‘glad He Is Gone,’ Says Victim As Pedophile Priest Hod Marshall Passes Away at 92
August 6, 2014
|A 1985 file photo of Rev. William Hodgson Marshall in Windsor, Ont. (Randy Moore / The Windsor Star)|
A former Basilian priest and Windsor Catholic high school teacher found guilty of a lengthy history of abusing male students passed away last week in Toronto at the age of 92.
William Hodgson (Hod) Marshall, pleaded guilty in 2011 to 16 counts of indecent assault of minors and one count of sexual assault for incidents that occurred between 1952 and 1986.
The incidents occurred while Marshall taught at Assumption and Holy Names high schools in Windsor, plus other Catholic high schools in Toronto and Sudbury.
“I have been dealing with pain and suffering this person put on me for the last 60 years,” said Jerry Boyle, 74, a victim who suffered abuse starting at 14. “There is some relief. It is one more page in the book closed.
“There are no tears falling for that man. I can assure you, that’s not part of what I’m feeling at all. I’m glad he is gone.”
Marshall, a gym teacher, was accused of sexually touching his students under the guise of checking their muscles, but the groping progressed to their genitals.
Court evidence detailed how he abused children — the youngest was seven years old — in his office, in school showers, in dormitories and the church rectory. Victims told of other priests walking in on the assaults, but never reporting what they saw.
He was given the nickname “Happy Hands” in the 1950s for his tendency to touch students.
Marshall also pleaded guilty in 2013 to sexually assaulting two Saskatoon boys in 1959 and 1961.
He was sentenced to two years in a federal penitentiary for his crimes, then later, another six months of house arrest for the charges out of Saskatchewan. He served a total of 16 months behind bars before being released in October, 2012 on probation.
He was reported to have died in Toronto on July 28.
A spokesman for the Diocese of London on Wednesday referred comment about Marshall to the Congregation of St. Basil, known as the Basilian Fathers.
A message left by The Star for Rev. Timothy Scott, spokesman for the Congregation of St. Basil, was not returned.
Marshall himself asked to be removed from the priesthood, a request granted by the Pope in late 2013, Scott told The Star earlier this year.
But Marshall, who had been fighting cancer for years, continued to reside at Cardinal Flahiff Basilian Centre in Toronto, a home for retired and infirm priests, following his release from prison.
Scott told the Star in late 2012: “We have indicated from the beginning that once he had completed the custodial sentence, we would be providing a place for him to live in prayer and penance to the end of his life.”
Boyle, who grew up in Windsor, but today resides in Cambridge, didn’t tell anybody of his sexual abuse by Marshall until 2010 when he was finally ready to talk to police in Windsor and was “shocked” at that time to learn Marshall was still alive.
Boyle was present in the courtroom in 2011 when Marshall read a prepared statement following his guilty plea that showed little remorse for his actions.
“I’ve heard more emotion from a weather forecast than what he came out with,” Boyle said. “For him, it was ‘get it over with.’
“This was an evil person who for many decades was protected by a system that moved him around, giving him new victims to choose from without supervision. That’s more painful to me as anything.”
Marshall’s actions remain fresh in the minds of his many victims since it was only recently he had to answer to the sexual abuse charges during court appearances in 2011 and 2013, said Brenda Brunelle, local spokeswoman for SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).
“I want to congratulate the people who did come forward and speak out against all the crimes this person committed,” she said. “It’s because of their strength that inspired others to come forward (adding to charges against Marshall).
“He had his day in court, he was guilty and sentenced. Now he is laid to rest and buried as Father Hod Marshall — the pedophile.”
The Ontario College of Teachers, following a hearing over a year ago, announced last December it had found Marshall guilty of professional misconduct and ordered his teaching certificate be revoked as he “brought shame and disrepute to the profession through his abuse of power and sexual exploitation of students.”