One priest pleads guilty, another still faces trial on sex charges

Published March 1, 1999

A priest in Nova Scotia has pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting an underage altar boy in the late 1970’s, but the diocese will wait until he is sentenced before deciding how he will be disciplined.

Rev. Wayne Lynch, 49, rector of St. John’s Church, Halifax, entered the guilty plea during a brief provincial court session in Liverpool court in late January.

The charge followed complaints from former Nova Scotia resident Glenn Johnson that the priest performed oral sex and masturbated him while he was 14 and 15 years old and serving as an altar boy on the province’s South Shore.

In a separate case, a second priest, Rev. Michael Boyd, 47, rector of St. Andrew’s Church, Hantsport, is also charged with indecently assaulting Mr. Johnson. His preliminary hearing is slated to begin in March 3 in Liverpool.

In an interview from Winnipeg where he now lives, Mr. Johnson said he’s still struggling with the emotional fallout from the abuse by Fr. Lynch who was supposed to be a guiding force in his life.

“It’s something that has affected every fibre of my being,” he said. “I’ll still be dealing with it for a long time to come.”

Mr. Johnson said the assaults began in 1977, just a few months after he started accompanying Fr. Lynch to parish churches in rural Queens County. They happened in various places, including the Mill Village rectory.

The church will decide what discipline it will impose after Fr. Lynch has been sentenced in court March 29. It is widely anticipated that Fr. Lynch will be asked to relinquish his priesthood.

Archbishop Peters said an offer to help with healing was made to Mr. Johnson through the Crown attorney, but the archbishop said he wasn’t aware of any response from Mr. Johnson.

For his part, Mr. Johnson said he has never been contacted by the diocese. “From what I can see there’s a lot of PR going on and very little healing.”

He said he has contacted a lawyer to discuss the possibility of future legal actions, but nothing will be considered until after Fr. Lynch’s sentencing.



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