Besmirching the dead

Father Tom Doyle, a Roman Catholic priest and “victim’s advocate” attempts to salvage his own ‘honour’ by besmirching that of deceased sex abuse victim and former website operator Dick Nadeau.  Dick had worked tirelessly to expose the sex abuse in Cornwall. 
Father Tom Doyle was sworn in to testify as an “expert witness” at the Cornwall Public Inquiry 29 & 30 August 2007. The diocese objected. In so doing David Sheriff-Scott (diocese and Bishop Eugene Larocque) posed a series of questions to Doyle regarding both his theology and his contact with Dick Nadeau’s website. The latter focused specifically on emails written by Doyle which appeared on the website.Father Doyle, a victim’s advocate, put himself at arm’s length from Dick and, in an apparent attempt to salvage his own ‘honour’ implied that the emails were posted without his permission.Father claimed he thought Dick’s website was an “official” site run by the Ontario Provincial Police. He agreed with the suggestion that he may have been “used” by Dick. He seemed to imply Dick misled him into believing the website was an official police site.

Most damaging to Dick however and therefore to all who have been battling for truth and justice in Cornwall, Doyle implied the emails were posted without his permission.

As you will see in the emails reproduced below Dick specifically asked for and received Father Doyle’s permission to post the Doyle email. You will also see that when Doyle got into trouble with his superiors for the innovative theological content of the email and asked Dick to remove the material Dick promptly obliged.

Below, and before the emails, I have posted some of Father Doyle’s testimony regarding this matter. That is followed by the series of emails, mostly those sent from Doyle to Dick – and one sent from Dick to Doyle asking permission to post.

At the time that Father Doyle took the stand the commission did not have copies of the emails exchanged between Father Doyle and Dick.  What Father Doyle had to say was there taken at face value.  By the time Carmen, Dick’s partner, took the stand she had provided commission with all the emails.   The emails were not introduced into evidence to publicly undo the damage which has been done, nor was Carmen questioned about them. The record stood that Dick had posted the emails without permission of Father Doyle, and that Father did not know the nature of Dick’s website.

Father Tom Doyle:

The email was “not for public consumption”

excerpt from testimony at Cornwall Public Inquiry

MR. ENGELMANN: “And, sir, in or about the year 2000 did you have any involvement with a victims group or a website operator here in the City of Cornwall?REVEREND DOYLE: Yes, I did. I don’t remember what initiated the contact, something did, and I don’t remember what it was and I, at the time, had some communication with a gentleman and I was given some information that perhaps wasn’t complete. Anyway, I sent him some — what I would consider now to be impertinent emails, and they ended up on a website which I did not plan on .

MR. ENGELMANN: All right.

REVEREND DOYLE: I gave him permission to share these and in retrospect even that was a mistake, but they did end up on a website.

MR. ENGELMANN: All right. Did you know when you gave him permission toshare something that it was going to end up on a website?

REVEREND DOYLE: No, I did not. And I understand now that — I’m very careful right now because I just found out last night something I had shared that I thought would be privately with some people has ended up on a website.

MR. ENGELMANN: All right. Did you know when you gave him permission to share something that it was going to end up on a website?

REVEREND DOYLE: No, I did not. And I understand now that — I’m very careful right now because I just found out last night something I had shared that I thought would be privately with some people has ended up on a website.

Q&As with David Sheriff-Scott (diocese). Sheriff-Scott was objecting to Father Doyle being sworn in as an expert witness. In the process, this…

MR. SHERRIFF-SCOTT: … you indicated that you expressed some regret regarding the fact that they ended up on the website. Why is it that you regretted that; because the frankness of your views were exposed or for other reasons?

REVEREND DOYLE: They were personal to him, and I — as I look back now, because I didn’t want — it was a personal communication, not for public consumption,…


REVEREND DOYLE: Let me just say that when I first saw this website, as I recall, I thought that it was — I was led to believe that this was an official — attached to some sort of an official investigation that was being conducted by the Ontario Provincial Police. …


REVEREND DOYLE: And then I recall somewhere along the line later, and I don’t remember when it was, that I asked about it again and was told that it had been taken off the air or — because when I found out that those emails that I had written were on the website, I contacted I think it was whoever the individual was that I first was in contact with and asked him to take them off the website.


