Manitoba priest charged in connection to historical sexual abuse at Indian Residential School

CJMK Cool FM 98 [Saskatoon, CA]

June 17, 2022

By Vanese M. Ferguson

RCMP in Manitoba have arrested a retired, 92-year-old priest, and charged him with Indecent Assault which allegedly occurred at a residential school in the province.

The allegations of sexual abuse were reported in 2010 and a criminal investigation was launched in 2011. Yesterday, on June 16, Father Arthur Masse was arrested at his home in Winnipeg and charged in connection to the offence which occurred between 1968 and 1970 when the woman was 10 years old and a student at the Fort Alexander Residential School.

More than 80 RCMP investigators conducted archival research and spoke to or interacted with more than 700 people across North America throughout the investigation in an effort to locate any possible victims or witnesses. In total, 75 witness and victim statements were obtained by police.

Manitoba RCMP say an important part of the investigative process was to ensure any potential victims were given time to consider their options and whether they wanted to provide statements and potentially go through the court process.

With this charge, the investigation is concluded.

Manitoba RCMP Sergeant Paul Manaigre says, “Unfortunately, due to the passage of time, many of the victims were not able to participate in the investigation, whether that be for mental or physical health reasons or because the victim is now deceased.”

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, individuals under 18 years old cannot consent to sex where the other consenting party is in a position of trust, authority or there is a dependency on that person. There’s no time limit to report a sexual assault to police.

If you wish to report a sexual assault, you can contact your local police to make a report. If you choose not to report sexual assault to the police directly, you can report the crime through a third party. Third party reporting is when someone else reports the crime to police. It allows survivors who do not want to report the crime directly to ensure police receive a report about the crime.

A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) has been set up to provide support for former Residential School students. You can access emotional crisis referral services. You can also get information on how to get other health supports from the Government of Canada.