Credits: CHRISTOPHER SMITH/QMI AGENCY
Rev. William Hodgson (Hod) Marshall was released from jail in early October after serving part of a two-year sentence. Marshall was convicted in June 2011 of 17 counts of sexual assault against 16 children and one woman in Toronto, Windsor, Cambridge and Sudbury, ON.
Marshall, 89, served as a priest and educator in this area for 21 years. He taught at St. Charles College from 1961-1970, during which time at least two parents complained to school and Basilian officials that their sons were sexually abused by Marshall. At the time, St. Charles was an all-boys school, although it is co-ed today.
Marshall was transferred from St. Charles in 1970, returning three years later as principal and serving another five years at the school.
Rev. Timothy Scott, spokesman for the Basilian Fathers, said the head of the order visited Marshall while he was in jail and requested he ask to be dismissed. Canon or church law enacted in 2002 doesn't give the order the authority to defrock priests, Scott said this week. Only the Vatican does.
As far as Scott knows, Marshall has not yet received a reply to his letter to the Pope, which was written a few months ago.
Whatever the outcome, the Basilian order has made it clear it will provide Marshall with a place to live out his remaining years, at one of its homes for retired priests.
Marshall hasn't functioned as a priest "in any way, shape or form" for some time, said Scott.
But a lawyer representing several of Marshall's victims in civil lawsuits against him and the Basilian Fathers said that is not true.
Rob Talach said Marshall receives a pension for being a priest, is in receipt of Canadian Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits, and may even have a teacher's pension.
As far as Scott knows, this is the first instance in which the Basilians have asked a priest to seek to be dismissed.