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

  • Manchester bomber identified as local man of Libyan descent

    World News CTV News
    MANCHESTER, England -- The man who police say blew himself up in a packed concert arena in Manchester, killing 22 people, did not make a strong impression on his neighbours. Residents of the Manchester suburb of modest brick semi-detached homes where 22-year-old Salman Abedi lived remembered seeing the tall, thin young man who often wore traditional Islamic dress. Source
  • 'It was just sheer chaos': Ariana Grande fans describe attack

    World News CTV News
    MANCHESTER, England -- Rihanna Hardy had been excited about seeing Ariana Grande ever since she got her concert ticket as a gift at Christmas. So when the day came, the 11-year-old left school a couple of hours early to make sure to get to Manchester Arena on time. Source
  • Uber admits to underpaying NYC drivers by millions of dollars

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Uber has admitted to underpaying its New York City drivers tens of millions of dollars for the past 2 1/2 years. The ride-hailing company on Tuesday said each affected driver would get a refund of about $900, which includes interest. Source
  • N.S. boy clothes the homeless to cope with father's tragic death

    Canada News CTV News
    Ken Gordon was known for dropping everything to help anyone who needed it. The 54-year-old was killed at the side of a Nova Scotia highway while checking the cargo in the back of his truck in March. Source
  • Montreal schizophrenia patients face their demons through virtual reality

    Canada News CBC News
    A pilot project at Montreal's Philippe-Pinel Institute has patients with schizophrenia confronting voices that torment them by way of a virtual reality experience. The project, developed by psychiatrist and researcher Alexandre Dumais, allows patients to create computer-generated avatars that look and talk like the demons they face inside their heads. Source
  • OPP officer charged with criminal harassment and 2 counts sexual assault

    Canada News CTV News
    SMITHS FALLS, Ont. - An eastern Ontario provincial police is facing charges in an ongoing domestic investigation. They say the investigation stems from incidents that are alleged to have occurred while the officer was off duty. Source
  • Online threat against Sophie Grégoire Trudeau leads to arrest of Lethbridge woman

    Canada News CBC News
    A Lethbridge, Alta. woman is facing charges after allegedly posting threats online against Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The RCMP's Integrated National Security Enforcement Team based in Alberta — K-INSET — was alerted to the threats made against the Canadian government on May 11 and an arrest was made the next day. Source
  • 'Keep your kids close': Winnipeg parents give tearful plea after son drowns

    Canada News CBC News
    The parents of a nine-year-old boy who drowned over the weekend have a desperate plea to other parents as they prepare to say goodbye to their beloved son one last time.Boy who died in Rushing River was from WinnipegPolice investigate boy's death in Rushing River Provincial Park?"Just keep your kids a little closer and love them up a little more because shit could change in a minute," said Trevor Thomas. Source
  • Thunder Bay, Ont., police chief charged with breach of trust, obstructing justice

    Canada News CTV News
    ORILLIA, Ont. -- The police chief of a northwestern Ontario city is facing charges following a five-month investigation into alleged criminal wrongdoing. Ontario Provincial Police say Jean Paul Levesque, 53, of Thunder Bay, Ont. Source
  • Two men in Indonesia caned dozens of times for having gay sex [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA - Two men in Indonesia’s Aceh province were publicly caned dozens of times Tuesday for consensual gay sex, a punishment that intensifies an anti-gay backlash in the world’s most populous Muslim country and which rights advocates denounced as “medieval torture. Source