Bishop's Statement on Sex Abuse Lawsuits

By David Helwig
Sootoday [Canada]
February 17, 2007

The following statement was issued today by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie. is currently reviewing 60 pages of court documents and is preparing a further report on the sex-abuse accusations they contain.

Four priests are named in these lawsuits.

One, Father Roy J. McParland of Sault Ste. Marie, is still alive.

The others, Father Magnus J. Fedy of Scollard Hall in North Bay, Father John Fisher of North Bay's Assumption Pro-Cathedral, and Father Jean-Claude Etienne of St-Thomas Apôtre Parish and St. Thomas Separate School in Warren, Ontario, are all dead.

Sudbury, February 17, 2007 – The following will be read to the parishioners at weekend masses on February 17 and 18 in all churches of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, at the personal request of Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe.

The bishop has declared that he did not want to avoid his pastoral duties.

He officially confirms the news released by the media stating that the Diocese has recently been served three lawsuits concerning allegations of abuse by four priests, three are deceased, and one is retired because of age and no longer in active ministry.

These particular cases date back many years ago.

"I am deeply saddened by this news," said the bishop.

"These situations do not leave me indifferent. They are most sensitive and painful for all involved and have an impact on the whole diocese. We will do what is necessary and within our power to see that light be shed on these allegations."

The bishop invites the faithful to pray for everyone involved in theses cases and for the Diocesan Church.

"Our prayer must focus on Christ who, Alone, can strengthen our faith in Him at these trying moments."


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