CALGARY — A Catholic priest in Alberta is being accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a church more than six years ago.
Police investigators say the woman told them last October about assaults at St. Mark Roman Catholic Church in Calgary's northeast between September and October 2012.
The alleged victim, an adult woman, reported being sexually touched without consent on several occasions by a priest at the church.
Malcolm Joe D'Souza, who is 62, was arrested on Friday and charged with one count of sexual assault.
D'Souza was pastor at St. Mark's from 2010 to 2016.
He is to make his next court appearance Feb. 21.
In October 2018, Bishop (William) McGrattan placed Fr. D'Souza on administrative leave and prohibited him from exercising any priestly ministry.Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary
Staff Sgt. Bruce Walker from the Calgary Police Service sex crimes unit says investigators have seen an increase in complaints about historic sexual assaults.
"We certainly see sexual violence is in every single community, profession, or what have you. It's quite prevalent in any community,'' Walker said Tuesday.
"Any time anybody has a position of power or authority over somebody, then that certainly makes things more complicated and more serious.''
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary said it was co-operating fully with police.
"The Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary has been informed by the Calgary Police Service sex crimes unit that Fr. Malcolm D'Souza has been charged with sexual assault in response to historic allegations,'' the diocese said in an emailed statement.
"In October 2018, Bishop (William) McGrattan placed Fr. D'Souza on administrative leave and prohibited him from exercising any priestly ministry.''
Police encouraging victims to come forward
The diocese said it won't provide further details since the matter is now a legal one, but it encourages anyone with "relevant information'' to contact the police.
Walker said no other charges are expected at this point.
"At this time there's no active investigations,'' he said.
Calgary police say that, in general, sexual assaults should be reported regardless of when they occurred because there is no time limit on how long a victim has to come forward.
Police can investigate decades after an encounter occurred.