Perry Dunlop is a political prisoner. He has spent 161 days in jail – for stepping up to the plate to protect children, and then daring to say he has lost faith in the justice system. This is the institutional response to allegations of childhood sexual abuse.
Hearings resume at 0930 hours (9:30 am) tomorrow morning, Wednesday 30 July 2008. Bishop Emeritus of Alexandria-Cornwall Eugene Larocque will return to continue his examination in chief.
I went down to Cornwall today to sit on the bishop’s first day of testimony. I wanted to get a feel for the place. Things are always a little different in person.
Helen is back in the area with Marlee, Perry and Helen’s eldest girl. This has been Marlee’s first chance to see her dad since he was arrested way back on 17 February 2008. A long time for a 19-year-old who loves her Dad dearly and misses him terribly. Not an easy visit for Marlee. Not easy at all.
And for Helen – her first visit with Perry alone. Just husband and wife on either side of the plexi-glass for a full 20 minutes. An emotional 20 minutes for both. Tears. Lots of tears for Helen.
Yesterday afternoon Helen and Marlee arrived at the Weave Shed and endured the afternoon’s testimony. I try to put myself in their shoes. I can’t. I just can’t. It’s beyond me. And, God help us, it just goes on and on with no letup in sight.
The terrible injustice which is playing itself out before our very eyes is incomprehensible. A nation’s shame!
And then there was Bishop Larocque’s testimony, given in French. …
Some quick points:
(1) How many times did Larocque say in one fashion or the other that he was manipulated by Father Gilles Deslaurier? This is a Bishop of the Church claiming he was manipulated by Father Gilles Deslaurier?! With all the graces which flow from his ordination to the priesthood, and those which flow from his consecration as a bishop, this Roman Catholic bishop says he was manipulated by a clerical homosexual predator?
(2) Before the word was out publicly that Deslaurier was homosexually abusing young males Larocque had put Deslaurier in charge of a house of formation for young men considering the priesthood! Thankfully the house of formation never got off the ground, but plans were well under way to get the new initiative up an running.Larocque’s plan wa that Deslaurier was to be in charge. Father Luc Bouchard (now Bishop of St. Paul. Alberta) was to be spiritual director. A Father Daniel Bellemare was to be involved in some other capacity ( I am told that Bellemare, ordained in 1982, left the priesthood to pursue other interests. I must check out what I heard on this and report back).
To get the house of formation off the ground Larocque had appointed Deslaurier as Rector of the Co-Cathedral in Cornwall.
Deslaurier had apparently spent two years preparing and renovating the Co-Cathedral to welcome young men who would join him as they pondered a vocation to the priesthood. Thankfully and mercifully the house of formation never got off the ground. Deslaurier was charged.
How many aspiring young men aspiring to be priests were thus and only thus spared the horror and life time scars of sex abuse will never be known;
(3) According to documents entered into evidence the mother of a Deslaurier victim was not received too warmly by her bishop when she went to him with allegations of sex abuse against Deslaurier.
At one point Larocque interjected: “ I’ll use this opportunity to apologize to the lady. I think I was quite unfair to her.” Larocque agreed that he had not believed the lady;
(4) There have been allegations related to Larocque which pre-date his installation as bishop. The allegations include but are not limited to those of Ron Leroux.
In the past Larocque, either on his own or through lawyers, denied that he had ever set foot in Cornwall before his installation as bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall in 1974. However yesterday Larocque offered that he had in fact stayed in Cornwall in 1967 while he attended Expo 67 in Montreal with his parents.
I look forward to hearing where Larocque stayed in Cornwall and/or with whom;
(5) Denis Vaillancourt was executor of Bishop Brodeur’s will;
(6) It is becoming increasingly clear that clerical sexual abuse has been viewed and handled within certain clerical circles as an illness. I hear not a word about mortal sin. Not a word about crime.
No. My apologies. Larocque did I believe make a clerical-predator-friendly and sympathetic comment yesterday – something about all of us are sinners!!!!;
(7) When Larocque was advised by the Brissons that they were going to the police he wrote back that the move showed their lack of confidence in him and “ hurts me enormously”;
(8) Members of the Advisory committee struck by Larocque to look into the sex abuse allegations against Deslaurier were sworn to secrecy;
(9) In April 1981 Father Chuck Gallagher, Jesuit priest of World Wide Marriage Encounter movement and Engaged Encounter fame, gave a priest’s renewal weekend in the diocese. As part of the weekend Deslaurier had to write a letter to Larocque. In the letter Deslaurier apparently referred to his “difficulties.” Larocque said he had no knowledge of the difficulties; and
(10) I do believe Larocque is claiming that prior to 1986 he had not an inkling that Deslaurier was preying on young boys!
It’s early in Larocque’s testimony. I will wait to see how it all falls into place. Right now, it’s not looking too promising and certainly to date does nothing to instil pride in Roman Catholics in Cornwall or beyond.
Must be up and on the road early to beat the rush hour traffic. Will post media yesterday’s media coverage when I get home this evening.
If you missed it, take a look at Perry’s canteen list. That’s the list he and all OCDC inmates order goodies from every week. The choice of books is limited – new titles added infrequently. Also note Father Charles MacDonald’s first Southdown report. Note Charlie admits to homosexual activities with parishioners. This is a Roman Catholic priest!
Enough for now,