In the pic: Father Ashok Mascarenhas (Left)
He has returned to his native India, where he is under the care of his religious community.
An Indian priest serving in Canada is withdrawn from duty and sent back to India, after a police investigation that netted no charges. He was being investigated for allegations of undisclosed abuse, the Archdiocese of Edmonton has confirmed.
Parishioners at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Fort Saskatchewan were told on March 19 that Father Ashok Mascarenhas — who had been with the church since 2013 — has been withdrawn from service at the church, after complaints spurred a police investigation.
“The Archdiocese of Edmonton was informed this week by the Fort Saskatchewan Police that their investigation into complaints made against Fr. Ashok Mascarenhas has concluded, and that no criminal charges will be laid,” reads the letter to parishioners, sent by Lorraine Turchansky, director of communications and public relations of the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton.
“Nevertheless, the Archbishop has determined that there was not full adherence to the code of ministerial conduct expected of all ministers of the Gospel.
“For this reason, the decision to remove Fr. Ashok from priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Edmonton remains in effect. He has returned to his native India, where he is under the care of his religious community.”
In an interview with the News, Turchansky said she could not comment on the investigation or what it was in regards to, adding: “It certainly does not involve a criminal offence.”
“The fact is that standards are really high right now and the church is really vigilant about making sure that everyone is protected and in a safe environment. So that’s really the bottom line here,” she said, adding that what Mascarenhas was accused of is in contravention of that policy.
Turchansky pointed to a portion of the Archdiocese of Edmonton’s policies and procedures, specifically noting the section on abuses, which includes physical abuse, verbal abuse, and sexual abuse.
When asked which type of abuse the investigation was in relation to, Turchansky said: “We’re really not commenting (or) making any public statement on the specific nature of this case.”
Due to there being no charges laid, Fort Saskatchewan Police would not release the nature of the investigation.
“I don’t… want to give up too much, obviously, for the protection of victims and so on,” said Const. Sean Avery of the Fort Saskatchewan Police.
“The investigation here… they did some talks and not all (allegations) were substantiated,” Avery explained, adding: “In this case, I think the actions that were taken (by Mascarenhas) were inappropriate in nature, but were not looking to the extent of any sort of sex crimes… It was leaning on the borders, I guess, would be as good a way to put it.”
Source: Sherwood Park News