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

  • Armed gang steals toilet paper rolls in panic-buying hit Hong Kong

    World News CTV News
    HONG KONG, CHINA -- Armed robbers who stole hundreds of toilet rolls were being hunted by Hong Kong police on Monday, in a city wracked by shortages caused by coronavirus panic-buying. Toilet rolls have become hot property in the densely packed business hub, despite government assurances that supplies remain unaffected by the virus outbreak. Source
  • Rival Democrats accuse Bloomberg of trying to 'buy' election

    World News CTV News
    CARSON CITY, NEV. -- With the Nevada caucuses less than a week away, Democratic presidential candidates campaigning this weekend were fixated on a rival who wasn't contesting the state. Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg all targeted billionaire Mike Bloomberg, accusing him of buying his way into the election and making clear they were eager to take him on in a debate. Source
  • Inside the meeting between Mohawks and Canada's Indigenous services minister

    Canada News CBC News
    Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller asked the Mohawks of Tyendinaga to temporarily halt a demonstration that has shut down one of Canada's most important rail corridors and allow trains through, a leaked recording of the closed-door meeting reveals. Source
  • Canadian cruise ship evacuees frustrated with additional quarantine period

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Canadian evacuees of the Diamond Princess cruise ship currently docked in Yokohama, Japan, have expressed frustration over the additional quarantine period awaiting them once they return to Canada.Read more about the Diamond Princess evacuations Source
  • 10 years later, residents still waiting for a school in Olympic Village

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- Parents living in Vancouver's Olympic Village neighbourhood are frustrated with the lack of options when it comes to sending their kids to school. “Anybody that says kids don't live in condos -- that is just an out dated belief," said Lisa McAllister, who lives in Olympic Village with her family of four. Source
  • China sees rise in new virus cases, death toll rises by 105

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- Mainland China on Monday reported a slight upturn in new virus cases and an increase by 105 in deaths caused by the illness for a total of 1,770 since the outbreak began. The 2,048 new cases followed three days of declines but was up by just 39 cases from the previous day's figure. Source
  • 'Unfathomable': Search to continue Monday for body of 9-year-old boy in Lake Erie

    Canada News CBC News
    Locals watched the icy water with helplessness, as a recovery search continued Sunday for the nine-year-old boy who fell into Lake Erie on Saturday afternoon. "It's just so insanely tragic. And on a Family Day weekend of all the times," said Denice McKenzie, who lives in the small, close-knit community of Peacock Point, Ont. Source
  • N.B. premier cancels controversial plan to close rural ERs overnight

    Canada News CBC News
    New Brunswick premier Blaine Higgs has announced he's backing away from the controversial plan to close six emergency departments between midnight and 8 a.m. in a month's time. Higgs issued a news release shortly before 8 p.m. Source
  • U.S. man pleads guilty over plot to obtain stolen TVs worth US$1M

    World News CTV News
    GREENBELT, MD. -- Federal prosecutors in Maryland are recommending a prison sentence of more than five years for a man who pleaded guilty to conspiring to obtain hundreds of stolen televisions worth more than US$1 million. Source
  • Wales bears the brunt as deadly storm Dennis hammers the U.K.

    World News CBC News
    Storm Dennis hammered Britain on Sunday, bringing a month's worth of rain in just 48 hours to parts of South Wales, which bore the brunt of the country's second severe storm inside a week. Rivers across Britain burst their banks and a number of severe flood warnings remained in place as authorities strove to get people to safety and to protect homes and businesses. Source