Abuse charges against Scottish priest who lived in Sask. dropped

CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) [Toronto, Canada]

November 27, 2021

Decades-old abuse charges withdrawn in Scotland

The prosecution service in Scotland has dropped its case on historical child abuse charges against a retired Catholic priest who used to live and serve in Saskatchewan, according to the BBC.

Rev. Robert MacKenzie was extradited from Canada in 2020 to stand trial in Scotland.

The now 87-year-old was accused of physical and sexual abuse during his time as a teacher at two schools in Scotland from the 1950s to the 1980s.

The former priest has denied the allegations. 

No allegations from his time in Sask., says Archdiocese of Regina

According to the BBC, the alleged victims were informed there was a change in circumstances in the case.

Senior Crown lawyers decided there would be no further proceedings, the BBC said. Charges against Mackenzie have been withdrawn.

After his time at the schools in Scotland, MacKenzie moved to Canada and worked in Saskatchewan before retiring, according to the BBC.

The Archdiocese of Regina said MacKenzie mostly served in small communities around Regina during his time in Canada. 

No allegations against MacKenzie have allegedly surfaced from his time serving with the archdiocese, said Archbishop Donald J. Bolen in an open letter in 2019.

Father Robert MacKenzie was extradited to Scotland in 2020 to face charges of physical and sexual abuse. (Archdiocese of Regina)
Father Robert MacKenzie was extradited to Scotland in 2020 to face charges of physical and sexual abuse. (Archdiocese of Regina)

“Two years ago we were informed that criminal proceedings were underway in Scotland against Fr. MacKenzie, then 84 years of age,” said Bolen in 2019.

“Fr. MacKenzie was moved from the rectory where he had retired, to a retirement home where his movement and activities were further restricted. One year ago, as more revelations regarding the outstanding criminal sexual allegations pending against Fr. MacKenzie in Scotland were brought to our attention, his faculties to minister as a priest were suspended.”

After his arrival in Scotland in 2020, MacKenzie was held in custody for 13 months, the BBC said.

The now 87-year-old was released on bail in March 2021, according to the BBC.