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Nelson Joe L.C. Barque Convicted sexual predator Nelson Barque was a probation officer in Cornwall, Ontario from August 1974 until his resignation in May 1982 after he was confronted with allegations of sexual abuse of probationers.
Extraordinary minister of the Eucharist at Christ Roi, Roman Catholic church attended by the Brisson family. It was Barque’s sexual overtures to Ben Brisson in fact which prompted Ben to turn to Father Gilles Deslaurier for advice – and Deslaurier then molested the boy, under the pretext of some sort of counselling.
The bulk of the information below is taken verbatim from the 19 November 2007 transcript of the Nelson Barque ODE (Overview of Documentary Evidence). Additional information added from my own files.
03 December 2007: Ontario knew about pedophile probation officers, says victim
30 December 2007: Police protected probation officer accused of sexual abuse, inquiry hears
16 July 1998: Funeral notice. Nelson Barque committed suicude 28 June 1998. The funeral service was conducted at Christ Roi church 02 July 1998, Father Rene Dube officiating..
D.O.B: 28 December 1938, Cornwall, Ontario, Canada
The second eldest in a family of four children.
According to a pre-sentence report created on August 14th, 1995, Barque reported “a stable upbringing in a home environment characterized by significant poverty, solid pro-social values and close-knit family ties”.
1945 to 1953 grade school at Ecole St. Louis de Gonzague.
1953 to 1955: According to his application for employment and curriculum vitae, he completed Grades 9 and 10 at Cornwall Classical College at Windmill Point.
According to his 14 August 1995 pre-sentence report, he completed Grades 9 and 10 at the Catholic boarding school Ecole Secondaire les Frères duSacré-Coeur in Sommerstown.
Left school after Grade 10 because “Work was perceived as more important than education by his parents.” It seems he was not a good student.
– worked as a mill-hand, then a sales clerk and then as a storekeeper for Bell Canada.
1960 to 1964: Scout master
experience with Dom Remy
rehabilitation of alcoholics
Crèche St. Francois Nelson
Institution for Unadopted Children
Catholic Boy Scouts
St. Vincent de Paul Underprivileged Families.
Further Education and Seminary
1964 to 1970: College St. Jean Marie Vianney in Montreal, which, according to the ODE, was a college affiliated with the University of Montreal for students interested in the priesthood.
03 September 1970: BA University of Montreal
1970 to 1971: Saint Paul University seminary. Studied theology. (Barque arrived at St. Paul’s a year after Father Charles MacDonald was ordained. I believe Barque would have been at St. Paul’s at the same time as (1) Father Paul Marchese, an American who studied for the priesthood at St. Paul’s and was ordained for the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall in 1973, (2) Father Denis Vaillancourt, the current Chancellor of the diocese, who was ordained in 1974.)
Barque set out his reasons for leaving St. Paul in his curriculum vitae as follows: “Did not think that priesthood was for me.” And: “L’apprenti ne semble pas satisfaire mes désirs”
Employment and history after university studies
1971: worked as a substitute teacher at La Citadelle High School for a month and-a-half under the supervision of Jeannine Seguin before securing full-time employment with the City of Cornwall, Department of Social Services, as a case worker. As a case worker, he assumed responsibilities for singles, employable, unemployable,students from four high schools, drug addicts, alcoholics and daycare psychiatric patients.
The reasons cited for leaving this position was a lack of advancement in the department. Barque wrote in his curriculum vitae: “Could do better as a counsellor. I would like to work with the young people.”
In Barque’s curriculum vitae, he listed the following as other interests and activities:
Attend provincial and family courts regularly.
In charge of public relations for the Department of Social Services.
Member of the Board of Directors, Friendship Welcome Centre.
Liaison man between Canada Manpower and Unemployment Insurance Commission.
Member of the Big Brothers Association.
Regular consultation with mental health clinic as duty of present function.
Member of Ensemble Musique et Harmonie Member of the inter-disciplinary committee.
Member of the Knights of Columbus of Christ Roi Council 9663.
At the time that Barque applied to become a probation and parole officer, he was living at 606 St. Felix Street, was 35 years old and was married to Anita Marie Louise.
02 August 1974: Mr. Whibbs, regional personnel administrator, adult institutions, Ministry of Correctional Services, wrote to Mr. Mitchell, supervising probation parole officer, adult probation and parole services, acknowledging that he had received Mitchell’s recommendation to appoint Barque to the probationary staff of his area.
