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

  • Verdict expected in inquest into Ontario firefighter deaths

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - A verdict is expected today in a coroner's inquest looking into the deaths of two Ontario men during firefighter training exercises. Adam Brunt, a firefighting student, and Gary Kendall, a veteran volunteer firefighter, died five years apart during ice rescue courses involving the same training company. Source
  • NATO members wait to hear where Trump stands on alliance's existence

    World News CBC News
    The new headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization — a massive, state-of-the-art facility that cost more than a billion euros to build — was designed to help the military alliance step boldly into the future. Source
  • Soldliers flow into besieged Philippine city in effort to restore control

    World News CTV News
    MARAWI, Philippines -- Army tanks packed with soldiers have rolled into a southern Philippine city to try to restore control after militants linked to Islamic State group launched a violent siege. Thousands of civilians have been fleeing the city of some 200,000 people. Source
  • Soldiers flow into besieged Philippine city in effort to restore control

    World News CTV News
    MARAWI, Philippines - Army tanks packed with soldiers rolled into a southern Philippine city Thursday to try to restore control after ISIS-linked militants launched a violent siege that sent thousands of people fleeing for their lives and raised fears of extremists gaining traction in the country. Source
  • Police make 2 more arrests over Manchester bombing

    World News CBC News
    Police have arrested two more people and are searching a new site in Manchester, U.K., suspected of links to the bombing that killed 22 people at a pop concert. Greater Manchester Police say two men were arrested overnight in Manchester and in the Withington area in the south of the city. Source
  • Firefighters fighting 6 alarm blaze at Toronto recycling facility

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - Firefighters were battling a large blaze at a recycling facility near Toronto's waterfront early Thursday. There was no word of any injuries in the six-alarm blaze (at Cherry St. and Commissioners St. Source
  • Firefighters battling large blaze at Toronto recycling facility

    Canada News CBC News
    Firefighters were battling a large blaze at a recycling facility near Toronto's waterfront early Thursday. There was no word of any injuries in the six-alarm blaze at Cherry Street and Commissioners Street. GFL fire in Toronto now a 5 Alarm blaze. Source
  • Soldiers roll into Philippine city besieged by ISIS-linked militants

    World News CBC News
    Army tanks packed with soldiers rolled into a southern Philippine city Thursday as gunfire and explosions rang out after militants linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group torched buildings, seized more than a dozen Catholic hostages and raised their black flag. Source
  • Trump set to meet with concerned NATO, EU leaders

    World News CTV News
    BRUSSELS - Visiting a city he once called a "hellhole" to meet with the leaders of an alliance he threatened to abandon, U.S. President Donald Trump will be in the heart of Europe on Thursday to address a continent still reeling from his election and anxious about his support. Source
  • Reporter alleges Montana Republican hopeful body-slammed him

    World News CTV News
    BOZEMAN, Mont. - Witnesses said the Republican candidate for Montana's sole congressional seat body-slammed a reporter Wednesday, the day before the polls close in the nationally watched special election. Greg Gianforte was in a private office preparing for an interview with Fox News when Guardian newspaper reporter Ben Jacobs came in without permission, campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon said. Source