The Cover-Up

Is there a Cover-up in Cornwall?

The question we now know the Cornwall Public Inquiry will not ask 

 [Scroll down for cover-up-media-related articles] Is there a cover-up in Cornwall?  Was there a cover-up in Cornwall?   

‘Officially’ the answer to both questions is a resounding “no.”  But the truth of the matter is that there definitely was a cover-up.  What else do you call it when officials of the Alexandria-Cornwall diocese and other prominent Roman Catholics hush an “alleged” victim of clerical sexual abuse with $32,000 – and then top off the hushing (allegedly quite legal) with a definitively illegal gag order; a gag order which specifically prohibits the pursuit of criminal charges?  

I don’t believe anyone would see that as the essence of transparency.  It certainly is not an exercise undertaken with the idea of protecting children from an alleged paedophile priest.  Neither is it designed to ensure that – at  the very least – Roman Catholic parents know they shouldn’t leave their children alone in the company of this man – even if he is a priest.   

To the contrary. The object of the exercise is to keep the sex abuse allegations against the priest under wraps – forever.

It’s a cover-up.  By any standards, no matter how low, it’s a cover-up of allegations of sexual abuse. It’s that simple. 

We don’t need to delve into what the police did or did not do with the victim’s statement, and whether they did or did not investigate and question the priest, and whether all the lawyers and diocesan officials involved did or did not see the illegal document which was somehow mysteriously filed sight unseen in a sealed envelope in a diocesan filing cabinet, and on and on and on.

We don’t need to go there to say there really was a cover-up.   “They” can deny it all they want, but, at the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding –  and, yes, in that instance, there was a cover-up.  

Ditto the case of child molester Father Gilles Deslaurier whom Bishop Eugene Larocque quietly shuttled over to the diocese of Gatineau-Hull in Quebec where Deslaurier’s close friend, Adolphe Proulx, the previous Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall, was in charge.  

And then there’s the scenario of the 27 files – Bishop Eugene Larocque’s included – which have been sitting in the office of the Atttorney General for years waiting for someone to concur with Project Truth officers that there is sufficient evidence of sexual abuse to lay charges.  Since then Larocque has been sued by men who allege they were sexually abused by Larocque, but to date no criminal charges have been laid against Larocque or any of the other suspects.

So the question is not: was there a cover-up?  In light of all that has transpired in the name of truth and justice in Cornwall for the past twenty years years plus, the questions – plural – are:  (1) how pervasive was/is the cover-up of sexual abuse? ( 2) who orchestrated it?  (3) how many members of the alleged paedophile ring were/are involved in the cover-up? (4) what legal recourse is there for victims and society – particularly children – if it is proven that a pack of paedophiles eluded justice because of a cover-up? (5)  what are the sanctions for lawyers, judges, politicians, clergy and/or law enforcement officials who were/are party to a cover-up? and, of course (6) why did Bishops Eugene Larocque and Adolphe Proulx subject the unwitting and trusting Catholic faithful and their children in the diocese of Gatineau-Hull Quebec to a known paedophile, Father Gilles Deslaurier?

And in light of the McGuinty government’s choice of commissioner and wording of the mandate for the Cornwall inquiry, we should add three more questions to the list:  (7) who drafted the mandate and selected the judge? (8) who was complicit in ensuring the mandate would exclude the diocese and avoid inquiry into allegations of a paedophile ring, an “oversight” which subsequently prompted Justice Glaude to set a dangerous legal precedent for all religious bodies with his ruling that the Roman Catholic diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall is a “public institution”?   

Will the Cornwall Public Inquiry ask the questions which must be asked?  Unfortunately with its flawed mandate and what we have seen if the Cornwall Public Inquiry to date the answer is a resounding No!!  

Justice Colin McKinnon’s Cornwall Connections 

04 May 1994: “Strictly Confidential” Colin McKinnon letter to Staff Sgt. Brendan Wells (Cornwall Police Service) re Police Service Act charges against Constable Perry Dunlop (pdf file) (This letter was sent before Colin McKinnon was appointed to the bench.  It and the two attachments which have been scanned show McKinnon’s role in having Constable Perry Dunlop charged under the Police Services Act.  It also shows that McKinnon was to briefed on the matter.  The briefing would undoubtedly have included reference to the fact the infamous $32,000 “Church” pay-off of David Silmser contained an illegal clause.  Roman Catholic lawyer and Church canon lawyer Jacques Leduc was by then publicly identified as the diocesan lawyer involved in negotiating the pay-off.)

