Former head monk at Cape Breton monastery sentenced to 60 days in jail for voyeurism

By The Canadian Press

PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. — A man who served as the head monk of a monastery in Cape Breton has been sentenced to 60 days in jail after he pleaded guilty in July to a charge of voyeurism.

Court heard Jack Hillie was working at the Gampo Abbey Buddhist monastery in Pleasant Bay when he observed or recorded images of a person who had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Hillie was sentenced Tuesday in Port Hawkesbury provincial court.

The court was told the offence was committed sometime between December 2020 and November 2021.

The judge presiding over the case also sentenced Hillie to 12 months probation, which will start once he is released from jail. As well, Hillie must submit to authorities a DNA sample and hand over his laptop, camera and digital storage cards. 

Earlier this year, a civil lawsuit was filed in Nova Scotia Supreme Court against the monastery and its parent company, the Shambhala Canada Society. The plaintiff, Christopher Longoria, says in the lawsuit he was taking a shower inside the monastery in November 2021 when he discovered a camera attached to the wall. 

The Texas resident alleges that Hillie later admitted to owning the camera. Longoria says he reported the incident to local police, which led to the voyeurism charge.

The civil lawsuit alleges the two organizations were negligent in failing to protect residents’ privacy.

Neither the society nor Gampo Abbey could be immediately reached for comment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 20, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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