21 September 2006
by Paul Likoudis
Almost one year into an official government Public Inquiry by the Province of Ontario into sexual abuse allegations involving a “pedophile clan” of Catholic priests and public officials in the small city of Cornwall, Ontario, a dizzying flood of facts, many of them inconsequential or irrelevant, is obscuring what should have been a simple, straightforward investigation.
Justice Normand Glaude’s so-called “investigation” has turned into a mammoth research project on the constantly evolving institutional practices, policies and procedures related to sexual abuse of minors, costing tens of millions of dollars, and involving dozens of attorneys representing social service agencies, four police agencies, the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, experts in sex abuse from across Canada, and even the United States.
And after days upon days of long public hearings at a recycled cloth factory known as the WeaveShed, the actual sex abuse victims have yet to take the stand – and those few who will be permitted to testify will have their testimony severely limited by parameters established by the inquiry mandate, and Justice Glaude’s interpretation of the mandate.
In addition, their testimony probably will be limited by a Supreme Court’s adverse ruling in July involving a reporter’s attempts to secure information involving Cornwall pedophiles employed by the Ministry of Corrections; the Court decided in favor of an expanded notion of attorney-client privilege and the absolute necessity of protecting the privacy rights of alleged pedophiles and, under Canada’s Charter of Rights, their presumption of innocence.
But, there have also been some revealing disclosures. For example, in August, while Alexandria-Cornwall Bishop Paul Andre Durocher was on the stand, documents were entered into evidence showing that Canada’s pre-eminent canon lawyer, Fr. Frank Morrissey of St. Paul’s University, along with the able assistance and guidance of prominent secular lawyer Jeffrey King, were advising the bishops of Canada on how to successfully protect themselves from future public inquiries into clerical sex abuse by having a lawyer present whenever complaints were made, thus establishing the civil protections offered by the attorney-client privilege.
Jeffrey King, who subsequently became a priest, was at the time a close friend of Canada’s apostolic nuncio Archbishop Angelo Palmas.
Somewhat curiously, Morrissey’s aid to the Canadian bishops came just after the introduction of the New Code of Canon Law, and at the same time as clerical sex abuse scandals were starting to erupt in public view, which began roughly after Bishop Adolphe Proulx (a former bishop in Cornwall) was found dead in July 1987, sexually mutilated, lying face down in the water at his cottage.
Even more curiously, when Morrissey launched the international acclaimed journal of canon law, Studia Canonica, in April 1967, one of the original contributors was Fr. Bernard Prince, a longtime Vatican staffer who is now facing 14 counts of sexual abuse in Canada. Another contributor was Bishop Alexander Carter, who before his death was considered one of Canada’s leading dissident bishops.
As Sylvia MacEachern noted on her blogspot, CORNWALL INQUIRY (theinquiry.ca), which now runs over 1,000 pages:
“It seems that back in 1986/1987/1988 Fr. Frank Morrissey was busily helping the world to interpret the new Code of Canon Law. To that end it is known that he had been invited by someone or other to address a group of clergy in the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, and that he was working on a draft presentation for the bishops of Canada.
“Jeffrey King, a late vocation to the priesthood (age 58 when ordained) but then still very much an Ottawa lawyer, apparently lent a hand in some fashion and provided legal input from a secular perspective.
“An area of great concern to the pair seemed to be that of ensuring that bishops could not be legally compelled to disclose any statements made by suspect clerical sexual predators in the presence of the bishop.
“As I see it, the object of the exercise was to circumvent the law of the land in such a fashion that a bishop could legally withhold information which could see an alleged clerical molester convicted in a court of law. Why else resort to such convoluted measures?
“The following paragraphs then are excerpts of a Jeffrey King document which were read into the record during the examination of Bishop Durocher:
‘…in my opinion it is essential that there be a thorough understanding by the Bishops of the laws of privileged evidence in our courts.
‘Evidence that is created either verbally, visually or by way of written record that is communicated to a lawyer in anticipation of litigation is privileged information. There is no law in Canada that will compel disclosure of such evidence. It is therefore essential that a situation be created whereby no Bishop or diocesan authority could be compelled to appear in court to give evidence of any statement given either verbally or in writing relating to a denunciation.’
