New Support Group Emerges as Reverend Brent Hawkes Returns to Court
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New Support Group Emerges as Reverend Brent Hawkes Returns to Court

The Toronto pastor faces two sexual assault charges.

As Toronto Reverend Brent Hawkes’s case returns to provincial court in Nova Scotia for charges of sexual assault, a group has stepped forward to raise funds and support the pastor.

The Brent Hawkes Support Fund has launched to help Hawkes and his family cover legal fees for what the group considers a homophobic case.

The charges against Hawkes have created a tension among those who instinctively want to both support a longtime progressive leader and believe the claims of a sexual assault survivor.

Hawkes, who officiated at former NDP leader Jack Layton’s funeral, was charged earlier this year with two charges of gross indecency and indecent assault on a male, based on events that allegedly occurred in the 1970s. Because those charges were established in an antiquated justice system that punished the LGBTQ community, and have since been repealed by Parliament, many say the case is homophobic in nature.

Hawkes, whose case returned to provincial court in Kentville, Nova Scotia, today, has pled not guilty to both charges.

Following news of the charges in February, Hawkes told his congregation at the Metropolitan Church of Toronto that he was “innocent of these allegations.” The church has continued to support Hawkes despite the charges.