Get the facts please: bishop

Letter to the Editor
Cornwall Standard Freeholder

31 January 2008

I am writing to respond to a letter written by Rev. Thomas Doyle which you published on Jan. 26, 2008.

Rev. Doyle has decided through his letter to insert himself into the public debate regarding Mr. Dunlop. While he may think slagging the Diocese without the benefit of facts is acceptable, I do not. I also don’t think fair-minded people will share Rev. Doyle’s views when they know the facts which follow.

First fact: Last summer, a number of witnesses appeared before the inquiry in Cornwall. They said they had been untruthful in statements that they had given to Mr. Dunlop. These false statements related to historical abuse, the existence of an alleged conspiracy, a clan, etc. We have all heard these allegations many times before. The commission called these witnesses, not the Diocese.

Second fact: The same witnesses testified that their untruthful statements were pressured or otherwise influenced by Mr. Dunlop. This evidence was elicited by the inquiry’s own lawyers.

Third fact: For reasons of his own, Mr. Dunlop declined to respond to a lawful Summons to Appear before the inquiry. The commission then decided to pursue Mr. Dunlop for contempt of court. The Diocese made it explicitly clear to the lawyers for the commission that the Diocese did not support the commission launching contempt proceedings against Mr. Dunlop. The decision to launch contempt proceedings was made by the Commissioner, Justice Normand Glaude, in collaboration with his counsel, Mr. Engelmann. While other institutions may have supported that decision, the Diocese did not.

Fourth fact: Part of our lawyer’s cross-examination of Rev. Doyle related to his potential bias and lack of objectivity based on his prior involvement with the infamous “Project Truth” website on which he had expressed views. The questioning of Rev. Doyle’s objectivity was important. Indeed, Rev. Doyle said of his prior involvement and statements on the “Project Truth” website, “I will also say that I do openly and honestly regret the problems that this has caused.”

He went further in his admissions, saying that his actions in making inflammatory, aggressive and “hyperbolic” statements represented a “mistake.”

The cross-examination thus revealed that Rev. Doyle’s views were overtly hostile and that his apparent lack of objectivity was a concern. The cross-examination was not part of an effort to cover up anything. It was perfectly proper, and indeed necessary for the commissioner to understand Rev. Doyle’s evidence, the context in which it was given, and whether his evidence should be received.

Rev. Doyle has done good work in the past. He has helped victims. He has contributed to positive, significant and important changes in the United States. However, by inserting himself in the debate in Cornwall, without the benefi of facts, he isn’t helping anyone get to the truth. He is just obscuring it.

Paul-Andre Durocher, Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall