MacDonald: Father Charles MacDonald

Charlie                                                            [This page is still being re-constructed]

Father Charles MacDonald

First reported to Cornwall police December 1992.

First charged 11 March 1996.

“Walks” May 2002


Charles F MacDonald (Charlie)

[Allegations of sexual abuse against Roman Catholic priest Father Charles MacDonald triggered a chain of events which eventually unleashed the Cornwall sexual abuse scandal and allegations of a paedophile ring and cover-up.

The following information on Father Charles MacDonald (“Charlie”) was compiled from a variety of sources and addresses only that information and those years to which I have access at this time.]


DOB: 23 January 1933

Baptised:  St. Margaret of Scotland, Glen Nevis (within the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, then the Diocese of Alexandria)  

1963 – 1969:  University of Saint Paul seminary, an Oblate administered Roman Catholic pontifically-chartered university affiliated with Ottawa University in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario

In those days it was unusual for a man age 30 to enter the seminary to pursue ordination to the priesthood. It was for this reason that Father MacDonald was referred to as “the old man” throughout his years at Saint Paul’s. 

Charles MacDonald had a difficult time academically.  It is said, however, that he did well in his canon law studies and also that his canon law instruction was delivered in whole or in part by Father Frank Morrissey. 

Charles MacDonald entered the seminary when Rosario Brodeur was Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall and Jacques Landriault was serving as auxiliary bishop.  

During MacDonald’s years in formation Bishop Landriault was replaced as auxiliary (1964) by Joseph Aurele Plourde, Bishop Brodeur retired (October 1966) and the diocese was administered by Plourde until Adolphe Proulx was installed as bishop in June 1967. (Plourde administered the diocese as bishop after Proulx’ retirement.  His administrative duties continued even after Plourde was installed as Archbishop of Ottawa [January 1967] meaning that any decisions regarding Charles MacDonald’s priestly studies were directed to and handled by Plourde until such time as Proulx took over in June 1967).

Ordained:        May 1969  

June 1969:       Appointed to serve as assistant priest at St. Columban’s, Cornwall where Father D.B. McDougald was pastor and Father Kelvin Maloney was Director of Religious Education.

According to Faith is Our Strength by the mid 50’s the youth groups of St. Columbans  were no longer functioning.  However, “in the mid 1960s assistant pastor Charles MacDonald re-organized the youth group.”  Since Father MacDonald was not ordained until 1969 we must assume that this is either a typo or that Father MacDonald was assisting at St. Columban’s during his summers and holidays while he was at the seminary, a fairly common practice.

In fact Father Paul Marchese, an American who studied at Saint Paul, was ordained for the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall (1973) and assisted MacDonald with the youth group founded St. Columban’s Folk Choir while he, Marchese, was still a seminarian. [Marchese abruptly left the diocese in 1978, resurfaced in the Diocese of Albany, N.Y., and later ran off to Florida with a male hair dresser].

1971-1972:       not listed in the Catholic Directory of Canada

1973:    appointed Spiritual Director to the diocesan Catholic Women’s League (for five years?)

1974 – ?1980:    charged with responsibility for the Cursillo movement in the diocese. (it was Father MacDonald who ‘put on’ the first Cursillo in the diocese)

Cursillo is one of the many “lay-led” “renewal” movements which proliferated after Vatican II.  It comprises initially of a weekend, Thursday evening to Saturday afternoon, conducted at a facility large enough to cheaply accommodate the numbers for meals and bedding – often a Church hall or local camp.   

 The weekends are traditionally gender specific – men traditionally ‘doing’ their Cursillo first and women a week or two later. At least one priest is present at the facility and participating in events for the duration of the weekend – preferably there are two.

There were presumably no French Cursillos prior to 1979.  Father Gilles Deslaurier was listed as running the French Cursillo but apparently, until 1979 at least, the French Cursillo existed in name and name alone.  Perhaps Deslaurier initially assisted on the English Cursillo weekends?   

Fathers MacDonald and Deslaurier were still listed as in charge of Cursillo weekends in 1980.  Somewhere between then and 1985 the spiritual direction of the movement had changed hands and Fathers Kevin Maloney(Eng.) and Rheal Bisaillon (Fr.) were listed as the diocesan priests responsible for the movement.)

In the late 80s Father Gilles Deslaurier was charged and convicted for sexually molesting several young boys. 

1975 – 82:   Father Charles MacDonald assigned as pastor at St. Anthony church, Apple Hill.  The parish also had a mission parish in Monkland.

During his years at St. Anthony’s Father MacDonald brought in Father Toby McGivern omi, an Oblate priest from the neighbouring Archdiocese of Ottawa, to design the new addition to the church.

McGivern’s services were also secured by Father Bernard Cameron in 1982 to oversee renovations at St. Columban’s.

1976 – ?1987:    around 1976 Father Charles MacDonald introduced COR to the diocese and became responsible for the movement in the diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall.

 COR stands for Christ in Others retreat – a Roman Catholic weekend retreat for youth, usually ages 14 to 21.  A COR weekend is for both male and female teens together.  Depending on the facilities the standard practice on a COR weekend is that the boys and men participating in or conducting the weekend sleep in one large room or dorm facility with bunks and the girls and women in another. In some instances if a private room is available in the vicinity of the male sleeping quarters this becomes the priest’s private quarters. Three married couples are generally involved in conducting each COR weekend. 

MacDonald was conducting COR weekends until at least 1987.  Generally there are at least two weekends conducted a year. 

During those years Father MacDonald and teams of youth and adults from Alexandria-Cornwall assisted the dioceses of Pembroke and Montreal launch the COR movement in their respective dioceses. 

Father Gilles Deslaurier was responsible for R3, a French equivalent of COR  

By 1991 the youth movements had obviously changed hands.  Father Denis Vaillancourt was listed as the diocesan contact for R3.  There was no priest listed for COR.  It is unknown if Father MacDonald continued to assist with COR weekends after 1987.

