Statement from the Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador

Re: Reverend Bernard Buckle

Earlier today charges were read in Provincial Court in Stephenville against Reverend Bernard Buckle related to allegations of sexual assault from his time of ministry as a priest in St. Stephen’s Parish in Stephenville in the early 1980's.  Father Buckle has pled “not guilty” to these charges.

Any allegation of improper conduct by a priest is an extremely serious matter.  The Diocese has cooperated fully with the local authorities and we ask any member of the public with information on this case to come forward to assist the RCMP with their investigation.

It would be inappropriate for Diocesan officials to comment on the specifics of this case as it is currently before the court.  However, we must be clear in stating that any form of misconduct by personnel of the Catholic Church is unacceptable.

Father Buckle retired from full time pastoral ministry in September 2011.  Since that time, when his health has allowed, he has assisted local parishes with pastoral ministry.  Due to the seriousness of the charges now before the court, Father Buckle’s priestly faculties have been suspended pending the outcome of the court proceedings.

The Diocese has developed extensive procedures to foster a safe environment for all the members of our faith community and has also developed a clear policy and procedure for replying to allegations of sexual misconduct.  (This policy can be found on our diocesan website: www.rcchurch.com under the heading “Policies,” the topic “Response to allegations of sexual misconduct”.)