08 August 2008
By PAUL LIKOUDIS
CORNWALL, Ont. — For five days, Bishop Eugene LaRocque detailed for the public inquiry into historical sexual abuse in the Diocese of Alexandria- Cornwall, presided over by Justice Normand Glaude, how he managed complaints about sexually abusive priests during his tenure, how the diocese’s insurance carriers set diocesan policy, how he trusted subordinates to carry out diocesan policies, and even how he ignored policies he established.
At one point, LaRocque testified he even ignored the counsel of his own brother bishops, who advised him not to sign off on the secret $ 32,000 payoff to David Silmser, who was abused by Fr. Charlie MacDonald — the exposure of which by former Constable Perry Dunlop in the fall of 1993 led to the public allegations that a “pedophile clan” had operated in the Cornwall area for decades — a clan whose members included Crown attorneys, judges, a canon and civil lawyers, priests, police, probation officers, doctors, businessmen, and others prominent in the community.
But LaRocque’s most shocking revelation centered on the late Fr. Carl Stone, a priest from the Diocese of Ogdensburg, N. Y., ordained in Ottawa in 1942, a serial — and convicted — pederast who hopscotched from dioceses across New York and Indiana, and across Canada, before his incardination in the Diocese of Albany, N.Y., where he died November 29, 2006 at the age of 90.
Bishop LaRocque, 81, disclosed during his examination-in-chief by Lead Commission Counsel Peter Engelmann that he went to the top of the federal government during the reign of Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau to allow Fr. Stone, convicted of sodomizing two male youths in the U.S. town of Colonie, a suburb of Albany, N.Y., in 1981, to work as a priest in his diocese.
During his examination, LaRocque had to offer explanations on a long paper trail of letters to and from him and his predecessors, Church officials in Ogdensburg and Fr. Stone’s Montfort superiors in Bayshore, Long Island, on how and why a priest who had “affairs with boys” was moved with relative ease from Ogdensburg to a string of Indian residential schools in British Columbia, then to the Montfort Prep School in Bayshore, then off to Noblesville, Ind., then to Ogdensburg, then to Alexandria, then to Manitoba, then back to Cornwall, from 1967-69, then to the Diocese of Albany, where he was convicted of sodomizing two teenage brothers in 1981.
Then, it was back to Cornwall to do probation under the supervision of alleged pedophile Ken Seguin ( who committed suicide in 1993, just after Constable Dunlop went to the Children’s Aid Society about a “ coverup” of a pedophile clan in Cornwall). And then back to Albany after Fr. Stone was caught repeatedly exposing himself to young girls and entertaining boys in his room at a Catholic-run retirement home against all regulations.
As far back as the early 1950s, Church officials in the Ogdensburg Diocese were well aware of Fr. Stone’s criminal behavior, because they were constantly trying to keep him from falling into the justice system.
In an April 25, 1958 letter from Ogdensburg’s vice chancellor, Msgr. John M. Waterhouse to Alexandria-Cornwall chancellor Fr. John D. MacPhail, Waterhouse wrote that Fr. Stone had been seen back in Malone, N.Y., wearing a collar and tie, and “the bishop of Ogdensburg is greatly concerned, as there is danger that the civil authorities would apprehend Fr. Stone if they thought he were trying to contact certain young men of that community.”
Past History Of “Troubles”
In an August 3, 1957 letter from Ogdensburg Chancellor Msgr. William J. Argy to Alexandria-Cornwall Bishop Rosario Brodeur, Argy wrote: “Your Excellency, it has been brought to our attention that the Rev. Carl V. Stone, formerly in the Diocese of Ogdensburg, ad experimentum, is residing at St. John Bosco rectory in Cornwall. Considering all the circumstances, His Excellency, Bishop Navagh, felt you should be advised of the following: “1.
Fr. Stone was asked to leave because of certain evidence of trouble ‘ cum puers’ [with boys]. This actually took place in Malone and he has been returning to Malone from Cornwall.
He was told to leave the diocese and all faculties withdrawn for all time. There is a past history to this trouble before he came to this diocese. [This “trouble” seems to refer to the numerous transfers from 1943-1948, when Stone worked in British Columbia, and 1951-1953, when he worked in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.] “2.
Ordered by his superior to return to the Provincial House at Ozone Park, he advised that his services were being expected at Cornwall for a couple of weekends. Consent was given to him to go on condition that he reported to his superior as soon as he reached his destination.
As of July 23, he had not yet reported to his superior.
It was about June 16 that he was ordered to leave the diocese. He is therefore, in a sense, a refugee religious.
“It is regrettable to advise you of the above facts concerning a priest, but Bishop Navagh felt you should know.”
Another letter LaRocque had to confront was a December 30, 1957 letter from Bishop Brodeur to Fr. Stone’s superior, Fr. Frank A. Setzer, SMM, provincial of the Montfort Fathers in Ozone Park, N.Y.
Brodeur said he would allow Stone to work in the diocese for one year, while he looked for another bishop, but would not incardinate him. He also said that he relied on the advice of one of his priests, Fr. H.A. Poirer, of St. John Bosco Parish, who told him Stone had been a victim of “rash and unfair judgment.”
In a May 2, 1958 letter from Bishop Brodeur to Bishop Navagh, Brodeur actually defended Stone and his action of taking him in. “I hope you will not judge me too severely for my attitude,” Brodeur wrote, “toward Rev. Fr. Carl V. Stone and that you will not think I was indifferent about the apprehension he has caused you. To be sure I understand them and I do not want to increase them.
“A pressing, a very pressing need for priests, a severe supervision by a conscientious pastor, a very good report from the latter, a personal weakness for fallen priests [to date, in 19 years as a pastor and 17 years as a bishop, with God’s help, I have been instrumental in saving 18 out of 20 unfortunate priests from despair, and enabling them to resume their ministry] have influenced me to tolerate the presence of Fr. Stone in the diocese.”
