Unsettling news from the prairies

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The next court date for previously convicted molester Father Yvon Arsenault is:

03 August 2017:  09:30 am, to enter a plea, Moncton Courthouse Moncton NB (45 Assumption Blvd)

Baspuit tells us that Father Arsenault has retained the same lawyer who once represented Father Charles Picot.

Why, do you suppose he changed lawyers?  The lawyer who represented Father Arsenault on the last charges was Gilles Lemieux.  As far as I can tell the lawyer who represented Father Charles Picot – at least on his last set of charges – was Dave Paulin.  Perhaps Fater Arsenault wasn’t happy with the four years he has to serve behind bars after pleading guilty to nine of 29 charges?  Perhaps that wasn’t as sweet a deal as he had hoped to attain with the plea deal?  Anyway, for whatever the reason, he has retained a different lawyer, and his lawyer once represented serial molester Father Charles Picot.

Please keep the victims and complainants in your prayers.

*****

Unsettling news from the prairies. Very unsettling news!

The last set of charges against former Diocese of Regina Saskatchewan your volunteer   Nathan Labatt have been stayed:

22 June 2017:  Charges stayed against youth leader

What in the name of all that’s good and holy happened here?  Charges in three jurisdictions:  charges stayed in two jurisdictions and an acquittal in the third. Regarding the acquittal,  on 31 March 2017 I blogged in part the following:

There is evidence that Labatt admitted he had inappropriately propositioned the victim, and that he had an explicit picture on his cell phone of the victim’s private parts, and that he assumed the victim was under 16.

Despite all of this, according to the paper “Judge Patrick Koskie ruled that the Crown had not definitively proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim was under the age of 16.”

Without having been there there is no way of knowing what exactly happened in that courtroom. Once we see the judge’s reasons for judgment we may have more of an idea. I hope and pray that it was not a case of the Crown failing to call a witness such as a parent, or sibling, or another camper, or another camp counsellor who could testify as to the year and therefore the age of the victim.

As it stands, because of ‘reasonable doubt’ about the victim’s age, the judge has ruled that Labatt’s actions were not criminal.

Yesterday was supposed to be a continuation of the preliminary hearing.  Instead, this.news  I wonder if perhaps “the” or “a” complainant is having a rough time and feels unable to proceed?

Is there an issue regarding age again?

If anyone has any information on this at all please pass it along.  I will try to find out.

Please keep the complainant in your prayers/

*****

Hopefully by day’s end I will be adding information regarding  what Father Denis Vaillancourt had to say in his own defence at his sex assault trial in Cornwall Ontario.

Enough for now.

Sylvia

 

Posted in Accused or charged, Canada, Child porn, Scandal | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Court and recap

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Two court dates today:

(1)  Nathan Labatt

 (Former youth volunteer with Archdiocese of Regina, Saskatchewan Youth Ministry. Also volunteered with the Ukrainian Catholic Church and assisted at camps. Former Boy Scout leader.

22 June 2017:  09:30 am,  continuation of preliminary hearing, Regina courthouse (1815 Smith St.)

A reminder that Labbat was facing charges in three Saskatchewan jurisdictions.  On 31 March 2017 he was acquitted on charges laid in Kamsack, Saskatchewan.    On 07 April 2017 the charges in Humboldt were stayed at the Crown’s request.

Let’s pray that things proceed in Regina this morning.

Please keep the complainants in your prayers

(2) Father Yvon Arsenault ( Archdiocese of Moncton, New Brunswick)

 Father Arsenault  is currently serving a four-year sentence for sexually abusing several young boys in New Brunswick.  He is facing new charges charges which were laid in May of this year.  he is scheduled to enter a plea today:

22 June 2017:  09:30 am, to enter a plea, Moncton Courthouse Moncton NB (45 Assumption Blvd)

Please keep the victims and complainants in your prayers.

*****

A recap of much of the testimony from the Father Denis Vaillancourt sex assault trial was posted last night:

21 June 2017:  Why is he saying he’s not guilty?”

Enough for now.

Sylvia

Posted in Accused or charged, Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese, Canada, Clerical sexual predators, Cornwall, Non clerical RC sexual predators, Scandal, Trials | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Why is he saying he’s not guilty?”

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The following is a recap of most of the testimony at the Father Denis Vaillancourt sex assault trial which ran 13-15 June 2017, with closing arguments scheduled at 2pm, 13 July 2017.

There is a publication ban on the name of the complainant and anything which might lead to his identity, hence there is some information which is not included in this re-cap.

For the purposes of this write-up the complainant will be referred to as “Craig.”  The “incident” happened on Labor Day weekend of 2015.  Craig was 20 at the time:  Father Vaillancourt was 69.

