Church court clears priest of immorality

Published September 1, 2003

A church court in the diocese of Algoma has cleared an archdeacon of all misconduct in a case that saw the priest suspended from his duties since Jan. 30. Archdeacon Thomas Corston, a priest in the diocese, was charged last January after a 38-year-old male made a complaint of sexual misconduct. The ecclesiastical (church) court ruled on June 27 that the complainant was “a totally unbelievable witness” and that the allegations were “malicious and constitute a clumsy attempt to extort money from the diocese of Algoma.” Although Sudbury Regional Police investigated the complaint and found no basis for criminal charges, Bishop Ron Ferris referred the charge of immorality to the church court after an investigation by the diocesan response team. Archdeacon Corston, who is the senior aboriginal priest in the diocese, was suspended with pay from his position as rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Sudbury, Ont., pending the outcome of the investigation. He was also relieved of his responsibilities as archdeacon of Sudbury Manitoulin. The court awarded $50,000 in court costs to Archdeacon Corston, to be paid by the diocese. He has resumed his duties as parish priest and archdeacon.


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