A “pedophile clan” involving Catholic clergy: a cover-up
And a Breach of Trust: Breach of Faith, which refuses to move From Pain to Hope
Vol. 10 No.1
Jan-March 1999 (April ’99)
By: Sylvia MacEachern
Seven long years ago, in February of 1992, D.S., a former altar boy, approached officials in the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall asking for an apology. He claimed he had been sexually molested by a local parish priest, Father Charles MacDonald. He just wanted an apology. None was forthcoming.
Eleven months later, in early December, this same troubled young man turned to the Cornwall Police Services (Cornwall Police) for help. He recounted his allegations. He told police he had been sexually molested by Father Charles MacDonald (Father Charlie), and that he had also been molested by Ken Seguin, a local probation officer and good friend of the priest. Another full month later, in early January 1993, D.S. was interviewed by police and asked to prepare a written statement: the eight-page handwritten statement outlining details of the allegations was turned over to police on the 16th of February 1993.
Ten months after the Cornwall police first became aware of the allegations — and twenty-one months after the diocesan centre heard of them — Father Charles MacDonald was still functioning as a parish priest: the allegations against him were unknown to Catholic parents, the police investigation had been terminated, and his file was secreted in the recesses of the police station. Secreted, that is, until Constable Perry Dunlop happened on the scene.
Since then, the city of Cornwall has been rocked by whispered rumours and allegations which slowly and sporadically unfolded in an unprecedented fashion. As one bizarre scenario followed the other, the allegations of sexual molestation mushroomed; a number of young men have now stepped forward alleging that they too were sexually molested by Father Charlie. And, in this homey and unpretentious city of 46,000 nestled on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, there are whispers of clandestine visits by prominent Cornwall officials and clergy to motels in Fort Lauderdale, Florida — in a district known for its prostitution of young boys. And there is talk of covert meetings between prominent citizens and clergy, of pornography, of cover-up, and of a “pedophile clan.”
Allegations of a “pedophile clan,” alias “the clan,” first came to light years ago when Perry Dunlop asserted that such a clan was operating within the Church and within the city. Sceptics laughed. However, to date, after interviewing in the order of 940 people, a provincial police force probe into the allegations has seen more than 70 charges laid against twelve men for sex offences against 25 victims. More charges are anticipated. Of the twelve males charged to date, three are Roman Catholic priests, two are Roman Catholic lawyers directly involved in the D.S. case, one is a Brother who had previously taught in a local Roman Catholic school, and one is a Roman Catholic physician and coroner who had served as team physician to the hockey team, served as acting physician for the Cornwall Police and been active in his parish. Apart from the probe, local police have charged a teacher in a local Catholic school. Several of the victims allege they were molested by more than one suspect, and a number of the suspects are known to be friends or acquaintances.
According to The Ottawa Sun (13 March 1999), the Ontario Provincial Police now “are looking at the possibility that Cornwall police and the Catholic Church conspired to abort a probe into sexual abuse allegations after the complainant [D.S.] received hush money.”
“From Pain to Hope”?
As D.S. was mustering up the courage to confront the demons of his youth, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) was confronting its own demons. Faced with the embarrassing and steadily mounting number of charges of sexual abuse on young males by Canadian clergy and male religious, the CCCB published two booklets: From Pain to Hope: Report from the Ad Hoc Committee on Child Sexual Abuse and Breach of Trust: Breach of Faith.
From Pain to Hope, a small wine-covered booklet, sports a picture of a weed growing out of a crack in a rock and reaching up toward the sunlight. Here it is acknowledged that “the Church has lost a great deal of credibility over the past few years due to these scandals and the suspicion that there were attempts to conceal these intolerable acts,” and advises that the Church should “call its members to unite with those who condemn such forms of aggression.” One of the guiding principles underlying the final recommendations is “carefully avoiding any word or gesture that risks dissuading someone from carrying out his or her duty of reporting a case of child sexual abuse.”
Breach of Faith, a glossy blue-covered compilation of materials for workshop discussions, sports a large crack running diagonally across the cover and, according to the introduction, is designed to increase awareness of sexual abuse and “promote actions that will purge this evil from society and the Church.”
