Global News [Toronto, Canada]
July 26, 2023
By Greg Davis
A Catholic priest working in Peterborough, Ont., faces charges of sexual offences involving a youth following an investigation by police.
According to the Peterborough Police Service, the investigation led to the arrest of a man on Wednesday.
Neil Pereira, 33, of Peterborough, was charged with sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference.
Police note sexual interference is when a person, for a sexual purpose, touches, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, any part of the body of a person under the age of 16 years.
His name was released as police stated “the nature of the offences lead us to concerns there may be other victims.”
Pereira is ordained with the Roman Catholic Church and has been working in the city of Peterborough since late 2022.
“Investigators are in contact with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peterborough, who are cooperating with investigators,” police stated Wednesday afternoon.
According to a statement from Rev. Bishop Daniel Miehm of the Diocese of Peterborough, Pereira is a priest on loan from the Archdiocese of Toronto. He was appointed the new campus minister for Trent University and Fleming College, effective at the end of June.
Prior to coming to Peterborough, he served as the associate pastor at St. Isaac Jogues parish in Pickering.
Newly ordained Fr. Neil Pereira’s vocation was inspired by Mother Teresa and her complete surrender to Christ. Learn more about his road to the priesthood at https://t.co/WeJbZ7lpZS #catholicTO pic.twitter.com/QbmLuIFOfI
— Archdiocese of Toronto (@archtoronto) July 1, 2020
Miehm says in June the Diocese received an allegation of “sexual and professional misconduct” involving Pereira. The allegation was reported to the Children’s Aid Society and to police.
Miehm states Pereira was removed from his pastoral ministry upon receipt of the allegation.
“All allegations of abuse and/or misconduct are addressed seriously and thoroughly in accordance with the Diocesan policy,” Miehm said. “Please pray for all those who are impacted by this difficult situation.”
Pereira was released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court in Peterborough on Aug. 8.
Police said no other details would be released as the matter is now before the courts.
Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Det. Const. Jacob Donnelly at 705-876-1122 ext. 335 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.