I say this is a recap of “most” of the testimony.  There will be a further post re-capping the testimony of Father Vaillancourt.  His videotaped interview with police is included below.  His testimony at trial is not.  It will be posted later.

. . . . .

“Craig” testimony

It was obvious Craig  was uncomfortable and that testifying was not easy.  There were times he was overcome by emotion, struggling to contain his composure and fighting back tears.

This is the essence of what Craig said on the witness stand and under oath :

  • Father Vaillancourt had been a friend of the family for about 28 years. The priest married his parents and baptised Craig and his siblings;
  • Craig  had not been a regular church goer. He had started to go to Church again the previous year (2014).  He testified that in the past he had confided in and gone to Father Vaillancourt for confession;
  • His parents are divorced.  He is very close to his grandparents and visits them fairly  frequently;
  • Father Vaillancourt visited Craig’s grandparents “almost every night” to play cards or watch TV;
  • There was some confusion in Craig’s mind as to what weekend the sex assault transpired, however, it was well established with other witnesses that it was the Sunday of Labour Day weekend.  On that particular Sunday a situation arose whereby Craig  visited Father Vaillancourt at  Vaillancourt’s cottage.   Father Vaillancourt asked Craig if he would like a drink of rye.  Craig declined the offer, saying that he had to drive later in the evening.  Under cross examination Don Johnson suggested that Craig asked for rye.  Craig said no, it was Vaillancourt who suggested the rye;
  • Craig testified that Father Vaillancourt started asking him, Craig, personal questions, such as if he spits or swallows. The priest , he said, had never asked him questions like that before;
  • Father Vaillancourt asked Craig  if he wanted to go inside the cottage. Craig said okay.  He said that he had been inside the cottage before when he went to confession.
  • Once inside the cottage Father Vaillancourt put his hand on Craig’s left shoulder. Craig didn’t know what he was doing.  He testified that sometimes after confession he’d give Father a hug – he thought it was like that, so, said Craig, he initiated a hug;
  • During the hug the priest told Craig something in French which translates  to  “I miss affection”  or “I lack affection.”  The hug lasted longer than a regular hug;
  • Father Vaillancourt asked for a second hug. Craig thought nothing of it.  He gave a second hug.  Then he felt Father Vallancourt’s hand or hands touching his buttocks.   Craig described the area touched by the priest as not right at the bottom of the buttock, but up a bit, but not up in  the small of the  back area.   The touch was followed/accompanied by a light squeeze.  The hug lasted about five seconds.   Craig  didn’t know what to do;
  • When the hug ended Father Vaillancourt asked Craig if the hug had bothered him.  Craig said he had said  “no” and then laughed a bit.  But, he testified, it did bother him.  He said he had known the priest for his entire life .  He couldn’t believe this was actually happening.  It was, he testified, like fight or flight.  When Don Johnson suggested that Craig had told Vaillancourt that he, Craig, had been touched like that before, Craig denied saying that – he acknowledged to the court that he had been touched like that before in consensual situations;
  • Father Vaillancourt started complimenting Craig on his body, telling him he had a nice chest, and a sexy “treasure trail.” When questioned Craig testified that the “treasure trail” is the area which runs from the belly button down to the crotch;
  • Vaillancourt touched Craig’s belly button.  It sounds as though the touch was just under the belly button.  Then Vaillancourt asked  Craig how big his, Craig’s, penis is.  Craig testified that he laughed again, and replied:  “I’m not going to answer that.”    According to Craig, when that particular question was posed  the priest’s entire body was trembling and, said Craig, Vaillancourt   “had the most perverted look on his face.”   That, said Craig, was when  he realized for sure that Vaillancourt was “coming on to me.” He was scared.  He told Father Vaillancourt that  he had to leave;
  • Craig went to his grandparents’ home. When he arrived his grandmother was preparing supper and his grandfather was having a nap.  Craig was crying and hyperventilating.  His grandmother kept asking him “What’s wrong?” and saying,  “It didn’t happen.  It didn’t happen.”  He didn’t want to tell his grandma what had happened because she and Father Vaillancourt were such good friends, but, eventually he told her.  They agreed they would not tell grandfather right then because they didn’t know how he would react;
  • Craig’s grandmother didn’t want Craig driving home in the shape he was in, but, Craig wanted to go home.  When he arrived home his Dad noticed that there was something “off” with Craig.  Craig told his father what had happened.  His Dad, said Craig, was shocked and angry.  When asked by a disgruntled Don Johnson (defence lawyer)  how he knew his Dad was angry Craig replied that his father had said:  “That f—–n’ bastard”;
  • Craig called his Mom that night and told her what had happened. He also called a girl who had been a friend since high school;  (The girl and father were on stand-by to testify but were not called.  Both the mother and grandmother testified);
  • The next day Craig was visiting a family member. Father Vaillancourt called the home.  He asked to speak to Craig.  Craig did not want to talk to Vaillancourt.  He did not take the call;
  • Craig testified that the previous summer (2014) he was starting to practice his faith again.  He asked Father Vaillancourt if it is a sin to be bisexual. Father Vaillancourt told him “no.”  He said he asked becasue
  • There were occasions during testimony that Craig struggled to retain his composure and fight back the tears.

