Sexual assault charges against Calgary pastor withdrawn
Published Thursday, June 20, 2019 10:42AM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 20, 2019 7:01PM MDT
A Catholic priest who had faced multiple charges following a police investigation into allegations of sexual assault has had the charges against him withdrawn.
On Thursday, the Crown withdrew charges against Malcolm Joe D'Souza in a hearing that lasted less than a minute.In withdrawing the charges, Crown prosecutor Elliot Baker told provincial court judge Margaret Keelaghan simply "I am advising the court all charges are being withdrawn."
Father D'Souza, a former pastor at St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church in Marlborough Park, was charged with one count of sexual assault in January of 2019. The priest had been accused of inappropriately touching a woman at the church on several occasions in 2012. An additional three charges of sexual assault and two counts of unlawful touching of a person under the age of 16 were laid against D'Souza in February 2019.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary removed D'Souza from a local parish, placed him on administrative leave and prohibited him from 'exercising any priestly ministry' in late 2018 after the allegations against him surfaced.
Balfour Der, D'Souza's lawyer, says the past six months have taken a huge toll on his client.
"I can tell you that the man was devastated by the charges in the first place and in essence being removed by the church," said Der. "When I gave him the news that the charges were going to be withdrawn he was very emotional on the brink of tear”
Speaking outside court, Der said "they were accusations that, from our perspective, that just couldn’t seem to have happened at the times and places they were alleged to have occurred, and I’m sure when the prosecution examined it the came to the same conclusion."
D'Souza served at St Mark's from 2010 through 2016.