REVEREND DOYLE: Let me just say that when I first saw this website, as I recall, I thought that it was — I was led to believe that this was an official — attached to some sort of an official investigation that was being conducted by the Ontario Provincial Police.


REVEREND DOYLE: Whoever it was. As I said, I thought this was a work in — I mean, an official investigation.


REVEREND DOYLE: And I’m not — and I also will say that I do openly and honestly regret the problems that this has caused.

MR. SHERRIFF-SCOTT: Well, what do you regret, and what problems did it cause?

REVEREND DOYLE: Well, that it became public.

MR. SHERRIFF-SCOTT: Do you regret the fact that a person of your stature was used to effectively endorse the operation of this website? Is that what you regretted?

REVEREND DOYLE: I didn’t intend to be used and if that’s what happened, I guess I would say I possibly regret that…


MR. SHERRIFF-SCOTT: You had referred at the top of the page to Ken Martin and the reason you were referring to Ken Martin is because you were determining whether or not you could find pertinent information relating to him because he had been accused. Fair?

REVEREND DOYLE: I didn’t ask for any information at all.

MR. SHERRIFF-SCOTT: No, you were —

REVEREND DOYLE: I was interested.

MR. SHERRIFF-SCOTT: You were interested in supplying it if you could find it?

REVEREND DOYLE: No, no, no. No, I was not interested in supplying anything. I was just surprised because I knew him. Of all of these men he’s the one I knew the best.

MR. SHERRIFF-SCOTT: All right. Down on the bottom then you say you knew Bernie Cameron and Ken Martin.


MR. SHERRIFF-SCOTT: And then you refer to an incident in a car ride. And surely you would agree with me that the purpose of supplying that information was to assist this website operator in doing whatever he was doing; whatever you understood that to be at the time? You weren’t supplying this information gratuitously?

REVEREND DOYLE: I was just supplying the information. I don’t remember exactly what my method — what my purpose was.

MR. SHERRIFF-SCOTT: Well, but the innuendo —

REVEREND DOYLE: The innuendo was not correct. I was not sexually abused, and now as I look back on it in reflecting, I think what he was doing was the same that a lot of priests would do out of that culture. They were very concerned about sexual morality and about giving direction to young boys or young girls, and it came from a different era.


MR. SHERRIFF-SCOTT: Thank you. From my point of view, I think Reverend Doyle has admitted at some juncture following his first email he became aware that — well, first of all he admitted to me that he had read material at least insofar as individuals that he knew.


MR. SHERRIFF-SCOTT: That he knew there were allegations against them whether charged or not, and that at some point following his first email he was aware of the fact this was not on official website.

THE COMMISSIONER: That it what? Pardon me? That it was??

MR. SHERRIFF-SCOTT: He was aware that it was not an official website following his first email at some point later. And what I’m asking —


REVEREND DOYLE: No, that’s not what I said at all.

MR. SHERRIFF-SCOTT: Well, that’s what I heard you to say.

REVEREND DOYLE: Well, you didn’t hear me right then.

What I said was at some point after these emails were sent, then I discovered that this was not an official website. I wasn’t sure what the website was at the beginning, if it was an official website with a section that had victims attached to it or what it was. But it was after that when I found out that they had been put on the website that I asked to have them taken off. ….It was subsequent to that that I learned that it was not official and that it was apparently removed from the Internet for some reason by summer by someone.

MR. SHERRIFF-SCOTT: So your evidence is you were not sure whether it was official or not when you wrote these emails. That’s what you just told me?

REVEREND DOYLE: No. No, that’s not what I said. I thought it was official when I wrote — I thought it was an official website when I wrote the emails, that it had something to do with some form of an official investigation going on.