19 August 1974: Barque appointed a Probation and Parole Officer.
While a probationary staff member, Barque was evaluated by Mitchell and-or Mr. K.P. Connolly, senior probation parole officer, approximately every six months. The three appraisals conducted while Barque was on probation indicated that Barque was performing at a satisfactory level. In the comments, among other things, it is noted that Barque was, “Quickly saddled” with a large caseload at a very busy, two-man office. Barque demonstrated very professional warmth towards his clients. Barque was functioning at a very high standard. Barque was taking part in a establishing avolunteer program and several other community programs and Barque had established and maintained respectable rapport with his peers, court personnel and agencies. It wasfurther noted that Barque was having difficulty passing his social work examinations.
01 June 1975: Barque had moved from St. Felix in Cornwall to Island Road in St. Andrews West.
18 March 1976: Barque’s position as a Probation Officer Level 1 was changed from a probationary to a regular appointment.
As a regular Probation and Parole officer Level 1, Barque was evaluated approximately every six months by Mitchell and-or Connolly and his performance was consistently rated as satisfactory.
Barque continued to experience difficulty with the social work examination. Comments on Barque’s evaluations included that Barque functioned as a very responsible officer; Barque was able to establish meaningful and excellent relationships with his cases; and his cases benefited from his sincere and attentive interest in their lives. Barque maintained a strong interest in community involvement and maintained close contact with agencies and resource persons.
The July 1976 appraisal also noted Barque’s involvement in a joint training initiative with Canada Manpower. (“Alleged” paedophile and ex-Roman-Catholic-priest Richard Hickerson worked with Canada Manpower)
[1977: sexually abusing Albert Roy, then a 16-year-old probationer. When he reported the abuse to probation officer Ken Seguin, Seguin allegedly began to abuse Albert. Albert Roy came forward in 1994. Prior to that he had reported to two psychiatrists.]
31 May 1978: Mitchell wrote a memorandum to Mr. E. B. Toffelmire, regional administrator, eastern, recommending that Barque receive a promotion to group 2.
29 July 1978: Barque was reclassified to a Probation and Parole Officer 2.
January 1980: Barque had a son.
As a regular Probation and Parole Officer, Level 2, Barque was evaluated on an annual basis and his overall performance was consistently rated as satisfactory.
The 1979 appraisal was completed by Connolly and Mitchell and the 1980 and the 1981 appraisals were completed by W.A Groten, area manager, Kingston. Comments made on the appraisals included that Barque maintained the volunteer program. Barque is quick to request a direction from his supervisor. Barque develops a very effective relationship and the clients thereby gain confidence in his direction and counselling of them. Barque conscientiously monitors the observance of conditions and Barque takes pride in having developed good rapport with the police department, court officials,members of the bar and various agencies in the community.
30 January 1980: C-44, who was then 18 years of age, commenced a 9-month probation period having been convicted of four criminal charges.
Barque is listed on the intake information as C-44’s probation officer.
11 December 1980: C-44 was convicted of break-and-enter and was sentenced to one month of jail and 19 months probation. The conditions included to report to and be under the supervision of a probation officer; to abstain from the use of alcohol and non-medicinal drugs; to make efforts to find employment or attend school as approved by his probation officer; and to continue treatment for psychological problem. Barque is listed on the intake information as C-44’s probation officer.
23 December 1981: C-44 was convicted of theft under $200 and given a suspended sentence and probation for six months concurrent. The conditions included to report to and be under the supervision of a probation officer; to refrain from the use of alcohol and non-medicinal drugs; not to change place of residence without consent of probation officer; and to undergo any psychiatric and-or psychological assessment and treatment as may be arranged by his probation officer.
Barque is listed on the intake information at C-44’s probation officer.
14 January 1982: Robert Sheets, who was then 19 years-of-age, was convicted of “Assault peace officer” and sentenced to three months at a reformatory and two years probation. The conditions included to report to and be under the supervision of a probation officer; not to enter any licensed premises save restaurant; not to purchase alcoholic beverages; to refrain from the non medicinal use of drugs and the consumption of all alcoholic beverages; and to undergo such psychological treatment as may be arranged by his probation officer.
Barque is listed as his probation officer in the probation intake sheet.
20 April 1982: Peter Sirrs, area manager in the Cornwall probation and parole office, prepared a confidential report to Mr. Toffelmire, regional administrator, eastern region, regarding allegations of misconduct against Barque. The report contained the following information.
