Saskatchewan priest facing extradition to Scotland on sex abuse charges

REGINA — A retired Catholic priest living in Saskatchewan is facing extradition to Scotland on decades-old abuse charges.

The Archdiocese of Regina says Rev. Robert MacKenzie is accused of physical and sexual abuse from when he worked at two schools in Scotland from the 1950s to the 1980s.

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The archdiocese says Scottish authorities have obtained a surrender order from Canada's Ministry of Justice authorizing the extradition.

Al McIntyre, MacKenzie's lawyer, said Tuesday that his client is devastated and will be looking for a judicial review of the decision.

He said MacKenzie has lived in Canada for the better part of 30 years without a blemish to his name and maintains his innocence, McIntyre said.

In the meantime, Deacon Eric Gurash of the Regina archdiocese said Scotland is putting together a care plan to transport MacKenzie to stand trial there.

MacKenzie is in his mid-80s. During his time with the archdiocese, he mostly served in small communities around Regina, Gurash said.

He joined the Regina archdiocese in 1988 and retired in 2002.

Scottish police began investigating MacKenzie in 2013 and criminal proceedings were underway by 2017.

Upon learning about the investigation in Scotland, Gurash said the archdiocese held meetings in parishes where MacKenzie had served to determine if there were any other reports of abuse.

"We've not received any allegations," Gurash said.

Archbishop Donald Bolen of Regina recently sent a letter to pastors and parishes explaining that MacKenzie was to be extradited. He said MacKenzie was moved two years ago from a rectory to a retirement home, "where his movement and activities were further restricted."

"As more revelations regarding the outstanding criminal sexual allegations pending against (Father) MacKenzie in Scotland were brought to our attention, his faculties to minister as a priest were suspended," Bolen wrote.

A spokesman for Scotland's prosecution service said he could not release details of the charges but did say no trial date had been set.

In a statement to The Canadian Press, a spokeswoman for the federal department also said it could not provide any details on the case because of a publication ban.

© Kamsack Times