WINNIPEG- Manitoba RCMP say a 92-year-old retired priest has been charged after a decade-long investigation into the Fort Alexander Residential School northeast of Winnipeg.
Arthur Masse was charged with one count of indecent assault on a 10-year-old girl who was a student at the school, RCMP said Friday.
The alleged offence took place between 1968 and 1970.
Officers interacted with more than 700 people across North America throughout the investigation and obtained 75 victim and witness statements, the Mounties said in a statement, adding more than 80 investigators were involved.
“While we have certainly had the steps involved in a police investigation top of mind throughout the whole process, we have also been very aware of the effect our investigation was having on the community,” said Sgt. Paul Manaigre, an RCMP spokesman.
“The emotional trauma experienced by victims of abuse is very real, and despite the years that intervened between the alleged occurrences and when police were investigating, that trauma is still present. Investigators were aware of that trauma and approached the investigation in a way intended to limit further injury.”
The school was opened in 1905 in the community of Fort Alexander, which later became the Sagkeeng First Nation.
The school closed in 1970.
Mounties have said that officers with the major crime unit began looking into the residential school in 2010 and a criminal investigation began the following year.
Police have said the investigation involved reviewing archived records of the school, including student and employee lists.
Masse was arrested at his home in Winnipeg. He is to appear Monday in court.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 17, 2022.