08 April 1982: Sirrs received a complaint from Ronald St. Louis about Barque’s supervision of Sheets. St. Louis advised that Sheets had been living in his residence as a boarder since approximately mid-March, 1982. St. Louis alleged that Sheets had initiated a fight with C- 44 and another individual causing considerable damage to his residence and that the police had not taken any action against Sheets at that time but referred St. Louis to Barque as Sheets’ probation officer. St. Louis further alleged that he had contacted Barque to complain about Sheets flagrant use of alcohol and drugs and that Barque had provided alcohol and drugs to Sheets. St. Louis further alleged that Barque was sexually involved with Sheets and consequently was not pursuing Sheets’ failure to comply with his probation orders.
(According to Peter Sirrs’ testimony the incident referred to by St. Louis transpired 06 April 1982)
Sirrs spoke to Sergeant Wayne Isbester of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who acknowledged he’d heard rumours of Barque’s relationship with Sheets and with his overlooking Sheets’ use of alcohol and drugs.
Sirrs spoke to Sergeant Masson and Sergeant Laroche of the Cornwall Police Service and was advised that the CPS had received information alleging a sexual relationship between Barque and Sheets. Sergeant Masson further indicated that he had been aware of rumours for some time, but had no specific information by which to proceed with criminal charges, particularly since the individual who had provided information had subsequently indicated that he would not act as a witness. Sgt Masson indicated he had informally counselled Barque at the probation offices open house in October, 1981, in regard to the rumours and Barque’s too close association with probationers, including Sheets.
Sergeant Masson said that Barque acknowledged he had to do something about it. Sergeant Masson further indicated that Barque had, on several occasions, intervened with the police on behalf of probationers using his position as a probation officer to avoid official action.
An informal complaint about Barque’s conduct was made to the CPS by a janitorial staff at the former probations office location.
Sirrs spoke to janitorial staff who indicated that unusual activity involving Barque and young male persons at night in and around the office had been observed. The janitorial staff reported one incident when a young male was observed in a secured area during the evening hours and the young male advised that Barque had let him in. The janitorial staff reported that pornographic magazines featuring nude males had been found in the washroom located in the secured area. The janitorial staff reported that Barque had been observed at 11:45 p.m., shirtless and barefoot, carrying two jugs of water to the probation office.
Sirrs spoke with C-44 who reported that Barque provided himself and Sheets with alcohol and that he had engaged in sexual activity with Barque at both Barque’s home and the probation office. Sirrs reported that following the incident of 06 April, Barque met with Sergeant Maurice Allaire at the Cornwall Police Service and Mr. Keith Jodoin, Justice of the Peace and the Administrator of the Provincial Court and discouraged further police action, indicating that he would act on the matter.
In his report, Sirrs recommended that the matter be referred to the investigations branch of the Ministry of Correctional Services. He also recommended that should Barque acknowledge that the allegations were indeed founded, he be afforded an opportunity to resign and that should he resign no further action be initiated by the Ministry.
[When he later came forward Bobby Sheets said that Barque introduced him to Ken Seguin. Barque woul take Bobby to Seguin’s home – Seguin would provide porn and alcohol and sit in a chair or at the foot of the bed and masturbate watching Barque sexually abuse Bobby.]
20 April 1982: In a memo Toffelmire referred the report to Mr. Taylor, the Director of Parole and Probation Services. Handwritten notes on the memorandum indicated that Inspectors C.L. McMaster and R. Porter of the Ministry’s Inspections and Investigations Branch were assigned to investigate the matter.
03 May 1982: Taylor wrote a letter to Barque informing him that, effective immediately, he was suspended with pay for 20 working days pending the outcome of the investigation into his conduct.
04 May 1982: C-44 provided a statement to Inspector C.L. McMaster regarding Barque. In the statement, C-44 stated that Barque provided him with alcohol while he was on probation and that he’d been involved sexually with Barque for about one year. He stated that the last time he was with Barque was on 21 March 1982 in the probation office.
04 May 1982: Sheets gave a statement to Inspector C.L. McMaster regarding his relationship with Barque. Sheets stated that he had known Barque for four or five years and that Barque had been his probation officer since 13 March 1982. Sheets stated that Barque had been informed that Sheets had used alcohol and drugs since being on probation. Sheets denied any sexual relationship with Barque.
05 May 1982: Barque wrote a letter to Sirrs submitting his resignation as an employee of the Ministry of Corrections effective May 4th, 1982.
06 May 1982: Barque gave a statement to Inspector C. McMaster. According to Inspector C. McMaster’s handwritten notes, Barque admitted to having instigated sexual relationships with C-44 and Sheets while they were on probation. He stated that these relationships had been going on for one year. He further admitted to providing his probationers with alcoholic beverages. He stated that he did not feel that he interfered with the police.
