Saskatchewan priest charged with sexually assaulting minor

·2 min read

A Saskatchewan priest responsible for three parishes in small rural villages has been accused of sexual assault.

Anthony Tei Atter, 45, faces charges of sexual assault, sexual exploitation and sexual interference for multiple alleged incidents involving one victim.

Sexual interference is a charge laid when the alleged victim is under the age of 16.

Police first learned of the allegations on Nov. 5, according to Humboldt RCMP. Police said multiple sexual incidents allegedly occurred between Sept. 1 and Nov. 4, 2020.

Atter is the priest responsible for three parishes: St Gregory in Saint Gregor, Sask., St Ann in Annaheim, Sask., and St Anthony in Lake Lenore, Sask. The most recent census data shows the villages had populations of 97, 210 and 284 respectively.

Police said Atter resides in Lake Lenore, Sask., a village slightly northeast of Humboldt, Sask. He's scheduled to appear in Humboldt Provincial Court on March 22, 2021.

Accused removed from Ministry

A spokesperson for The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon said it learned learned Wednesday about the charges laid against Atter, who served in its diocese.

"As soon as the diocese learned of these charges, Fr. Anthony Atter was removed from ministry," the statement read.

It said that the diocese will co-operate fully with police regarding the investigation, but will not respond to media questions about the the allegations against Atter or the case, "while it is under investigation and/or before the courts."

"The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon takes the matter of sexual abuse and serious misconduct very seriously and is committed to the care and support of victims of sexual abuse," the statement said.

Earlier this year, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon removed two priests from service after investigating allegations of serious misconduct. One of the men, Father Michael Yaremko, was an assistant pastor at St. Augustine's in Humboldt, Sask.

Police did not provide details of the victim to protect their identity.