Sudbury PoV: Church needs to confront sex scandal
April 12, 2016
Catholics who grew up in the 1950s and 60s were taught that priests were next to God, filled -- emboldened even -- with the Holy Spirit to do God's work. They had influence and enjoyed respect.
They were, of course, just men, then as today. In too many cases, Catholics in Sudbury and northeastern Ontario have discovered in recent years, an alarming number of their priests were not particularly good men, as far from God or the Holy Spirit as one could imagine.
Bernard Cloutier, Donald Holmes, William Hodgson "Hod" Marshall, Thomas O'Dell, Gerald Roy and John E. Sullivan are priests who served in Sudbury and northeastern Ontario who have been found guilty during the last decade of sex crimes, some more horrible than others. One of them, Marshall, was even principal for a time at St. Charles when it was a prestigious all-boys school.
Most of their victims were young boys, either altar boys or other members of their congregation put into their care. They acted as predators, exploiting their positions as trusted members of their clergy to act on their baser instincts.
The pain inflicted by their perversions resurfaced in a Sudbury courtroom this week. A man identified only as P.J.J. had brought a $3-million lawsuit against the Episcopal Corporation of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Sullivan. However, Sullivan, who was 90, died on Easter Sunday, and on Wednesday of last week, the church fired its lawyers.