In the fall of 2018 following the disclosure of global sexual abuse by clergy and on the advice and prompting of some victim-survivors as well as many others searching for justice, Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, appointed a Committee to conduct a file review of historical cases of sexual abuse by clergy who served or resided in the
Archdiocese of Vancouver.
The first step consisted of three members of the Committee — two lawyers, together with the Archdiocesan lawyer and Chair of the Committee — beginning the work of reviewing files dealing with known historical cases of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Vancouver. These lawyers compiled summaries of each case.
On Saturday, 27 October 2018 the Committee members gathered for the first time to begin the work of discussing findings, seeking ways to improve protocols, and exploring improved practices of outreach and care for the victim-survivors. At each of the Committee meetings, case summaries of each file were presented to the Committee members by the three lawyers.
In a report released today by the Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, which details the committee findings about the awareness of 36 criminal sexual assault cases by priests since the 1950s, including 26 involving children, the report also includes formerly unknown details about a priest who served on Salt Spring Island after being convicted of sexual assault while serving as a priest in other communities.
John McCann, born 1928 and who died in 2018 was charged and convicted in 1991 of six counts relating to the sexual abuse of girls under the age of 16 in the 1970s. He served 10 months in jail. The abuse occurred when he was serving at the St. Augustin's Parish between 1972 and 1973, and St. Peter's in New Westminster between 1975 and 1990. The Archdiocese of Vancouver removed his faculties but, unknown to the Archdiocese, he subsequently served as a priest on Salt Spring Island in the Diocese of Victoria and in the Archdiocese of Ottawa.
The archdiocese is working on a new policy integrating report recommendations with Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse issued by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.