trust, number of assaults over a long period of time against four of the victims and psychological harm this has caused them,” James said.

“His substantial effort to stop this behavior are recognized and he has also undergone public humiliation and scorn as a result of the widespread publicity.”

Defence lawyer Noel O’Brien was content with the penalty imposed because it enables his client to continue to seek help.

The judge read from a victim’s statement to police, describing the devastating impact on her life, as her parents listened.

Abused throughout her teenage years, the victim told police that she’s lived much of her life isolated from the world to avoid “shame, humiliation, and fear.”

Sexual abuse of a daughter is harder to cope with than when a child dies, her father said after.

“In our faith life, you believe that if a child dies, you can do something,” he said, his voice cracking with emotion.

“Now, I don’t. She’ll be in counselling for the rest of her life,” he said, breaking into tears.

Calgary Roman Catholic Bishop Paul O’Byrne expressed his deep regret to the “innocent victims of abuse.”

 ______________________________________

 Priest continued work despite complaints

Calgary Herald

20 January 1995

Gordon Legge

A Calgary priest being sentenced today on eight charges of sexual and indecent assault continued parish work for over a year after the church first heard complaints about his actions.

Most Rev. Paul O’Byrne, Roman Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of Calgary, received a complaint about Rev. Frank Van Tighem from one of his victims in October 1989.

It was not until almost 14 months later that O’Byrne put Van Tighem on an indefinite leave of absence for “health” reasons.

Van Tighem, 69, a member of one of southern Alberta’s most prominent Catholic families, is to be sentenced in provincial court today after pleading guilty in December to charges of sexually touching seven girls aged six to 17 during the period 1960 to 1988.

It was the first such case the diocese had dealt with, O’Byrne told the Herald Thursday. He said he was operating with some degree of uncertainty: “I was learning how to spell pedophile.”

After receiving the complaint, O’Byrne confronted Van Tighem, who admitted there had been “misconduct.”

He sent Van Tighem to a local therapist and had concerns about his continued activity in a parish setting, but the advice he received didn’t indicate a need to worry. “The message seemed to me to be that there was a problem, but there wasn’t anything that could be done about it at the age that Frank had attained.”

At the same time, in the fall of 1989, O’Byrne put in place an advisory committee related to sexual assaults and apprised them of the Van Tighem case.

The former chairman of the advisory committee, which handled the victim’s complaint, said the committee shares responsibility for not adequately policing what happened to Van Tighem.

Founding chairman Jack McDonald said the case was a first and no formal protocols were in place.

The victim says her family was told Van Tighem was in therapy, but didn’t know he remained on as pastor in the Crowsnest Pass parish in Blairmore.

Ten months after the original complaint, the bishop transferred Van Tighem to a parish in Hanna, angering the family. “I thought it was an incredibly destructive thing to do,” she told the Herald, noting she had concerns about children in the diocese.

In the fall of 1990, she complained to the bishop’s sexual assault advisory committee, which then advised the bishop to remove Van Tighem. In November, Van Tighem resigned as pastor for “health” reasons.

At the same time O’Byrne wrote the victim an unconditional apology and offered to reimburse her for any counselling costs.

“Unfortunately, the church generally speaking was very unfamiliar and uncomfortable in knowing how to properly deal with both victims and the accused. Therefore, if mistakes were made, I want to assure you that these were totally unintentional.”

Van Tighem was put on an indefinite leave of absence, sent to Toronto for counselling and later given an office position at the Catholic Pastoral Centre. He resigned in 1993 after the committee recommended his removal from any situation where he might have
contact with children.

In early 1994, he was arrested after another victim, dissatisfied with the church’s response, reported him to police.

 _______________________________________

 Former priest pleads guilty to sexually touching girls

The Calgary Herald

22 December 1994

Daryl Slade

A former Roman Catholic priest pleaded guilty Wednesday to sexually touching young girls in his parishes over a period of almost 30 years.

Francis Patrick (Frank) Van Tighem, who turns 69 on Friday, will be sentenced Jan. 20 on four counts of sexual assault and four counts of indecent assault for incidents that took place between 1960 and 1988.

Crown prosecutor Beth Hughes described the assaults as predatory, and a repeated abuse of Van Tighem’s position of trust.

The seven victims, who were between six and 17 years old at the time, suffered a litany of emotional scars as a result of the abuse, Hughes told provincial court Judge John James.

“As a priest, he failed utterly in his duties and he has destroyed part of the life of many of the victims,” she said.

Hughes said all of the victims have undergone counselling for depression, stress and various other problems associated with the assaults. Some have left the church.

However, defence lawyer Noel O’Brien said the offences do not fall into the category of “major sexual assaults.”

He said Van Tighem’s early guilty plea and apology to his victims are indications of his deep remorse.

O’Brien said his client apologized to the victims and gave one woman money for therapy. “He did this all on his own, not out of fear of being charged, and has undergone intense therapy over the last five years.”

The defence lawyer noted the offences were for touching and there was no nudity or intercourse by the accused.

O’Brien submitted 102 letters of character reference from other priests, former students and parishioners to support Van Tighem’s nearly four decades of work in the priesthood.

“There is a side of this man obviously of compassion,” said O’Brien. “He has always had a never-ending energy to help others, especially the sick and elderly.”

O’Brien said his client is caring full-time for his ailing 80-year-old sister, so a short term in a provincial prison and lengthy probation would be more appropriate than the penitentiary time of more than two years called for by Hughes.

Van Tighem was born in Calgary and lived the first 21 years of his life in Strathmore. He attended the University of Alberta and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 1948, and bachelor of education the following year before entering the priesthood.

He attended St. Joseph’s seminary between 1955 and 1960, then was ordained as a priest in 1960.

