Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ex-priest charged in Canada boy's sex abuse

Ex-priest charged in Canada boy's sex abuse
By ALLAN TURNER
HOUSTON CHRONICLE
June 21, 2010, 11:34PM

A retired Catholic priest who taught math and coached basketball at Houston's St. Thomas High School half a century ago has been charged with sexually abusing a schoolboy in Canada.

Charged with sexual assault, an offense that could bring a maximum 10-year prison sentence upon conviction, is Basilian priest William Hodgson Marshall, 87.

Canadian authorities said the alleged attack happened between 1981 and 1985 in Windsor, Ontario. Records for the case are sealed, and court officials would not comment on the location, date or nature of the incident. Marshall's attorney did not return phone calls.

In Houston, the Rev. Richard Wahl, who processes claims of sexual impropriety lodged against Congregation of St. Basil priests, said Marshall taught math and coached basketball at St. Thomas High School in the 1956-57 school year.

The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Canada-based spokesman for the international order, said no complaints against Marshall have been lodged in Houston.

The charge stemming from the Windsor case was filed in May. Marshall, who lives at a Toronto retirement home for priests, is set to appear in court July 14.

In Sudbury, Ontario, in 2002, Marshall was sued by a man who sought money for psychological counseling, contending that the priest had sexually assaulted him in the 1960s. The complainant was awarded $10,000 after Marshall and the school district for which he had worked presented no defense, according to the Sudbury Star newspaper.

Marshall held a variety of teaching and administrative school positions, primarily in Canada, during a career that spanned four decades. In 1993, he moved to the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia, where he worked as a missionary. He formally retired in 1997.

The legal action against Marshall moved forward as Pope Benedict XVI this month asked forgiveness from abuse victims and pledged to "do everything possible" to end pederasty among the Roman Catholic priesthood.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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