May 26, 2014
Statement by Archbishop Richard Smith pertaining to charges against Father Albert Laisnez:

Today, May 17, local media reported that charges of sexual assault were laid earlier this year against Father Albert Laisnez, a priest of the Archdiocese of Edmonton. These alleged offences date back to the 1980s. Father Laisnez has not been involved in public ministry here since 1996.

The Archdiocese of Edmonton takes all allegations of abuse seriously and stands ready to cooperate fully with the RCMP investigation into these complaints.

We are all saddened and disturbed by allegations of sexual abuse, wherever it occurs. I cannot comment any further on this particular case while it is before the court. But I can tell you in general terms that the Church, like many other organizations, has come a long way in understanding how abuse can occur and the great harm it can cause.

I have made it clear that the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton will not tolerate any form of abuse by our clergy, employees, or volunteers.

Today the Archdiocese is committed to ensuring that all of our parishes and institutions offer safe environments for the people we serve. All clergy, employees and volunteers are now subject to formal screening procedures, including police information checks, and required to take formal training in abuse awareness and prevention.

We await the outcome of this investigation. In the meantime let us keep everyone affected by this in our prayers.