Toronto-based order of priests buried allegations of sex abuse at boys camp: whistleblower


October 14, 2020

By Adrian Ghobrial, Jessica Bruno and Meredith Bond

For a group of underprivileged children from Toronto, a sunny escape became a cabin of horrors.

A whistleblower tells CityNews he reported allegations of child sexual assault by a Catholic Father and said he now wishes he hadn’t gone to the priest’s religious order to seek justice.

“In hindsight, knowing more now, I would have phoned the police,” said Bill Taylor. “But at 17, I did what I thought was right.”

This is the first time he’s publicly sharing his story.

In 1978, Taylor was a teen from Windsor who worked as a counsellor at Columbus Boys’ Camp. The now-closed Orillia institution hosted as many as 1,200 underprivileged children from the GTA every summer.

It was run by the Congregation of St. Basil, an order of Catholic priests now known as the Basilian Fathers, or Basilians, whose headquarters is in Toronto.

According to Taylor, a group of boys, between the ages of six and eight, told him and another counselor about their experiences with the Basilian director of the camp, Father Leo Campbell.

Taylor said the boys alleged that Fr. Campbell had been coming to their cabin at night, putting his hands in their sleeping bags and fondling them.

“He was sexually molesting the young boys,” alleged Taylor.

Taylor said he and another counsellor reported the allegations to Father John Malo, another Basilian priest at the camp. He remembers Fr. Malo appeared to be upset at the news.

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