|Sr. Claudette Pilon-Routhier
Sr. Claudette Pilon
Sister Claudette Pilon-Routhier was one of three persons on the diocesan ad hoc committee which dealt with Benoit Brisson‘s sex abuse allegations against Father Gilles Desluarier in the mid 80s. The group was sworn to secrecy. Sr. Pilon, Monsignor Bernard Guindon and layman and lawyer Jacques Leduc comprised the committee.
Sister Pilon testified that at one point the group considered giving Brisson $32,000 and and ask for confidentiality. $32,000 was exactly the amount given to David Silmer in the illegal pay-off. ( Jacques Leduc was the diocesan lawyer involved in the Silmser pay-off. At this time Leduc was not yet a canon lawyer)
Sister could not recall who came up with the suggestion for a Brisson settlement but said it was not her idea. – agreed it was therefore either Monsignor Guindon or Jacques Leduc.
Claudette Pilon Routhier testified in French at the Cornwall Public Inquiry 22 & 23 July 2008
|22 July 2008: Transcript of Sister Pilon testimony at Cornwall Public Inquiry (scroll down to page 169. French – examination in Chief)|
Church considered another payout
Cornwall Standard Freeholder
Wednesday, July 23, 2008 9:34:35 EDT AM
Eight years before David Silmser’s $32,000 payout became public in 1994, church officials considered negotiating a similar settlement with another abuse victim, the Cornwall Public Inquiry heard yesterday.
Sr. Claudette Pilon was one of three people assigned by the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese to look into sexual abuse allegations against Rev. Gilles Deslauriers in 1986.
Among the witnesses the ad hoc committee -which also included Msgr. Bernard Guindon and diocesan lawyer Jacques Leduc – met with was Benoit Brisson, one of Deslauriers’ victims.
Pilon said the committee was “really afflicted” after hearing Brisson’s story and wanted to come up with a way to help him.
“We discussed the fact it might be possible to give him some money and to also ask him for confidentiality,” said Pilon, who testified in French.
“But this was not actually the chosen solution.” Pilon said the specific amount the committee discussed was $32,000. She told commission lawyer Pierre Dumais she couldn’t remember whose idea the settlement was.
In September 1993, Silmser agreed to accept $32,000 from the diocese in exchange for not pursuing charges against Rev. Charles MacDonald. MacDonald had allegedly abused Silmser decades earlier when he was an altar boy at St. Columban’s Church in Cornwall. He was charged by the Ontario Provincial Police in 1996 with sexually abusing a number of boys, but the charges were stayed six years later after a judge ruled they’d taken too long to go to trial.
Leduc represented the diocese in those negotiations.
Silmser wasn’t named when the first media reports about the payout surfaced in January 1994, and Pilon said she originally believed Brisson was the recipient of the money.
“I thought right away of Benoit,” she said. Deslauriers pleaded guilty in November 1986 to abusing Brisson and three other Cornwall teens between 1979 and 1981. He was given two years’ probation.
Pilon is scheduled to retake the stand when the inquiry resumes today at 9:30 a. m.
Various Opinions On Accused Priest Continuing Pastoral Work-Inquiry
July 23, 2008 — There were at least two schools of thought when it came to child sex abuse allegations involving a Cornwall priest. Pastoral counsellor Claudette Pilon is testifying at the Cornwall Public Inquiry about her involvement with a church committee that looked into allegations against Father Gilles Deslauriers in the spring of 1986. Pilon was asked how the families reacted when they learned Deslauriers had been transferred to another diocese after the complaints were made. Through an interpreter, Pilon told the commission there were various opinions. (Hear audio clip below) Deslauriers was convicted on sex related charges in the fall of 1986. Pilon’s testimony continues when hearings resume at 9:30 this morning.
[Transcript of audio clip: One whereby they hoped for Gilles healing, on the other hand there was a feeling that he simply should not continue to work in a pastoral role and with young people, in that condition, in that state.]
Potential Settlement Between Church And Abuse Victim-Inquiry
Cornwall News AM 1220
July 23, 2008 — A potential cash settlement between the church and a child sex abuse victim made its way into testimony at the Cornwall Public Inquiry for the second day in a row. Sister Claudette Pilon sat on a church committee in the spring of 1986 which was looking into child sex abuse allegations against Father Gilles Deslauriers. At one point, the committee considered paying the victim 32 thousand dollars but that option was not chosen. During cross examination today, Victims’ Group lawyer Dallas Lee spoke with Pilon about the reasons for the potential settlement. (Listen to audio clip below for part of the exchange) Mr. Brisson was one of Deslauriers victims. Deslauriers was convicted on sex related charges in the fall of 1986. Meanwhile, alleged victim David Silmser accepted a 32 thousand dollar settlement from the church in 1993 after he made allegations against a different priest.
[Transcript of audio clip:
MS. PILON: That’s right.
MR. LEE: And I take it you understood the point of that to be that that would avoid scandal?
MS. PILON: Most probably, yes.
MR. LEE: So both sides get something out of that deal?
MS. PILON: That’s right.
MR. LEE: Mr. Brisson gets some money to get himself some help and the church doesn’t have scandal. Is that correct?
MS. PILON: That’s correct.]