1977-1979:       dean of the English deanery of Glengarry.   

1982 – 1990:     pastor at Saint Mary’s church, in Williamstown, Ontario.

According to a history of the diocese Father MacDonald brought with him to Saint Mary’s “not only his spirituality but also his love for music, for architecture and his talent of communicating with adolescents.”

  • According to written accounts of those years MacDonald was in charge of the diocesan COR weekends at Shalom House in St. Raphael’s “and will long be remembered for his enthusiasm, energy and dedication in leading young teenagers.”
  • During his tenure at St. Mary’s MacDonald brought in Father Toby McGivern omi, an Oblate priest from the neighbouring Archdiocese of Ottawa, to redo the sanctuary of the church.
  • MacDonald also had the dining room in St. Mary’s  “beautifully redecorated.”
  • Father MacDonald ordained Kerry MacDonald as the first deacon for the parish.  MacDonald also implemented the practice of laymen distributing Holy Communion.
  • 1983:    Bishop Eugene Larocque named Father Charles MacDonald as the first chaplain (part-time) to St. Joseph school, the new Roman Catholic Secondary School.
  • 1988:    pastor at St. Andrew’s church, St. Andrew’s West, Ontario   (I am uncertain how long Father MacDonald was at St. Andrew’s.  I have record of only one year.  It seems he may have spent one year at St. Andrew’s and then returned to St. Mary’s?
  • 1992:    sexual abuse allegations against Father MacDonald and his very dear friend Ken Seguin, a probation officer and former seminarian.

20 December 1993:  Donna J. Markham O.P. PhD of Southdown Institute to Bishop Eugene Larocque re Father Charles MacDonald’s stay at Southdown. MacDonald denies the sex abuse allegations but “does admit there has been homosexual activity with parishioners.”

January 1994:  Word out about the $32,000 pay-off of victim identified only as “D.S.” (David Silmser)  The pay-off illegally gagged Silmser .

15 January 1994:  Bishop Eguehen Larocque and diocesan lawyer and canon lawyer deny that pay-off gags the victim

24 January 1994: Bishop Eugene Larocque denies knowledge of the illegal gag clause in the settlement, as does married diocesan lawyer and canon lawyer Jacques Leduc (Leduc was later charged – the charges were stayed.  There have been a number of lawsuits settled out of court related to sex abuse allegations against Leduc.  There have also been sex abuse allegations against Bishop Larocque – charges have never been laid.   Malcolm MacDonald, the lawyer who brokered the illegal deal for “Charlie” was eventually charged and pled guilty to charges related to obstruction of justice.  He received an absolute discharge.  “Malcolm”  died in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1999 before standing trial for sex abuse of young boys. )

February 1994Ontario Provincial Police investigates allegations against Father Charles MacDonald and later that year announces it has no grounds to lay charges against him. 

01 March 1994Children’s Aid Society concludes that Father Charles MacDonald molested D.S. as a child   

11 March 1996Father Charles MacDonald is charged with seven counts of indecent assault against three former altar boys. 

22 January 1998Father Charles MacDonald is charged with six more counts of indecent assault and two of gross indecency.  

May 2002:  Father Charlie “walks”

Father MacDonald is still a priest but does not seem to be assisting at any parish in the diocese.   He still lives in his home within the boundaries of the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall.  There have been many sex abuse lawsuits settled out of court in relation to sex abuse allegations against Father Charles MacDonald.


24 November 2006:  [More Delays – Cornwall Inquiry to run for another year]

Priest admitted he engaged in homosexual acts, says LaRocque


Cornwall Standard Freeholder

26 August 2008


A retired priest and accused sexual abuser told his bishop he’d had trysts with other men, including parishioners, the Cornwall Public Inquiry heard Monday.

But the sexual relationships Rev. Charles MacDonald admitted to after a heated discussion between former bishop Eugene LaRocque and the city’s police chief were all consensual, LaRocque testified yesterday.

“I cannot recall that at any time he had said that he assaulted, that he had forced, anyone,” he said.

LaRocque, who ran the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese from 1974 until 2002, returned to the stand as the inquiry resumed after a three-week summer hiatus.

The long-running tribunal is probing how institutions like the church reacted when it received allegations of historical sexual abuse.

In late 1992, David Silmser went to Cornwall police with allegations that MacDonald had sexually assaulted him when he was an altar boy at St. Columban’s Church in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Cornwall Police Service would close its investigation in September 1993 after Silmser settled with the diocese for $32,000. The deal included an illegal clause – one LaRocque has maintained he was unaware of – that stopped Silmser from pursuing civil or criminal charges against MacDonald.

On Oct. 7, 1993, LaRocque received an angry visitor at his office: then-CPS chief Claude Shaver.

Shaver, LaRocque said, revealed that his officers had spoken to two other alleged victims.

One had given the CPS a statement naming MacDonald but was refusing to testify, while the other would reluctantly take the stand, LaRocque said.

“It’s quite true that I was visibly shaken,” LaRocque said. “That was the first time I’d ever heard there were more victims.”

That night, at Shaver’s request, the former bishop called MacDonald.

LaRocque testified that MacDonald admitted to having sexual relationships with other men “in the distant past.” He told lead commission counsel Peter Engelmann that he didn’t ask MacDonald for names, however.

“That wasn’t important to you at the time, sir?” asked Engelmann.

LaRocque said he didn’t think of it, but added he would act differently today.

Later that October, LaRocque removed MacDonald from his parish and sent him to the Southdown Institute, a Toronto area rehabilitation centre for priests.

“He did admit that there was more than one. And that’s what (convinced) me something had to be done,” said LaRocque.

“When I decide, I act quickly.”

MacDonald would spend six months at Southdown, during which time LaRocque received reports on his progress.

In March 1994, MacDonald’s therapist wrote LaRocque to tell him that the former priest had admitted to having sex with men between 19 and 30 but showed no signs of being a pedophile.

