R. v. Ian Cooper
 B.C.D. Crim. Sent. 7510‑01
British Columbia Court of Appeal
Coram: Lambert, Southin,
January 24, 1994
SEXUAL OFFENCES ‑ INDECENT ASSAULT
(GROSS INDECENCY ‑ BUGGERY ‑ ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST ‑ 4 YEAR
Trial: 4 years imprisonment.
Facts: The accused was convicted of 9 counts of indecent assault on young males, 5 counts of indecent assault on young females, 1 count of gross indecency, and 1 count of buggery. He was born in 1933. He went, through his teenage years, to an all male school where he was punished, as part of the custom of discipline in that school, by being beaten on the bare buttocks. At the age of 18 he went to a seminary and he graduated and was ordained at the age of 25. This all occurred in Ireland. He came immediately after ordination to British Columbia, and from 1958 to 1990 he served as a parish priest. From 1958 to 1960 he was in Kelowna where three of the offences took place. From 1960 to 1963 he was in Nakusp where twelve of the offences took place. From 1963 to 1964 he was in Osoyoos where one of the offences took place. After a full investigation, the police uncovered no offences after 1964.
Some of the indecent assault offences involved striking the children on their bare buttocks with an instrument, either a piece of tubing or a piece of kindling or a ruler, frequently until they cried out. In many of the cases the young person was treated in this way on many occasions. In one case a child was required to roll down the covers of a bed and then to roll down the applicant’s garments on his lower half and then to flagellate the applicant on his bare buttocks, all in the name of punishment of the applicant for his sins. In another case, the accused fondled the genitals of the young man in the course of the punishment process. The offence of buggery was committed not less than three and not more than ten occasions on a 7 or 8 year old boy. He was an altar boy at the time. The offences were discovered in 1990. The applicant undertook rehabilitative steps both in New Mexico and in England. His rehabilitation programme was not concluded because he voluntarily returned to Canada to stand trial. There was psychiatric evidence that the accused was a continuing risk to society in that his paedophilia had not been cured.
Comment: It is important to understand that this is a case of a priest abusing his position in which he has these young children in his trust and care for their religious education. The sentencing Judge took into account all of the factors that he ought to have taken into account and the sentences imposed were fit. Some significant consideration in sentencing ought to be given to the fact that for a period of about 30 years the applicant was able to refrain from acting out his paedophilic tendencies and to refrain from injuring his young parishioners. The sentencing Judge took this into account in imposing the sentences that he did. The appeal is dismissed.
(11 pages) B.C. Decisions ‑ March, 1994
R. C.C. Peck, Q.C. for Appellant
J. M. Gordon for Crown
WLP Update: WLP940505
End of document.