18 October 1994: Colin McKinnon threatens Carson Chisholm with legal action.  Demands Caron apologize to former Chief of Cornwall police Claude Shaver.   This is a pdf file.  It contains as an attachment a 14 October 1994 letter from Colin McKinnon to the Cornwall Seaway News accusing the paper of libel and demanding an apology be issued to Shaver for the “defamation” contained in a previous publication.  As you can see, at this point in time McKinnon was very obviously familiar with Perry Dunlop.

In February 1996 Colin McKinnon was appointed judge of the Ontario Court (General Division) by Liberal Justice Minister Allan Rock.  Justice Colin McKinnon was  the judge who took the bench at the Project Truth sex abuse trial of Jacques Leduc.  McKinnon took the bench despite his very belatedly acknowledged and extensive prior involvement with the Cornwall Police Service, his connections to former Chief Shaver, and the role he personally played in having Perry Dunlop charged under the Police Services Act.  Only after he was confronted in court by Dick Nadeau with these letters, did McKinnon – with claims he had forgotten his prior involvement with Perry Dunlop – very reluctantly recuse himself.  Dick Nadeau was charged with Contempt of Court. The Leduc sex abuse trial degenerated into the trial and lynching of Perry Dunlop.

One Big Happy Family?

The 2004 Spring Education Conference of the Ontario Crown Attorneys Association is just one more of many reasons that the notion of judicial impartiality and independence with this inquiry in Cornwall is absurd and allegations of cover-up continue.

Addressing or teaching the gathering during the three-day two-night conference was, among others:

Michael Bryant:  Ontario Liberal Attorney General who was responsible for the mandate and selection of Justice G. Normand Glaude.

Curt Flanagan:  the Crown Attorney who ensured that former Crown Attorney and alleged paedophile Malcolm MacDonald received an absolute discharge after entering a guilty plea to obstructing justice for his role in the $32,000 pay-off and gagging of D.S., the alleged sex abuse victim of Father Charles MacDonald.  Flanagan exonerated the other two lawyers who were party to orchestrating the pay-off:  (1) Jacques Leduc (alleged paedophile, lawyer and canon lawyer for the diocese)  and (2) Sean Adams (local lawyer allegedly retained by Malcolm MacDonald to represent D.S.’ interests in signing the agreement).

Flanagan participated in the January 1990 roasting of his father, former Ottawa Chief of Police Tom Flanagan.  Assisting with the roasting were, among others, Liberal leader John Turner, Colin McKinnon (judge who took the bench at Leduc sex abuse trial despite his heavy prior involvement with Cornwall Police Service and Cornwall Chief of Police Claude Shaver), and then Liberal MPP Dalton McGuinty (now Ontario premier whose Liberal government is responsible for the inquiry, it’s mandate and the selection of Justice Normand Glaude).

Robert Pelletier:  the Crown Attorney who (1) was Crown Attorney in the early days of Father Charles MacDonald’s courtroom appearances but was obliged to step down because he was best man for Cornwall Crown attorney Murray MacDonald (Murray MacDonald’s name has frequently been raised in relation to the scandal.  He is a nephew of Malcolm MacDonald.  His father Milton MacDonald was a convicted paedophile ), (2) despite the conflict of interest was responsible for looking into the death threats made against former Constable Perry Dunlop.  Pelletier decided that it would not be in the public interest to lay charges, and (3) was recently appointed to the bench during the Paul Martin government.

Murray Segal: who was deputy Attorney General to Ontario Progressive Conservative Attorney General James Flaherty.  It was Segal who signed off this letter to James Bateman which shows Segal was well-versed in Cornwall and not at all happy with the website.

Murray MacDonald:  Cornwall’s current Crown attorney.  MacDonald was Crown when David Silmser reported that he had been sexually abused by Father Charles MacDonald and Ken Seguin.

12 October 2006:  BLOG Connecting the dots (Re Leduc interference at Deslaurier Prelim, and Nelson Barque connections)

28 August 2008:  Bishop withheld documents, but complied with police requests

23 July 2008:  Church considered another payout (Leduc et al re Brisson pay-off)

03 July 2008:  Priest never thought of going to police, CAS (Vaillancourt re Deslaurier)