LaRocque said yesterday he was “dumbfounded” to learn during an Ontario Provincial Police interrogation that MacDonald had never been tested for pedophilic tendencies while he was at Southdown.

“That was one of the reasons I sent him there,” he said.

Staff at the centre later told LaRocque that the accepted test – showing a person erotic images and measuring their level of arousal – wasn’t used at Southdown because it was inaccurate and “extremely intrusive.”

The OPP charged MacDonald in 1996 with sexually abusing a number of young men.

Although he never returned to parish work, documents entered into evidence showed MacDonald stayed on the diocese’s payroll until 1998, when LaRocque asked him to formally retire after turning 65.

The criminal charges were stayed in 2002 after a judge ruled MacDonald’s right to a timely trial had been violated. MacDonald has always maintained his innocence.

The inquiry resumes this morning at 9 a. m.
Article ID# 1172180

Comments on this Article.

What a farce… cover your butts and cover you friend behinds too.. If not a legal obligation to do something about a priest who is having sex with the people he is supposed to be councilling he would have a moral obligation to do something..Like a cop only giving tickets to people he dont like and letting is buddies get off with who knows what crimes??? Hey?? thats happening aint it???

Reply | Report | Page Top Post #1 By OutWest,

a friggin big cover up that is finally unravelling so Ittinerant and 2 sides to every story are you not convinced yet that something shady went on if so what the hell are you blind and totally stupid to believe there was no cover up by the church and the authorities surely you don’t believe that all this stuff was made up by the victims and that Perry Dunlop risked his way of life and his families way of life for a lie. Wake up you idiots it happened it wasn’t a dream.

Reply | Report | Page Top Post #2 By dodger,

“It was never my intention to hurt you” – Inquiry

AM 1220

August 26, 2008 — Is it a form of an apology? Former Bishop Eugene LaRocque has told the Cornwall Public Inquiry that a letter Father Charles MacDonald penned in 1997 appears to be an apology. It was addressed to a former altar boy who alleges abuse at the hands of MacDonald however his name is protected under a publication ban. LaRocque says he had not seen this letter before the inquiry but he may have suggested MacDonald write it. Lead Commission Counsel Peter Engelmann read the note into the record during yesterday’s proceedings. (Hear audio clip below) LaRocque says the alleged victim’s parents told him about the alleged abuse after their son began having problems in his marriage. LaRocque says he did not report the allegation to police because he believed it was a consensual adult relationship. MacDonald has been accused of sexual abuse but charges against him were stayed in 2002 when a judge ruled the case took too long to get to trial. Hearings continue this morning at 9:00.

[Transcript of audio clip:   I honestly didn’t realize you were hurting.  What’s done is done, but I want to tell you that I am very sorry for causing you any hurt or pain. It was never my intention to hurt you. I wish I could change things but . . . I hope you can find it within your heart to forgive me.]

Alleged Victim May Sue Cornwall Police

January 7, 1994  23.38 EST


Cornwall police may have violated a man’s privacy rights by releasing a statement he made to them about being sexually abused when he was a child.

The man says he might sue the police force for violating municipal freedom of information laws.

Details of the statement were publicized this week through an Ottawa television station and newspaper.

“Now nobody will come forward in Cornwall for sexual abuse,” the 35-year-old man said. “It’s morally wrong. Everything’s wrong.”

The man’s statement, given to Cornwall police in December 1992, alleges that he was molested in Cornwall by a Roman Catholic priest and probation officer.

No criminal charges were ever laid against the priest or the probation officer because the complainant withdrew his accusations last year.

Police Sgt. Brendan Wells, a Cornwall police spokesman, said: “I’m satisfied no member of the Cornwall police service gave any statement to any news media.”

Cornwall police are investigating the matter.

Police can only disclose such statements after a charge is laid, and only to an accused person’s lawyer. And that lawyer can’t release it to a third party.

But the man who complained to police fears losing more than his privacy. He could also lose the out-of-court cash settlement he made with the Roman Catholic Church Archdiocese in Cornwall last fall. The church paid the man about $30,000, the man says, with the promise he not discuss the accusations publicly.

Rev. Donald McDougald, who acted as the liaison between the complainant and the accused priest, said the Catholic church may offer cash settlements to spare a priest’s reputation. “Whether there is any blame on the (accused) or not, after a court case, a person’s reputation is shot.”

Cornwall lawyer Malcolm Macdonald, who drew up the settlement on behalf of the church, admitted recent media exposure of the case could scuttle the settlement.

Wells said Cornwall police are not considering reopening the investigation into the priest and the probation officer.

End of document.

Ottawa City Police Called in to Investigate

January 12, 1994  08.48 EST

City police have been asked to investigate a Cornwall police case that concluded without charges after a Roman Catholic archdiocese gave a sex-abuse complainant about $30,000.

A man, now 35, complained to police in Cornwall, Ont., in December 1992 that he had been sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest about 20 years ago when he was an altar boy.

But in September 1993, the man told the Cornwall force to drop the investigation because he had reached a civil settlement with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cornwall-Alexandria.

Peter Griffith, chief Crown attorney for Eastern Ontario, said that if a complainant makes a civil settlement, it does not preclude police from pursuing criminal charges.

“It isn’t against the law (to reach an out-of-court settlement),” Griffith said.

But a local Crown attorney instructed the force last September to end their work on the case, Leo Courville, head of the Cornwall Police Services Board, said Tuesday.

“The investigators were advised that in the absence of the complainant’s active involvement in the case, the investigation should terminate,” Courville said.

Guy Levac, a spokesman for the Ottawa diocese, said the Catholic church would “never, ever prevent someone from talking publicly about a complaint or stop them from going to police.”

The Cornwall-Alexandria diocese has reassigned the accused priest.

Further details of the case were released Tuesday at a news conference announcing Cornwall police have asked Ottawa counterparts to review their conduct during the investigation.

The Ottawa force will also probe what appears to be a 10-month delay by the Cornwall force in informing the Children’s Aid Society in September 1993 of the man’s sex-abuse allegations.

