Saturday, May 7, 2011

Oblate priest worked in Ottawa Roman Catholic Archdiocese for years after serving prison time for molesting girls

And now for something completely different: a Roman Catholic priest who molested girls instead of boys. As reported by Kristy Nease of the Ottawa Citizen on May 7, 2011:

An 82-year-old Roman Catholic priest who served jail time for sexually molesting two British Columbia girls in the 1970s--both under 16 when the incidents began--has been quietly assisting at least one Ottawa parish for more than a decade, and the pastor at the east-end church where he has been working had no idea about his colleague's past.

Rev. John "Jack" McCann, whose permission to perform occasional ministry in Ottawa was revoked by the Archdiocese of Ottawa on April 29, after the Citizen began inquiring about him, is a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), which has a residence on Main Street.

At Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish on St. Laurent Boulevard, McCann had been filling in for Rev. Stephen Liang while he was away, performing occasional masses and interacting with parishioners at socials.

Liang, who has been with the parish for about four years, said McCann was there when he arrived. Msgr. Kevin Beach, the archdiocese's vicar general, confirmed Mc-Cann had been in Ottawa for at least 10 years, but he didn't know if McCann had worked at any other Ottawa parish.

McCann's religious career is primarily overseen not by the Archdiocese of Ottawa, according to Liang and Beach, but by his religious superior at OMI, Rev. John Malazdrewich, who was not available for comment on Friday...

...In 1992, McCann pleaded guilty to molesting two girls and was sentenced to 10 months in jail. The offences occurred while he was a priest at St. Augustine's parish in Vancouver and St. Peter's parish in New Westminster.

One victim, Leona Munnalall, told the Vancouver Sun in 1994 that Mc-Cann lured her into near-daily sex, starting when she was 13. The last incident occurred when she was nearly 20.

Munnalall went public because she believed it would help the Catholic Church face up to sex abuse by priests. She went to police with her complaints against McCann after hearing he had been transferred to a Catholic parish on Saltspring Island, where she feared someone else might be victimized.

At the time of his conviction, McCann was reportedly terminated from parish ministry. He had served as parish priest in Nootka from 1959 to 1963, in Lethbridge from 1963 to 1970, in Fort St. John from 1981 to 1983, in Edmonton from 1984 to 1990, and on Saltspring Island from August 1990 until October 1990.

Liang said Friday he had no idea about McCann's past.

"The archdiocese was just informed themselves on Friday, the 29th of April," Liang said. "It was news to them, too. They had no idea, as far as I can tell, of his back-ground, of his previous criminal conviction of sexual assault in the 1990s, so they were just as surprised as myself."

Liang said McCann's work at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish -made up of mainly elderly parishioners -did not include contact with children...

..."It comes to me as a really big shock. . Why wasn't I made aware of his background, because I'm responsible as a pastor, the parish priest here, for this parish's welfare and of my parishioners. It certainly would have been extremely helpful if I knew of his background. He wouldn't even have been able to officiate as a priest in any ministry in the Archdiocese of Ottawa if my superiors knew about it."

McCann's whereabouts were revealed by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a U.S.-based support and advocacy group that investigated after getting a tip from "a concerned Canadian."

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