Despite the Ad Hoc Committee’s strong tendency to broaden the issue at hand well beyond that of clerical homosexual predators, coupled with its modernist overtones and heavy reliance on the blatantly pro-homosexual pro-feminist Winter Commission Report (a three-volume report compiled by an Anglican at the bequest of then Archbishop Penney of St. John’s, Newfoundland in response largely to the Mount Cashel boys orphanage scandals), the overall intent of the CCCB sounded good: avoid “any word or gesture that risks dissuading someone from carrying out his or her duty of reporting a case of child sexual abuse,” “unite with those who condemn such forms of aggression,” and “promote actions which will purge this evil from our society.”
However, the dirty dark secrets oozing into the light of day in Cornwall belie those stated good intentions, and put into serious question the intention of the bishops — individually or collectively — to “purge this evil from our society.”
The Nightmare Begins
In September 1993, almost one full year after D.S. first took his allegations against Father Charlie to the Cornwall Police, Perry Dunlop, a young, fresh-faced, clean-cut Roman Catholic police officer (a convert to the Faith in 1991), inadvertently stumbled upon the D.S. victim’s statement. To his dismay, he quickly discovered that: (a) the file was lying dormant; (b) the victim, had reputedly made a monetary settlement with the diocese and asked that the case be dropped; (c) other victims had been discovered and no investigation conducted into the new allegations; and (d) contrary to routine police procedure, the file was being secreted. For Dunlop, the allegations in the victim’s statement were believable and extremely disturbing. He believed they warranted scrutiny and investigation. Furthermore, Father Charlie was his parish priest, had officiated at his wedding, baptised his first daughter and was still functioning as a priest with free and unlimited access to children. Dunlop finally realized that the complaint was going nowhere. However, he also realized that the Ontario Child and Family Services Act requires professionals such as police officers to report suspected cases of child abuse to the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) “despite the provisions of any other act,” so he copied the victim’s statement and eventually turned it over to the CAS. Unbeknownst to him, that decisive act started the ball rolling. When the statement was later leaked to the media by an unknown source (Dunlop denies it was he), the lid started to come off the garbage can. And, from that moment on, things have never been the same for Perry Dunlop, his stalwart and highly supportive wife Helen, their three little girls, or for the unassuming family-oriented community of Cornwall.
In those six years, despite a strong and constantly growing base of support, the Dunlops have been vilified, ostracized, ridiculed, and scorned, often by clergy and fellow Catholics. D.S. sued the Cornwall Police for breach of trust when his victim’s statement got to the media. He reached an out-of-court settlement. He had also launched a suit against Perry when he was led to believe Perry was the bad guy. He later dropped the charges. Perry’s own police force charged him with discreditable conduct for releasing the victim’s statement to the CAS. A Board of Inquiry was conducted: he was cleared. The ruling was appealed. Again he was exonerated. Throughout this ordeal, the beleaguered constable was forced to go on stress leave for three years. Bad enough. But then there were the death threats: death threats directed at Perry and Helen, and, unbelievable as it seems, death threats to their little girls. In the latter instance, a woman was formally charged after leaving a message on the Dunlops’ answering machine threatening to kill their eldest daughter, then all of six-years-old. The woman entered a plea of guilty and received one year probation. Incredibly, the woman was tried, convicted, sentenced and foot-loose and fancy-free on the streets before the Dunlops learned from a neighbour that the case had even gone to court. No chance then to make a victim impact statement in court. No chance to beg the court to impose a restraining order to keep the woman away from their home and their daughter’s school. They lived in fear.
And still the drama unfolded. There were no less than three investigations into the dealings of the Cornwall Police regarding a “cover-up.” An internal investigation discovered no wrongdoing. A second investigation conducted by the Ottawa Police also cleared the Force. And yet a third investigation conducted by the Ontario Provincial Police again cleared the Cornwall Police. In time, Perry launched a 1.25 million-dollar lawsuit against a number of parties including several police officers, the Cornwall Police, and the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall.
No one from the justice-oriented CCCB offered to aid the beleaguered Dunlops move “from pain to hope.” Nor did the CCCB “call its members to unite with those who condemn such forms of aggression.”