Van Tighem served as a parish priest in Claresholm, Taber, Rockyford, Blairmore and Hanna before becoming director of religious education with the Calgary Catholic School Board. He was chaplain at Foothills Hospital and diocese archivist before retiring in the fall of 1993.

Van Tighem is the second priest in Calgary in recent years to be charged with assault. Bob Whyte was sentenced in January 1990 to four years in prison for attempted assault on 19 boys over a 20-year period.

 ____________________________________________

 Hearing for priest adjourned

The Calgary Herald

03 November 1994

 Herald staff.

 A hearing for a Calgary Roman Catholic priest facing 10 charges resulting from accusations of sexual assault was adjourned Wednesday to Dec. 21 in provincial court.

Rev. Francis (Frank) Van Tighem is accused of assaults on seven women between 1960-1988.

He has not entered a plea.

 ___________________________________

 Calgary priest’s assault hearing adjourned

The Edmonton Journal

23 June 1994

Calgary Herald

Calgary

The preliminary hearing for a Calgary priest facing 10 sexual assault charges was adjourned Wednesday to Nov. 2 in provincial court.

Rev. Francis (Frank) Patrick Van Tighem has not yet entered a plea. He is accused of assaults on eight women between 1960 and 1988.

 _____________________________________

 Minister faces new sex assault charge

The Edmonton Journal

17 February 1994

Rev. Francis Patrick Van Tighem now faces a total of nine charges in connection with allegations he sexually assaulted six females between 1960 and 1968.

Another charge of sexual assault was laid against the Roman Catholic priest in Calgary provincial court on Tuesday. A preliminary hearing was set for June 22.

Van Tighem faces three counts of sexual assault, four counts of indecent assault, one count of unlawful confinement and one count of sexual contact by a person in authority.

Van Tighem was ordained in Calgary in 1960, and served at St. Ann’s parish in the city and other churches throughout southern and central Alberta.

He was director of religious education for the Calgary Catholic school board and chaplain at Foothills Hospital.

12 Responses to Van Tighem: Father Frank Van Tighem

  1. Marta says:

    I just came across your site and was very interested to read about Father van Tighem. He was our priest in the 1960’s when I was around 7 years old. He visited our home often as our family had experienced a very difficult tragedy. He was welcomed when he visited as he seemed to bring sunshine into our lives. Then suddenly, he no longer came around. Years later, my mother told me that her friend caught van Tighem acting inappropriately with her daughter. And as was the way in that time, she went to the Parish Priest who advised the mother to not speak of it to anyone with the promise the van Tighem would be removed from that Parish. And he was sent away to victimize others. I was saddened on so many levels to hear of van Tighem evil acts and of how the cover ups were encouraged. As the Father was a source of joy to me and my family during a devastating time, I am so grieved that he did not overcome the darkness. What happened to him after the time of this article? Thank you for your work.

  2. Sylvia says:

    Marta, this is one of a number of “pages” which were on my To Do list to add further information. I will work on this today – I do have a few more articles to post and will add what dates I can from the materials which I have on hand.

  3. P J says:

    For those who have said that homosexuality and pervert collars are the same, here’s the proof that pedophile collars are not just gays…they can be straight as well. And shame on that church for once again covering up and moving this pervert around so he could spread more hurt amongst other children.

  4. Monika Stolte says:

    Just in case anyone is still reading these comments, I would like to say that this creep Father Van Tighem inappropriately touched me several times when I was around 10 or 11 (1960/61), when he was the priest in Taber and would come out to small town Barnwell to administer to the Catholic kids there – there were only 3 or 4 Catholics in the entire school as we were in a predominately Mormon area. In any event, this creepo priest never got me alone and that is the only reason I believe I didn’t get sexually assaulted. What he did to me within these small group sessions was have me sit close beside him, he would then touch me on my thigh (girls only wore dresses) and touch me (rubbing and stroking) around the neck and shoulders – nothing that I knew was sexual in manner, but it made me feel very uncomfortable. He would always pick me to sit next to him and try to make me believe I was special. I lost track of him when I became an adult and I was already living in Ontario when the victims came forward in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, but I wondered my whole life if he did victimize others – now I know. May his deviant soul rot in hell! Had I known about the court case, I would have come forward.

  5. Susan Raby-Dunne says:

    Dear Sylvia, I’ve been following events in Pennsylvania before coming upon your excellent blog. Actually I’ve been following events of the Catholic Church for decades, since learning of abuses at residential schools–I know, it isn’t just Catholics, and Mount Cashel, the Magdalene Laundries, among other criminal affairs. Calgary seems relatively quiet. Too quiet. What do you think of the general state of affairs in Calgary at this time re: Catholic Church sexual abuse?

  6. Leona says:

    Dear Susan, I couldn’t agree more. I have been called for interviews locally in Vancouver, and Nationally as well, but the silence in the Calgary diocese is deafening. I saw one news report of the Archbishop calmly saying that protocols are in place and children are safer than ever. I have sent twitter messages to CTV, CBC, and Global and left messages on the telephone, but I have yet to hear anything back. Survivors voices need to be heard.

  7. Alex Barr says:

    Sylvia, I am a catholic that lives in Calgary. I’ve searched the new diocese website looking to see if Fr. Van Tighem is still listed and it seems that he is not. If he was still listed I was planning on sending an email to the diocese asking why in spite of the fact that he was convicted and did jail time. Also I’m figuring that even if he was still alive he would be around 92 years old so it’s quite possible that he has died.

  8. John Kinnear says:

    I have a July 1990 clipping of VanTighem done by the pass promoter newspaper that talks about him leaving here with a picture of him if you want it for your files! What tremendous work you have done!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *