Former bishop provides some intriguing testimony

Cornwall Standard Freeholder

16 August 2008


Eugene LaRocque, former bishop of Cornwall-Alexandria Diocese, looked anything but comfortable during his first four days on the witness stand at the Cornwall Public Inquiry.

It was anything but a stellar performance.

On the fourth day the inquiry adjourned early when a haggard-looking LaRocque informed Commissioner Normand Glaude he was too tired to continue.

LaRocque is, after all, 81 years old.

He returns to the stand on Aug. 25 when the inquiry resumes and one has to wonder if he can weather five straight days of being on the hot seat.

One thing the bishop has going for him is an extremely talented lawyer — David Sherriff-Scott — as his cornerman.

LaRocque clearly looked like a man who would rather be back in his Windsor-area home.

Nevertheless, parts of his testimony were intriguing.

Especially when it came to describing his working relationship with an underling, Rev. Gilles Deslauriers, banished from the diocese after pleading guilty to sexual assault only to resurface in a Gatineau parish.

The former bishop described Deslauriers as a master manipulator and that he was under the rogue priest’s control.

Those who “dealt” with Eugene LaRocque over the years can be excused if they choke on that piece of testimony.

The book on the towering bishop was that he was autocratic — not an easy man to manipulate.

Perhaps Father Deslauriers missed his real calling — selling Florida swamp land.

Just as intriguing was testimony that an American priest landed in Cornwall after being declared persona nongrata by his U. S. bishop for messing around with young boys.

The priest — a classic bad actor — not only got work with the Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese, but was given a federal ministerial permit . . . and it would be extended by the immigration minister of the day.

LaRocque made a horrible error in judgment by hiring the U. S. priest, but a bigger question is how in Hades the guy got a work permit . . . not once, but twice.