Ex-pastor, principal of Guelph-area Christian school charged in alleged sex assaults
Published Tuesday, January 17, 2017 9:16AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 17, 2017 7:17PM EST
Police have charged a former pastor and the current principal of the Elora Road Christian Fellowship and School with sexual assault in alleged crimes dating back to the 1980s.
Henk Katerberg, 80, of Guelph-Eramosa Township, used to lead the Elora Road Christian Fellowship Church, and has been charged with sexual assault on a child under 16.
John Dekorte, 66, of Fergus, currently serves as principal of the attached school, and faces two counts of the same charge.
Police say the alleged offences took place between 1981 and 1986 at the church and school, which are located in the same building on Wellington Road 7 near Highway 6.
Katerberg spoke to CTV and said he was innocent. Dekorte’s wife denied the charges on her husband’s behalf.
Police have not said how many people came forward with allegations, but do say the alleged victims have been living with these claims for over 30 years.
"It is possible that there may be more victims, but we are just asking that anyone with any information to contact the Wellington County OPP Crime Unit,” said Const. Cheri Rockefeller.
In a statement to CTV, Jim Gordon, the lead pastor of the church said: “The safety of our students is a top priority. We have a rigorous abuse prevention plan in place, and have a zero tolerance for any form of abuse.”
The statement also said Dekorte had been place on a leave of absence.
Police say they launched an investigation in December but have not revealed how many children were involved in these allegations. They have also not said how many times the offences may have occurred during the five year period.
Dekorte will appear in court Jan. 31 and Katerberg on Feb. 14, 2017.
With files from The Canadian Press and reporting by Allison Tanner