The Years of Turbulence: More Scandal
While the legal quagmire played itself out in the media, other bizarre events were coming to light. A lawyer instrumental in securing the financial settlement for D.S. was charged with obstruction of justice (he pleaded guilty and received an absolute discharge). And Claude Shaver, police chief at the time the deal went through, publicly claimed he had been so incensed when he found out about the Church’s deal and the fact that Father Charlie was still functioning in a parish that he went right to Archbishop Carlo Curis, the Papal Nuncio, with his concerns. Some wonder why this action was delayed, and why it transpired after the cat was out of the bag, i.e., five weeks after the deal was signed and one week after Perry turned the victim’s statement over to the CAS. Regardless, action was taken and, without explanation, Father Charlie suddenly disappeared from the parish and was off to Southdown, a rehabilitation centre for clergy and religious, for assessment. Shortly thereafter, Police Chief Shaver announced his early retirement, and, shortly after that announcement, Father’s close friend, the 49-year-old probation officer accused alongside him in the D.S. victim’s statement, committed suicide. (Last year a second probation officer committed suicide. He had previously been charged and convicted and was again under investigation for committing other sexual offences). And, on the 1st of March 1994, the local Children’s Aid Society addressed a letter to Father Charles MacDonald advising that after a “thorough investigation and careful consideration of all available information, the Society has concluded there is sufficient information to support a finding that you sexually molested [D.S.] when he was a child.” Two years passed. Finally, in 1996, Father Charlie was charged.
In short, those were turbulent years.
As this very public drama played out, not once did the Bishop or any official from the Diocesan Centre step forward to enquire as to the Dunlops’ spiritual, physical and financial well-being.
As the turmoil and scandal increased, so too did the Dunlops’ resolve to see justice done, and so did the numbers of young men who courageously stepped forward to recount their allegations of molestation by the same Father Charlie. There were difficulties even with that step. Perry’s brother-in-law, Carson Chisholm, recounts how he had personally accompanied one of Father Charlie’s victims to the Cornwall police station and was shocked to find that every policeman in the office refused to “touch, take or even look at” the written allegations against Father Charlie by a new victim. That hurdle was surmounted and, as mentioned previously, charges were finally laid against Father Charlie in 1996. In January 1998, following a lengthy preliminary hearing, the court determined that there was sufficient evidence in seven counts of indecent assault on three former altar boys for Father Charlie to be tried. He has pleaded not guilty: the case has yet to go to trial. Meanwhile Father was back in court this year facing another raft of charges in yet another preliminary hearing. He awaits the judge’s decision on those allegations.
But there is more to the Cornwall debacle than Father Charlie. As the months, days and hours roll by, Perry and Helen listen — and sometimes cry — as one distraught victim after another arrives on their door step, or picks up the phone, to unburden his painful memories of molestation at the hands of a sexual predator. In those six years, the Dunlops have amassed both a wealth of information about the sordid underworld of molestation — and a burgeoning who’s who for that dark underside of Cornwall and its “particular church,” the Diocese of Alexander-Cornwall.
Prime Suspects / “The Clan”
In time, the Dunlops became convinced that a ring of pedophiles, “the clan,” was operative in the city — stretching vertically within the Church and horizontally into the community. Although some of the alleged suspects were married men, and some molested young girls, they had one thing in common — a depraved sexual interest in young boys, their predatory activities ranging from fondling to sodomy.
Armed with reams of information, the pair became relentless in their attempts to see justice done and childhood innocence protected. Silence or rebuffs were the order of the day. Oftentimes the daunting task seemed futile, but there was no turning back. That’s not their way. Besides, there were, and are, children, at risk. The information was given to police. Nothing. Time and again the undaunted duo unloaded mountains of files, naming names and citing evidence, on any and all influential persons who would give them the time of day. Finally, in April 1997, in desperation and as a last resort, the whole sorry mess of sordid material was deposited with Charles Harnick, Ontario’s Attorney General, and also with the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services, a sort of police force watchdog in the offices of Bob Runciman, the Solicitor General.
Initially, the Dunlops’ persistence and perseverance seemed to have paid off. The Ontario Provincial Police was back in on the deal, and, several months later, in August 1997, Project Truth, an investigative team comprising one inspector and four detectives, was formed to investigate the Dunlops’ persistent charge of a pedophile ring.
