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

John Campbell, with the Langley Rotary Club, got to check out the recently installed cold frames with Douglas Park Community School teacher Lorraine Goulet. (John Campbell/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Rotary donation allows Langley students to get growing

Douglas Park Community School has new cold frames for its courtyard garden

Police blocked off 40th Avenue on Jan. 10, 2015 while firefighters battled a meth lab blaze. The fire has led to a lawsuit against Langley Township. (Langley Advance Times files)
Bill for meth lab fire leads to lawsuit against Langley Township

Local farmers say they shouldn’t have to pay costs of putting out fire in rental house

Wes Barker, second from left, with fellow Big Trick Energy show performers on “Ellen,” in video posted to youtube.com.
VIDEO: On ‘Ellen,’ former Langley man works magic with new ‘Big Trick Energy’ gang

A decade ago, Wes Barker quit his job with the City of Surrey to do magic professionally

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020.   THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More Langley-area business closed due to COVID-19

Any business with three or more cases among employees can be closed

Vancouver Giants victorious over the Royals in Kamloops Thursday, April 15. The G-Men won, 4-0. (Allen Douglas/Special to Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Giants young goalie shutouts Victoria, 4-0

The Langley-based WHL team earn another victory over the Royals Thursday in Kamloops

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
‘We walk in grief for our dying world’: B.C. climate activists embark on 4-day protest

The four-day trek on foot and by ferry will see them end at the legislature

Kelly Ng (left) tries to get the attention of Podzol and Aquila as twin sister, Pauline Ng, snaps a photo of the two dogs by a field of hyacinths at the Chilliwack Tulips attraction on April 13. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
PHOTOS: Strolling through tulips, hyacinths and daffodils at Chilliwack Tulips attraction

Colourful spring flower attraction now open in Chilliwack, continues into May

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

Thw male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Valen a student of Coldstream Elementary writes advice for adults amid a pandemic.
‘We can get rid of COVID together’: B.C. kids share heartwarming advice

Elementary students share their wisdom to adults in unprecedented times

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. health minister says delay in Moderna vaccine ‘disappointing’

‘The sooner we get vaccines in people’s arms the better, and inconsistency in delivery is a consistent problem. This is simply a reality and not an issue of blame,’ Adrian Dix said Friday

(Police handout/Kamloops RCMP)
B.C. man dies in custody awaiting trial for Valentine’s Day robbery, kidnapping spree

Robert James Rennie, who was on the Kamloops RCMP’s most wanted list, passed away at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Coquitlam

Most Read