“Ten months is a long time,” said Ottawa Deputy police Chief Don Lyon. “It is something that investigators will look at.”

A Cornwall police officer — who was not assigned to the case — gave the child-welfare agency the police documents.

For forwarding the documents without authorization, the unnamed officer faced an internal disciplinary investigation.

Under provincial law, police are required to immediately report suspected child abuse to the Children’s Aid Society. But because the man reported his allegations as an adult the legal obligations of police are not as clear.

End of document.

Former Chief Claude Shaver says he was incensed by Church deal

January 14, 1994  00.54 EST

National general news


A former police chief says he’s furious with the local Roman Catholic church for paying a man to keep silent about allegations he was molested by a Cornwall priest as a child.

Police had to call off their 10-month investigation of the local clergyman when the complainant signed a $32,000 settlement with the diocese in 1992 requiring him to halt any legal action against the priest.

“I was extremely upset, as a police officer, extremely upset,” said former chief Claude Shaver. “I understand there are legal precedents but all of a sudden the police have their hands tied because of that.”

The man, now 35, took his complaint to Cornwall police in December 1992. At the same time, he says he told the local diocese his story and asked for a written apology. Church officials offered him a cash settlement months later. He withdrew his complaint last September.

Bishop Eugene LaRocque of the Cornwall diocese has scheduled a news conference today at his office to discuss the settlement.

Shaver says he was so incensed by the church’s deal that he and the head of the force’s criminal investigations travelled to Ottawa last October to speak with Archbishop Carlo Curis, the Pope’s representative in Canada.

“I disagreed with the payment by the church, which then caused the complainant to withdraw the complaint which left us with nothing.”

It was after Shaver’s meeting with LaRocque that the accused priest was removed from his church.

End of document.

Alleged victim denies Diocese’ statement that it offered help

January 16, 1994  15.12 EST

National general news



The man who received a $32,000 payout from the Roman Catholic Church after complaining he was molested by a Cornwall priest says the church never offered to help him in any way.

The Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall said Friday it offered to help the former altar boy and pay for counselling, as part of the Catholic church’s national protocol on handling such complaints.

But Saturday the 35-year-old man disputed that. “They never once helped me out on anything. They never said ‘Do you need some help? Do you need some money for help?’ All I wanted was an apology.”

He disagrees with several key elements in the church’s account of the controversial payoff. He has consulted his lawyer and is weighing the risks of public disclosure of the out-of-court settlement. He has refused repeated requests to release the documents.

The man said he never demanded money from the church and that church officials offered it after his first meeting with them.

By then, he said, he realized he would not get an apology and it seemed the Cornwall police probe was going nowhere. So he decided to take the money.

Cornwall Bishop Eugene LaRocque said Friday he reluctantly went along with the payment because the man had a considerable bill for psychological counselling. But Saturday, the man denied ever receiving any counselling.

And Jacques Leduc, the lawyer for the diocese, said there was no gag order preventing the man from pursuing a criminal investigation.

The man contradicted Leduc’s comments about the gag order, saying: “It’s in black and white. I can’t go on the witness stand and talk about it.”

The man said that, as part of the settlement, the diocese required him to tell Cornwall police in writing that he would abandon his criminal complaint. “I don’t recall that,” Leduc said Saturday.

Police said they had to call off their 10-month investigation when the complainant signed the $32,000 settlement with the diocese requiring him to halt any legal action against the priest.

The man took his complaint to Cornwall police in December 1992.

At the same time, he says he told the local diocese his story and asked for a written apology. Church officials offered him a cash settlement months later. He withdrew his complaint last September.

End of document.

Bishop says he wasn’t aware deal prevented alleged victim from pressing criminal charges

January 24, 1994  17.27 EST


Roman Catholic officials say they didn’t know a cash settlement reached with a man who accused a priest of sexual abuse prevented him from pressing criminal charges.

Bishop Eugene LaRocque told a news conference Monday he wasn’t aware the settlement included that clause because church officials never read the agreement.

“It brings out the human side of the church. We all make mistakes,” LaRocque said, describing the situation as a “tragedy of errors.”

LaRocque says a new lawyer for the diocese has contacted the man and told him if he decides to lay charges, it will not violate the terms of the settlement.

Under the agreement, the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall agreed to pay the man $32,000. The agreement also contained a clause preventing the man from pursuing criminal and civil action against the church and the priest.

Police said Monday they had not heard from the man.

The man, now 35, complained to police in December 1992 that he had been sexually assaulted by the priest about 20 years ago when he was an altar boy.

But in September 1993, the man told police to drop the investigation because he had reached an out-of-court settlement with the archdiocese.

A diocese spokesman later said the church would never prevent someone from talking about a complaint or going to the police.

Jacques Leduc, a lawyer for the diocese, said the document was prepared by the priest’s lawyer and not himself. Leduc said he didn’t read it before it was signed.

“It was a lack of judgment on my part. I know you may find this difficult to believe. Some would say we’re lying, but we’re not,” Leduc told reporters.

“As you can imagine I feel very foolish this morning and embarrassed.”

The bishop said he has received numerous letters and telephone calls from parishioners upset at the church’s payment and the fact diocese funds were used.

Ontario Provincial Police called in to investigate

February 2, 1994  16.48 EST


Provincial police plan to re-open an investigation into a complaint of sexual abuse by a priest that was originally halted after the complainant received $32,000 from the Roman Catholic diocese.

The investigation will also examine whether there was a “conspiracy between police and the church to effect a settlement,” Carl Johnston, acting Cornwall police chief, told a news conference Wednesday.

The Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall agreed to pay a man last fall after he complained to police in 1992 that he was molested by a priest as an altar boy.

The agreement contained a clause preventing the man from pursuing criminal and civil action against the church and the priest, but diocese officials later said they didn’t know the settlement prevented the man from pressing charges.

Police in Ottawa recommended re-opening the case after conducting a review which found no evidence of a coverup attempt by Cornwall police, Johnston said.

