Sex abuse by three Jesuits not reported to have happened locally

Three men served at Regiopolis College and one at St. Mary’s Cathedral, both pictured here in the early 20th Century, have been “credibly accused” of the sexual abuse of minors, according to the Jesuits of Canada. Images viaToronto Public Library Archives.

Three Jesuit priests who spent time in Kingston allegedly sexually abused multiple children. So far, however, none of the incidents of abuse appear to have occurred in the area.

The men — George Topp, William Savoie, and Lorne Trainor — spent time working at Regiopolis College (as it was known prior to becoming Regiopolis Notre Dame Catholic High School) and at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Kingston. All three have since died.

On Monday, Mar. 13, 2023, Jesuits of Canada (JOC) released a list of names of Jesuit members that have been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors that included the three who served in Kingston.

Reached for clarification, José Sánchez, Director of Communications of the JOC, was able to elaborate on the use of the term “credibly accused” to describe the men on the list, saying, “the list deals with allegations where it appears more likely than not that an offence occurred. This includes cases where a Jesuit was accused by credible witnesses, parishioners, civil authorities, or clergy, even if no charges or civil actions were ever forthcoming. For the same reason that the media will not report on an allegation until it is independently verified, the list includes only individuals where evidence of culpability has been presented and verified.”

Sánchez was also able to provide a few more details on the time the men spent serving in Kingston and whether any of the allegations had come from that time in the city, as follows.

The official seal of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, contains the letters ‘IHS,’ much like the gravestones of the three accused men above. These letters represent the first three letters of Jesus’ name in Greek. Image circa 1500s, public domain.

Lorne Trainor served at Regiopolis College from 1954 to 1957 and after him, William Savoie served at Regiopolis College from 1958 to 1960. Both men were credibly accused of multiple allegations but none of those accusations were reported to be from their time in Kingston.

George Topp served from 1962 to 1968 at Regiopolis College and then at St. Mary’s Cathedral from 1993 to 1996. While none of his multiple accusations were reported to have happened in Kingston, a single accusation from another community was reported to the Jesuits through the Diocese of Kingston. 

Kingston Police were also reached for comment on the abuses. Const. Ash Gutheinz, Media Relations Officer for Kingston Police, confirmed that “Our Criminal Investigations Division have no information that any offence in relation to this matter has ever occurred in Kingston.”

However, he clarified that “This does not imply that an offence may not have taken place in our community, but rather that no one has reached out to police to complete a report,” 

Gutheinz further stressed, “We would always implore any potential victims of any crime, especially one of this nature, to reach out to Kingston Police to complete a report which would precipitate further investigation.”

“It is important to do this so that an incident number can be generated and then a subsequent investigation can commence by whichever unit would take carriage of the specific incident/offence, such as the Sexual Assault Unit, Fraud Unit etc.,” said Gutheinz.

Kingston Police encourage anyone who may be the victim of an offence that’s occurred in the community to come forward and report the offence, either by completing an online report or by calling the Kingston Police general phone number at 613-549-4660 ext. 0.

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