But Brodeur also told Navagh that he had told Stone that if he went to his camp in Malone, he would be expelled immediately.
By October 31, 1958, however, Ogdensburg’s chancellor was writing Brodeur that Stone was back in the Ogdensburg Diocese, taking boys to his camp in Malone.
“They have been there at nighttime. This took place on at least two occasions during the summer, and again recently. We have also been advised that the police are checking on the situation,” Argy wrote.
Presented with these letters, LaRocque was most often dismissive, saying at various times that he might have been aware these letters were in the personnel files.
A Rolling Stone
Fr. Stone remained in the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall until 1963.
Another letter introduced by Lead Counsel Engelmann was dated October 21, 1963, from Stone’s Montfort superior, Fr. Lucian D. LeClair, advising Bishop Brodeur that he would be happy to extend permission for Fr. Stone to remain in the diocese.
Brodeur wrote back, October 27: “To my regret, I must inform you that Fr. Carl Stone has left Alexandria Diocese sometime in August when the Cornwall police threatened to intervene after his misdemeanor. I was very sorry for he was doing highly appreciated work in our jurisdiction.”
Stone, however, was back in Cornwall in the 1967-1969 period, when Bishop Adolphe Proulx took the helm of the diocese, after Brodeur retired and the short administrative rule by Ottawa’s Archbishop Joseph Plourde, who had been an auxiliary bishop in Cornwall. (Proulx was found dead at his cottage on July 22, 1987, drowned in the St. Lawrence River, castrated.)
There are several gaps in Stone’s record, but by 1977, he was serving in very rural Morris, N.Y., in the Diocese of Albany, and said Mass at the Church of the Nativity in Edmeston.
He left Morris, where he had a reputation of supplying young boys with alcohol and pornography, and was transferred, in 1981, to South Kortright, and while there young boys from his previous parish would visit him.
Bishop Howard Hubbard became the bishop of Albany in February 1977, but he had been administrator of the diocese since November 1976, and de facto head since at least 1974 since the ordinary, Bishop Edwin Broderick, was largely an “absentee bishop” spending much of his time in Manhattan. During this period, the chancellor of the diocese was Fr. C. Howard Russell, a classmate of Hubbard’s from the North American College, who had a policy — this reporter was told during preparation of the 1991 series Agony in Albany — of recruiting homosexual priests and seminarians for the diocese. (There are indications, however, that Fr. Stone had been in the Albany Diocese since at least 1971, because an October 1981 memo introduced into evidence at the Weave Shed — the renovated wool mill where the public inquiry has been held since November 2005 — contains Bishop LaRocque’s interview with Stone prior to appointing him a chaplain at a retirement home; the memo states that LaRocque knew Stone had to leave Albany “ because of an affair with boys,” and had received treatment at the Southdown Treatment Center outside Toronto “and feels he can cope with his lifelong weakness.”)
Bishop LaRocque, who came from the Diocese of London, became head of the Alexandria Cornwall Diocese in 1974.
Back In Cornwall
In December 1981, LaRocque officially appointed Fr. Stone chaplain of St. Joseph’s Villa, with a warning that he was not to be found with any young boys alone in either his residence, his car, or any other place in Malone, N.Y.
Stone came highly recommended by one of LaRocque’s most trusted aides, the late Fr. Gary Ostler, who was one of the many priests, along with Bishop LaRocque, who sued The Wanderer in 2000 for its report on the Cornwall “pedophile clan.”
In his testimony, LaRocque said that Fr. Ostler had been a good friend of Stone’s since Stone had served at St. John Bosco in the 1950s and 1960s when Ostler was a youth.
Stone stayed in Cornwall until 1985. In June of 1982, LaRocque sent a letter to then-current Cornwall M.P. Ed Lumley, asking him to do whatever he can to help Stone acquire landed immigrant status so he could remain in Canada. LaRocque also obtained the assistance of the immigration minister in the Trudeau government, Lloyd Axworthy, who gave Stone a “Minister’s Permit” allowing him to stay in Cornwall, without going through the normal bureaucratic and legal process, but requiring LaRocque to take “personal responsibility” for Stone’s actions.
In February 1985, Stone was informed by Immigration officials that he could remain in Canada until January 24, 1986, and there would be no further extensions. LaRocque wrote in April to the Immigration Bureau and said he would “take every measure possible to ensure that Fr. Stone can stay among us.”
By June 9, 1985, however, Sr. Dolores Kane was informing LaRocque — first by phone, then in writing — that Stone was spending a lot of time with young boys in his room. LaRocque then sent an undated letter to Stone, stripped him of his faculties, and told him to leave the Villa and Canada immediately.
Stone returned to Albany, where Bishop Hubbard incardinated him.
Bishop LaRocque is scheduled to return to the stand on August 25, after a three-week break in the inquiry proceedings. There seems to be rising doubt in the Cornwall community whether or not the “powers that be” will permit him to return to the stand, since his testimony has implicated high officials in both the Church and the state, in the United States and Canada, in facilitating the movement of pedophile clerics across borders. What judge, for example, would allow a priest convicted of sodomy in Albany to do his probation in Cornwall? And how many police and judges in communities across Canada and the U.S. knew Stone was a menace to boys yet took no action?
If LaRocque does return, however, for another week or more of questioning, one subject to be probed is reputed to be LaRoque’s lawsuit against The Wanderer, and the circumstances surrounding its filing and discontinuance before The Wanderer could start the discovery process.
Wanderer readers who want to read the transcripts and/or watch the interrogation of LaRocque at the Weave Shed in Cornwall can go here: https://theinquiry.ca/the-diocese/larocque-bishop-eugene-larocque/