The Emails

14 September 2000.  The first email.  Father Doyle sends email to the website

Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 00:08:23 -0700
From: Tom Doyle
To: <>

I was sent your URL from my sister who received it from a friend. I am a catholic priest and have been deeply involved in the clergy sex abuse mess in the US and Canada for 15 years. I am both fascinated and shocked by what I have read. I cannot commend you enough for your courage and honesty in blowing the evil cover of the cabal that perpetrated the mess and continued to cover. I may be able to help you and would like to establish some contact. If you are interested in checking my credentials etc. I welcome this. For starters, I am mentioned prominently in Jason Berry’s book, LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION as well as in several other books about the issue. I have been an expert witness on a couple hundred civil cases in the US in support of victims…..have been the same on a couple cases from Ireland and presently involved in the litigation involving the Irish Christian brothers in St. John’s Nfld……the Mt. Cashel bunch. This is round two!

But more important to your story…….my family lived in Cornwall in the late fifties (1959) and early sixties. We attended St. Columban’s Church and knew several of the priests mentioned in your stories. I celebrated my first mass at St. Columban’s in 1970. After we have established contact and I am informed that you may be interested in communicating with me I’ll share a little more. I have no heavy duty information but a few remembrances that might help a little. Also, I have been involved many times with people like yourselves who have struggled to gain justice and honesty in the cath. church governmental system. I’ve learned a lot and would be happy to share.

I am still a priest although I am probably on the hit list of every bishop in the US. I am an active-duty US Air Force chaplain, stationed in Oklahoma City but presently going to school with the Navy in San Diego. Please let me know if I can help. Sincerely and grateful for your courage…….Thomas Doyle (Rev…..Major) My real first name is Patrick…when I was in Cornwall that was what I was known as…attended St. Lawrence HS.

Good luck

14 September 2000: Father Doyle email to Dick Nadeau via Dick’s personal email address
Subject: Re: Wed
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 08:15:22 -0700

From: Tom Doyle

To: <>

Hi. I will be back in touch very soon. I have a very busy day today and won’t be back till later tonight.

My family lived on Shirley Ave. in Riverdale. We are Americans citizens and moved there because of my father’s business. We moved to Montreal in 1966 or so.

What is the present status of some of the priests? I knew Ken Martin, Bernard Cameron. I know some of the others also but not as well. I had heard of some stuff going on in Cornwall from the survivors network. Are you guys in touch with a US support groups called LinkUp. if not, check their website which I will attach.

It sounds like the Cornwall saga would be worthy of national exposure. I know a lot of media people in the US and will start asking questions. I don’t think that I know many people in Cornwall anymore. Most of my high school friends moved away. One old friend still is there and was a bit prominent in Cornwall politics…name is Terri Lalonde….do you know her?

I’ll get back to you later today or tomorrow. Good luck. Tom Doyle

01 0ctober 2000: Father Doyle discusses his recollections of Cornwall, his theology and reminds him that “being right often means suffering.”
Subject: Sun AM

Date: Sun, 1 Oct 2000 09:57:18 -0700

From: Tom Doyle

To: “Dick Nadeau” <>

Dick. Its SUN AM here and I have a little spare time for once so am catching up on some email. I have been trying to dredge up past memories from Cornwall. As I mentioned before I was an altar boy at St. Columban’s. I knew Ken Martin, Bernard Cameron etc. There was a priest there named Stuart MacMillan who left, married and I believe is in Toronto. I suspect he would know something. I recall that Ken Martin was very popular with younger people. He and I became friends but he never tried anything with me. Cameron always came off as a bit weird…..very controlling, always seemed a bit angry and uptight. I recall only one strange incident with him when he took me out for a car ride to see sights in the area when I was about 15. He started asking me very personal questions about sex…..did I date girls, which I did. What did I do with them…and he was probing for details. Also asked me if I masturbated etc….again, looking for details. It was shocking to me at the time and I recall wanting to get out of the car. I recall that after that I avoided him as much as I could.

My family was not especially pious. I was active at the church but more interested in chasing girls at that time. We also knew RJ MacDonald very well. My mother had cancer and died in 1966. She had several episodes leading up to the final one. RJ was especially kind to her. He visited our home to see her several times. Of all the priests there he was the one I had most affection and respect for. If he was a pedophile I never knew it or suspected it. I recall that after I entered the seminary myself and got closer to ordination (I was in the States) I tried to find Martin’s address to send him an invitation. All I could find was that there had been some sort of embarrassing incident in the 60’s and he was sent off somewhere in Quebec. I never heard what it was, where he went etc. Heard nothing more till recently when my contact with the sex abuse survivors web site showed up the information on Cornwall.

