The Oakville megachurch embroiled in a months-long sexual abuse scandal said Saturday it has “substantiated” additional allegations against former pastor Bruxy Cavey, including one case involving a minor.
The latest revelations were made in a statement and video released by the Meeting House, one of Canada’s largest evangelical churches, where Cavey had been an unconventional and popular pastor for 25 years until allegations of sexual misconduct were brought to the church’s attention in December.
A church investigation into those allegations, which concluded in March, found that Cavey abused his power and authority as a member of the clergy and that his actions amounted to sexual harassment.
Cavey resigned from the church then, describing the allegations in a blog post as “an extramarital affair.”
On Saturday, the church said it had substantiated two additional allegations of sexual abuse against Cavey, and a third allegation was substantiated as sexual misconduct. The church did not provide any details about the allegations, except that in one case “the victim was underaged when the abuse took place.”
Cavey’s lawyer, Brendan Neil, wrote in an email that he had not seen the allegations so “at this time it would be inappropriate to provide any comment.”
The church said it had also substantiated an allegation of sexual abuse against former senior pastor Tim Day.
The church similarly did not provide any details about the allegations against Day, who “chose not to participate in the investigation,” the church said.
Day, who could not be reached for comment, has not been criminally charged.
“In all cases the victims have suffered great harm, including psychologically, emotionally and spiritually,” reads the church’s statement, which is attributed to its “Board of Overseers.”
The statement also acknowledges the “courage” and “bravery” of the alleged victims who came forward.
THE MOST POWERFUL SALE & AFFILIATE PLATFORM AVAILABLE!
There's no credit card required! No fees ever.Create Your Free Account Now!
“As a church leadership we humbly and profoundly apologize to them for the pain they have experienced at the hands of the Meeting House pastors whom they — and we — trusted.”
Since Cavey’s resignation, the church said its victim advocate has received more than three dozen “allegations, disclosures and concerns” relating to clergy sexual misconduct, abuse and harassment. They hired a third-party investigator, Natasha Persaud, to investigate the allegations.
The disclosures included allegations against Cavey and Day, as well as former pastors, Kie Naidoo and Dave Churchill. The church said they were already aware of some of the historic allegations against Naidoo and Churchill, who both faced previous criminal charges and have not worked for the church for “a number of years.”
The church also said Saturday that they have adopted a “widely recognized” definition of sexual abuse from the Mennonite Central Committee, which states that sexual abuse by a church leader refers to “any sexualized behaviour that occurs within the church context and where one party has more power than the other.” The perpetrator can be anyone in a leadership position, paid or volunteer, the definition reads.
In light of the new definition, the church said it now believed the allegations substantiated against Cavey in the first investigation constituted more than just an abuse of power and sexual harassment.
“We have now concluded as a board that the actions substantiated in the first investigation constitute sexual abuse by a church leader,” the statement reads. “We truly apologize to the first victim for the length of time this has taken.”
That victim, who is identified by the pseudonym Alanna in a recent Star investigation, told reporter Morgan Bocknek that the church’s initial statements minimized what she experienced.
Day joined the Meeting House in 2001, according to Peter Schuurman’s 2016 doctoral thesis. He left the senior pastor role in 2015, but the Star could not determine when he left the church altogether. He was not employed by the Meeting House when the allegations against him first surfaced.
Schuurman, who is now an adjunct professor of religion at Redeemer University, writes in his thesis that when Day was senior pastor he oversaw much of the day-to-day operations of the church and was the more detail-oriented yin to Cavey’s charismatic yang.
He writes that Day and Cavey called themselves the “mom and dad” of the Meeting House family.
The church, which has satellite locations across southern Ontario, is hosting a town hall at its Oakville headquarters on Sunday from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Brendan Kennedy is a Toronto-based social justice reporter on the Star’s investigations team. Follow him on Twitter: @BKennedyStar
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe