Police reviewing case of B.C. priest who admitted misconduct

Published November 1, 2007

Victoria police are investigating an admission of sexual misconduct made by a priest from the diocese of British Columbia who resigned on Sept. 15.

Rev. Antonio Osorio, former rector of St. Saviour’s church, was a prominent cleric in the Victoria-based diocese when he stepped down from his parish position.

“It’s not anything to do with kids,” Sgt. Grant Hamilton of Victoria West police told the Times Colonist newspaper. “The church notified the department about the priest’s relationship with an adult female. We’re just reviewing the information. We’re trying to determine if there is something of a criminal nature.”

The diocese said it was continuing its own investigation into the sexual misconduct case.

Mr. Osorio, who is married with a young child, was known in the diocese for his advocacy for the poor and for championing the cause of same-sex blessings in the church.

Meanwhile, as a result of Mr. Osorio’s departure, the parish has indefinitely suspended its Rainbow Kitchen ministry, which provides lunches to seniors, the homeless, the mentally ill and other poor residents of the area. After consultations with various groups in Victoria that are involved in providing services to the poor, the parish also decided not to participate in the Out of the Rain or Out of the Cold programs for the homeless this winter.

“St. Saviour’s has been assured that this decision will not jeopardize the safety of those who have used these services,” said Rev. David Opheim, the parish’s interim priest-in-charge.

Mr. Opheim said the parish would consult with the diocese on how best to manage funds that have been allocated to the ministries – the Rainbow Kitchen had a balance of about $49,000, and another account designated for the homeless contained $41,000.

The Welcome House ministry, a shelter for refugee and immigrant women and their children fleeing domestic violence initiated by Mr. Osorio – a Colombian refugee when he arrived in Canada in 1998 – will continue.


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