The Oakville megachurch, embroiled in a months-long sexual abuse scandal, said Saturday it has “confirmed” additional allegations against former pastor Bruxy Cavey, including one case involving a minor.
The latest revelations were made in a statement Y video published by Meeting House, one of Canada’s largest evangelical churches, where Cavey had been an offbeat and popular pastor for 25 years until allegations of sexual misconduct came to the attention of the church in December.
Cavey, 57, was charged in June by Hamilton police with sexual assault for his alleged abuse of a congregation member, who told the Star that Cavey pressured her to keep their relationship a secret.
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 accusations in a blog post as “an extramarital affair”.
On Saturday, the church said it had substantiated two additional allegations of sexual abuse against Cavey, with a third allegation substantiated as sexual misconduct. The church did not provide any details about the allegations, except that in one case “the victim was a minor when the abuse occurred.”
Cavey’s attorney, Brendan Neil, wrote in an email that he had not seen the allegations, so “it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.”
The church said it had also substantiated a sexual abuse allegation against former senior pastor Tim Day.
Similarly, the church did not provide any details about the allegations against Day, who “opted 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 psychological, emotional and spiritual,” the church’s statement, which is attributed to its “Board of Supervisors,” reads.
The statement also acknowledges the “courage” and “bravery” of the alleged victims who came forward.
“As church leaders, we humbly and deeply apologize for the pain you have experienced at the hands of the Meeting House pastors whom they, and we, trust.”
Since Cavey’s resignation, the church said its victims’ advocate has received more than three dozen “allegations, disclosures and concerns” related to clergy sexual misconduct, abuse and harassment. They hired an outside investigator, Natasha Persaud, to investigate the allegations.
The revelations 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 landmark allegations against Naidoo and Churchill, who have faced previous criminal charges and have not worked for the church for “several years.”
The church also said Saturday that they have adopted a “widely recognized” definition of sexual abuse from Mennonite Central Committee, which states that sexual abuse by a church leader refers to “any sexualized behavior that occurs within the context of the church and where one party has more power than the other.” The perpetrator can be anyone in a leadership position, paid or volunteer, the definition says.
In light of the new definition, the church said it now believed the substantiated allegations against Cavey in the first investigation amounted to more than simple abuse of power and sexual harassment.
“We have now concluded as a board that the actions corroborated in the first investigation constitute sexual abuse by a church leader,” the statement read. “We truly apologize to the first victim for the time she has taken.”
That victim, identified by the pseudonym Alanna in a recent Star investigation, told reporter Morgan Bocknek that the church’s initial statements downplayed what she experienced.
Day joined Meeting House in 2001, according to Peter Schuurman’s 2016 doctoral thesis. He stepped down as senior pastor in 2015, but the Star was unable to determine when he left the church entirely. He was not employed by Meeting House when the allegations against him 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 “mom and dad” of the Meeting House family.
The church, which has satellite locations throughout southern Ontario, will hold a town hall at its Oakville headquarters on Sunday from 7 to 8:30 p.m.