11 May 1982: Sirrs completed a work performance record form for Barque which was marked as “Classified”. The record indicated that his work was good but he would not be re-hired because: “Mr. Barque submitted his resignation as a consequence of inquiries into his professional conduct and over involvement with clients.”
13 May 1982: McMaster and Porter (Correctional Services) report of their investigation submitted to Mr. Teggart, Director of the Inspection and Investigations Branch. The report concluded that since Barque had resigned, no further action on the part of the Ministry was necessary. Mr. Teggart forwarded the report to Mr. A. Campbell, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Correctional Services.
14 June 1982: McMaster wrote a letter to the Crown Attorney for Cornwall, Don Johnson, which referenced a telephone call of the same day. The letter enclosed a copy of the investigation report and requested that Crown Attorney Johnson advise of his decision in the matter.
22 June 1982: Crown Attorney Don Johnson wrote to McMaster advising that criminal charges against Barque would not be warranted and the reasons for that decision.
12 July 1982: Barque submitted a letter of application for a position at Equipe Psycho-Sociale, a group which provides services to troubled youth. The enclosed curriculum vitae listed Sirrs as a reference and stated that Barque had left the position due to, “Un conflit face au règlement du ministère”.
12 August 1982: The executive director of Equipe Psycho- Sociale, Pierre Landry, wrote a letter to Sirrs. The letter referred to a telephone conversation at that date and requested a recommendation for Barque.
23 August 1982: A letter titled “Employment Reference, Nelson Barque” from Sirrs to Pierre Landry, the executive director of Equipe Psycho- Sociale. According to Landry upon request for another reference Barque gave the name of Father Rene Dube. At that time Dube was pastor at Christ the King Roman Catholic Church in Cornwall. Barque was an active parishioner in the church. Dube’s report was apparently very positive.
According to the pre-sentence report, Barque was employed as a social worker with Equipe Psycho-Sociale commencing in 1982.
While at Equipe Psycho-Sociale, Barque became a member of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Child Abuse Prevention Council.
According to the pre-sentence report, Landry reported receiving repetitive communication from parents and the community expressing their concern and their desire not to have Barque assigned to their file due to information they had heard regarding Barque’s conduct while employed at the Ministry of Correctional Services.
18 August 1986: Landry gave Barque the option of being fired or resigning. Barque resigned from his position at Equipe Psycho-Sociale.
1986 to 1992: According to the pre-sentence report, Barque completed a real estate course at Algonquin College in Ottawa in 1987 and worked as a real estate agent.
1992: According to the pre-sentence report, Barque obtained a supply teaching contract with the Conseil des Écoles Séparées de Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry. Barque left that employment one year later. (I understood from Pierre Landry’s testimony that Barque later worked at LaCitadelle High School. I don’t see reference to that in the ODE. Landry’s testimony was in French – perhaps I misunderstood? I will check.)
1993 to 1994: According to the pre-sentence report, Barque secured part-time employment as an assistant administrator with L’Arche La Caravane, a residential facility for mentally disabled adults. (Barque’s tenure with L’Arche seems to have post-dated that of Oblate priest Father Bernard Ménard, a family friend of the Brisson family in whom Mrs. Brisson confided re her son Benoit’s sex abuse allegations against Father Gilles Deslaurier.)
According to the report, Barque’s lawyer concluded that no complaints were received regarding inappropriate conduct.
1993-1995: At the time of the pre-sentence report dated 14 August 1995, Barque had been employed part-time as a cleaner with the Parish Christ-Roi since 1993. (According to the Canadian Church directory Father Romeo Major would have been pastor at the time of the hiring)
23 November 1994: Albert Roy contacted the CPS regarding allegations of sexual abuse by Nelson Barque and Ken Seguin while he was on probation in the mid- 1970s. Roy gave a statement to Constable Heidi Sibalj the following day.
28 November 1994: Bill Carriere of the Children’s Aid Society noted that he had called Staff Sergeant Brunet of the CPS to advise him of information that the CAS had on record regarding Barque.
According to Carriere’s case notes, CAS had a record that in 1986 the mother of a sexual abuse victim had indicated to CAS that she would not allow Barque, who was then working for Equipe Psycho-Sociale, to counsel her son as she had heard rumours that he had molested a child.