The report did find a “noticeable lack of senior management direction and support throughout the course of the investigation,” which Johnston attributed to a heavy workload at the time.

The investigation is “to get a second opinion on the first investigation and … to see if any new witnesses can be found,” Johnston said.

The police dropped the earlier investigation because of the difficulty of proceeding without a complainant.

The investigation will begin this week.

End of document.

Alleged Victim of Clerical Sexual Abuse Sues

March 9, 1994  11.33 EST


A man who claims he was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest 20 years ago is suing a former city police chief and two officers for breach of privacy in the case, his lawyer said Tuesday.

The suit also names Cornwall’s police services board and the Children’s Aid Society of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and claims $250,000 in damages, said lawyer Bryce Geoffrey of Ottawa.

Geoffrey said his 35-year-old client gave a handwritten statement about the priest to police during a criminal investigation.

“My client’s statement was released to the media without his knowledge or consent,” he said.

Part of the statement was broadcast on an Ottawa TV station and the signature “was on the screen for everyone to see,” he said.

A Cornwall police spokesman said in January he was confident no one on the force released the statement to reporters. Police can only disclose such statements to an accused person’s lawyer.

Former police chief Claude Shaver and the others named in the suit should receive statements of claim by the end of the week, Geoffrey said.

Spokesmen for Cornwall police and the Children’s Aid Society said they have not been served any legal papers.

Shaver and Leo Courville, chairman of the police board, were not available for comment.

Geoffrey said his client first complained to police in December 1992 that he had been sexually assaulted by a local priest when he an altar boy, but told police to drop the investigation last

September when he received a payment of $32,000 from the Roman Catholic diocese.

Meanwhile, provincial police continue to investigate the sexual assault case against the former priest.

The probe was launched soon after Ottawa police reviewed the handling of the investigation by Cornwall police. Ottawa police concluded there was no evidence of a cover-up attempt by Cornwall police but recommended re-opening the case.

Alleged victim sues CAS and Cornwall police

April 29, 1994  01.53 EST


A man who says a Roman Catholic priest molested him as a boy is suing the Children’s Aid Society and Cornwall police for releasing his witness statement to the media.

The statement, which was shown on a TV newscast in Ottawa and partially reprinted in an Ottawa newspaper in January, contains graphic details of the abuse the man told police he suffered 20 years ago.

According to court documents filed March 7, the man is seeking damages from the police.

The suit is the most recent twist in a complicated sexual abuse case that drew accusations of a cover-up against the Cornwall police and sparked allegations of the Roman Catholic Church obstructing justice.

The alleged victim first went to Cornwall police in December 1992, with claims he had been molested as an altar boy by a local priest and probation officer. The 49-year-old probation officer committed suicide in November.

Ten months later, the man withdrew his complaint after church officials paid him $32,000 to drop the case.

Cornwall police, which had dropped their investigation of the priest since the alleged victim chose to quash his accusations, came under fire for allowing the church pay-off.

Cornwall Bishop Eugene LaRocque has condemned the out-of-court settlement and urged the man to go back to police.

End of document.

Ruling on police wrongdoing appealed

March 15, 1995  15.53 EST


Ontario’s police complaints commissioner is appealing a ruling that cleared a constable of wrongdoing in the handling of a sexual abuse investigation of a Roman Catholic priest.

A provincial board of inquiry has found that Const. Perry Dunlop acted appropriately when he gave a copy of the complainant’s police statement to the Children’s Aid Society.

Dunlop, who wasn’t directly involved with the investigation, was acting against the order of his superior officer.

But the board said he had reasonable grounds to suspect abuse and acted appropriately under the Child and Family Services Act.

The inquiry was ordered by Cornwall’s police chief last year, after the alleged victim filed a complaint with the complaints commissioner.

The alleged victim told police in 1992 that he’d been sexually abused by a priest more than 20 years earlier.

The police investigation was dropped 10 months later after the complainant stopped co-operating. It was revealed the complainant received $32,000 from the Roman Catholic diocese in return for dropping legal proceedings.

The commissioner’s appeal will be heard by a divisional court, likely in Ottawa.

End of document.

 Cornwall cop faces charges under Police Services Act

September 24, 1994  15.36 EST

[ note:  legal counsel for the Cornwall Police Service who recommended that this action be taken against Dunlop was Colin McKinnon.  Six years and four months later Justice Colin McKinnon took the bench at the sex abuse trial of Jacques Leduc.  The trial degenerated into the trial of Perry Dunlop. McKinnon also represented the legal interests of former Chief Claude Shaver on a number of occasions]


A Cornwall police officer is facing professional misconduct charges for going to the Children’s Aid Society with suspicions that a local priest and probation officer might be sexually abusing children.

Const. Perry Dunlop is charged with breach of confidence and discreditable conduct under the Ontario Police Services Act. He could be reprimanded or fired if found guilty.

Dunlop admits giving a copy of a sexual assault statement to the Cornwall Children’s Aid Society but denies leaking it to the media.

His lawyer has moved to have the charge quashed, arguing Dunlop was only fulfilling his legal obligations.

Under the Ontario Child and Family Services Act all professionals, including police officers, must report suspected child abuse to the Children’s Aid Society.

“Bluntly stated,” said lawyer Allan O’Brien, “if Perry Dunlop hadn’t reported this, someone could have said that was discreditable conduct.”

Cornwall police chief Carl Johnston told the Ottawa Citizen he laid the charge after an internal investigation.    “A document from the police force was removed from the police facility and subsequently the document turned up publicly,” he said.

Friday’s developments are the latest in a scandal that began earlier this year in Cornwall involving a Roman Catholic priest, a probation officer, a suicide and an out-of-court settlement by the church.

Seven months ago, the Ontario Provincial Police reopened the investigation by Cornwall police to see if charges should be laid against the priest.

A Crown attorney is reviewing the OPP probe, which followed an earlier investigation by Ottawa police. The Ottawa force concluded senior Cornwall officers did not offer enough support in the case.

