LaRocque ignored church protocols regarding accused priests

Cornwall Standard Freeholder

27 August 2008

Posted By Trevor Pritchard

A former Catholic bishop allowed a city priest facing sexual abuse charges to continue celebrating mass because he was “morally certain” the man had been falsely accused, the Cornwall Public Inquiry heard Tuesday.

Eugene LaRocque admitted he did not remove Rev. Rene Dube from Sainte-Croix parish in 1999, despite having signed off on a protocol three years earlier requiring him to do just that. “I was morally certain . . . that he was completely innocent,” said LaRocque, 81, who ran the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese for nearly three decades until retiring in 2002.

Tuesday was LaRocque’s sixth day testifying at the inquiry, which is exploring how institutions like the church handled allegations of historical sexual abuse.

In 1999, Dube and another priest, Paul Lapierre, were charged by Montreal police with sexually assaulting a teenage boy in the 1960s.

“The whole parish was (upset),” LaRocque recalled. “He (Dube) was well known throughout Cornwall.”

LaRocque said he called Lapierre to “find out the truth, if I possibly could” about Dube’s involvement.

Lapierre revealed Montreal police had arrested the wrong man, said LaRocque, and that it was a deceased priest named Don Scott, not Dube, who was guilty of the assault.

Scott had previously been a priest with the diocese, but left in the late 1970s to join the Dominican Order.

LaRocque said that Lapierre’s information, along with Dube’s stellar reputation among his parishioners, was enough to convince him Dube had been unjustly accused.

A June 1999 request from the Children’s Aid Society, urging LaRocque to remove Dube regardless of “whatever personal positions might be held,” couldn’t sway the former bishop. Nor could the diocese’s own sexual abuse protocol, which compelled LaRocque to suspend a priest if charges were laid.

“I didn’t follow the protocol. It’s quite obvious,” said LaRocque, adding he did prohibit Dube from being alone with children outside of confession.

Dube, who died last year at the age of 62, was acquitted of the charges – one count of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency – in November 2001.

Lapierre was convicted three years later after a lengthy court challenge his lawyers launched against the judge’s objectivity failed.

Despite believing Dube was innocent, LaRocque told lead commission counsel Peter Engelmann he never told the police about his phone call with Lapierre.

“It didn’t enter my mind at the time,” he said. “I didn’t take the initiative. I’m sorry.”

At the time of the call, Scott had been dead for about 10 years.

When Scott asked LaRocque in a 1976 letter for permission to join the Dominicans, he referred cryptically to the “unraveling of my life.”

A decade later, he wrote again to LaRocque from Montreal.

In that letter, Scott expressed anger that he’d seen former colleagues in the city “taking advantage of what they see as the best of both worlds,” knowing they could return to their parishes with “their future assured.”

“I paid for my own counselling and took myself where I couldn’t hurt the faithful and I’m am (sic) treated punitively,” he wrote.

Engelmann suggested that despite the lack of specifics, the meaning of Scott’s letter should have been clear to the bishop.

“Did you not think he was talking about . . . sex with young people, and that it was something you should look into?” he asked.

Again, LaRocque apologized. “I never made that analysis,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

The inquiry resumes today at 9 a.m.
Article ID# 1174741

Comments on this Article.

bishop larocque is a damn liar about being sorry the sorry is way too late he’s sorry because the spotlight is on him now

Reply | Report | Page Top Post #1 By dodger

You need another hobby; this seems to be the only article you comment on. It shows narrow vision and bias. As for your post on yesterday on the article “Priest admitted he engaged in homosexual acts, says LaRocque”

I need to know whay you always bring others into your dream, but Here is my response for your post Dodger

I always knew something odd went on and never refuted that fact. I only asked questions from a different perspective based on personal knowledge of the people involved and posts from people like you.

I tend not to be led like sheep to slaughter. Standing in line believing all that ahead and beside me is for the best.

A wise man use to quote: we have two eyes, two ears and one mouth for a reason; we are to observe and listen more then talk. Cuz if the mouth is flapping the other parts don’t work. Something I can often see people do not

Reply | Report | Page Top Post #2 By itinerant,