As to your present situation……denial is a massive problem with sex abuse. The only way to get the attention of the Catholic church leadership is by taking their money (lawsuits), giving them bad publicity and threatening their power. I have learned over 16 years of direct experience which started when I worked at the Vatican embassy in Washington DC, that the hierarchy is about the most corrupt political entity on the globe. At least with the Nazis you knew what you were dealing with. I have been directly involved in several hundred cases. Most lawyers in the US say that if a bishop’s lips are moving they presume he is lying.

The civil community often is caught up in the denial and brainwashing because the leaders think that supporting church leaders is supporting the church…and supporting the church brings them some sense of security. Wrong! The real church is the people, not the bishops. All the stuff we were taught about bishops being descendants of the apostles, chosen by the Holy Ghost etc,. and named by the pope who is God’s vicar….is nonsense. It makes as much sense as believing in the Easter bunny or the tooth fairy. But it works to keep the people in control! Depending on where you are at, what you probably need is some heavy duty lawsuits with some really tough lawyers representing victims. The more ruthless the better because the institutional church is about the most deceptive entity any lawyer will ever encounter. You also probably need some direct publicity. I suspect that the local paper is probably lukewarm. How about the Ottawa or Montreal papers. There is also a US independent Catholic publication called the National Catholic Reporter that might be interested and would do an excellent job if they got on it.

Let me know what else is going on. I will keep on dredging my memory banks. Its too bad you aren’t in the States because it would be different. I know attorneys who would have a field day with the Cornwall situation. Anyway….you are in my thoughts and prayers. You are all doing the right thing but being right often means suffering. Keep in touch…..Patrick (Tom) Doyle

 01 October 2000: Dick asks permission to put the latter email on the website
Subject: Re: Sun AM
Date: Sun, 01 Oct 2000 16:40:06 -0700

From: Dick Nadeau

To: Tom Doyle

Tom, could I put this e-mail on the site. It’s so reinforcing not just for
me, but other victims who are fighting this with me. By the way, our
lawsuits come out next week. Regards, Dick

05 October 2000: Father Doyle gives permission to post the email.
Subject: Re: Sun AM

Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2000 08:30:44 -0700From: Tom Doyle

To: <>

Dick…..No problem sharing the email. I’d be glad to send out a more generalized message to all of you with some words of experience and encouragement. I realize how discouraging it gets. Don’t forget about the Mount Cashel mess and how everyone from the top of the church to the top of the Nfld government tried to cover…..and in the end it all failed. The archbishop had to resign and a bunch of the brothers went to jail. Now, a new series of cases there is starting up with some US lawyers working on it……they found that the brothers headquarters is in NY which makes an American connection. More garbage will come out this time and it will make the official church look even worse…and hopefully will move the system a little closer to being honest.

Keep in touch. peace. Tom

05 November 2000: Father Doyle apologizes for not getting another message ready to post on
05 November 2000

Subject: Sun nite

Date: Sun, 5 Nov 2000 23:14:56 -0600

From: “Tom Doyle”

To: “Dick Nadeau”

Dick. Several days…maybe a couple weeks ago, I promised to write another message for your web site on the sex abuse business. I have not forgotten you but have been swamped with work. I returned to Oklahoma from San Diego about 10 days ago and have been overloaded since. In addition to the Air Force work I still am involved in sex abuse cases from all over the world and they take up a lot of my spare time. I have had to prepare several legal reports and decided that they had to take priority…not that your situation is not urgent! I have read the developments on the web site and have a few hand grenades to throw into the fire. I promise I’ll try and get this done in the next couple days. Good luck. Tom Doyle

07 November 2000: Father Doyle public message via the email
Subject: Doyle

Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2000 00:21:57 -0600

From: “Tom Doyle”


I sent several messages to Dick Nadeau and to the site last month. I promised Dick a much longer and supportive message which I still have not been able to complete due to time constraints. However prior to that….I’d like to share with you and probably with the site a couple of personal observations on the reactions that I have received.