The Dunlops understood that the names of suspects and corroborating evidence had been transmitted in its totality to the team. Not so. In July 1998, eleven months after Project Truth began, charges were laid against seven men. The Dunlops were confused and less than impressed. The names of many prominent suspects contained in their files were not on the list. Only then did they discover that, according to the Project Truth team, the full package of documentation had not been received from provincial authorities (i.e., the Attorney General and Solicitor General’s office). The missing information was crucial to a thorough investigation and at the heart of the allegations of a pedophile ring. Again Perry turned over a full package of the information, this time directly to Project Truth. The accompanying receipt is signed by a Detective Sergeant with the team and reads:
31 July 1998
Received from Constable Perry Dunlop of the Cornwall Police Service –
Four volumes of documents marked “Submission by Constable P. Dunlop, of the Cornwall Police Service.”
The Ontario Provincial Police “Project Truth Investigators” never received the full package that was delivered to the Office of the Attorney General, or the Office of the Solicitor General, Ontario Civilian Commission on Policing Services that was hand delivered on the 8th of April 1997 to the said offices by Constable Perry Dunlop.
Now, a full twenty months after Project Truth was formed to investigate allegations of a pedophile ring, a total of twelve men has been charged. Only a few of those charged to date were named by the Dunlops, the others were unfamiliar to them and seem to have sprung from new allegations stemming from the vast publicity surrounding the probe.
Recently, for a second time, there was word that the probe was wrapping up. Presumably its mission is accomplished. The three investigative hands-on members of the team are now busy preparing themselves and their files for the imminent raft of court cases. Since a hands-on investigative detective must be present in each court case to assist the Crown Attorney, it is logical to assume that no serious investigative work is being conducted. Here the disconcerting bottom line is that, unless this skeleton staff receives reinforcements, there is no hope that further charges will be forthcoming.
And twenty months later, Perry and Helen watch and wait in disbelief as a number of suspects known to them — predominantly clergy — remain at large.
Not once has the diocese offered to help the Dunlops “purge this evil from our society.”
The Gag Order
What’s going on?
The plot thickens . . .
To say this dark drama smacks of a cover-up of monumental proportions is putting it mildly. The magnitude of the cover-up can best be grasped by honing in on three aspects of the Cornwall nightmare: (1) the hush money (2) the allegations of clerical debauchery, and (3) the Fort Lauderdale connection. And more scandal . . .
Let’s go back a few years.
When Perry first stumbled upon D.S.’s allegation against Father Charlie and Ken Seguin (the probation officer) he had no idea that he was about to blow the lid off an agreement crafted to keep the sordid allegations against Father Charlie under wraps and the priest’s good reputation intact. And given that he hadn’t the faintest idea that such an agreement existed, he certainly had not the slightest inkling that it was crafted by two Roman Catholic lawyers (one diocesan) who would themselves, several years hence, face formal criminal charges for sexually abusing young boys.
Here’s the way the scenario played out.
In the Fall of 1993, Perry was told the investigation into allegations against Father Charlie had been terminated because the victim had received a monetary settlement. As mentioned previously, Perry took action and went to the CAS based on that fact alone: he had no idea there were strings attached to the deal.
By early January 1994 the media had latched onto the story and word was out in the public domain that the diocese had made a $32,000 payout to an alleged victim. Some were saying the deal was hush money, which silenced D.S. and precluded any legal action regarding his allegations against Father Charlie.
The denials began.
A gag order was flatly denied by Jacques Leduc, a 43-year-old diocesan lawyer, canon lawyer and longtime member of the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal. Leduc admitted there was a financial settlement, but insisted it was never the intention of the diocese to keep D.S. from speaking to police. Bishop Eugene Larocque also denied a gag order. But he acknowledged the payout. According to Larocque, he had initially been opposed to it (the payout) and had even consulted some of his fellow bishops (unnamed) who all said “Don’t give in.” However, the Bishop explained that, he “gave in” and “reluctantly” made the payout because D.S. “had a considerable bill of counselling charges for a psychologist, and he needed help.” The bishop also stressed to the media that he did not believe the priest committed an assault. The implication to one and all was that an unstable D.S. had lied about being molested, coerced money from charitable and empathetic diocesan officials, and was now lying about a gag order.
Meanwhile, an angry and fearful D.S. insisted that he had never asked the diocese for money, all he wanted was an apology. The money, he said, was offered after he confronted Church officials with his allegations, and was accepted only when he realized that the police investigation seemed to be going nowhere. He likewise insisted that the settlement contained a gag order. It became their word against his.