Mother’s testimony

The mother took the stand with a sheaf of notes and her own bottle of water.  No one ever brings their own water – at least no one that I have ever seen take the stand.  And, I must say that I nearly died when I saw the sheaf of notes.  Witnesses just do not tend to do that.  They just don’t think that it’s something they can do.   The start was, for me, a peek at the refreshing simplicity and naivety of  the mother  🙂  After  all legal minds in the courtroom had nigh to a collective fit over the notes Mom calmly explained that these were the notes she made after talking to Father Vaillancourt and that she brought them to refer to if the need arose.  Eventually she was cleared to keep the notes and advised to refer to them only when necessary :).  As strong a lady as she seems to be she frequently struggled to contain the tears.

This is the essence of what Craig said on the witness stand and under oath

  • Mom has known Father Vaillancourt since she was a teen and  did a high school weekend retreat “with”  him (I think she was referring here to  the R Cubed weekends – a sort of retreat weekend for teenagers?).   Furthermore, Father Vaillancourt married her, and baptised her children.  He was a frequent guest at the table, including Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners:  “He was like a family member”  She described what happened to Grant as like a family member taking a knife and putting it to your throat;
  • Craig called her on 07 September 2015, Labour Day weekend. She knew something was wrong: “I’m his mother.”  She said that Craig was still in a state of shock.  He told her he still couldn’t believe it had happened.
  • Father Vaillancourt phoned her. He asked her if Craig had called to tell her what happened.  She listened.  She did did not offer Father Vaillancourt any information.  Father Vaillancourt  proceeded to tell her that he: had invited Craig into his cottage; offered Craig alcohol and Craig refused;  told Craig that he felt lonely and missed affection; gave Craig a hug;  and then another hug;  touched Craig’s bum; and,  asked Craig  how big or long his, Craig’s,  penis was..  All the while she listened.  She remained calm, she said, wanting to hear everything he had to say.
  • The Mom testified that she is still in shock.   With voice breaking she told the court that “not once” did Father Vaillancourt say “I’m sorry.”   Not once did he apologize.   She was, she said,  really hoping to hear Vaillancourt say ‘sorry.  She was hoping he would say ‘sorry for the pain I have caused.”  It didn’t happen.  She was hurt.  She felt betrayed;
  • Father Vallancourt told her that he didn’t sleep the night of the incident. He said that after Craig left he felt like he was going to pass out, or have a stroke;
  • Then Father Vaillancourt told Mom that he had been sexually abused when he was younger. He told her that he never wanted to be like Father Gilles Deslaurier.   The  mother testified that she couldn’t get upset with Father Vaillancourt, but she told him that he should get help, and she told him that Craig was the number one priority.
  • Vaillancourt  told Mom that he has always been very careful about his reputation.  He told her that he had found someone to go to confession to, but didn’t say who.  She said that it seemed very important to him that he was able to find a priest to confess to.  She  fought back tears as she said she wondered how confessing would make it better.   She continued: “He seemed so proud telling me this [that he had gone to confession]”

Grandma

Grandma broke down as soon as she took the stand.  She broke down completely.  She looked over at Father Vaillancourt and broke down completely.  She explained that Vaillancourt had told her he would plead guilty.  She felt betrayed.  There were other break-downs as she testified.  It was very difficult for her.

This is the essence of what Grandma said on the witness stand and under oath:

