A former chief Roman Catholic chaplain of the Canadian Forces appeared in Barrie court today without counsel on seven charges, including buggery.

Roger Bazin, 73, appeared in Barrie pre-trial court. The charges against him stem from a 1972 incident involving a teenaged boy, when he was a young Roman Catholic chaplain with a rank of captain at CFB Borden. Before he retired in 1995, he served as Canada’s top military chaplain general.

In 1972, buggery was still considered a criminal offence under the Canadian Criminal Code.

Canada inherited its buggery law — which covers both anal sex and bestiality — from Britain. In 1969, the law was relaxed to exclude consensual sex if both partners were over the age of 21. In 1988, the buggery law was scrapped altogether and replaced with a prohibition on anal sex with people under the age of 18. That law has been struck down in several jurisdictions, including Ontario, because it sets a different age of consent for gay sex, 18, than straight sex, 16.
 
“At the time of the offence allegedly committed by retired Brigadier-General Bazin, the military justice system did not have jurisdiction over this type of offence,” a spokesperson told Xtra.

The alleged victim came forward in June 2009, causing the military police to investigate. He was arrested in February. Currently, he is residing in Manitoba with his 78-year-old sister.

The current chaplain general, Brigadier-General David Kettle, said in a Feb 16 statement:

“I am aware of charges brought against retired Brigadier-General Roger Bazin, former chaplain general, for what was then the Roman Catholic Chaplain Branch of the Canadian Forces. As the present chaplain general, I was shocked by these allegations. I take very seriously the charges laid against a former chaplain general for alleged actions committed while serving as a unit chaplain in 1972.”

Bazin’s next Barrie court appearance is scheduled for May 25.
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