Priest pleads guilty to 35 of 62 sex-related charges

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Father George Smith

Rev. George Smith pleaded guilty Monday in court in Cornerbrook, NL to 35 of 62 sex-related charges against boys.

The retired Roman Catholic priest was accused of sexually abusing young males allegedly victimized nine boys during a 20-year period of serving western Newfoundland parishes.

Smith, who last resided in Truro, N.S., turned himself into the RCMP in Corner Brook late last year.

Smith was serving at St. Malachy’s Parish in Kinkora when the investigation was launched. He stepped down and went to live with a family member in Truro.

He had served in several P.E.I. parishes after transferring from Newfoundland in 1990. All of the charges against Smith involve Newfoundland parishes.

He appeared in Corner Brook Supreme Court on Monday morning. Another eight charges will be dealt with Oct. 1.

The bishop of Corner Brook and Labrador, Reverend Peter J. Hundt, responded to the guilty plea entered in provincial court by Smith, of the former Diocese of St. George's, on charges of sexual misconduct.

"We abhor these crimes," said Hundt. "Such an abuse of power over the young and innocent is wrong and is contrary to the Gospel. We regret the pain, hurt and humiliation suffered by these men; we are praying for God's healing grace for them and for their families."

In May 2010 the diocese received information of the alleged sexual misconduct and contacted the RCMP. Following their investigation the RCMP charged Smith with multiple counts of sexual misconduct between 1969 and 1989.

"Along with these men and their families, the whole Catholic community is wounded by such sins committed against the young and the vulnerable. It is a crime that leaves us all in need of healing," said Hundt.

"But if we are a wounded Church and people, we are also a Church and people who believe in, and are committed to working for healing and forgiveness. My door is open and I will gladly offer whatever pastoral support I can to the victims and their families to help them come to terms with their pain and grief."

Organizations: RCMP, Supreme Court, Corner Brook and Labrador

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Truro, Corner Brook Cornerbrook Kinkora St. George's

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Recent comments

  • Jay
    October 23, 2012 - 20:59

    Priest have tobecleibate because of their concern will be for the church and if they are married, their concern will be divided to their wife and children and to church. That's why St. Paul said it. Priest have to deny themselves to be successful as a priest. But we are also human but with Gods guidance and provision one can overcome it. Most priest in the early day, when constantine move his royal palace to turkey, were also monks.

  • Darlene Fall
    September 12, 2012 - 16:14

    My thought is...That if Priests can be allowed to be married,this sort of thing would never happen plus how do we know if the nuns are'nt doing the same thing to girls...If there are gay priests,then there must be lesbian nuns.

    September 11, 2012 - 18:16

    If there is anything at all to be learned about this its that you need to speak up when something like this happens to you! Regardless of what the abuser says to you, you need to tell the authorities. Not a teacher, parent, friend, the AUTHORITIES. I was also abused and did not tell the police and told a teacher and family and nothing was done. This man would not have further molested had he been locked up years ago. The church seems to think prayer is going to help everything and its not. There are just far too many sick people in this world, and this my friends, is one of the reasons I do not practice my Catholic religion anymore or nor does my husband. We are beyond disgusted at so many priests being charged I am not comfortable trusting them now. Not to say its just priests, but they seem to be the most likely as they are celibate, which is another stupid rule.

    September 11, 2012 - 14:34

    In nature all animal's, including man, have some form of sex of some kind, which is normal. Like the above already said, celibary is not normal. Celibary is one of the thing and law's to becoming a priest. Then if it is, they BROKE thier own law or rule. The church think's it above the law, NO THERE NOT.

  • you are right Shawn
    September 11, 2012 - 10:29

    Well said Shawn.

  • Abolish celibacy
    September 11, 2012 - 07:59

    As a survivor of child sexual abuse, my heart goes out to the victims. It is not an easy thing to overcome but it can be done with the right attitude and support system (counseling changed my life). Hopefully, you'll get justice as well. In the future, we could greatly reduce this type of crime if the catholic church would do away with celibacy. Sexual desire is normal. Celibacy is not.

    • paul
      September 11, 2012 - 11:58

      "Sexual desire is normal. Celibacy is not." This is the most profound statement I've heard in a long time. I feel hatred towards these Catholics, I have never been in any of these situations and never will be, I am so sad for all you who were abused in that way. Something bigger needs to happen.

  • Alex Dunn
    September 11, 2012 - 07:07

    With its systematic cover-ups at very high levels, the Romasn Catholic church should be charged as an accessory after the fact and a a conspirator to commit rape. Does the Church understand that they have lost every right to make moral pronouncements on society? Shame.

  • Victim too
    September 11, 2012 - 06:20

    Why can't our churches change the rules and allow priests to marry or have partners?

    • Shawn
      September 11, 2012 - 08:24

      Paedophilia has nothing to do with being married or not. It is the sexual lust, power and control over a child. Many paedophiles are married men and women and it has done nothing to stop them from assaulting children.

    • Sylvia
      September 11, 2012 - 08:37

      I'm in favour of priests marrying or having partners but it won't stop them from sexually abusing children. I was sexually assaulted as a young girl by my sister's husband.

  • Recovering C
    September 11, 2012 - 05:51

    I would be very interested to hear what his definition of "celibacy' is.

  • PEI Eyed
    September 11, 2012 - 01:27

    God give me strength to see past my ANGER!