Dunlop says he went to the Cornwall Children’s Aid Society because “it appeared that the case was coming to a close without a complete investigation being done,” according to an affidavit filed along with the motion to quash the charge.

In December 1992, a 35-year-old man gave Cornwall police a written statement saying he’d been sexually abused by the Cornwall  priest and an area probation officer in the 1970s when he was age 12. He was a former altar boy.

Dunlop got a copy of the man’s statement from the investigating officer. He photocopied the statement and gave the original back to his colleague.

The next day, Sept. 25, 1993, he brought it to the attention of Richard Abell, the CAS’s executive-director in Cornwall.

Dunlop was concerned that the probation officer “continued to have isolated contact with children in the Cornwall community.”

In November 1993, the probation officer committed suicide at his home near Lancaster, east of Cornwall. No criminal charges were ever laid against him.

Dunlop has been on an extended sick leave from the force since January.

End of document.

Ruling on police wrongdoing appealed

March 15, 1995  15.53 EST


Ontario’s police complaints commissioner is appealing a ruling that cleared a constable of wrongdoing in the handling of a sexual abuse investigation of a Roman Catholic priest.

A provincial board of inquiry has found that Const. Perry Dunlop acted appropriately when he gave a copy of the complainant’s police statement to the Children’s Aid Society. Dunlop, who wasn’t directly involved with the investigation, was acting against the order of his superior officer. But the board said he had reasonable grounds to suspect abuse and acted appropriately under the Child and Family Services Act.

The inquiry was ordered by Cornwall’s police chief last year, after the alleged victim filed a complaint with the complaints commissioner.

The alleged victim told police in 1992 that he’d been sexually abused by a priest more than 20 years earlier. The police investigation was dropped 10 months later after the complainant stopped co-operating. It was revealed the complainant received $32,000 from the Roman Catholic diocese in return for dropping legal proceedings.

The commissioner’s appeal will be heard by a divisional court, likely in Ottawa.

End of document.

Man sues church after accepting settlement

April 11, 1995  22.00 EST


A man who was paid $32,000 by the Catholic church after alleging sexual abuse as an altar boy is suing the church.

The man is suing the Catholic diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall and a former parish priest from the Cornwall area.

Cornwall police began an investigation in 1992 after the man claimed he had been assaulted by the priest in the 1970s.  But police dropped the investigation in September 1993 when the alleged victim, now in his 30s, stopped co-operating with police.

Provincial police reopened the case last January upon learning the diocese had negotiated a deal to give the man a cash settlement.  The provincial force later cleared Cornwall police of wrongdoing after determining there were insufficient grounds to lay charges against the priest.  But provincial police also said “there was evidence of an attempt to obstruct justice in relation to the settlement made with the alleged victim.”

The man’s lawyer says the settlement was illegal.

End of document.

Priest countersues former altar boy

June 8, 1995  01.05 EST


A priest is countersuing a former altar boy, claiming he falsely and maliciously accused him of a sexual assault more than 20 years ago.

The former altar boy, now 37, had sued the priest and the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall over the alleged incident.

The man filed the lawsuit after he accepted $32,000 from the diocese agreeing to drop the complaint.

In a statement of defence and counterclaim filed in an Ottawa court recently, the priest and the diocese deny the man’s allegations and have started a civil action of their own.

They claim the priest has suffered emotional and mental distress, severe depression, and has been robbed of a career.

The priest has since left the parish and has been unable to assume duties in another parish because of the allegations, the documents say.

They also claim the man’s allegations were made “with no other purpose but to obtain financial gain.”

In a statement of reply, the man insists that he was abused by the priest and that the priest’s countersuit should be dismissed.

The development is the latest in a series of events that began in late 1993 when the Cornwall-area man went public with allegations against the church about incidents that he said happened in the early 1970s, when he was 12.

Provincial police reviewed how the Cornwall Police handled the matter but concluded there were no grounds to lay a criminal charge against the priest.

End of document.

Man settles with police in suit over leaked documentAugust 3, 1995  16.12 ESTCORNWALL, Ont. (CP)An Ottawa man who accused a local priest of sexual assault has reached an out-of-court settlement in a civil lawsuit against Cornwall’s Police Services Board.The man, who cannot be named because of a publication ban, sued Cornwall Police after a witness statement he provided them was leaked to an Ottawa TV station.The man’s full name was cleary visible on a news report broadcast by the station. The amount of money he received will remain confidential under the terms of the agreement.”We reached an out-of-court settlement about a month ago, but that’s all I can say,” said the man in a telephone interview Wednesday. “The details are confidential.”The man has also launched a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall. That suit remains outstanding, as does a civil lawsuit the priest involved has filed against the man, alleging wrongful accusation.The man, now in his 30s, went to city police in 1992 claiming the priest had assaulted him more than 20 years ago when he was an altar boy.The investigation also involved a local probation officer, who has since committed suicide. The probation officer was also alleged to have sexually assaulted the boy.The investigation was closed by police after the former altar boy refused to co-operate further because he had been paid $32,000 in an out-of-court settlement with the diocese.

A condition of that settlement was that he not pursue his accusations.

End of document.

