“The Father of Probation”

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Another short day at the Weave Shed (Wednesday 3 May 06):  Business was done by 11am.

No sign of legal counsel for the diocese/Larocque or Father MacDonald.

There are no witnesses on deck for tomorrow so commencing at 10 am the day is committed to dealing with issues surrounding the disclosure of documents.  I am not sure if the session will be covered by webcam so we’ll have to wait and see.


Mr. James Bunton, who became a probation officer in 1973, was the third and final witness from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

In light of the Cornwall scandal as it relates to allegations against probation officers, and the allegations that various officers were part of the alleged pedophile ring and the word that at least one probation officer was bedding in with a local priest, one piece of Bunton’s testimony jumped right out and is worth repeating.

According to Bunton, a Daniel F. Coughlan, deceased a few years ago, referred to himself and is known to many as the “father of probation.”

In 1952 Coughlan agreed to accept an appointment as Director of Probation for the province of Ontario on two conditions:  (1) he would have control of the selection of probation officers,  (2) probation officers would be given reasonable salaries.

By 1970 there were 250 probation officers in the province all of whom had apparently been personally chosen or verified by Coughlan.

And here’s the intriguing piece of information:  a goodly number of Coughlan’s hires were “people who had religious backgrounds, who were from the clergy.”  In other words, ex priests and ex-seminarians.

According to Bunton Coughlan acknowledged

“he’d looked there as one place that suitable people could be found because many already had degrees and they obviously or presumably had the skills of working with people.

“He looked for honesty, integrity, an ability to listen with empathy, willingness to learn and a genuine concern for those under their care. Some knowledge of the social sciences was also helpful. But we were starting with people who wanted to work with people and then give them the skills from there to do it effectively.”

This begs a few question doesn’t it, i.e., Why were these men no longer in the seminary or priesthood?  And how many Ken Seguins did Coughlan hire to look after the young lads who were arraigned for petty theft, i.e., stole a bike? or a few dollars from the rectory?

I shudder at the thought.  I truly do.

And that’s enough for now,


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