Friday, October 23, 2009

Just because...'s in the news and not a surprise.

Canadian missionary arrested on sex charges in Dominican

Date: Thursday Oct. 22, 2009 6:08 PM ET

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — A Canadian missionary who once served as a Roman Catholic priest in the southwestern Ontario border city of Windsor has been arrested in the Dominican Republic on charges of sexually exploiting teen boys, police said Thursday.

The Ontario Provincial Police issued a statement confirming that Joao Jose Corriera Duarte, also known as John Duarte, was arrested earlier this week near the Dominican city of Puerto Plata.

The 44-year-old Duarte is facing nine counts of sexual exploitation related to the alleged abuse of young boys in Haiti, where he had been working as a missionary. Earlier media reports said he was facing 12 charges.

Police say the alleged offences took place over a 10-year period starting in 1995.

Duarte is currently in custody in the Dominican and will be extradited to Canada, said police, who credited the arrest to a collaborative investigation between provincial and federal authorities, in co-operation with local officers in the Dominican.

Duarte had a long history of missionary work in Haiti, where a former parishioner said he relocated permanently in 2003.

Marcia Spratt knew Duarte when he was pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Windsor.

In 2001 Spratt and her husband also joined the charity she said Duarte helped to found, Hearts Together for Haiti, where they currently serve as co-ordinators of the child sponsorship program.

Spratt said Duarte, who spoke Creole, had been admired for the dedication he showed to his cause of improving life in the impoverished island country. She described the allegations against her former pastor as shocking and "devastating."

"He was such a wonderful, compassionate, charismatic person," she said. "It shook my faith. It shook my very being."

Spratt said she fears for the future of the charity Duarte helped to launch, saying the situation may discourage potential donors.

"We're just really, really concerned that this might ruin Hearts Together for Haiti. It's a big fear that we have, because people might not want to be involved with a charity that has big problems like this."

Obviously this window was designed by someone who understood all too well that perverts infiltrate the ranks of the ministry. Makes me wonder what their story is.


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