  • Grandma described the close family relationship with Father Vaillancourt. The card games, dinners, marrying all of her children, baptising the grandchildren. Then, fighting back tears: “I still can’t believe he did that to my Craig.”
  • She recounted Craig coming into the kitchen that day. She was preparing supper.  In came Craig:  “Oh my God, he was white like a ghost.  ”
  • “What’s wrong? What’s wrong?” she asked the boy.  “Oh grandma, I can’t tell you.”  Eventually he told her.  Again, grandmother broke down.  Craig’s hands. She testified, were shaking:  ‘Grandma, I’m not imagining what he wanted from me.”
  • Grandma wanted the boy to stay for supper. He didn’t want to stay. He thought he was going to vomit.  He wanted to see his Dad.  She asked him to call her as soon as he got home. She was worried about him’
  • The following day Grandma went to talk to Father Vaillancourt. She told the priest she wanted to talk about what had happened the day before.  However, before they talked Father Vaillancourt told her he wanted to tell her about something that happened to him.   Vaillancourt old her that twice when he was young someone had masturbated him.  She didn’t, she said, want to know about that:  “Why he wanted to share that I don’t know.”
  • Grandma recounted what Father Vaillancourt told her had happened the day before. He told her that there was a hug, he told Craig that he, Craig, had a beautiful body.  She told Father Vaillancourt  that Craig told her everything.  She left, went home, and thought about it:  “My God, I gave him a chance – he knows Craig tells me everything.  My God, he’s lying to me.”
  • Back she went the next day. This time Father Vaillncourt told  Grandma that he asked Craig if Craig  had “a big one.” At that, she cried:  “Denis. Denis.  How could you do that to my Craig?”  His response:  “I don’t know.”  He asked her what she wanted him to do.  He asked “What am I going to do?”
  • Grandma asked Father Vaillancourt if he has an attraction to young men. While she testified to his answer she motioned with her hands – arms outstretched in front of her and palms upright describing his motions as he responded in the affirmative: “Yes…I always push it away.”  She then told the priest:  “You broke something inside me.  I don’t want to see you anymore.”  She told him that she had been planning to have some sort of a do for his retirement, but not any more.
  • Father Vaillancourt wanted to know who Grandma was going to tell.  Then he started talking about his reputation.  She told him he should have thought of that before. Twice  he talked about  his concern for his reputation.  She said she would have loved for Father Vaillancourt to ask her how Craig was doing.  He did not.  Grandma said that she really thought that Father Vaillancourt’s reputation was more important to him.  She said to him: “You’re guilty.  You own it.”
  • The distraught and sobbing grandmother grandmother said:  “He betrayed me again .” She was talking about Father Vaillancourt.  The first betrayal was the sexual assault of her grandson:  the second  was the trial, the trial after after he had admitted to her what he had done;
  • When Don Johnson asked her under cross-examination if she believed what Craig told her her instant response was : “Oh yes, if you wold have seen him you’d believe him too.”  When Johnson asked what Grandma wanted of Father Vaillancourt, she instantly replied:  “The truth.”   She said that after all that “Denis” told her, “why is he saying he’s not guilty?”
  • Father Vaillancourt asked her for her daughter’s (Craig’s mom’s) phone number.  He said he wanted to call her to apologise;
  • There were many tears shed by Grandma on the witness stand. The sense of betrayal by a man who is both a priest and a trusted friend was palpable and heart-breaking.

Father Vaillancourt  police interview video

Father Vaillancourt was interviewed by police on 29 October 2015.  The video of the interview was played in court.  The following is the gist of what Father Vaillancurt had to say in the interview:

  • He indicated that he will be living in Montreal for the foreseeable future.
  • Father Vaillancourt asked the nature of the charges. Police told  him that Craig reported abuse.  Vaillancourt asked:   “What did he say?”   Police then read a brief statement from Craig.
  • Father Vaillancourt said that it was the area of the belly button which was touched, not the public area.  He said Craig hugged him first. Then he, Vaillancourt touched Craig’s belly button and ‘quickly pulled away’ because he felt it wasn’t right.
  • When asked if he intentionally touched Craig’s butt he replied ‘I don’t think so.’
  • Father Vaillancourt told police that he knew that Craig was gay. He said he asked Craig if his, Craig’s,  friends think Craig is sexy;
  • He told Craig that he, Craig, has a sexy belly button;
  • When the officer said “you intentionally touched his belly button,’ Vallancourt agreed.
  • Vaillancourt told police that he did not recall putting his hand on Craig’s shoulder. The officer said that that is what made Craig think Father wanted a hug.
  • Father Vaillancourt related his account of events of that that day. According to him, he asked Craig if : he, Craig,  had a boy friend; if he, Craig,  swallowed; if he, Craig,  had a big one (penis ); if his, Craig’s, friends tell him he has a nice body,.  He said he told Craig that he, Craig, has a nice belly button, and touched the belly button.
  • There was talk of a hug which involved Father Vaillancourt’s hands on Craig’s buttocks for about 5 seconds. When he was asked by the police officer if he enjoyed the hug, he replied:  Perhaps, I’m not sure.
  • When asked why he asked Craig about boyfriends Father Vallancourt replied that he was wondering about Craig’s sex life and that he was curious and concerned.  He said that Craig was very comfortable with him, and that  a year ago Craig had gone to Father Vaillancourt for confession.  According to Father Vaillancourt, when he asked Craig if he wanted to go to confession that summer the answer was ‘no.’
  • Father Vaillancourt admitted telling Craig that he, Vaillancourt, missed affection.  When queried about his response he said that he, Vaillancourt, is a priest, he does not have a spouse;
  • When he was asked if he knew why he was there (at the police station) he replied in the negative.
  • He told police that Craig’s grandmother confronted him the next day. He said that he told her initially that he had patted Craig on the bum, but not that he rubbed the boy on the belly.  He told police that he told grandmother about rubbing on the belly the next day.
  • He said that he had apologised to Craig’s mother for what he did and that she seemed to accept his apology. He also told police that he had talked to Craig’s father and was told that Craig was afraid of Father Vaillancourt.
  • Father Vaillancourt referred to the “stupid gesture” of patting Craig on the bum;
  • Vaillancourt asked police if he would need a lawyer. He expressed concerns about the cost of retaining a lawyer, and said that he didn’t know any lawyers.  When asked if has any friends who are lawyers he gave a couple of name.  (As a point of interest here, he did not identify Jacques Leduc as a friend who is a lawyer.  True, Leduc is not a criminal lawyer, but he is a friend and would have names of those who are.)
  • In what can only be described as a confession Father Vaillancourt told police:  “You know what I did…I won’t contest it.”    “The facts are there”  he said, before asking:  “What will be my sentence?  Will I be in jail for a year or two years”

