Police have seized computers from St. Patrick’s Church in Caledonia, Ont., as part of an ongoing investigation into child pornography.

Child porn investigation at Caledonia church

By 
  • June 10, 2014

Police have seized computers from St. Patrick’s Church in Caledonia, Ont., as part of an ongoing investigation into child pornography.

No charges have been laid and “the investigation is at a very early stage,” OPP spokesman Constable Mark Foster told The Catholic Register.

The investigation began at the end of May, Foster said. Because the police work is ongoing, Foster could not indicate the source of the complaint.

St. Patrick’s Church is located next door to St. Patrick’s Catholic Elementary School.

Given that police have not named any suspects or laid charges, it is too early to talk about invoking the diocesan policies on allegations of misconduct or the abuse of minors, said Margaret Jong, the Diocese of St. Catharines' director of canonical services. 

“At this point we know nothing. We’re awaiting word from the police, as is everyone,” Jong said.

According to the diocese’s policy St. Catharine’s Bishop Gerard Bergie “may at any stage of the process” suspend clergy, diocesan employees or volunteers subject to an allegation. In the case of priests, the bishop may assign them to an alternate residence pending the outcome of a Church investigation. He may also lift their permission to preach and hear confessions and forbid them from all public ministry including public celebration of the Eucharist.

At this stage, no diocesan investigation has begun. 

“We first of all wait until the police have completed an investigation,” said Jong. “We are not going to interfere or take any action. The bishop will make that decision (about administrative leave and sanctions) as time goes on, if there needs be.”

The St. Catharines' abuse policy was last updated in January of 2013. It is available on the diocesan web site at www.saintcd.com.

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