When the contents of the legal document entered the public domain, they did indeed contain a gag order. The document, addressed to “Father Charles MacDonald and to the Most Reverend Eugene P. Larocque, Bishop, and to his successors and assigns, and to the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation for the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall in Ontario,” contains the following clauses:
In addition to the aforesaid release and for said consideration, I hereby undertake not to take any legal proceedings, civil or criminal, against any of the parties hereto and will immediately terminate any actions that may now be in process.
In addition to the aforesaid release and for the said consideration I further hereby undertake not to disclose or permit disclosure directly or indirectly of any of the terms of this settlement or of any of the events alleged to have occurred. Breach of this undertaking will constitute a breach of settlement agreement as evidenced by this release and I will refund all amounts paid to me forthwith.
And for the said consideration, I further agree not to make claim or take any proceeding or participate in same, against any other person or corporation who might claim contribution or indemnity under the provisions of the Negligence Act and the Amendments thereto from the person, persons or corporations discharged from this release.
There seemed to be little hope that Church officials were “carefully avoiding any word or gesture that risks dissuading someone from carrying out his or her duty of reporting a case of child sexual abuse.”
The agreement, dated the 2nd of September 1993, was signed by D.S. and his lawyer Sean Adams. It had been brokered by Father Charlie’s lawyer, Malcolm MacDonald. And diocesan lawyer Jacques Leduc was in on the deal. The same Jacques Leduc who, on behalf of the Diocese, had so adamantly denied the gag order and made D.S. look like a pathological liar.
Bishop Larocque called a press conference and — shades of Police Chief Shaver — quickly attempted to exonerate himself. The Bishop explained that he had made his previous statement denying the gag order “in accord with instructions received from our Diocesan counsel,” and that “I have since learned that the signed release does in fact rule out both civil and criminal action.” The Bishop then encouraged D.S. to go to the police with his allegations. D.S. was not impressed. “This is the way he’s dealt with me all along. I was the victim and all he’s done is make me look like a liar,” said D.S., who believed that Bishop Laroque’s turnaround came “a year too late.”
Following exposure of the fiasco, Jacques Leduc’s legal services with the diocese terminated, but his name still appears as a member of the Diocesan Tribunal. And Malcolm MacDonald, a former Crown Attorney, was charged with obstruction of justice, pleaded guilty, and received an absolute discharge.
The Criminal Charges
In June of 1998, nearly five years after the financial settlement with its gag order was signed, sealed and delivered, Jacques Leduc — former legal counsel for the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, former chair of the local Roman Catholic School Board, and longtime member of the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal — was charged with four counts of sexual assault, four of sexual exploitation, two of procuring the services of someone under age, and one each of sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching. And still his name appeared as a member of the Tribunal. In March of 1999 four more charges were laid against Jacques Leduc.
There’s more. In March of 1999, nearly two full years after Project Truth commenced its investigation, Malcolm MacDonald was formally charged with two counts of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency. This is the same Malcolm MacDonald who was Knighted into the elite Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitallers, in October 1993 — mere weeks after the gag order was signed and sealed. This papal honour was conferred upon “Brother Malcolm MacDonald” in recognition of his achievements and contributions to his community.
Perry’s brother-in-law Carson Chisholm tells how he once managed to gain access to Bishop Eugene Larocque to try to get the Bishop to sign a petition. The petition affirmed that Perry did the right thing in reporting the D.S. case to the CAS. Not only did Bishop Larocque refuse to sign the petition, he told Chisholm that Perry Dunlop should be punished for what he did.
Allegations of Clerical Debauchery
As the allegations of sexual molestation, legal misdemeanours, and cover-up proliferated, a married middle-aged man now residing in the United States was determining to wipe his own slate clean. He had been involved with “the clan” himself, first as a young boy and later as an adult. According to the Ottawa Sun, “Richard” stepped into the fray because “This thing has been eating me alive inside-out. I think about it every single day.” He was even willing to incriminate himself, recognizing only too well that in the process, the police “are probably going to put the screws to me.” But he wanted to clean the slate.
So, in November 1996 Richard signed an affidavit. The information and allegations contained therein are extremely damning for a number of highly-respected individuals and, if verified, leave no doubt that a ring of molesters has been operating in Cornwall for a number of years.