Somehow Father Vallaincourt found former Cornwall Crown attorney turned defence lawyer, and, just over 19 months after that interview, there he was in court, at trial, with a plea of “not guilty.”

Next, a recap Father Vaillancourt testifying in his own defence.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

Posted in Accused or charged, Canada, Circling the wagons, Cornwall, homosexual, Scandal, Trials | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

A little background

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Okay, here we go on testimony from the Father Denis Vaillancourt sex assault trial.  Closing arguments for the trial,  which was scheduled to run 13-15 June 2017, are scheduled to be heard at 2pm, 13 July 2017.

First, technical issues – again 🙁

Something happened after the last WordPress update which prevents me downloading pdf files.  It was routine before, but I tried downloading a file yesterday, without success, and have spent some at it this morning trying to download several other files, again, without success.  I will have to contact my web host to see if he can sort things out.   There are files which I want to reference which I really would like to have posted.  For now, I will have to proceed without them.

Now, back to the trial.  But, in that vein, first a little information which was not mentioned at trial but which I believe is rather important.

Father Vaillancourt, ordained in 1974,  studied canon law with layman lawyer Jacques Leduc at Ottawa’s Saint Paul U.   Leduc and Vallancourt also attended Cornwall Classical College together.  Under oath at the Cornwall Public Inquiry Father Vaillancourt acknowledged his friendship with Jacques Leduc.

Both Leduc and Father Vaillancourt have had their finger in the pie of  the sex abuse scandals which plagued the Diocese of Alexandria-Corwnall Diocese,  from the cover-up and trial of Father Gilles Deslaurier to the point at which Leduc himself was charged.   Their involvement in the cases of Fathers Gilles Deslaurier and Charles MacDonald is well recorded.

Father Vaillancourt  was Chancellor for the diocese from 1985 until around 2011 or 2012.   That’s a loooong time. He also spent some time as Judicial Vicar.  He was listed as such in 2015.  The text of the guidelines can be found by clicking here – my comments interspersed.

And, it was Father Vaillancourt who, in the early 90s, headed the committee to come up with  the sex abuse guidelines for the the diocese. The guidelines were released in 1995.

What involvement, if any, he has had in the sex abuse lawsuits filed against the diocese is unknown, but, I am hard pressed to believe he, as a canon layer and Chancellor and later as Vicar General,  didn’t cast an eye over one or two of the related documents in each suit.

In short, witness his background, Father Denis Vaillancourt knows – or certainly should know! – a fair bit about sex abuse allegations against clergy.

Of further interest is Then there is  this exchange which was documented in a blog 16 July 2008 (the exchange transpired 14 July 2008) :

It seems that back in 1986 Leduc and Father Denis Vaillancourt had some intriguing notion that if a victim was “predisposed” to homosexuality that predisposition could have a bearing on the victim’s “consent” to the abuse. The following exchange starts with commission counsel Karen Jones referring to Vaillncourt’s conclusion that one of the four Deslaurier victims he met had such “predisposition.” As you will see, in short order Glaude had had enough of this line of Q&As :

MS. JONES: And Father Vaillancourt’s answer, of the four that he met, one would have that predisposition and I believe he’s referring to victims of Father Deslauriers?

MR. LEDUC: I think that’s a fair assessment, yes.

MS. JONES: Okay. But that’s the context —

MR. LEDUC: Yes.

MS. JONES: — rather than reading the whole interview?

MR. LEDUC: Yes.

