A former Ottawa priest is facing charges in connection with a historic sex assault allegedly involving a student at St. Pius X High School nearly 40 years ago.

Kenneth O'Keefe, who taught at the high school and served as a priest at St. Basil's Church on Rex Avenue, is charged with one count of indecent assault.

Police laid the charges following an investigation into a complaint of inappropriate conduct between a Catholic priest and a teenage boy in Ottawa in 1972.

Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast issued a statement Wednesday confirming the diocese co-operated with police throughout their investigation, which began last month.

"I want to advise the community that our offices cooperated with the Ottawa Police Service in the investigation. I pledge our continuing cooperation," Prendergast stated.

He noted the congregation of St. Basil's Church took immediate responsibility for the matter, which involved a member of their religious community.

O'Keefe, 79, is the second priest who taught at St. Pius X to be charged with historical sexual offences in recent weeks.

Father William Joseph Allen, who was also known as Father Bill, was arrested in July on three counts of indecent assault relating to sexual offences alleged to have taken place between 1970 and 1976.

Despite the charges, Prendergast wants to ensure the St. Pius X community that he is concerned about the situation, and they continue to have his personal support.

"The teachers, staff, students and families – past and present – have been rightly proud of the quality of Catholic education that has been offered at the school. We cannot forget the commitment and considerable sacrifices that so many made to ensure Catholic education in the years before full funding for Catholic High Schools," he stated.

"I have personally witnessed the fine tradition that continues at St. Pius and pray that it may continue ever stronger for many years to come."

O'Keefe, who now lives in Toronto, was arrested Wednesday. He appeared in an Ottawa courtroom Wednesday afternoon and was released on consent. His next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 1.

Police ask anyone with information about the case to contact investigators at 613-236-1222, ext. 5944 or Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477 (TIPS).