A Roman Catholic priest whose name has come up during the Cornwall public inquiry into alleged child abuse is proclaiming his innocence after police laid sex-related charges against him this week.
OPP in the Alexandria area have charged Father Lucien Lussier, 84, with three counts of indecent assault on a male in connection with alleged events half a century ago.
"The charges are false," Lussier said when reached yesterday, adding that he is surprised about the allegations."The truth is I'm innocent."
Police say a man filed a complaint last month, prompting an investigation by the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry OPP crime squad.
Sgt. Kristine Rae said the alleged victim claims he was assaulted while visiting Lussier in Alexandria between1954 and 1960. She said the alleged victim would have been between the ages of a pre-teen and a late teen.
The complaint "came in separately" from the Cornwall public inquiry, Rae said.
The Cornwall probe, dubbed the Project Truth inquiry, is sorting out allegations of child abuse by examining the response of the justice system and other public institutions.
The allegations of abuse by prominent local officials, professionals and clergy members date back to the 1950s.
Peter Engelmann, lead commission counsel, told the Sun Lussier is one of the "alleged perpetrators" whose name has come up during the inquiry. Engelmann said two people involved in the inquiry allege being victims of Lussier, but he was not aware of reports to police.
The inquiry can't touch on the criminal allegations against Lussier, Engelmann said. "We are strictly bound not to go there," he said.
Dallas Lee, who is representing a group of alleged abuse victims at the public inquiry, confirmed he has two clients involved in the hearings who have allegations against Lussier. Lee said police contacted the two clients about an investigation.
INQUIRY TO RESUME
It's believed the OPP criminal allegations, however, are connected to a third man.
The inquiry, which resumes Monday, is moving into a new phase of testimony and evidence.
Lussier served as pastor to many parishes in the Alexandria-Cornwall Catholic Diocese. In 1963, he joined St. Lawrence Parish in Curry Hill,where he stayed until 1965. He was pastor of St. William's Parish in Martintown between 1968 and 1972, before being appointed parish priest at St. Alexander's Parish. He became pastor of Our Lady of the Angels in Moose Creek in 1979.
Lussier, who is now retired, is scheduled to appear in court in Alexandria on Nov. 7.
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