MS. JONES: Okay. So he’s saying then of the four victims that he was aware of, one of them seemed to be predisposed to homosexuality.

Now, my question to you is what would be the relevance — because you’re the one who posed the question, what would be the relevance of anyone having a predisposition to homosexuality with regards to making a complaint of historical sexual abuse?

MR. LEDUC: It would go, in my mind then, as to a matter of consent.

MS. JONES: So if someone was homosexual, there would be a greater chance of consent by the victim or a lesser?

MR. LEDUC: No, it was a matter —

MS. JONES: What do you mean then?

MR. LEDUC: No, it’s a matter of what are the facts.

MS. JONES: I don’t understand your response, sir.

MR. LEDUC: The question put was to establish whether or not these — this conduct could in any way be explained as a matter of consent.

MS. JONES: What conduct?

MR. LEDUC: The sexual misconduct of Deslauriers.

MS. JONES: So what —

MR. LEDUC: And whether or not the individuals who were victims could be challenged and said that you actually consented to this.

MS. JONES: That’s what I’m trying to get at.

MR. LEDUC: Yeah.

MS. JONES: The sexual misconduct by Father Deslauriers is one aspect. What relevance would it be if a victim was or was not homosexual? What relevance does that have to the sexual misconduct of Father Deslauriers?

MR. LEDUC: Today I would agree with you that it has no relevance whatsoever.

MS. JONES: So what was the relevance to you in 1986?

MR. LEDUC: In 1986, the relevance for me was whether or not there was an issue of consent.

MS. JONES: So, again, if someone then was homosexual, was it your opinion then that that would mean that victim would have consented to sexual misconduct by Father Deslauriers?

MR. LEDUC: No, I believe it was an issue to be canvassed. That was not my opinion. It was an issue to be canvassed and that’s why I asked the question.

MS. JONES: I guess I’m going to just try one more time here. Clearly, because you bring it up a few times in the interview —

MR. LEDUC: Yes.

MS. JONES: This is just the first time that I’m highlighting it.

MR. LEDUC: Yes.

MS. JONES: I just want to know what your opinion was with regards to a victim’s homosexuality or not and what that had to do with the — if I could finish my question, please — and what that would have to do with any sexual misconduct by Father Deslauriers? That’s my question.

MR. SKURKA: In my respectful submission,Mr. Commissioner, Mr. Leduc has answered the question. It may not be satisfactory to my friend, but he’s answered it.

THE COMMISSIONER: One last try.

MS. JONES: Are you able to enunciate that,sir? In 1986, what did you think was the relationship?

MR. LEDUC: In 1986, I thought it was an issue. The homosexuality of the victim could have been an issue in a matter of determining whether or not there had been consent.

MS. JONES: Okay. What would have been that issue? This is what I’m trying to get at. You’ve highlighted that this could be an issue. In what regard?

MR. LEDUC: Whether or not the activities had been consensual or not depending on all kinds of circumstances which are — which are viewed today completely differently.

THE COMMISSIONER: Mrs. Jones, I’m sorry; I’m going to have to take a short break.

Finally, for now, I also want to draw this undated statement to your attention.  This was written by Father Denis Vaillancourt.

Father Vaillancourt was presumably designated to be the note taker for the 09 February 1993 meeting with David Silmser .  When chaos eventually erupted he alleges his report had disappeared from his computer.   These notes were therefore written from memory at a later date:  who knows when?

Anyway, as you see, Dave Silmser met with Jacques Leduc, Father Denis Vaillancourt and Father McDougald.  At that time all Dave was seeking was a letter of apology written by Father MacDonald to Mrs. Silmser, Dave’s mother.  Dave wanted his mother to know that he had been sexually abused by Father Charles MacDonald; he wanted her to understand what happened and why her son had changed so drastically when he was a young boy.

And, as you see, the trio interviewing Dave suggested he meet with Father MacDonald.  And, as you see,according to Father Vaillancourt,  the trio presumably shared what they thought of Dave’s statement, including that perhaps  “many things had been dreamed up,” and “Father Charles would never walk around in a group only dressed in his underwear.”

I’ll leave it at that.  Next I’ll get back to testimony from the trial, but I did think it important to give a little more background.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

Posted in Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese, Canada, Cornwall, Cornwall Public Inquiry, David Silmser, homosexual, Scandal | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Enjoy your day

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Happy Fathers  Day to all you fathers.  Enjoy your day 🙂

Sylvia

Posted in Clerical sexual predators | Leave a comment

A painful process

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I have a commitment this morning, and this afternoon will be picking up a grand-daughter for a long overdue weekend sleepover 🙂 So, reports on the goings on and testimony at the Father Denis Vaillancourt sex abuse trial will come in bits and pieces, but, I promise that over the next few day I will get as much information out into the public domain as I legally can.

*****

Things were running  a little behind schedule yesterday at the sex assault trial of Father Denis Vaillancourt.   Closing closing arguments have been scheduled for 2 pm,  13 July 2017.

Those who have attended a trial know the import of closing arguments . That’s when the Crown and defence pull together  evidence and testimony to argue their case, the Crown for conviction,  defence against. A good closing argument/submission  sometimes seem to magically pull together all the little bits of information into a cogent argument for his/her case.

Yesterday morning I blogged that the day would start with with arguments by Defence and Crown regarding introduction of evidence regarding an incident alleged to have transpired over 30 years ago.  The Crown hoped to call a witness whose testimony would, she believed, counter the good character testimony she felt had been introduced by defence lawyer Don Johnson.

Well, the arguments were made.  After a recess Justice Diane  Lahaie ruled that the Crown (Elaine Evans) could not call a witness to counter the defence inference that Father Denis Vaillancourt is a man of good character.

The witness would apparently have testified that about 30 years ago, when he was a Grade 9 student at La Citadelle High School, he went to confession  in the school gymnasium to Father Valillancourt.  I beleive it was at the end of confession that Father Vaillancourt allegedly started asking the boy about his, the boy’s, sex life.  When the boy asked Vaillancourt what he meant, the priest is alleged to have said something to the effect of ” Are you getting enough?” and ” Do you want more?”  The boy did not tell his teachers about this, but he did tell his friends.  The boy has never gone to confession sicne that day.

This boy, now a man, was apparently prepared to testify and be cross-examined about the incident.

The bottom line is Lahie said no.  Sadly she also closed the door on Don Johnson’s offer to let Evans cross-examine Vaillancourt. (Johnson was adamantly opposed to allowing Evans to call the witness, but he did say that he would have no objection to the Crown corss-examining on the allegations.)

So, no evidence that prior to these current allegations and charges Father Vaillancourt was perhaps not at all a man of good character.

The trial resumed with the Crown’s cross examination of Father Vaillancourt.

It was a painful process.  Painful!

How long did it take Father Vaillancourt to finally acknowledge that he is in fact a person in a position of trust?  It seemed like forever.  Hats off to Elaine Evans for her patient,  diligent and persistent line of questioning in this matter.  She really did a remarkable job. I will come back to that later, but I will tell you that as a Roman Catholic there were moments that I couldn’t believe me ears.   Father Vaillancourt is a priest.  Not only that, but he was Chancellor of the scandal-plagued Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall for eons,  and, he is a canon lawyer!   And there he was dancing around  trying to sort out if he actually was or was not a person in a position of trust.

Anyway, first things first…

You are probably wondering what exactly is the nature of the sex assault allegations against Father Vaillancourt.   Briefly, the complainant (I will call him Craig) has known Father Vaillancourt his entire life.  His parents were married by the priest, he and his sibling were baptized by the priest.  Craig’s grandparents are good friends of the priest.

On the Sunday afternoon of Labour Day 2015 Craig a situation arose wherein Father Vaillancourt and Craig had an encounter at Vaillancourt’s cottage.  Both were in their bathing suits.  Craig’s bathing suit was one of those  long legged short type bathing suits.   We don’t know what kind of bathing suit Vaillancourt was wearing.

Here is the essence of the allegations.

–  there were two hugs (Criag says intittaed by Vaillancourt.  Vaillancourt says at least the first hug was initiated by Craig)  The second hug was a long hug

– during a hug, Father Vaillncourt’s hands landed on Craigs’s bottom.  There is agreement to that, but dispute as to exactly where on the buttocks the hand or hands landed, with the priest claiming it was high up in the lower back, a portion most would not construe as part of the buttocks.

– After his hands landed on Craig’s bottom Father Vaillancourt asked “Does this bother you?”

– Craig says Father squeezed his buttocks.  Father Vaillancourt denies the pinching;

– Father Vaillancourt asked Craig “Do you have a bid one?”  Both agree on that, with Father Vaillancourt testifying that that was a joke

– Vaillancourt said, in French, “I miss human contact.” There are several variations on the translation.  There is agreement that it was said, but great pains taken by Father Vaillancourt to explain what he meant by what he said

– The 69-year-old priest asked the 20 year-old, “Do you swallow?”

– The 69-year-old priest told the 20-year-old boy “You have a beautiful body.”

– Vaillacourt made some comment about what a nice navel Crag has, and another about his Treasure Trail (apparenlty this refers to the area from navel to genitals)

– According to Craig, Vaillancourt touched him on the stomach – a  rub across the stomach.  Vaillancort denies he touched the boy’s stomach.

 

Craig immediately told various family members what happened.  Two have testified. Their testimony corroborates that of Craig.

 

More to come.

By the way, Father Vallancourt has quite a temper!  At one point, he lost it completely on the stand – voice raised, alternately wagging his finger at the Crown and banging the  the podium.  It was fascinating to behold.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

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But, here we are at trial

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Father Denis Vaillancourt (R) leaves Cornwall courthouse (14 June 2017, Sylvia)

The sex assault trial of Father Denis Vaillancourt continues in Cornwall this morning, Thursday, 15 June 2017, at 10 am.

Father Vaillancourt took the stand in his own defence yesterday, this, believe it or not, after a police interview in which he asked: “will I be in jail for a year or two years?”  A portion of the video was played in court Tuesday afternoon:  the remainder was played yesterday morning.

All I can say is that what Vailancourt had to say in that interview sounded awfully like a confession to me!  But, here we are, about 19 months later, at trial.

Today will start with arguments by Defence and Crown regarding introduction of evidence regarding an incident alleged to have transpired over 30 years ago.  The Crown would like to introduce the evidence to counter what she views as defence lawer Don Johnson’s inference that throughout his priesthood Father Vaillancourt has been a man of good character.  Where this will go remains to be seen.  I hope  there will be a  judicial nod, but not too sure that will happen.

Whatever happens, Father Vaillancourt’s cross-examination has not yet begun so will probably continue at some point today.

As is the norm, there is a publication ban on the name of the complainant and anything which might identify him.  I will have to sort out how to relate information to you which I would like you know without in any way infringing on the ban.  Right now I must get ready to hit the road 🙂

The allegations date to the Sunday of Labour Day weekend 2015. The complainant, who  was baptised and whose parents were married by Vaillancourt, was about 20 years of age at the time.  More details to follow.

Sorry, but unfortunately  I don’t have access to the net while in Cornwall 🙁

Enough for now.

Sylvia

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Day One wrapped up

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Just got back about 30 minutes ago from Cornwall, and have a commitment at 7 pm so this will be a very quick note on Day One of Father Denis Vaillancourt ‘s three-day sex assault trial.

The trial was nearly a full hour late getting started, but, by the time I had to leave at 3:30 pm the complainant had testified and undergone cross-examination, as had his mother.

There are several more witnesses scheduled testify for the Crown.  At this point I will wait for the other Crown witnesses to testify before saying any more .

And, no, sadly, there was no media present.

By way of interest for those familiar with Cornwall, ex Cornwall Crown attorney turned defence lawyer Don Johnson is defending Father Vaillancourt.  (Click on the link to get some background information on Don Johnson)

The trial resumes tomorrow morning at 10 am.

13-15 June 2017:  10 am, TRIAL  Cornwall Ontario courthouse (29 Second St. W.)

I encourage those who can do so to attend.

Please keep the complainant and his family in your prayers.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

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Trial starts today

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The three-day sex assault trial of   Father Denis Vaillancourt  starts this morning (Tuesday)  in Cornwall,  Ontario :

13-15 June 2017:  10 am, TRIAL  Cornwall Ontario courthouse (29 Second St. W.)

Please keep the complainant in your prayers.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

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Cornwall trial this week

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Previously convicted Oblate priest Father Omer Desjardins has a court date in Winnipeg tomorrow:

Monday, 12 June 2017:  1 pm,  “to be spoken to,” court room # 302, Winnipeg Provincial courthouse (Main Floor, 408 York Ave.)

I encourage those who can do so to attend.  Please keep the complainants in your prayers, and please pass along any news of the outcome of the proceedings.

*****

A reminder that the three-day sex assault trial of  Father Denis Vaillancourt‘s is scheduled to begin in Cornwall, Ontario this coming Tuesday:

13-15 June 2017:  10 am, TRIAL  Cornwall Ontario courthouse (29 Second St. W.)

Those who followed the Cornwall Public Inquiry may recall that Father Vaillancourt, a former student at the Cornwall Classical College,  served as Chancellor in the scandal-plagued Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall Ontario from many years.  And yes, that’s the same Father Vaillancourt who has said that the sex abuse of boys is serious only if the child is pre-pubescent.  (Father Vaillancourt has denied ever saying such a thing, but I was sitting right beside him when he said it.  I heard it, as did at least nine other people who were in the room at the time. )

The charges against Father Vaillancourt relate to allegations of sex assault of an adult male in September 2015.  The complainant reported the incident to police in October 2015.

I encourage those who can do so to attend.  Please keep the complainant in your prayers.

*****

It’s a real scorcher today.  HOT!  I’m quite happy to stay indoors on days like this 🙂

Enough for now.

Sylvia

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