Toronto pastor charged in historical sex assault speaks out

A well-known Toronto pastor charged in a historical 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

  • Libraries in Canada hit by wave of hate, threats, as right-wing groups protest all-age drag events

    Canada News CBC News
    Family-friendly drag events across Canada, many hosted by municipal libraries, have been targeted by a deluge of hateful comments and threats during Pride month, prompting multiple police investigations and renewed concerns about the safety of the LGBTQ community. Source
  • The pandemic upset how we assess students. Experts worry that's also hampered recovery efforts

    Canada News CBC News
    Some young learners are struggling to build early reading skills while others stumble over math concepts. Repeated pandemic pivots have left students out of practice with classroom learning, impacted their mental health and distanced them from peers. Source
  • Canada can now seize, sell off Russian assets. What's next?

    Canada News CBC News
    Selling Russian-owned assets to pay for Ukraine's reconstruction may sound like a logical approach to restitution, but as the Canadian government gains new powers to begin this process, questions remain about how it will work, and whether some issues are headed to court. Source
  • Parents, caregivers face new juggling act as employers evaluate work-from-home policies

    Canada News CBC News
    There's no daily commute for Amy McQuaid-England these days. That's because she's advising clients on social media matters from her home in Brighton, Ont., without having to cross her doorstep. The communications professional said this "life-changing" style of flexible work allows her to manage the needs of her young family while also managing her business. Source
  • Zelensky expected to ask for more support in address to G7 leaders

    World News CBC News
    The ongoing war in Ukraine will move from being an distant conflict to something more tangible for the leaders of the world's seven wealthiest democracies on Monday with an address by the embattled country's president. Volodymyr Zelensky said he's going to tell G7 leaders that despite their efforts to arms his country and to isolate the regime of Russia President Vladimir Putin, more needs to be done — and fast. Source
  • Connecting Indigenous inmates to their culture: Grand Chief performs at Manitoba prison

    Canada News CTV News
    Behind prison walls, National Indigenous People’s Day was celebrated this month, with inmates at a Manitoba federal prison granted access to music, drumming and sharing circles — positive steps forward to reconnect Indigenous inmates with their culture and rehabilitate a group that is incarcerated at a disproportionate rate. Source
  • Infrastructure fixes to halt floods on Peguis First Nation sorely needed, emergency head says

    Canada News CBC News
    All levels of government need to come together to help solve flood-related infrastructure issues on Manitoba's largest First Nation, the community's director of emergency management says. "There is serious work to do," said William Sutherland in an interview Sunday, as the flood-battered community north of Winnipeg was toiling to again try and shore up structures, roads and homes on Peguis First Nation as water levels rise from recent rainfall. Source
  • Infrastructure fixes to halt floods on Peguis First Nation sorely needed, leaders say

    Canada News CBC News
    All levels of government need to come together to help solve flood-related infrastructure issues on Manitoba's largest First Nation, the community's director of emergency management says. "There is serious work to do," said William Sutherland in an interview Sunday, as the flood-battered community north of Winnipeg was toiling to again try and shore up structures, roads and homes on Peguis First Nation as water levels rise from recent rainfall. Source
  • Lawyer releases pages from Brian Laundrie's notebook in which he admits to killing Gabby Petito

    World News CTV News
    WARNING: This story contains details that may be disturbing The attorney for the family of Brian Laundrie on Friday released eight pages from Laundrie's notebook that was found near his remains in Florida in October last year, according to a news release obtained by CNN affiliate WINK. Source
  • Pride marked by celebrations, arrests and grief around the world

    Canada News CBC News
    After a pandemic hiatus, Pride events returned to many cities around the world on Sunday. Streets were once again filled with celebrations and parades, but many others were held under drastically different moods. Here's a look at how Pride was marked around the world: Source