According to Richard, a number of Cornwall men are part of a “clan” of pedophiles. He names them. And, it’s a shocker. The names include those of several prominent men — and a number of Roman Catholic clergy. A few of the suspects are now deceased, others are functioning in various capacities in their environs.
Richard alleges that he attended clan parties and witnessed “sexual improprieties, molestation, fondling, oral sex, intercourse (anal) between the above-named ‘clan’ members and minors through the period of 1957 or 1958 to 1993.” He numerically names some of those who attended the parties, concluding with #34: “Male prostitutes both adults and juveniles, altar boys and several others.” He recalls one party which included “a ceremonious ritual of candles in the Altar Boys rectums with sheets over them. These Altar Boys were walking around with the candle in the rectum and sheets over them with no clothes on, during this ceremony, several members of the clergy were fondling these boys and molesting them.” He continues, “all of the aforementioned priests committed illegal, inappropriate and perverse sexual acts against myself as a minor.” He also talks of a cache of pornographic pictures of young Cornwall boys taken with a Polaroid camera, and he recounts events leading up to Ken Seguin’s death.
Richard alleges that the clan had a number of meeting places, most of them in or around Cornwall. But — an important point — the clan also met in the United States. According to the affidavit, clan members travelled to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a fairly regular basis where they would frequent an area called Birch Avenue and a certain motel which he names.
The information contained in this eight-page legal document, which names names and references a specific motel on the ‘pedophile strip’ in Fort Lauderdale, is now at the core of mounting allegations of a massive cover-up. The motel referenced in the affidavit has been investigated by other interested parties anxious to seek the truth in the allegations, but not by the Ontario Provincial Police or its Project Truth Team.
The Fort Lauderdale Connection
On 18 September 1998, Gary Guzzo (member of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Provincial Government) sent a letter marked Private and Confidential to Premier Mike Harris. Therein Guzzo advises the Premier that contrary to what he (Harris) might be told by his Attorney General and Solicitor General, the Project Truth investigation is not progressing as it should and has not followed up on “volumes of information” turned over to the Attorney General and Solicitor General by Perry Dunlop. He elaborates.
Through his contacts in Cornwall, and with a retired policeman in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Guzzo — a Catholic, a lawyer and former judge — has kept abreast of the investigation and is very familiar with the intricacies of the Cornwall affair and the allegations of a pedophile ring. He has also, at his own expense, travelled to the United States to speak with people “who signed affidavits and made depositions which were served on our government in April 1997.” He concludes: “I can tell you directly that they are not all lying.” As a result of his own personal research Guzzo has learned that “The people who signed affidavits, who made depositions under oath, some of which are inculpatory in nature, have not been interrogated after one-and-a-half years” and he concludes: “I am 100 per cent certain in my own mind that the former owners and operators of the motel on the pedophile strip in Fort Lauderdale, where the complainants stated they were taken on occasion by some of the perpetrators in the 1970s, have not been interrogated, nor have the motel records been requested by the police doing the investigation.”
The letter closes on this ominous note: “I do trust you appreciate my concern for the safety of my family and staff . . .” Copies were sent to Charles Harnick, Attorney General, and Bob Runciman, Solicitor General.
Mr. Guzzo again put pen to paper on 23 February 1999, this time telling the Premier that since his previous communication he (Guzzo) has had occasion to spend ten days in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He writes:
I want you to understand how embarrassing it is for me to attempt to answer the pointed questions of a retired police officer with regard to this issue. This man is in contact on a regular basis with individuals who have visited the Fort Lauderdale area to investigate certain aspects of the allegations made by a number of people in the Cornwall area. The allegations centre around activities in the late 60s to late 70s and the motel records seem to confirm the attendance at a motel on the “pedophile strip” in the Fort Lauderdale area of certain of the victims and in the company of certain of the people named in the complaints by these victims. The information the retired police officer has received, which information has been confirmed by the undersigned, would indicate that certain key people have not yet been interrogated by the Ontario Provincial Police Project Truth Team. These people include complainants, as well as witnesses and at least in one case, a perpetrator, who has signed an affidavit, which affidavit was filed with the Attorney General of this province and the Solicitor General of this province in April 1997. The person making this affidavit continues to state that he has not been interrogated by the Ontario Provincial Police with regard to this issue.
