Toronto pastor charged in historic sex assault speaks out

A well-known Toronto pastor charged in a historic sex assault has spoken publicly for the first time since the allegations.

See Full Article

Rev. Brent Hawkes denied all wrongdoing at a service on Sunday morning at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto.

“I want to be clear. I am innocent of these allegations,” Hawkes told the congregation. “For 38 years, I have fought with all that I have for equality for our community.”

According to the RCMP, the 65-year-old pastor is facing indecent assault and gross indecency charges related to an alleged sexual assault in Nova Scotia dating back to the 1970s.

Hawkes said he is confident his innocence will be proven in court.

“I have a faith that will sustain me and a faith in the Canadian justice system,” he said. "I wish I could say more but everything I have to say will now be said in court.”

The case went to court for the first time on Feb. 1 in Kentville, N.S., where Hawkes was represented by a Halifax lawyer. That lawyer is assisting Hawkes’ attorney, Clayton Ruby, with the trial.

According to court documents, the allegations against Hawkes date back to between Aug. 1, 1974 and Dec. 31, 1975 at, or near Greenwood, N.S.

Crown prosecutor Bob Morrison described the charges to CTV Atlantic in an interview last Tuesday.

“The subject matter of them is sexual contact with the boy and during the time when Mr. Hawkes would've been an adult and the complainant would have been a minor,” Morrison said.

Morrison said Hawkes was a teacher in Kings County at the time of the alleged assault, but couldn’t say if there was a teacher-student connection.

Hawkes, who officiated former NDP leader Jack Layton's state funeral, has been a pastor at the Metropolitan Community Church for nearly four decades.

He is an Order of Canada member and is best known for his gay rights activism.

At Sunday’s service, a board member at the church said the institution intends to stand behind the pastor, whom it considers a man of "high integrity and an inspirational community leader."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • California sues Trump administration to prevent border wall

    World News Toronto Sun
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s attorney general sued the Trump administration Wednesday over its plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, arguing it’s overstepping its authority by waiving environmental reviews and other laws. The suit filed by Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a Democrat, makes arguments similar to those in a lawsuit brought last week by advocacy groups. Source
  • Battle against ISIS in Raqqa is in 'final stages,' force says

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT -- The battle for the Islamic State group's de-facto Syria capital, Raqqa, has reached its "final stages," the Syrian Democratic Forces said Wednesday, almost four months after the U.S.-backed force launched an assault on the self-proclaimed capital of the militant group. Source
  • 4 in 10 Canadians think science is a matter of opinion, poll suggests

    Canada News CBC News
    Are scientific findings a matter of opinion? Forty-three per cent of Canadians agree that they are, suggests a new poll. The survey found widespread concerns about fake news — 66 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement that "false information reported as fact (so called 'fake news') is affecting your knowledge of science. Source
  • Police release security footage of suspect in Toronto steakhouse shooting

    Canada News CTV News
    Toronto Police have released security camera footage that shows the suspect in the Saturday night shooting death of real estate broker Simon Giannini. “It’s very important to note that video distorts colours,” homicide detective Shannon Dawson cautioned during a press conference Wednesday. Source
  • Roofs, doors ripped off as Hurricane Maria slams Puerto Rico: ‘This is going to be a disaster’ [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — One of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit Puerto Rico pummeled the island Wednesday as officials warned it would decimate the power company’s crumbling infrastructure and force the government to rebuild dozens of communities. Source
  • Neo-Nazi group founder to plead guilty to having explosives

    World News Toronto Sun
    TAMPA, Fla. — The leader of a small Florida-based neo-Nazi group is expected to enter guilty pleas to two charges of having explosives that were found in his apartment’s garage by federal investigators. An attorney for 22-year-old Brandon Russell said Wednesday that Russell will plead guilty in a federal court in Tampa to possessing a destructive device and storing explosive material. Source
  • Death toll jumps to 225 in massive Mexican earthquake: 'Every minute counts to save lives' [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    MEXICO CITY — Police, firefighters and ordinary Mexicans dug frantically through the rubble of collapsed schools, homes and apartment buildings early Wednesday, looking for survivors of Mexico’s deadliest earthquake in decades as the number of confirmed fatalities stood at 217. Source
  • Charges laid in traffic-snarling motorcycle stunts on Toronto-area highways

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- An investigation into a series of dangerous motorcycle stunts that snarled traffic on major highways in and around the Toronto area this summer has led to 48 charges, provincial police announced Wednesday. In announcing the charges against more than 10 people, police displayed video and some of the five motorbikes they seized during search warrants executed this week Source
  • 10 bucks a gram considered for recreational pot price in Ontario

    Canada News CBC News
    The government of Ontario is looking at setting retail prices for recreational marijuana in the range of $10 a gram, CBC News has learned. Until now, the provincial government has been reluctant to make public any specific figures about the price of pot, the expected demand or potential revenues from taxation once cannabis is legalized across Canada next July. Source
  • Retired Mountie headed to U.S. prison for smuggling narwhal tusks

    Canada News CTV News
    BANGOR, Maine -- A retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer accused of smuggling narwhal tusks has been sentenced to five years and two months in U.S. prison. Prosecutors say Gregory Logan, of Saint John, N.B. Source