Oh my. I was hoping to clarify a number of things from Mrs. Lise Brisson’s testimony. I can’t. In this “bilingual” public inquiry the transcripts of French witness testimony are in French only. No translation.
Yes, we are getting translation of the live proceedings (as we should), but miss a minute here or there and there is no recourse to a transcript for those of us who are unilingual English. Parliament insists that all documents are translated. The same should hold true for this “public” inquiry.
I have a few comments to make about (1) Mrs. Brisson’s testimony, and (2) the ‘bring Perry Dunlop back’ movement.
Mrs. Brisson’s testimony
Benoit Brisson was sexually molested by Father Gilles Deslaurier. There is some background information on Deslaurier on “The Scandal” – scroll down to the scroll box on Deslaurier. There are also a links further down to two news items of the day, one when Delslaurier was charged (05 July 1986) , another when he was ordered to trial (18 September 1986), and yet another when he was given two years probation (11 November 1986). [All articles referenced are now on the Father Gilles Deslaurier page]
And click here for current media coverage of Mrs. Brisson’s testimony.
Mrs. Brisson has still to be cross-examined so there is more information in the offing. For now I would simply like to list the names of those clergy who were made aware of the sexual abuse allegations and, as far as I can determine, did nothing. Some it seemed talked the good talk, but it certainly doesn’t sound as though anyone was rushing to take Deslaurier out of circulation for the good of the Church or the safety and well-being of children.
Some of those advised included Archbishop Francis Spence (the then Archbishop of Kingston who would have been advised because the Diocese of Alexandria is a “suffragen” diocese of the Archdiocese of Kingston), Bishop Eugene Larocque (then bishop of the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall), Monsignor Bernard Guindon, Father Bernard Menard and Father Denis Vaillancourt.
At this moment I will comment on the latter two.
Father Bernard Menard OMI
Father Menard, according to Mrs. Brisson was not actually with the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall but was somewhere in the St. Raphael area working in a L’Arche home for the mentally retarded. The family turned to Menard seeking guidance and direction as they tried to determine how best to address the allegations. For a while it seems the family deferred totally to Menard’s guidance. That seemed to change at some point when the family decided go public because nothing was being done.
I must say I was intrigued by the involvement of this Father Menard and have been trying to sort out just who he is or was.
It turns out that Father Bernard Menard is Father Menard OMI, ordained in 1959, who spent seven years at the L’Arche community in the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall.
In the late 60s Menard was director of the Catholic Centre on Stewart St. in Ottawa, in the early 70s he was director of Novalis publishing (operating at that time out of Oblate administered St. Paul University Seminary), around 1973-74 he was off for further studies in California, then he was on to the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall for seven years and was certainly there in 1986, by 1991 he was back in Ottawa, then he over to Notre Dame de d’ille in the Diocese of Gatineau-Hull Quebec for seven years, and then by 2000 back in Ottawa teaching at Saint Paul University.
In 2003 Menard published a book promo’d by the left-wing Catholic New Times as addressing such “sensitive” issues as “ civil disobedience, suicide, opting for the outcasts, the recognition of women in their full dignity, the incredible power of non-violence, daring to break down barriers and come together as one people of God.”
A busy, mobile and fascinating man. I am puzzled that he was apparently unable to sort out an efficient and prompt method of alerting parents that a clerical sexual predator was on the loose in the diocese and of ensuring that Deslaurier was taken out of circulation.
Father Denis Vaillancourt (now Monsignor)
According to Mrs. Brisson when she told Father Vaillancourt what Deslaurier had done to her son Vaillancourt was so overcome he didn’t know what to do and broke down and cried.
This is the same Father Vaillancourt who told a group of parents, victims and citizens in 2002 that sexual abuse of boys is only a serious matter if the boys are pre-pubescent!
And one final comment on Mrs. Brisson’s testimony. Mrs. Brisson testified that before news of the sexual abuse allegations against Deslaurier were public she and her husband were approached by one Albert Morin who suggested they “drop it” – that it wasn’t worth pursuing. Mr. Brisson wisely showed him the door.
Morin also tried to convince the Brisson’s to ‘drop it’ by conveying the same message via their son-in-law.
A few questions:
(1) What is wrong with people’s heads?
(2) Have these priests who twiddle their thumbs never read Matthew 18: 6,7 “But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
(3) Will the inquiry call both bishops (Spence and Larocque) as well as Monsignor Denis Vaillancourt and Father Bernard Menard to ensure they/we have a proper understanding of the diocese’s response to the sexual abuse allegations against Father Gilles Deslaurier?
(4) Will the inquiry delve into the connections between Bishop Proulx and Father Gilles Deslaurier so the public can understand the depth of Proulx’ interest in looking after Deslaurier?
(5) Will the inquiry look at the abysmal response of the justice system in dealing with this particular clerical paedophile?
(6) Was the Children’s Aid Society made aware of the allegations against Deslaurier and if so, when, and what did they do? And if not, why not?
(7) What is the diocese trying to hide and who is it trying to protect by blanking out certain pages of the Deslaurier documents?
That’s it on that for now.
The ‘Bring Perry Dunlop back” movement
I said I would address the ‘bring Perry Dunlop back’ movement. I am hearing that there is a growing clamour to get Perry Dunlop back and put him into the lion’s den – from people who should know better.
At this moment all I will say is where oh where has everyone been for the past fourteen years? Has absolutely nothing sunk in?
And where were these people fourteen months ago when this whole mess could have and should have been put on the right track by fighting for an out-of-province impartial judge and a mandate with enough teeth to ensure that every head which should roll will?
I’ll come back to this. It’s important. Too important to try to throw out a few words thoughtlessly.
And that’s enough for now,