St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Chilliwack on Dec. 10, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)

St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Chilliwack on Dec. 10, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chilliwack Catholic church pastor fired for alleged ‘sexual misconduct’

Archbishop of Vancouver sent message to parishioners about departure of Father Nelson Santos

Parishioners of St. Mary’s Church in Chilliwack are left with questions after the departure of a long-serving pastor accused of sexual misconduct.

In a letter sent to parishioners of St. Mary’s and Immaculate Conception Parish in Delta on Dec. 4, Archbishop J. Michael Miller said an internal investigation “confirmed that a number of accusations of sexual misconduct with an adult by Father [Nelson] Santos were well-founded, along with related inappropriate behaviour and comments.”

Described as a pastor at St. Mary’s and an assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception, Santos is ordered not to visit Chilliwack or meet with members of any Catholic parish where he served.

“Should he apply to work as a priest elsewhere, the local bishop would be informed of our investigation,” Miller wrote.

“To all those who were harmed in any way, I express my deep sorrow. I pray that the good Lord will heal all those hurt by these actions.”

RELATED: Chilliwack Catholic school principal and church priest receive threats

RELATED: Legal reckoning: New sexual abuse lawsuits could cost Catholic church more than $4B

Responding to a question by The Progress as to whether Santos’ alleged actions were being investigated by police or were allegedly criminal in nature, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Vancouver said in an email that Santos violated his vows and engaged in sexual misconduct with an adult.

Vicar general Father Gary Franken said that while Santos’ known actions do not appear to be criminal in nature, they involved and hurt individuals and the parish community as a whole, and “constitute serious abuse of trust and authority.”

Santos was removed from the parish shortly after complaints were received, and he was subsequently permanently removed from all ministry.

“The Archdiocese of Vancouver deeply regrets that there are those in the parish who suffered greatly from Father Santos’ behaviour, and we continue to encourage anyone who has further concerns about him to come forward.”

The Archbishop told parishioners to contact the independent reporting office at 604-363-7338 to report any incident involving Santos.

One former parishioner of St. Mary’s said she felt “this letter raises more questions than it answers.”

The Progress was unable to get in touch with Santos to comment on the letters from the archbishop.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
editor@theprogress.com

@TheProgress
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media files)
Snowfall expected for Lower Mainland on Saturday night, Sunday morning

2 to 5 cm of snow predicted Metro Vancouver, according to Environment Canada

Fire on Yale Road north of the overpass Friday morning. (Progress file)
Early morning blaze guts Chilliwack restaurant

The fire erupted north of the overpass closing one lane of Yale Road

This woman is one of two people the Agassiz RCMP are asking for assistance in identifying after a string of alleged thefts in Popkum. (Agassiz RCMP)
Agassiz RCMP ask for help to identify suspects in Popkum thefts

Images of the two suspects were captured on surveillance footage between Jan. 10 and 16

Only students who are attending in-person classes will be asked to take the Foundation Skills Assessment this year in the Fraser Cascade School District. (Unsplash)
Foundation Skills Assessment only for in-person learners: SD78

The provincial assessment will take place between Feb. 15 and March 12 for grades 4 and 7

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

Most Read