Former bishop apologizes for statements at inquiry

Cornwall Standard Freeholder

02 August 2008


A contrite Eugene LaRocque backtracked Friday on testimony he’d given accusing his own priest of not handling David Silmser‘s abuse allegations properly.

The 81-year-old former bishop told the Cornwall Public Inquiry he “wasn’t feeling that well” Thursday when he blamed Msgr. Donald McDougald for not following the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese’s draft protocol on handling sexual abuse complaints.

McDougald was acting as the diocese’s delegate on abuse matters when Silmser came forward in late 1992 alleging he had been sexually abused as an altar boy by Rev. Charles MacDonald.

On Thursday, the inquiry learned the committee McDougald helmed did not keep notes of their meetings with either MacDonald or Silmser. Nor did they tell Silmser why they didn’t inform the Children’s Aid Society of his allegations.

Both actions violated draft guidelines diocesan officials had drawn up in the spring of 1992.

LaRocque had been testifying for about five hours Thursday when he said he would have had “to be God” to have known everything that was happening in the diocese, including whether McDougald was following the guidelines.

On Friday, before his fourth day of testimony began, he apologized to McDougald and accepted responsibility for the lack of oversight.

“In no way do I want to blame my former vicar general, Msgr. McDougald, for any of this,” LaRocque said. “I should have realized it was the first time we were using this protocol. I should have monitored it much more closely.”

McDougald has not yet testified at the inquiry.

  Article ID# 1141146


Comments on this Article.

Geez, it does seem like an awful lot of “suspicious” people seem to be getting mysteriously ill and just out of curiousity, are Bishop’s immune to perjury charges, whether he’s 80 or 180 and if they aren’t immune and they lied, then toss their collective asses in the hoose-gow or better yet, just put them in the middle of the prison population and NOT in protective custody and let the “boys” take care of his so-called memory and illness problem in a way he might never forget or maybe quickly will, depending on the outcome, eh?

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