Fr. Stephen Amasse Photo from Ottawa archdiocese blog

Ottawa priest faces sex charges involving minor

By 
  • December 5, 2014

An Ottawa priest has been charged with two counts each of sexual assault and sexual interference involving a minor under 16.

Fr. Stephen Amesse, 56, was released on $5,000 bail Dec. 4, and ordered to stay away from children.

The Ottawa Police Service Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Section laid the charges after a nine-month investigation of allegations of a 2008 sexual assault in a west end Ottawa church.

“In late February 2014, investigators received a complaint and commenced an investigation into allegations of sexual assault involving a reverend and a young boy who was 14 years old at the time of the offence,” said the Ottawa police in a news release.

“When Fr. Stephen Amesse was criminally charged today, following diocesan protocols in such matters, he was suspended immediately from all ministry,” said Archdiocese of Ottawa communications officer Sarah Du Broy in a news release.

“Archbishop Prendergast extends to the parishioners of St. Patrick's Fallowfield, where Fr. Amesse is pastor, the assurance of his prayers and pastoral care.

These are painful moments in the life of a faith community. May the parishioners know the spiritual support of our entire Catholic community.”

A late vocation to the priesthood, Amesse was ordained in 1999 at age 41. Though he studied at Saint Paul University in the 1980s, Amesse worked in politics for various Liberal politicians, including Industry Minister John Manley and as a researcher for Senator Anne Cools.

Amesse was one of the lay advisors on the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' document From Pain to Hope that issued guidelines for preventing sexual abuse by priests and male religious. As a lay man from the political world, Amesse participated on one of several working groups that provided consultation to the committee that drafted the document. At the time he was a Senate research assistant.

Before being assigned to St. Patrick’s Fallowfield, Amesse oversaw the construction of Holy Spirit parish in Ottawa’s Stittsville section. He received the 2010 Don Bosco Awards Gala’s “Heart of Youth Ministry” award and served as spiritual director for the Challenge Movement.

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