A Basilian priest and former Windsor high school principal has been charged with sexually abusing a child in an allegation that dates back to the 1980s.
Rev. William Hodgson (Hod) Marshall, 87, appeared in court Wednesday to face a charge of sexual abuse for incidents that occurred during a period he was working at a Windsor school from 1981 to 1985.
It is unclear at which school Marshall was serving during the years the alleged incidents took place, and it is unknown whether his alleged victim was a student.
Windsor police said the investigation started "a while back," but police were unable to share details of the case Thursday night.
A statement from the religious order expressed sympathy for any victims of sexual abuse.
"The Basilian Fathers are deeply concerned and regretful that one of their members is alleged to have abused a minor," reads a statement issued by the General Council of the Congregation of Priests of St. Basil.
"Our hearts and minds turn immediately to the victim who has come forward."
Marshall was the first principal of Holy Names high school when it opened in 1986.
The year before, he worked out of the former St. Hubert elementary school, where the pioneering group of Holy Names students attended classes until their new school was available.
He continued as principal of Holy Names until at least 1989. By 1993, he had retired from the school system and had moved to St. Lucia to carry out missionary work.
He didn't lose his connection with Windsor after moving south, though. The priest spearheaded projects that brought students from Catholic Central and Cardinal Carter high schools to the Caribbean island to build homes and help with the construction of schools and daycares.
Marshall retired from the public ministry in 1997 and moved to a residence for Basilian priests in Toronto.
He received his university education in Windsor and taught at Assumption for two years in the mid-'50s before moving to northern Ontario. He spent his early education career in Sudbury, where he lived for 19 years. He later served as the principal of a boys school in Sault. Ste. Marie before returning to Windsor.
While working in northern Ontario, "Father Hod" became known as the "basketball priest" for his dedicated attendance at games.
"Anything I can get students interested in, I will," he told The Windsor Star in 1985. "And I attend everything I can. I like to get in there and see the kids, see them doing something worthwhile and developing their talents."
Marshall had high hopes for Holy Names high school, including an active sports program and drama and music classes.
The General Council of the Congregation of Priests of St. Basil is asking anyone with knowledge of improper conduct involving Marshall to contact Father Richard Wahl at 713-341-5564. The organization has stated it will provide financial support for restorative therapy for any victims of Marshall or any other Basilian.
Neither Marshall nor representatives of the Catholic school board could be reached for comment Thursday evening.