Oneida residents shocked after elected councillor accompanies priest convicted of child molestation

LONDON — Members of the Oneida Nation of the Thames expressed their upset on social media over the weekend following video footage showing one of the reserve’s band councillors, Anthony Ireland, putting his arm around a former Anglican priest and now convicted child molestor, David Norton, on Friday.

Ireland appeared to pose before the press with a smiling Norton on the day of sentencing.

Norton, 72, confessed to molesting a nine year old boy for a four year period in the 1990’s while he was priest for the Anglican Church on Chippewas of the Thames First Nation.

On Friday, Norton appeared in court for sentencing and received four years in prison for sexual interference.

Justice Lynne Leitch said in her verdict that Norton “inflicted significant harm to a vulnerable and innocent child. Without question, his conduct qualifies as sexually deviant behaviour and the consequences won’t go away for the victim.”

The victims said in his impact statement the assault led him into a life of struggle with drug and alcohol addiction.

Norton is also facing sexual assault charges later this year for abusing more indigenous boys from Chippewas of the Thames.

Ireland spoke briefly with Two Row Times via Facebook Messenger and declined an interview about his actions but said he is planning on making a public statement, has drafted a letter and is planning to address his community on Monday regarding the conduct seen in the video footage.

Members of the Oneida Nation of the Thames said Ireland is a respected member of the community, and were shocked by what they saw.

Ireland was elected to council in June of 2018. According to a Facebook post he carries the community portfolios of health, environment, farming and children’s wellness.

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1 Comment

  1. i’m not sure this represents "poor judgement" so much as it does "betraying the trust of native youth and children."

    "poor judgement" is what you call it when you overspend on a night out, or when you take a corner too fast in freezing rain and wind up in a ditch.

    openly embracing an unrepentant serial child molester is a lot more serious and harmful than either of those.

    if he just means the existence of the photo itself shows "poor judgement," that’s no better. it suggests that it’s ok to support Norton behind closed doors, but not to let anyone catch you doing it in public.

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