Victims Seek Defrocking of Priests

The Chronicle Herald [Canada]
August 19, 2006

LONDON, Ont. (CP) — Four victims of sexual abuse have gone public and demanded that the Roman Catholic diocese of London defrock three priests who have been convicted of sexual crimes.

The male victims of John Harper, Barry Glendinning, and Konnie Przybylski say Bishop Ronald Fabbro should promise to never again employ those priests or other priests convicted of sexual abuse.

Twenty-four-year-old Trevor Kannawin, 44-year-old Ed Swales, 57-year-old Don Bannon and 52-year-old Anthony Devlin have requested the three priests be defrocked in light of the events surrounding another priest Charles Sylvestre, who pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

"Essentially what I think it mostly comes down to is setting an example for future people that may be in the same mindset, people who may be tempted to abuse another child," Kannawin said.

"They've got to know if (they) do this, this is what's going to happen."

The victims spoke out at the London law office of Ledroit Beckett, the provincially appointed and funded representative of the Victims Group in the Cornwall public inquiry, probing how police and other authorities responded to claims of historical child sexual abuse in the area.

Lawyer Robert Talach said Fabbro has committed to defrocking 83-year-old retired priest Sylvestre — who pleaded guilty to 47 counts of sexual abuse over more than 30 years — and the same should happen to other convicted priests.

"These individuals appreciate the final word on this decision rests with the Vatican but they also call on the bishop of the diocese to make a public commitment to never again employee a convicted sex offender priest," Talach said.

Przybylski was sentenced to five years in jail for sexually exploiting and sexually assaulting two boys from his parish from the mid-1990s until 2000.

Przybylski admitted in court that he provided his victims with drinks, cigarettes and gifts, and took them on trips to Europe and the United States.

Bannon said he had just told his family about the abuse two years ago, but has long battled depression, alcoholism and drug abuse.

"Depression for me has been a daily thing all my life," Bannon said. "I don't blame the church per se for what happened to me, I blame the people who were running the church: the priest and his superiors."


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