Absolute discharge for Cornwall lawyer12 October 1995OTTAWA (CP) — A Cornwall lawyer has received an absolute discharge after pleading guilty to attempting to obstruct justice in a sexual assault case against his client, a Catholic priest.Angus MacDonald, 64, pleaded guilty to the charge last month in an Ottawa court.MacDonald was charged after a victim of alleged sex abuse was paid $32,000 in return for dropping a criminal complaint and any plans for civil action.The complainant, a Cornwall man, had told police in 1992 he was abused by a priest as a teen in the 1970s, but the investigation was dropped when he later stopped co-operating with police.The case was re-opened after police learned the Alexandra-Cornwall Roman Catholic diocese had negotiated a deal to pay for the alleged victim’s silence.The absolute discharge means that MacDonald will not have a criminal record.End of document[ note: Angus MacDonald is Malcolm MacDonald]
Priest charged with sex assaultsMarch 12, 1996  00.18 ESTCORNWALL, Ont. (CP)A Roman Catholic priest faces seven charges of indecent assault stemming from alleged incidents in the late 1960s and early 1970s.Father Charles MacDonald, 63, of Glen Robertson, Ont., about 40 kilometres north of Cornwall, will appear in Ontario Court on March 25.Provincial police took over the case from Cornwall police in January 1994 and concluded in December 1994 that there weren’t “sufficient grounds” to lay charges.But the provincial police case was opened again last year after two former altar boys came forward.In a written statement released to the CBC-TV program Fifth Estate last December, MacDonald said the allegations “are fabricated and libellous, fuelled by a media against which one is unable to defend himself.”I emphatically state that I am not guilty of these allegations against me.”Bishop Eugene LaRocque, head of the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese, was criticized when it was revealed two years ago the Catholic Church paid a complainant $32,000.The church and MacDonald have since sued their lawyers over the deal.

End of document.

Ottawa Sun10 April 2000CORNWALL, Ont. (CP) – Investigators looking into decades of abuse by prominent officials and clergy laid another 19 sex offences against four men Monday.The charges were laid by provincial police heading Project Truth, an ongoing 32-month investigation that has already netted 114 charges.Rev. Charles MacDonald, 67, of Glen Robertson near Cornwall, faces two counts of indecent assault on a male and two counts of gross indecency.In May 1999, MacDonald was ordered to stand trial on eight sex charges involving young boys. That was in addition to six sex charges laid in January 1998 involving five complainants, and seven sex charges laid two years earlier involving three former altar boys for allegations dating back to the late ’60s and early ’70s.Jean Luc LeBlanc, 55, of Newington, northwest of Cornwall, faces 10 sex offences, including one count of buggery, two counts of anal intercourse, two counts of sexual assault on a male and one count of procuring a person for illicit sexual intercourse.LeBlanc, a convicted pedophile who drove a school bus for the Upper Canada District Board in 1998, was hit with 13 sex charges last July and was charged with 28 sex-related charges earlier in 1999.Brian Bernard Dufour, 59, of Hamilton, was charged Monday with two counts of indecent assault on a male and two counts of gross indecency.

Det. Insp. Klancy Grasman said the charges stem from the late ’60s when Dufour worked as a child-care worker in Cornwall.

Rev. Romeo Major, 62, of Cornwall, was charged with one count of indecent assault on a female.

Dufour, Major and MacDonald were scheduled to appear in Cornwall court April 17. Jean Luc LeBlanc will appear in court in Cornwall June 23.

Grasman said he expects Project Truth to conclude by the end of May.

(Copyright of Canadian Press)

Cornwall‘s open sore left to weep
Scandal’s lack of closure won’t help accused, accusers or town

Ottawa Sun

19 May 2002

By Kathleen Harris

CORNWALL — For those packed inside the small courtroom, the decision was as predictable as it was appalling. Last Monday, a judge ruled that a Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing several boys would not have to stand trial. Not because the weight of evidence was not there to proceed, but because a bizarre set of circumstances had entangled, tripped up and delayed his case.

Ultimately, it was the passage of too much time that allowed Father Charles MacDonald to leave the court a free man.

That evening, the retiring Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall, Eugene Larocque, spoke with the former priest by telephone.

“He’s relieved that at last the whole thing is over. That he can breathe a little easier,” he said of their conversation.

But Larocque admits the court ruling left the entire community — including himself — uncomfortably in doubt.

He has heard pleas of innocence from the former St. Columban’s parish priest. But he has also seen the raw emotions of complainants and their supporters — broadcast that night on the television news.

“They are absolutely convinced that Father Charles is guilty and that he is being let off. I don’t have that conviction. I just don’t know.”

Some say this lingering doubt will continue to block Cornwall’s healing process.

The sex abuse scandal, made more shocking because priests and other leading citizens figure so prominently in it, has left the community polarized. It has left lives of alleged victims in tatters and religious faith rattled.

“It means we don’t move on,” said Paul Scott, spokesman for a lobby group called Citizens for Renewal. “It’s impossible for the community to find any normalcy now.”

His coalition has already sent 12,000 signatures to Queen’s Park demanding a public inquiry into widespread sexual abuse allegations. The petition’s numbers represent half the city’s households and about one-quarter of the local population.

But while MPPs from across Ontario have supported the call for an inquiry, civic leaders have remained stubbornly quiet on the issue.

“Not one local leader has spoken out on it,” Scott said. “It’s a real problem. They’re all either wearing rose-coloured glasses or blinders. Meanwhile, the masses here on the street are carrying tremendous anger and frustration.”

Disturbing allegations of rampant child molestation in Cornwall date back several decades, but they didn’t begin to surface until 1992.

That’s when a former altar boy who claimed he was abused by MacDonald in the 1970s went to the church seeking an apology.

When it didn’t come, he went to police.

In the fall of 1993, the complainant was silenced. He accepted a $32,000 payment from the diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall and made a promise to withdraw his police complaint.

This illegal settlement — and a police officer named Perry Dunlop who exposed it — ultimately led to a flurry of sexual abuse allegations. They stretched back several decades and pointed fingers at some of the city’s most high-profile citizens.

But ensuing investigations could not find enough evidence to arrest MacDonald, who didn’t face charges until March 1996. It was the first of three sets of charges, eventually totalling 19, and his case became a key one in the Project Truth OPP investigation launched in 1997.

To this day, Bishop Larocque maintains he was not aware of the now infamous clause that required the complainant to drop criminal proceedings to collect the $32,000.


“I was the most astonished person in the world when I saw that,” he said. “I never agreed to that. It is both morally and legally reprehensible. In my view, to say it was cover-up money is completely false.”

Malcolm MacDonald, the Church lawyer who drew up the agreement, was eventually convicted of obstruction of justice. He was among those later charged with child sexual abuse, but died in Florida from a heart attack before facing trial.