‘Under the laws in effect in each Province in Canada no one can any longer expect that there is any privileged information within the Church and this would include what is called [the] Secret Archives of any diocese. I suggest that paragraph 3 replace paragraph 2 in that the diocese should provide the accused cleric immediately with a trial lawyer who is distinct from the diocese’s attorney.’
‘Any evidence obtained by way of a statement from the accused could not then be compelled as evidence in any court of law.’
‘By having the lawyers attend such a meeting the laws of evidence would then apply and the information obtained could then be considered privileged information. At all times the diocesan lawyer should be made a member of such an inquiry in order that the information would remain privileged.’
“How terribly disgusting!” Mrs. MacEachern observed. “That Roman Catholic canon lawyers and civil lawyers would stoop so low to protect clerical sexual predators or whatever is beyond comprehension.
“I must add that Jacques Leduc was a lawyer for the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall and in that capacity would have sat in on these sessions.
“So, can you see how insane this gets when it comes to Cornwall? Just think of it: an alleged pedophile bishop [Eugene Larocque] conducting a session with an alleged pedophile priest [Charlie MacDonald] in the presence of an alleged pedophile lawyer/canon lawyer [Jacques Leduc], the latter presumably sitting in to ensure any damning utterances from the priest would remain privileged, and a known homosexual pedophile trial lawyer distinct from the alleged pedophile diocesan lawyer retained by the diocese for the alleged clerical molester.
“What a lark! And this inquiry is mandated to conduct a research project on the response of public institutions to allegations of historical abuse? What, oh, what can I say?
“Before moving on, I also must add that in 1983 Fr. Frank Morrissey and Justice Colin McKinnon [who presided over the first trial of Alexandria-Cornwall attorney Jacques Leduc] were founding members of the Ottawa St. Thomas More Lawyers Guild. What that boils down to I have no idea, but certainly the pair know each other. And I must acknowledge that I can’t help but wonder if, for example, McKinnon ever offered his legal expertise in the above matter to Morrissey and King? It’s not beyond the realm of possibility is it?
“But this inquiry isn’t mandated to inquire into the role played by the judiciary in the Cornwall scandal so I suppose we may never know?”
THE SUPREME COURT RULING
The most recent legal development affecting the public inquiry was the Supreme Court’s ruling in Goodis v. Ontario Ministry of Correctional Services, decided July 7.
That case began in 2001, when a CBC Radio newswoman identified as “Jane Doe” filed a freedom of information request for Cornwall-related sex abuse files, a number of which involved Corrections officers. Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner, David Goodis offered to release some files, but withheld others for a variety of reasons.
She was originally offered 19 pages of the more than 450 she requested.
After judges in two other courts ruled that there could be varying degrees of access to the files, neither of which the Corrections Ministry could accept, the Supreme Court’s July 7 ruling upheld the Ministry of Corrections’ position that it should not have to make public documents related to its employees and allegations of sexual abuse.
“What this ruling does,” Sylvia MacEachern explained to The Wanderer in a telephone interview, “casts a mantle of protection around both those who have covered-up for pedophiles, and the alleged pedophiles themselves.
“It’s two bird with one stone,” she added. “If you can’t get those files, then how can you see if there was a cover-up.”
“Certainly various lawyers see this as precedent-setting,” Mrs. MacEachern added, “and I do believe that the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall will avail themselves of this precedent, especially after the Morrissey-King cabal provided the ‘out’ to insure that all discussions related to clerical sexual abuse were conducted in the presence of a lawyer, and, they therefore fall under the attorney-client privilege.
“We’ve come full circle; we’ve closed off any opportunity to get to the truth now with the Supreme Court’s ruling,” she added.
FLOOD OF FACTS
Among the facts discovered by Mrs. MacEachern, and posted on her web site:
* Correctional Services have paid out nearly three-quarters of a million dollars to 13 individuals abused by Correctional officers, and required each plaintiff to sign a confidentiality agreement prohibiting them from disclosing information about their cases; further lawsuits are pending by plaintiffs who refused to accept the settlement.
* The Cornwall Public Inquiry, which Mrs. MacEachern calls the Cornwall Research Project, or “the final chapter of the coverup,” is costing the taxpayers of Ontario a fortune.
