Persecution of Perry Dunlop shameful

Cornwall Standard Freeholder
Letter to the Editor

26 January 2008

Your editorial “Let’s not make Perry a martyr” reveals either a profound lack of comprehension of the social dynamics that emerge from revelations of child sexual abuse, or it is clear evidence of your paper’s complicity in the cover-up. It betrays an insensitivity and a bias that is unacceptable for a newspaper such as the Standard-Freeholder.

Child sexual abuse is a horrendous crime. Historically when it has been committed in families or by members of public or private institutions, the family members and institutional leaders go to any length to deny the fact of abuse and discredit the victim or anyone who reports the abuse. The campaign to destroy Perry Dunlop is not something the Catholic church or other local organizations dreamed up. The same tactic has been used before and unfortunately the organizations that expect the greatest respect and in which are placed the greatest trust are the worst offenders, the Catholic church and law enforcement, in Perry’s case, being the clear examples in Cornwall.

Perry Dunlop’s life has been turned into a nightmare because of retribution against him by the organizations that have both produced and protected the sexual abusers. There is nothing praiseworthy in turning what is mistakenly called a “public inquiry” into a pillory for the very people who had the courage to come forward on behalf of defenceless victims.

I was one of David Sheriff-Scotts’ targets when I appeared before the inquiry in September 2007. I wasn’t even a fact witness to the events in Cornwall but an expert on the historical response of the Catholic church to abuse. I was advised before I went on the stand that he was planning on getting me disqualified and would do so based on what we would show to be bias and anger. For nearly a day the inquiry’s time and money was wasted on his questioning which had nothing to do with my proven expertise. It was clear to me that neither Mr. Sheriff-Scott nor his client, the Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese, were interested in the truth. Rather, their goal was to see that the truth remained buried. What has happened and what continues to happen to Perry Dunlop is an absolute disgrace.

The Catholic church and the other public agencies involved in his persecution should be profoundly ashamed. The Standard-Freeholder should be ashamed for supporting them.

Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, O.P., J.C.D.,

Vienna, Virginia