Too Close for Comfort
School Board Officials Question Whether a Sex-Abuse Suspect Should Be Living Next to a School
By Kelly Pedro
London Free Press [Ontario, Canada]
June 19, 2005
The head of the London District Catholic school board questions whether a priest facing child sex-offence charges should be living next to a London school until trial.
Joe Rapai said he spoke with the diocese of London and the Norfolk County Crown attorney Friday to ask whether it was possible to move Rev. Konstanty Przybylski to a parish that's not next to an elementary school.
"My question was, 'Could it be any other site?' " Rapai, the board's education director, said yesterday.
"I thought it was important to raise the question of whether there was any chance (he could be moved). There are some parishes that are not immediately adjacent to a school."
Przybylski, 55, was charged Wednesday with two counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual exploitation, sexual interference and sexual touching.
Two young men say they were sexually assaulted at St. Cecilia's Church in Port Dover, where Przybylski was a priest between 1995 and 2000, Norfolk OPP have said.
They were altar boys at the church and between 12 and 18 years old at the time.
Przybylski has been living at St. Martin of Tours rectory on Cathcart Street, next to St. Martin's school, since he left Port Dover in 2000.
He is not assigned to a parish.
Bishop Tony Daniels sent a letter to all pastors in the diocese Friday, explaining the situation and saying the court ordered Przybylski to live at St. Martin's rectory.
Rapai said he doesn't think the Crown realized the rectory was so close to the school.
"We're looking at one foot away from the school," he said.
Rapai said he raised the question of whether Przybylski's living arrangements were appropriate after parents expressed concern to him.
"We're not judging. We're not pre-empting this situation. We're just raising a question," he said.
The decision on whether Przybylski's living arrangements should be changed is up to the courts, Rapai added.
London Ward 6 trustee Loren Demelo, whose ward takes in St. Martin's school and the church, said she's asking parents with concerns to contact the diocese.
She added Przybylski has no contact with kids at the school.
"On our end, really what can you do? It's in the courts."
Rapai said the board didn't know of the charges against Przybylski until they were reported in the media. If the board had known earlier, he said, it could have prepared for parents' reaction.
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