Wednesday, July 14, 2010

St. Pius X students were victims of indecent assault, police say

St. Pius X students were victims of indecent assault, police say
Accused priest taught at high school for many years
By Kristy Nease, The Ottawa CitizenJuly 13, 2010
Rev. William Joseph Allen’s two alleged indecent-assault victims were both students at St. Pius X High School, where Allen taught for many years, the Ottawa police detective leading the case said Tuesday.

The two teenaged boys were somewhere between 13 and 17 years old at the times the assaults are alleged to have occurred, Det. Anne Ménard said Tuesday, but she would not be specific, citing privacy concerns.

The “repetitive” assaults allegedly occurred between 1970 and 1976. Ménard said they took place on school property, church property, and during personal interactions. She would not describe the nature of the assaults.

One of the victims was involved with a church in an official capacity, Ménard said, but would not be more specific.

She would not say which church was involved.

Ménard said one of the victims remains in Ottawa, while the other does not.

Reached at his home at the Catholic archdiocese’s residence for priests on Kilborn Place on Tuesday, Allen said he had nothing to say about the allegations.

Allen was arrested Monday and charged with three counts of indecent assault under the 1970s Criminal Code. He was released the same day with conditions, and is next scheduled to appear in court Aug. 9.

Ménard said the 1970s definition of indecent assault reads: “Every male person who assaults another person with intent to commit buggery, or who indecently assaults another male person is guilty of an indictable offence.”

Allen was one of the first teachers hired at St. Pius X High School when it was founded in 1958, according to an online school history. He also served as bursar, an administrator overseeing practical operations at the school.

Griff Cain Jr. attended St. Pius X from 1975 to 1978. Allen never taught Cain, but Cain saw the priest every Sunday at St. Monica’s parish.

“He was just a really nice guy,” Cain said by phone. “At Pius, everybody knew him as a quiet guy. He was just a quiet man. … He was kind of under the wire. There was never any discussion about him that I ever heard.”

It is not known exactly how long Allen remained at the school.

St. Pius X referred all inquiries to the Ottawa Catholic School Board. The board also declined to comment, asking that questions be directed to the archdiocese.

The archdiocese would not release the details of Allen’s history in Ottawa, despite the fact that pastoral appointments are public information, because Allen’s criminal charges are now before the courts, said spokeswoman Ginette Chaumont.

Allen served as the priest at St. Monica’s from 1966 to 1975, according to that church’s records. An online history of the Resurrection of Our Lord parish also indicates that Allen left his teaching position at St. Pius X for one year — from summer 1975 to summer 1976 — to become an administrator at the parish.

The Resurrection Church had no comment about Allen, deferring calls to the archdiocese.

A Catholic Ottawa newsletter for the spring and summer of 2010 contains a brief biography of Allen, who was celebrating his 55th year in the priesthood.

Born Sept. 6, 1929, Allen was ordained in June 1955 at St. Patrick’s Church, the newsletter said. He served as curate at the Our Lady of the Annunciation parish in Hull, and “exercised parish ministry” at Blessed Sacrament, St. Monica’s, Resurrection of Our Lord, Holy Family Catholic Community in Hunt Club, St. Elizabeth and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Allen also provided spiritual leadership to the Carleton Catholic Parent-Teachers Association and the Lay Carmelite Community.

He studied at St. Alexander’s College in nearby Ironside, Que., and at St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto, according to a brief 1955 Citizen article about Allen’s ordination.

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