CAS met with the organization’s director, Mario Sarda, and was advised that Barque had recently left his employment with the organization and: “His departure was not related to any reports that he had sexually molested a child under the age of 16.” Carriere further advised CPS Staff Sergeant Brunet that he had heard rumours that Barque had previously left Probation Services under a threat of an investigation into allegations that he had sexually molested an older adolescent and that Barque had left incriminating information in his desk.
06 December 1994: Albert Roy, a former probationer, gave a statement to Detective Constable McDonell of the OPP. Roy alleged he was sexually assaulted by Barque when Barque was his probation officer.
03 January 1995: Barque was charged with indecent assault and gross indecency in relation to incidents involving Albert Roy in 1977.
10 July 1995: Barque pled guilty to the indecent assault of Albert Roy.
14 August 1995: a pre-sentence report was prepared by the probation and parole officer Nicole Barbeau for the purpose of Barque’s sentencing.
18 August 1995: the sentencing hearing was held and Barque received a sentence of 4 months incarceration and 18 months probation.
Doug Seguin testified at the inquiry that the Barques told him that Nelson Barque wasn’t supposed to go jail at all. A deal had apparently been made that Barque would plead guilty and there’d be no jail. It didn’t work that way and, according to Seguin’s understanding, Barque got stuck with a legal bill from Don Johnson and four months jail time to boot.
During this meet Mrs. Barque allegedly told Seguin that Nelson had made “one small mistake and he paid for it”!!!
1995: an investigation was also conducted by Constable Heidi Sibalj into allegations against Barque made by C-44. Constable Sibalj requested Crown Attorney Murray MacDonald’s opinion on the case. Crown attorney MacDonald referred the matter to the Regional Director of Crown Attorneys, Peter Griffiths.
According to Crown Attorney MacDonald’s letter, Griffiths determined the proposed charge lacked essential elements and advised that criminal proceedings were not available with respect to Barque’s conduct with C- 44.
15 July 1996: Albert Roy commenced a civil action against the Ministry of Correctional Services, the estate of Ken Seguin, and Nelson Barque.
03 October 1997: C-45 gave a statement to OPP Detective Constables Dupuis and Seguin, alleging that he had been sexually assaulted by Barque while on probation.
02 June 1998: Sheets was interviewed by Detective Constable Don Genier and provided a statement containing allegations that he had been abused by Barque while a probationer.
18 June 1998: Barque met with Detective Constable Genier and Detective Constable Joe Dupuis to provide a statement regarding allegations of abuse made by C-45 and Sheets. Barque denied having any sexual contact with C-45. With respect to his involvement with Robert Sheets, Barque provided the following information.
Barque engaged in sexual activity with Sheets beginning when he was on probation. He estimated that the sexual conduct was over one to one-and-one-half years. He stated that at the time he was under the impression that Sheets was 18 or 19 years of age but it was possible that he was younger. The sexual contact occurred at Sheets’ apartment, at Sheets’ parents’ house, in the probation office and at Barque’s house. When asked if he had had sex with Sheets at Ken Seguin’s residence, Barque replied, “Not that I can remember”.
He admitted to providing Sheets with homemade wine and money. He stated the contact began because Sheets cried a lot at the office about problems with his family and Barque would comfort him by hugging him. He admitted to showing Sheets pornographic movies that were obtained by Barque from the RCMP following a bust.
Barque borrowed an 8 mm projector, probably from Seguin, and watched these movies with Sheets either at Seguin’s house or at the office. The movies were then returned to the RCMP.
Sheets disclosed to Barque that he was allegedly previously abused by Richard Hickerson from Canada Manpower. He also alleged to Barque that Hickerson took pictures of him. Barque admitted to having sexual relationships with Sheets, C-44 and Roy.
In response to being asked if there was anyone else, Barque replied: “Not that I can recall. In my mind, there was only three.”
18 June 1998: Barque was formally charged with indecently assaulting C-45 and Robert Sheets.
28 June 1998: Barque was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
07 December 1999: the civil action brought by Roy was dismissed without costs.
01 December 2000: the Crown is named as a defendant in an action for damages arising from the alleged abuse at the hands of three probation officers. The amended statement of claim contains allegations that Barque abused 4 of the 20 plaintiffs.
In 1982 buggery and gross indecency were illegal unless committed “in private” between a husband and wife or any two person each of whom was 21 years of age or more, both of whom consented to the act. An act was not deemed to have been committed in private if it was committed in a public place or if more than two persons took part or were present .
12 October 2006: BLOG Connecting the dots (Re Leduc interference at Deslaurier Prelim, and Nelosn Barque connections)