Ex-pastor, convicted sex offender released

TORONTO — The Parole Board of Canada has made the decision to grant a convicted child molester and former church pastor full release from jail. After consideration of several factors, the parole board ruled that Six Nations pastor Ronald Burning would not be a risk to the community.

In 2012, Burning was formally charged with 19 counts of sexual crimes and assault dating back to 1971 all the way up to 2009 involving both male and female children and teen parishioners of his church, the Johnsfield Baptist Church on Fifth Line Road.

Courts found Burning guilty in 13 of those counts. He was sentenced in 2013 to ten years on 3 of those counts, seven years on another and 1-3 years each for the nine remaining counts. However, the judge permitted Burning to serve those sentences concurrently, for 10 years in prison for his crimes, receiving credit for his pre-trial custody on 1 1/2 days for every one day served. A total of 612 days of credit which was deducted from his time.

During the sentencing the judge noted that Burning’s position as a pastor, a quality that would normally be to a person’s advantage, made becoming a serial sex offender of children possible.

During sentencing Burning upheld his innocence via a statement through his lawyer.

In 2014, he applied for appeal of Justice Kim Carpenter-Gunn’s verdict but abandoned those efforts. It wasn’t until he accepted full responsibility for his actions, just this past June, that his appearance was considered by the Parole Board.

Burning was released on day parole in 2017. At that time, Burning confessed he still thinks of children in a sexual manner, but does not wish to act on those feelings. He presented to the Parole board a plan on how he plans to not re-offend.

The Parole Board noted in his release that he is in poor health. He remains in the national sex offenders database for the remainder of his life, can not contact his victims or children under the age of 18. He is not permitted to be in a position of authority over children.

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