“[U]sing the Cornwall Police $1.1million as a baseline try to tally the bill to date for the following, bearing in mind that most lawyers are incurring substantial additional travel costs as they travel back and forth by train, plane and/or car to Cornwall from their home bases around Ontario and that while in Cornwall receive a per diem for hotels, meals and other expenses which probably amounts to at least $200/day:
* the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)
* the Attorney General’s office (AG)
* the Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services and Adult Community Corrections (Sol Gen)
* the Children’s Aid Society
* the Ontario Provincial Police Association
* Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall
* Jacques Leduc
*Ken Seguin’s estate and brother [Seguin was the Corrections officer who committed suicide
* Father Charles MacDonald
* the Men’s Project
* the Upper Canada District School Board
* Citizens for Community Renewal
* the Victims Group
“That must be well over $20 million for a ‘research’ project to determine how public agencies and institutions responded to charges of sex abuse!
“Now see if you can come up with a guesstimate and tack on the following costs, bearing in mind again that the majority of the commission staff and experts are traveling back and forth to Cornwall, from Ottawa and cities as far away as Kingston, Toronto, London, Sudbury and even Boston:
* Justice Glaude salary and expenses
* G-4 Communications’ salaries and expenses
* Translators’ and court reporters’ salaries and expenses
* Commission lawyers’ salaries and expenses
* Commission investigators’ salaries and expenses
* All other inquiry full or part-time inquiry staff salaries and expenses
* Psychiatric and/or counseling services for real and alleged victims
* Psychiatric services and/or counseling for real and alleged child molesters
* Psychiatric and/or counseling services for anyone otherwise involved or impacted by the inquiry.
* Fees and expenses for “expert” witnesses
* Salaries and expenses for the Witness Support Program
* Salaries and expenses for members of the Advisory Panel
* Salaries and expenses for researcher
* Travel costs for real and alleged victims and sexual predators visiting psychiatrists etc.
* Expenses and travel costs for the real and alleged victims who have traveled to Cornwall
* Additional funding for the Men’s Project
* Rental costs for office space and the hearing room at the WeaveShed
* Purchase and/or rental of computers, photocopiers, fax machines, scanners,
* telephones and other office equipment
* Photocopy costs and costs of office supplies and other office-related expenses
“What do you come up with?” asks MacEachern. “I’m guessing here, but I think it must be in the range of $30-to- 50 million, and probably closer to if not beyond the latter.
“And ‘substantive’hearings haven’t begun!”
HEARINGS ON HOLD
The hearings scheduled for the second week of September were abruptly put on hold after Justice Glaude was admitted to a hospital for undisclosed health reasons. Scheduled to take the stand as an expert witness was an American Jesuit, Fr. John Loftus, currently of Boston College, and the former director of the Southdown (Ontario) treatment center for priests, former president of Regis College at the University of Toronto, and a professor of psychology and a clinical therapist.
He was a consultant for the Canadian Bishops’ statement, From Pain to Hope, which was their response to the explosion of sex abuse across Canada a decade before the clerical abuse crisis exploded in the United States in 2002.
His selection as an expert witness is ironic and indicative, says Mrs. MacEachern. “Fr. Loftus is very well chosen by a Public Inquiry that has no intention of discovering the extent of pedophile activity in Cornwall,” she said, and keeping the homosexual dimension of pedophilia submerged.
“Fr. Loftus is a disciple of the late Dr. John Money, a Kinseyite and an advocate of adult-child sex, especially man-boy sex. In one his writings, Loftus wrote in 1989: ‘These men of whom we speak, the “sexual abusers” in our Church are not a strange new breed of degenerate monsters, they have much more in common with the rest of us [sic] we would care to acknowledge. Often, what we fear most in ourselves is most easily externalized and destroyed.’
We must conclude,” said Mrs. MacEachern, “that Loftus thinks all of us are pedophiles at heart. That was a thought echoed by Fr. Stephen Rosetti, current president of St. Luke’s Institute, who asserts that most people have pedophiliac urges, but are able to repress them. Perhaps Rosetti and Loftus should speak for themselves.
“As I have feared for a long time,” MacEachern concludes, “this Public Inquiry into the crimes in Cornwall will lead to a movement to expand the growing tolerance for pederasty, or man-boy love.
“Tragically, the victims of decades of ‘man-boy love’ will never get to tell the story of their sad and broken lives, and the victims in Cornwall will remain ‘alleged victims’ for life, along with the ‘alleged pedophiles.’”