EDMONTON – A spokesperson for the B.C. diocese where Reverend Gordon Dominey currently works said it is surprising to hear of the charges the priest is facing.
On Saturday, the Edmonton Police Service announced it is laying five charges of sexual assault and five charges of gross indecency against Dominey. The charges stem from five alleged incidents at the Edmonton Youth Development Centre in the 1980s. The complainants were all youth at the incarceration facility at the time of the alleged incidents.
Staff Sgt. Devin Laforce said two complainants came forward to police in September 2015 with the allegations.
He said police found three additional complainants during the course of their investigation.
The complainants were between the ages of 14 and 17 at the time of the alleged incidents.
“There’s a lot of complexities with sexual assault. It’s generally known it’s an underreported crime to police. It took a period of time until they were ready in a time in their life to come forward to police,” he said.
Laforce said police are still putting the pieces together.
“We believe the accused was actively offending between 1985 and 1989. We don’t believe we have the whole story as far as what this accused was doing during this time frame.”
Dominey remains in custody in Coquitlam. There is no word on when he will be transported to Edmonton to face those charges. No court dates have been set.
George Cadman, the Chancellor and Chief Legal Officer for the Diocese of New Westminster, told Global News that Dominey became licensed as a priest in the diocese in July 1990. He currently serves as the interim minister at St. Catherine’s Church in North Vancouver.
“He’s been in ministry in varying positions here since then,” Cadman said. He would not release the names of the other parishes where Dominey worked.
“We’ve had at no time any suggestion of any issue with Gordon. Certainly there’s nothing of that sort that has occurred in this diocese. To the contrary, he’s got a very good reputation in this diocese as a pastor and leader,” Cadman said.
“We were, to say the least, surprised… when we learned he had been taken into custody.”
Dominey provided a criminal record check to the diocese last year.
WATCH: Cadman says they’re in shock about the news. Tanya Beja reports.
Cadman said the church was aware Dominey had been arrested Thursday but leaders were not made aware of the allegations until contacted by Global News on Saturday.
However, he said the church knew Dominey was being investigated by police but it chose not to have Dominey take a step back from his duties.
“It’s my understanding that that question may have been asked by officials in the Diocese of Edmonton and there was no indication from the Edmonton police that any precautions were necessary,” he said.
Dominey has been placed on administrative leave indefinitely.
The accused was arrested without incident in Coquitlam, B.C. on Feb. 4.
Police believe there may be additional victims and witnesses. Investigators are asking anyone with information about “Father Gord” to come forward and contact the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone.
Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm.
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