Finally, he reiterates his concern regarding the potential for accusations of a cover-up at the highest levels:
The fact remains that we are approaching two years since the formal delivery of this information to the two ministries in question. The fact remains that this information was available long before it was formally delivered to the two ministries in question. There may be many reasons why some of these people have not been contacted by investigating officers; however, two of the obvious possible reasons must be dispelled immediately!
The letter was copied to Bob Runciman (Solicitor General), Charles Harnick (Attorney General), and Ron McLaughlin (Chief of Staff, Office of the Premier).
With the exception of the Ottawa Sun, Ontario’s print media has been strangely silent on Guzzo’s courageous and bold interjections. Not a boo from The Ottawa Citizen, the Toronto Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star or The National Post. Strange indeed from a media which delights in political intrigue.
Since Gary Guzzo’s interjection into the Cornwall affair became public, Project Truth has spread the word that Cornwall is caught in the grips of McCarthyism. And, while welcome talk of McCarthyism ripples through the quiet city streets, Mr. Guzzo has been contacted by a couple who allege that their son was sexually assaulted — by one of the Dunlops’ prime suspects! The alleged assault occurred between August 1997 – July 1998 — while the Attorney General and the Solicitor General’s office sat on explosive evidence — evidence which the honourable ministers did not hand over to the Project Truth team commissioned specifically to investigate the Dunlop allegations.
Asked if anyone from the Diocesan office has talked to them throughout this ordeal, Helen emits a wry chuckle: “Talk to us? No, they don’t talk to me. They don’t talk to us. I don’t even think they talk to God.”
Cover-up? Can there be one iota of doubt?
Prime suspects? There are a number on the loose. A number of them are priests. The have access to children. Do our bishops care?
Breach of Faith: Breach of Trust? Of the highest order.
From Pain to Hope? For the many victims, the pain won’t go away.
For every child who is molested while the cover-up continues, the pain has just begun.
For our suffering Church, the pain continues.
And what of hope?
Catholics of Cornwall hope the whispered rumours are false. They can’t let themselves think otherwise.
The victims hope that somehow truth will prevail. They no longer trust the Church to act. They have little faith in the legal system.
Perry and Helen hope that someone somewhere cares enough to ensure that justice prevails. They too have lost faith in the hierarchy of the Church: they unfortunately stopped going to Mass when they realized the magnitude of the problem. Pray for them.
Gary Guzzo hopes his government will act. He was a member of the Board of Directors at St. Brigid’s Summer Camp which came under scrutiny six years ago when its founder, Father Ken Keeler was charged with sexual molestation. Father Keeler pleaded guilty after his trial commenced, but not before damning testimony was introduced regarding the then deceased Bishop John Michael Beahen’s sexual proclivities.
Seven long years ago a troubled young man took his allegations of sexual abuse to Church officials in the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall.
And seven long years ago the bishops of Canada published two glossy-covered booklets sporting pictures of cracks, and rocks, and blooming weeds. Seven long years ago Canadian Catholics trusted that their bishops truly had serious concerns regarding the scandalous, painful and abhorrent problem of clerical molesters; that the bishops really meant it when they called us to “promote actions which will purge this evil from our society”; or when they said the Church should “call its members to unite with those who condemn such forms of aggression”; and when they advised that the Church should avoid “any word or gesture that risks dissuading someone from carrying out his or her duty of reporting a case of child sexual abuse.”
The words sounded so good. However, actions speak louder than words.
The bishops have been and are now busy with other “serious” issues. There’s no more talk of purging the evil of clerical molestation from our society and our Church. There hasn’t been for years. Now our “justice”-minded bishops are back to dabbling in economics and high finance. They want the faithful to unite to seek “justice” for countries which have submerged themselves in debt: countries which abort their unborn with abandon, sterilize men and women with alacrity, and offer contraceptives and condoms like candy kisses. No talk now of the mess in their own backyard, or of purging predators from our sanctuaries, just the constant materialistic prattle about something they call “justice” and the dizzying whirl of press releases, signature campaigns, workshops and homilies haranguing one and all to ‘do justice,’ purge the debt — and dutifully sign on the dotted line.
Meanwhile, the Dunlops are persecuted, sexual predators are on the loose, a molestation which could have been prevented has been reported, and every child and adolescent is at risk.
But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh. (St. Matthew 18: 6,7)