14 priests from Toronto teaching order involved in sex assault cases
A CityNews investigation has revealed at least a dozen priests belonging to a Catholic order based in Toronto have been accused of sexually abusing children – including three who were found guilty of assaulting dozens of children under their care.
The Basilian Fathers of Toronto is a group of priests whose calling is to teach. As one of the oldest Catholic orders in Canada, the group has run or staffed more than a dozen schools. Much of the admitted or alleged abuse detailed below happened at their institutions.
CityNews has compiled the first public list of Basilians who have been accused of or admitted to misconduct with children. It was assembled by combing through public court files, historical press coverage, and U.S. lists of credibly accused priests, published by Church officials themselves.
More than 170 such lists have been published in the United States, some voluntarily released by Catholic diocese and orders, others compelled as part of court cases, including Grand Jury hearings and bankruptcy proceedings for cash-strapped church organizations. No such lists have been published in Canada.
“It’s time to clear out the records and release the names of these priests,” says Brenda Brunelle, a Canadian leader of the Survivors Network of Accused Priests. “So people […] can be assured their children are safe.”
Brunelle is pushing the Basilians to release their own list of credibly accused priests. She says it’s imperative, as the priests continue to run and staff schools across North and South America.
After the order declined in-person interviews, CityNews asked the Basilians via email whether the group would release their own list.
In a statement issued through their lawyer, the Basilians did not directly answer the question, instead stating that lists are “a very complex topic.”
The order states that criteria for who to name when there isn’t a criminal conviction, and protecting the privacy of victims, must be considered.
“Publishing the name of a perpetrator can lead to speculation about who is or may be a victim, and lead right back to a victim who wishes to protect their identity,” the Basilians write.
Some of the cases below are ongoing, including a number filed this year after New York State legislators changed the deadline for filing historical sexual assault claims. Their allegations have not been proven in court. A number of cases were also settled out of court; they don’t include any admission of wrongdoing.
CityNews has also viewed documents suggesting that the list below is not exhaustive. The most accurate count, if one exists, lies within Basilian records.