Pedophile Former Priest's Death a Relief to His Victims
By Dave Battagello And Andrea Hill
August 7, 2014
A former Basilian priest and Catholic high school teacher found guilty of a lengthy history of abusing male students, including two in Saskatoon, died last week in Toronto at the age of 92.
William Hodgson (Hod) Marshall, pleaded guilty in 2013 to sexually assaulting two Saskatoon boys in 1959 and 1961. Two years earlier, he had pleaded guilty to 16 counts of indecent assault of minors and one count of sexual assault for incidents that occurred between 1952 and 1986 while he taught at high schools in Windsor, Toronto and Sudbury.
"I wouldn't mind knowing where they're burying him so I could go urinate on his grave," said Tim Ryan of Saskatoon, who was "felt up" by Marshall while the priest was a physical education teacher at St. Paul's High School. He came forward with his story after he heard of Marshall's convictions in Ontario.
Ryan, now in his 60s, said he doesn't dwell on the encounter much and made an effort to avoid Marshall throughout his high school years, but he knows other classmates who remain traumatized by Marshall's advances.
"He was obviously a pedophile ... He did some bad stuff here," Ryan said.
Marshall 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, school showers, 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.
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 he was released in October 2012 on probation.
He was reported to have died in Toronto on July 28.
Marshall himself asked to be removed from the priesthood and the Pope granted his request in late 2013, Rev. Timothy Scott of the Congregation of St. Basil told The Windsor 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."
Brenda Brunelle, a spokeswoman for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said 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.
"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."