Pedophiles passed me around, inquiry told

Alleged victim tells Project Truth inquiry of ‘ring’ of child abusers

Ottaw Sun (online edition)

01 December 2006

By Canadian Press

CORNWALL — A former Cornwall man says he was “passed around like a gift” as a teenager in the 1960s among a group of older men he described as a “ring” of pedophiles.

Claude Marleau, 54, capped off a third day of testimony at the Cornwall Public Inquiry by telling the commission on Thursday he believes eight men — five of them area priests — who allegedly sexually abused him knew each other and knowingly shared him for their sexual gratification.

During cross-examination by Dallas Lee, an attorney representing the Victims Group at the inquiry, Marleau suggested the group of men were working together.

“If you don’t qualify the gang who abused me as a `ring’,” said Marleau, “I don’t know what (else it would be.)”

In 2001, Marleau was a complainant in the sex trials of two priests and a city musician. Both priests and the musician were acquitted, but the priest was eventually convicted of similar offences in Montreal and began serving a one-year jail term in September.

The charges resulted from a four-year provincial police investigation, called Project Truth, into allegations of systemic child sexual abuse in the Cornwall area.

During the course of the probe, the theory that a clan of pedophiles was at work in the Cornwall area for several decades from the 1950s to the 1990s gathered steam as charges were laid against a number of priests from Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese, a city doctor, a lawyer, a Crown attorney, several businessmen and a school bus driver, among others.

Former city police officer Perry Dunlop was one of the first people to suggest a clan of pedophiles was working in Cornwall and used the term in documents related to a multi-million dollar lawsuit he launched against several individuals and organizations, including the Cornwall Community Police Service.

Provincial police never found evidence that a pedophile ring was operating in Cornwall during the Project Truth investigation.

Also on Thursday, an application to seek a stay of a recent ruling by the inquiry’s commissioner was adjourned at the Ontario Divisional Court. Earlier this week, attorneys for the diocese asked the commission to put a publication ban in place on the name of a priest mentioned in testimony this week.

Although Commissioner Normand Glaude denied the motion, he put an interim ban in place while lawyers for the diocese sought a judicial review of his decision.