Priest Back to Face Raps

By Jon Willing
Ottawa Sun [Canada]
February 16, 2006

A 71-YEAR-OLD retired priest accused of sexually assaulting an altar boy in the 1960s is expected to appear in a Pembroke court today to face criminal charges.

Msgr. Bernard Prince, a member of the Catholic Diocese of Pembroke who most recently has been living in Rome, was arrested by customs and immigration officials Tuesday at Dorval Airport in Montreal.


Prince, a highly respected member of the Catholic Church, has been wanted since last October on charges of buggery and indecent assault. He's alleged to have assaulted a then-12-year-old boy in his Wilno home, southwest of Pembroke. Police had been investigating the allegations since last May.

Yesterday afternoon, OPP officers were on their way to Montreal to take Prince into custody after he suddenly showed up in Canada.

"He did come back on his own," OPP Sgt. Kristine Cholette said, adding police had been hoping Prince would voluntarily return.

"He was obviously aware of the charges against him," Cholette said. She couldn't say if investigators knew of Prince's return ahead of time.

Rev. Peter Proulx, of the Catholic Diocese of Pembroke, had just learned of Prince's return. He would say little about Prince's arrival, noting only that the diocese is "supporting" the police investigation.


"Our responsibility as a Church is to be compassionate and understanding of everything involved here," Proulx said.

A man who answered the phone at Prince's brother's Ottawa-area home yesterday would only say: "No comment."

Prince, said to be a friend of the late pope John Paul II, worked with churches and organizations in the Pembroke and Ottawa areas before working for the Vatican and then retiring.

While Prince makes his appearance today in bail court, police continue to investigate other allegations connected to the retired priest.


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