Priest convicted of sex crimes returns to N.S. church
Published Tuesday, January 31, 2012 6:25PM AST
Some parishioners in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Royal are upset that a priest who was convicted of sex crimes is being allowed back into their church.
Reverend Wayne Lynch was convicted of indecently assaulting a 14-year-old altar boy in the 1970s.
The Right Reverend Ron Cutler says Lynch has slowing been regaining responsibilities for the past 10 years at St. Luke's Anglican Church and is preaching again.
"He can preach and read the gospel as part of Sunday liturgy but he has no pastor responsibilities," says Cutler. "He doesn't do any council. He doesn't do any visiting."
"We believe in reconciliation if at all possible."
Lynch can also, with the permission of the rector, perform marriage ceremonies, baptisms and funerals.
But some parishioners say they don't agree with it.
"I don't feel the same as I used to," says parishioner Audrey Borteaux.
"He has done wrong so nobody wants that back," says parishioner Laura Anderson.
Lynch was convicted after he pleaded guilty in 1999. He received a conditional sentence of two years less a day, plus a probationary period of 18 months.
CTV News contacted Lynch today but he declined an interview.
Cutler says Lynch voluntarily relinquished his licence after he was charged and he asked to be reinstated after he served his sentence.
Lynch still doesn't have a licence, and he is not employed by the church, but that's not enough for some parishioners in the tiny town.
"I think if you did something like that, well I was surprised that he was forgiven," says Borteaux.
But not everyone feels the same way. Leslie Marcus considers himself to be a friend and he was sorry to hear of the conviction.
"I like him very much," says Marcus. "I'm sorry to hear this. That's not the Wayne Lynch I know."
Cutler says he hasn't received any complaints about Lynch, but if he does, he says they will be taken very seriously.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell