Verdict in Brent Hawkes: Provincial court Judge Alan Tufts handed down the verdict today in Kentville, N.S., saying he found significant inconsistencies in the testimony of the witnesses.
Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes faced sexual assault charges stemming from an alleged incident involving his male students in the 1970s when he was a teacher in the Annapolis Valley area.
Charges were filed against Hawkes in Kentville, Nova Scotia on Feb. 1, 2016.
The Board of Directors of MCC Toronto expressed its elation on the positive outcome in a written statement released shortly after a Judge Alan Tufts announced his verdict.
“Our support for Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes as a man of the highest integrity has never wavered, based on our 40 wonderful years of experience with him as our Senior Pastor,” the statement read.
“Our congregation has come through this difficult time by drawing on our values of care and compassion for all. We continue to pray for the comfort and healing of all parties involved. We remain focused on being the vibrant, inclusive and progressive Christian faith community we have always been.”
The note also said that Hawkes would be addressing his congregation this Sunday at the weekly services and parishioners would have the opportunity to share their thoughts and learn more about the case at that time.
The alleged incident occurred prior to Hawkes becoming a pastor at the east-end Toronto church, which is north of Gerrard Street East near Logan Avenue. The church did not fund Hawkes’ legal defense.
Well-known for his decades of commitment to lesbian, gay and transgender rights and equality, Hawkes is the recipient of the Order of Canada, and numerous awards and honourary doctorates for his human rights work.
Hawkes, a long-time and leading activist in the LGBT community and ministry in Toronto, also officiated the world’s first-ever legal marriage of a same-sex couple in 2001.
Originally from Bath, New Brunswick, Hawkes is a graduate of Mount Allison University. He also holds a Masters of Divinity degree from Trinity College, University of Toronto and a Doctorate of Ministry degree from Trinity College.
He has served as the senior pastor of MCC Toronto for nearly 40 years.