Former Catholic priest facing new sex charges
TORONTO - A man who was told as a child he had a "vivid imagination" when he reported an alleged case of sexual abuse said he was relieved Thursday to hear his former teacher, a Catholic priest, will face a third set of sex charges in Ontario.
Ted Holland, 55, of Sudbury, Ont., said he was "mildly elated" after hearing that an arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for Rev. William Hodgson Marshall, 88.
Holland, who went to authorities in 1998 with allegations he had been abused at St. Charles College as a child, was told at the time it was his word against Marshall's. Two weeks ago, Holland said he was questioned by authorities in Sudbury about the alleged abuse.
"I'm the first one that brought this out," said Holland, adding he's struggled to be heard for decades.
An official with the Congregation of St. Basil, the order Marshall belongs to, said Marshall was removed from public ministry in 1996 after a "credible allegation."
Marshall, who is battling skin cancer in a retirement home in Toronto, is facing six counts of indecent assault and six counts of an act of gross indecency. It's alleged he abused students he taught in the northern Ontario city between January 1960 and December 1970.
Marshall is also facing sexual assault charges in Toronto and in Windsor.
"Arrangements are being made for Father Marshall to surrender himself into custody to be released on conditions," said Marshall's lawyer, Andrew Bradie, referring to the Sudbury and Toronto charges. Bradie also said efforts will be made to bring all the charges before one judge and one jurisdiction, likely in Windsor.
Rev. Timothy Scott, a spokesman for the religious order, expressed sadness on Thursday, and said the order is co-operating with police.
"People have been living with this reality for this time, it must be an immense source of suffering and it takes a great deal of courage for them to come forward," said Scott.
Marshall was ordained in 1951, and over the years worked in several schools in the province.
From 1989 until 1996, Marshall worked in a mission in St. Lucia.
He retired from public ministry in 1996, at age 75, and moved to a retirement residence for priests, which is run by the order in Toronto.
"We received credible allegation concerning sexual abuse at that time, and on the basis of that allegation, he was removed from public ministry," Scott added.
For Holland, the charges brought back a flood of memories. He said he told his father about the alleged abuse in December 1969, and when his father went to the school to report it, he was told his son "daydreams in class," and has a "vivid imagination."
Holland said he buried the alleged abuse for decades and while battling depression, told his psychiatrist about it.
He was urged to go to police. But after several interviews, Holland said he was told police could not lay charges.
Holland said he was eventually paid $30,000 by the order for "psychological help."
"My lawyer said, 'Just go on with your life, find yourself a wife, get married and have children,"' said Holland.
"I never found the woman. I have no children, because it affected me," he said, lowering his voice.
While Scott said he's not aware of Holland's case specifically, he said it is common to help victims of abuse.
"If someone approaches the congregation and has been the victim of sexual abuse, one of the things we do is provide monetary support for therapy," said Scott.
Marshall was also recently charged with four counts of indecent assaults and two charges of sexual assault dating back to the mid-1950s, and the 1980s in Windsor, Ont., schools.
In Toronto, Marshall faces two counts of indecent assault stemming from alleged sexual assaults involving a 15-year-old boy he coached in basketball at St. Michael's College in 1953.
The allegations against Marshall have not been tested in court.