Larocque himself has been publicly identified as a member of the local “pedophile clan” — an accusation he flatly denies.

“I know I have been falsely accused. I was accused with all the gory details of something I did in 1961. In 1961, I hadn’t even set foot in the diocese,” he said.

Separating fact from fiction has proven difficult in the Cornwall case; accusations have been hurled in civil suits and counter-suits, in criminal charges and in rumours on the street.

But the undeniable fact that MacDonald was not charged until 1996 is one that Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Garry Guzzo finds confounding. The way he sees it, only sheer “incompetence” or a cover-up could explain why charges weren’t laid earlier against MacDonald or other notables who were eventually named by Project Truth investigators.

A lawyer and former provincial judge, Guzzo is concerned that OPP charges came only after being presented with evidence gathered by private citizens.


“It was never intended that anyone would be charged. It was never intended that anyone would be prosecuted or convicted,” he said. “They had to do it because of pressure from the citizens’ group. If that’s not abundantly clear to every clear-thinking citizen right now, then I’m shell-shocked.”

Guzzo’s exasperation grew this week after charges were stayed against Father MacDonald due to unreasonable delay. He claims he was repeatedly assured by the provincial attorney general’s office that delays were primarily due to the defence and that the MacDonald case was not in jeopardy.

“The clock was ticking. The judge didn’t really have an option but to stay the charges, given the length of time that had passed. The real question is, why?”

Committed to his fight for a public inquiry, Guzzo blames former premier Mike Harris for blocking it in the past. He hopes his private member’s bill will now find an ally in Premier Ernie Eves.

“Cornwall’s a long way from Toronto. Those victims are faceless up here and it doesn’t seem to resonate with some people, to be blunt. It’s unfortunate,” he said.

Sylvia MacEachern, who has been closely following all the Project Truth cases, was disturbed but not surprised by this week’s outcome. As editor of a Catholic publication, her cynicism escalated to outrage over what she sees as the rights of an accused prevailing over the rights of victims of childhood sexual abuse.

“I think if the judge had any interest in the community he would have put them first,” she said. “This closes the circle and takes the community back to Day 1. It’s as though nothing happened. You’ve got 10 years that simply didn’t exist.”

MacEachern believes the cumulative effect of the MacDonald case — and all the other Project Truth cases where accused men have died, committed suicide, been acquitted or had charges stayed — will be to silence other victims in the future.

“Why would anyone endure 10 years of hell? That’s the message that was sent. And who would want to be a Perry Dunlop and speak out for what’s right?”

Many people see Dunlop, a former constable with the Cornwall police, as a national hero.


During MacDonald’s pre-trial, Dunlop was depicted as a self-serving egomaniac who jeopardized criminal cases by recklessly violating orders from his superiors. His behaviour, along with a change in Crown prosecutors, a conflict in trial schedules and ongoing investigations, were all cited as contributors to the six-year delay in charges reaching trial.

Dunlop, who was charged with misconduct under the Police Services Act but later cleared, maintains he could trust no one, and that his only goals were to uncover the truth and protect children by putting criminals behind bars.

In 1997, Dunlop presented volumes of material containing explosive allegations, and the OPP probe launched that same year led to 115 charges.

While no evidence of a pedophile “ring” or “clan” has ever emerged, many of those charged under Project Truth were clergy or had some connection to the Catholic church.

MacEachern says the scandal and the justice system’s failure to deal with it has shaken spirituality, broken trust and torn apart the religious community. Many people now refuse to set foot in a church, she said.

Larocque’s successor Paul-Andre Durocher, who will be installed as Alexandria-Cornwall’s new bishop on June 17, says he will arrive with little knowledge about Cornwall’s raging controversy.

“I have basic ignorance. I heard some news stories recently, but I’m going in there to discover the people and the community,” he said in a telephone interview from Sudbury. “I don’t know a lot about the area or the history. It’s all new to me.”

While he will not bring any preconceived ideas to Cornwall, he will sit down and speak with anyone who is concerned about past allegations. If necessary, Durocher said he will develop a strategy for healing and moving ahead.

For the alleged victims who didn’t have the opportunity to tell their stories in a public courtroom, moving on may be difficult.

And the man they have accused of sexual abuse — who pleaded not guilty to all charges — will have no chance to clear his name.


After charges were stayed, MacDonald’s defence lawyer Michael Neville said he’d been confident about the case and was prepared to defend his client on every charge.

Nestled along the St. Lawrence River, conveniently near Hwy. 401, Cornwall has been working to sell itself as a great community in which to live and do business. But the city’s name has been persistently linked to stories of pedophilia — a tarnished image that Cornwall Coun. Denis Carr is eager to shed.

“It has given Cornwall a bad reputation that is undeserved,” he said. “There is no evidence of a pedophile ring, despite all the headlines. This is a great community, with great people.”

When all criminal proceedings have finished in the courts, that will be the time to consider a potential public inquiry; until then, he says he won’t push.

“It has focused people for the wrong reasons,” Carr said. “We’re talking about things that allegedly happened 30 years ago. I live here today.”


The outcomes of the four-year Project Truth investigation. OPP charged 15 people for sex crimes dating back more than 35 years:

Charges stayed: Rev. Charles MacDonald; Jacques Leduc, diocese lawyer (appeal hearing scheduled for this fall)

Facing Trial: Bernard Sauve (businessman)

Acquitted: Harvey Latour; George “Sandy” Lawrence, church organist and store owner; Rev. Paul Lapierre (under appeal); Rev. Kenneth Martin

Guilty: Jean-Luc Leblanc, school bus driver

Charges withdrawn: Rev. Romeo Major, Keith Jodoin, former Cornwall justice of the peace and former director of the United Way

Charges dismissed due to health: Leonel Carriere, religious brother

Deceased: Brian Dufour, former probation and parole counsellor, Roch Landry, retired butcher, Malcolm MacDonald, former lawyer and Crown attorney, Arthur Peachy, former doctor and coroner