Former priest gets 11 years for sex offences

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George Smith is shown being led into Corner Brook Supreme Court this morning. — Western Star photo

By Gary Kean

The Western Star— Corner Brook

Noting that George Ansel Smith committed more sexual crimes against more victims than anyone involved in the infamous Mount Cashel orphanage abuse scandal, Justice William Goodridge gave the retired Roman Catholic priest 11 years in prison Thursday morning.

Smith, 75, had pleaded guilty to a total of 41 charges of sexual assault, indecent assault and assault, but Goodridge entered stays on three of the charges after hearing an agreed statement of facts in late February.

Thirteen victims came forward with their complaints of abuse at the hands of Smith. The offences occurred over a nearly 20-year period from 1969 to 1989 in several western Newfoundland communities including Corner Brook, St. Fintan’s, Stephenville, Cape St. George, Deer Lake and Port Saunders. Some of the assaults happened while Smith was escorting boys on trips to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

In many cases, Smith groomed his victims and plied them with alcohol and gifts before assaulting them. Several of the boys were assaulted repeatedly for years.

Crown attorney Trina Simms had asked Goodridge to sentence Smith to between nine and 13 years in prison, given the number of young victims and the duration of his abusive behaviour, while defence lawyer Tom Williams argued that Smith should be given seven to nine years, minus a little more than one year he has already served in custody.

Smith will get credit for time served, reducing the time he has left on his sentence to nine years and 347 days.

Outside the court room, one victim said 11 years was what he had hoped Smith would get.

Simms said the Crown was also satisfied that the sentence was within the range it had asked for.

Williams said his remorseful client had expected such a lengthy sentence and was prepared to accept his punishment.

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Corner Brook, Deer Lake Port Saunders New Brunswick Nova Scotia

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  • Herb Morrison
    March 15, 2013 - 12:22

    John. No I am not perfect and I do agree that a loving forgiving and merciful God forgives me when I react humanly to situations which I encounter. We humans are the ones with the tendancy to be both/either unloving or unforgiving. And yes, I do believe that Jesus who Himself was mocked, tortured, betrayed, flogged, wounded and crucified, and responded to this by saying: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do," would expect that I, being a both a professing and confessing Christian, would do the same. However, because i am human and not Divine, I fail to always live in accordance with the high principles set out in Scripture. Despite this reality my lovin,forgiving and merciful God, and Christ, my Saviour and Lord stands ready to forgive any sin I commit and confess, and God expects me to extend that same love, mercy, and forgiveness to all persons with whom I come in contact. That's the reason that Jesus taught humans to pray in what is known as the Lord's Prayer: "Forgive us our tresspasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." I reiterate, I am an imperfect human and not divine. Anything I wrote in my initial post is as much a reminder to myself as it is to anyone else that I must extend love, mercy, and forgiveness even to those like Smith who have acted in such an unloving, exploitive, and merciless manner toward others, despite my very humaness which tempts me to suggest that people like Smith should be "strung up by the balls."

  • John
    March 15, 2013 - 08:59

    Herb, How would you really and truly feel about Smith if one of his innocent victims had been your son? Or, if it had been you? What you are saying is that we all should not be judgemental of anyone because we are all sinners; correct, we are, but not to the extent of murdering, torturing, abusing, etc. God gave us free will and minds of our own. I'm sure He understands if some of us let out our human emotions in some circumstances, such as what Smith preplanned and went through with. Are you perfect?

  • Herb Morrison
    March 14, 2013 - 15:27

    Given that there are no degrees of Sin (A Sin Is A Sin), while at the same time recalling Jesus' teachings, against being judgemental, I am contemplating which poses the greater challenge, praying that God will show more mercy for Smith, than Smith showed toward the persons whom he victimized, repeatedly, in some cases: or praying that God will show mercy toward those who, though they are Sinners themselves, choose to stand in merciless, self-righteous judgement, of Smith.

  • Ben
    March 14, 2013 - 14:13

    Scum bags like this man should have no right to life !!!!

  • seanoairborne
    March 14, 2013 - 13:09

    He should have been given life,,,,,,the sick dirtbag!!

  • Jerome
    March 14, 2013 - 12:52

    The sentence should be for the rest of his life, with no parole whatsoever, What about all the lives he destroyed for the rest of THEIR lives. This absolutely furiates me. He even preplanned these crimes. And to think that people went to confession to him, and received Holy Comunnion out of his hands. The likes of that perverted scumbag even celebrating Mass

  • Gerri
    March 14, 2013 - 11:07

    For all those who commit these unspeakable crimes against innocent children, just bear in mind, that as you rob ((or have robbed) these children of their innocent, secure, childhoods, these children grow up... and they do tell....albeit, after the innocent minds are damaged whereby a 'normal' life for them doesn't exist anymore. Way to go you upstanding, God preaching, pedophiles.

  • Finally
    March 14, 2013 - 10:15

    Way to go!!! There needs to more of these longer sentences!!!