Priest Guilty of Sex Abuse

Calgary Sun [Canada]
August 4, 2006

Chatham, Ont. -- A retired southwestern Ontario priest admitted in court yesterday he sexually abused dozens of young girls be-tween 1954 and 1985.

Charles Sylvestre, who pleaded guilty to 47 of 61 sex abuse charges, will be sentenced Oct. 6.

In court statements, the victims detailed how Sylvestre used candy to lure young girls to sit on his lap while he fondled them.

All of the victims were between the ages of nine and 14 at the time of the assaults.

Defence lawyer Andrew Bradie said Sylvestre, 83, doesn't even remember some of his offences.

The charges against Sylvestre included indecent assault, sexual assault, and sexual intercourse with a female under 14 years of age.

Carol Ann Mieras, one of several victims whose names are not under a publication ban, said Sylvestre's admission of guilt was a long time coming.

"I have tried for many, many years, on many different occasions, to highlight the abuse," Mieras said.

"At least now it's out in the public and I hope that it will bring other people forward."

After the guilty plea was entered, the diocese of London issued an apology, expressing deep regret.


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