August 29, 2008 — A former Cornwall bishop has admitted that the local diocese’s response to child sex abuse allegations could have been better. Former local bishop Eugene LaRocque wrapped up his eighth and final day on the stand at the Cornwall Public Inquiry, yesterday. Larocque testified that he did not fully inform civil authorities, ranging from immigration to police services, on what he knew about certain accused priests. He admitted that if he divulged some information it would have shown that two of his priests had engaged in sexual abuse of young people. Larocque ended his testimony with an apology. (Hear audio clip below) Hearings continue this morning at 9:30.
[Transcript of audio clip:
MSGR. LAROCQUE: I want to take this final opportunity to apologize to the community of Cornwall, to all the faithful of the Diocese and to all the people in it who were hurt by mistakes I made during my administration. I also want to apologize to anyone who was hurt by the actions of any priest in this Diocese, or by any errors which I or the Diocese may have made in handling any such cases.]
LaRocque issues apology
Cornwall Standard Freeholder
29 August 2008
Eugene LaRocque left the Cornwall Public Inquiry with an apology for the
city and a promise to keep its residents in his prayers.
Reading from a prepared statement, LaRocque said he never intended to hurt anyone during his tenure with the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese.
“I want to take this final opportunity to apologize to the community of Cornwall, to all the faithful of the diocese, to all the people in it who were hurt by mistakes I made during my administration,” said LaRocque. “I also want to apologize to anyone who was hurt by any action of any priest.”
He finished with a pledge to keep “all in my prayers in my daily mass.”
LaRocque, 81, was bishop from 1974 until 2002. His actions during those years — including hiring a priest convicted of sexual abuse in the U. S., and signing a $32,000 deal that kept an abuse victim from going to police — were scrutinized carefully during his eight days on the stand. Dallas Lee, an attorney for The Victims Group, said while some of his clients would appreciate LaRocque’s apology, others would find it “broad and general and vague.”
“It’s a little bit difficult to reconcile his general apology with the entirety of his testimony,” said Lee.
Comments on this Article.
so an apology for this guy is okay but Jail is okay for Perry Dunlop what the hell is wrong with the world anymore. Someone charge this guyy with obstruction of justice and hiding a crime.
Reply | Report | Page Top Post #1 By dodger,
larocque should be defrocked and charged like any other citizen that aides and abets a crime. What hypocrisy and what good is an apology to the victims if the man would do it again in an instant because he thinks he is above the law
Reply | Report | Page Top Post #2 By dodger,
This is Cornwall for you. Molest a child? Go home. Kill your spouse? Go home. Unleash an abusive priest on an unsuspecting community? Go home. Refuse to participate in a quasi-judicial hearing? Go to jail for 18 months.
There is something fundamentally wrong in this town and many others like it around the world. In some ways, I wish Cornwall was the only place this kind of thing happens. Unfortunately, I think it’s far too common. But that does not excuse it or make it right. There is no resource in this world greater than our children and we, as a society, should do all in our power to keep them safe from harm. To truly understand the crimes which so often go unpunished or are dealt with through a slap on the wrist and then to attempt to reconcile that with the fact Perry Dunlop will likely spent a year and a half in a jail cell because in his heart he knew he had to shine a light in the darkest corners of this community … well, that’s just the ultimate exercise in frustration. No matter what anyone might think about Dunlop and his actions to date, there’s no denying his first and only intention was to protect children. No matter what has transpired since then, no matter how many missteps he may have taken nor how many times he perhaps should have taken a step back, his heart was in the right place and remains there. For the rest of my life I will struggle how we, as a society, see fit to punish someone who was trying to protect children at any cost. What would you do to protect a child if you truly believed that a child was in danger? Would you circumvent a police force that, as we all know now after hearing testimony at this inquiry, was damaged, inexperienced and at times blatantly incompetent? Would you try to enlist the help of an organization such as the Children’s Aid Society whose members wrote the book on the duty to report? Would you go to the media in the hopes of getting anyone to listen? If you answered no to any of these questions because of policies or protocols or executive orders, that’s a shame. And that’s why Cornwall is where it is today. People in this city are more concerned with following the orders of an inadequate and poorly trained police force, a church whose officials now say didn’t act properly in the face of abuse allegations and a court system presided over by judges who have not always been the picture of objectivity in these matters.
Many people say this inquiry won’t amount to anything of significance. I think they’re wrong. This inquiry will prove our community has suffered, not just at the hands of abusers but at the hands of institutions established to care for us all. There will be no denying our police force was not capable of handling this matters. There will be no denying the church had a hand in keeping these abuses under wraps and out of the hands of investigators. There will be no doubt the justice system failed many of those who looked to it for salvation.
And for those who will doubt these things and continue to speak fondly and sympathetically of police officers, priests, lawyers and judges … just stop. It’s over. The jig is up. Children in our community were abused, their abusers were never punished and our institutions failed to protect them. Deal with it, Cornwall. And let’s vow, as a united community, to never allow this to happen in our town again.
Reply | Report | Page Top Post #3 By LocalReader,