Peterborough priest facing sex charges

  • July 27, 2023

UPDATE 2024-03-13: Abuse charges withdrawn against Toronto priest

A 33-year-old Catholic priest is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference with a minor as a result of an investigation by Peterborough Police Service’s Sexual Offences Unit.

Fr. Neil Pereira was arrested July 26, but has been released from custody and is expected to appear in Peterborough court on Aug. 8.

According to a press release from the Peterborough Police Service, sexual interference is “when a person, for a sexual purpose, touches, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, any part of the body of a person under the age of 16 years.”

Ordained a priest on June 27, 2020, by the Archdiocese of Toronto after his studies at St. Augustine’s Seminary, the accused had been serving in Peterborough on loan since June 2022. He was functioning as campus minister for Trent University and Fleming College. He had previously worked as an associate pastor at St. Isaac Jogues Parish in Pickering, Ont.

Peterborough Bishop Daniel Miehm said the diocese received an allegation in June of Pereira engaging in professional and sexual misconduct.

“The allegation was immediately reported to the Children’s Aid Society and the Peterborough Police Services,” stated Miehm. “Fr. Pereira was removed from pastoral ministry upon receipt of the allegation.

“All allegations of abuse and/or misconduct are addressed seriously and thoroughly in accordance with the diocesan policy. Please pray for all those who are impacted by this difficult situation.” 

The Toronto archdiocese also weighed in with a statement that nearly wholly echoed Miehm’s written remarks.

A video feature titled Road to Priesthood: Neil Pereira, which was published to YouTube by the archdiocese on the day of his ordination, is now listed as a private video, now unavailable for public consumption.

Peterborough Police Service opted to reveal Pereira’s identity because “the nature of the offences leads us to concerns there may be other victims.”

Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact Detective Constable Jacob Donnelly at (705) 876-1122 ext. 335, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477

Last modified on March 13, 2024

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