First, as a result of the site being picked up all over I have received many inquiries from people who were either themselves sexually abused or whose children had been abused. All asked how to go about getting healing and the majority stated that they had approached their bishops or the chancery offices and that they had been either ignored, but more often, threatened and intimidated into silence. Seeing your site and much of the other media coverage of abuse cases throughout the US has helped them take the issue public.

Second, I have received many supportive messages.

Third….and this is most interesting…..I have received a number of highly critical messages which I understand because this whole issue and the support of a priest can be shocking to many who find that it seriously threatens the security that their church gave them. I can handle criticism…..I have received tons of it including threats and slanderous comments over the years. But I would like to point out that attacking the victims or their families or the attorneys helping them or the press or people like me only avoids the real issue. The real issue is the absolute fact that many, Catholic priests and a few bishops in the US and Canada have sexually abused boys, girls and young adults for years and it was kept covered up and remained a dark secret. In the past 15 years it has come out in the open but the church structures have refused to deal with it head on as have most civilian structures that have supported the church.The scandal, damage, havoc and chaos is NOT caused by those who have brought the problem to the surface, nor by those who have brought charges against the church, nor by the press who has courageously exposed the problem. The real problem is not even the sad priests and other persons with sexual disorders who have done such incredible destruction and harm to thousands.The real problem lies at the feet of those who have known about the sexual abuse and have turned away, lied about it, covered or hid the abusers,ignored the victims, lied to the public or the catholic faithful, hid behind their titles and in general preferred to protect the stature of the governmental dimension of the catholic church rather than the victims.It is easy to cast accusations of “Catholic bashing” etc. at those people who have forced the issue to the surface like so many very brave and good people in Cornwall have done……but it is not easy to face the multi-faceted and illusive sickness that is the abuse. It is multi-faceted because it includes the sex abuse itself, the corporate denial of so many who refuse to believe it thereby causing the victims to suffer even more,and those who are in power and who have allowed it to happen and when confronted, lied about it.

My experience in this issue is long, painful and real. I have been with the suffering and know that they are real. I have not lost my faith in the-church because the church is the people, the suffering, the scandalized.Remember the many stories in the Gospels that prove that Christ did not have  an office in the Temple. He was with the people and when he got angry it was only at the religious leaders for their hypocrisy. My faith, like those of many others involved in this business….has shifted. I no longer believe in the claims that to “give and take” with the Lord I have to go through the hierarchy. They have betrayed the trust of too many to be believed on faith any more.

Once again I applaud the bravery, courage and strength of the people who keep up the fight. Finally, let me share a brief experience I had just today. I had the sad fortune of spending several hours with a man and woman from a city in a neighboring State. The poured out rivers of pain and anguish…..and anger at a bishop who had lied to them about the priest who had abused their son and the sons of many others. The priest is facing jail. The diocese is facing millions of dollars in law suits but the terrible part of this story is that the mother and father are facing an empty room in their home. Their son committed suicide as a direct result of what had happened to him. So, when people look to you and accuse you of harming the church, think of this man and woman. They are hurt and they are the church. What is the real harm and where is it coming from?

20 November 2000: Father Doyle email to Dick. It seems that complaints were filed and Father Doyle was taken to task regarding the theology in his previous postings. Doyle apparently asked Dick to remove the posting (s). Dick, as evidenced by the following, apparently obliged promptly.
20 November 2000

Subject: Re: Mon

Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2000 20:52:38 -0600

From: “Tom Doyle”


Dick. Thanks much for your understanding and quick reply. I may be able to

use this to get the archbishop to understand just how terrible all this really is. After I discuss it with him I’ll let you know. In the mean time I will prepare another excerpt for the web page that is less inflammatory.Apparently someone complained and I was confronted by the fact that I questioned the theological legitimacy of the episcopate. That’s all he was concerned about. I hope and pray I can get through to him so that he sees why I feel as I do. In the meantime the fact that the inflammatory stuff has been pulled will serve as a gesture of good will and hopefully cool him off so that he listens. However the bottom line is that I have no intention of giving up the fight. This is a momentary digression. God bless. I’ll send another personal message real soon…..also about a suicide issue. Tom