11 Dec 2010

Trial set to begin for retired Canadian priest, former school principal, charged with sex abuse of child, court records sealed

Canwest News Service - Windsor Star - Canada May 21, 2010

Former Ontario priest, 87, charged with sexual abuse

By Frances Willick, Windsor Star

WINDSOR, Ont. — A Basilian priest and former Windsor, Ont., high school principal who is now in his late-80s, has been charged with sexually abusing a child in an allegation that dates back to the 1980s.

Rev. William Hodgson (Hod) Marshall, 87, appeared in court Wednesday to face a charge of sexual abuse for incidents that occurred while he was working at a Windsor school from 1981 to 1985.

It is unclear which school Marshall was serving during the years the alleged incidents took place, and it is unknown whether his alleged victim was a student.

Windsor police said the investigation started “a while back,” but police were unable to share details of the case Thursday night.

A statement from the religious order expressed sympathy for any victims of sexual abuse.

“The Basilian Fathers are deeply concerned and regretful that one of their members is alleged to have abused a minor,” reads a statement issued by the General Council of the Congregation of Priests of St. Basil. “Our hearts and minds turn immediately to the victim who has come forward.”

By 1993, he had retired from the school system and had moved to St. Lucia to carry out missionary work.

He didn’t lose his connection with Windsor after moving south, though. The priest spearheaded projects that brought students to the Caribbean island to build homes and to help with the construction of schools and daycares.

Marshall retired from the public ministry in 1997 and moved to a residence for Basilian priests in Toronto.

While working in northern Ontario, “Father Hod” became known as the “basketball priest” for his dedicated attendance at games.

“Anything I can get students interested in, I will,” he told The Windsor Star in 1985. “And I attend everything I can. I like to get in there and see the kids, see them doing something worthwhile and developing their talents.”

Neither Marshall nor representatives of the Catholic school board could be reached for comment Thursday evening.

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Houston Chronicle - Texas June 21, 2010

Ex-priest charged in Canada boy's sex abuse

By Allan Turner | Houston Chronicle

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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