So, another priest has been charged, this one an 80-year-old from the the Archdiocese of Ottawa, Ontario, Father Bill Allen.
At or shortly after the time charges were laid, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast issued pres release. I blogged my first thoughts upon reading the press release. I was bothered that going to police was an “option.”
I’ve been meditating a bit on that. Am I jaded?
I understand that victims have difficulty coming forward, and I understand that some would prefer to reveal their horrific stories under a mantle of secrecy. What I don’t understand is the nurturing of the shame which keeps victims silent and ashamed. At least, that’s the way I see it. Why not encourage victims? Why not assure them that there is no shame in being a victim of sexual abuse? Why not encourage them to go to police so that justice can be done?
It seems to me so many Church officials and judges and lawyers are all too ready to nurture the feelings of shame which gnaw at the innards of a sex abuse victim. How can we reach the point that victims truly understand that the shame is not theirs to bear if one and all fall all over themselves to comply with a desire for secrecy?
I don’t mean that victims must shed their anonymity. But I do mean assuring them there is nothing to be ashamed of in being a victim, and I do mean ensuring that, if a crime has been committed, taking whatever steps are entailed to see that justice is done. How , on this earth, can justice be done without going to police and starting the process which leads to trial?
A victim can go through the judicial process retaining his/her anonymity. Why then, for the reluctant victim, not encourage pursuit of that step with the understanding that he/she wishes to remain anonymous?
It bothers me. It truly does.
Am I misreading the press release?
Is it just me?
Anyway, press release aside, the charges against Father Bill Allen prompt a few thoughts which have been rumbling through my mind for the past few hours, most, but not all, relate to St. Pius X school where Allen taught for a good many years. Here goes:
(1) Father Bob Bedard, the founder of a charismatic order of priests known as the Companions of the Cross, is unfortunately in poor health. I say unfortunately because he was a close friend of Father William Allen and would without doubt have something to say about the charges. I am sure that if he has heard he is extremely upset at the news.
Father Allen graduated from St. Augustine’s seminary with Father Bob Bedard in 1955. Both were ordained for the Archdiocese of Ottawa, and both taught at St. Pius X prep seminary. Father Bedard was teaching at Pius X in 1959. Father Allen was also teaching at the school in the 1959-1960 school year. (that’s according to the Canadian Catholic Church Directories of that date)
In 1962 Bedard was Principal, a position he retained through to 1970 and possibly probably beyond.
Father Allen served as Bursar for a few years.
(2) A little about St. Pius X
As a prep seminary St. Pius X initially took in only young boys of high school age. The objective was to foster vocations to the priesthood in the boys.
Most boys were from the Ottawa area and most were day students. However there were student boarders. For a number of years the boarders included boys sent from the Diocese of Hamilton Ontario. According to the Pius X website there would be about eight Hamilton boys at the school each year. Students stopped coming from Hamilton in 1967. There were still boys boarding at the school until 1971.
Also teaching at St. Pius X throughout the years 1961-1970 were Fathers M.J. MacLean, D. Gavan, J.J. MacDonald, L.M. Lunney, P. Baxter, F. Redmond, There were others but those priests were there for most, if not all, of those years. All priests lived in residence.
I don’t unfortunately at this time have detailed information beyond 1970.
(3) Fathers Allen and Bedard celebrated the 55th anniversary of their ordinations this year. In honouring the occasion the recent Diocesan newsletter Catholic Ottawa sought a few words of advice from Father Bill Allen:
When asked if he had any advice for seminarians, on how to be a holy and happy priest, Fr. Bill said one word “Prayer. At times, priests drift away from prayer . . . Put yourself in the Lord’s care. He is the eternal high priest. He will look after us and will always bring us back.” Fr. Bill also added that a priest should not be a “recluse” – “it is important to get together
(4) According to the Fall 2005 Companions of the Cross newsletter, when Father Bob Bedard was feted for his 50 th anniversary, Father Allen was seated at Bedard`s table:
In Fr. Bob’s closing address to the dinner guests he thanked Fr. Jake, the others who spoke (even Chris Keyes who did a hilarious imitation of Fr. Bob), and all the guests who came out to mark the occasion.
He pointed out that seated at his table was Fr. Bill Allen, who was ordained the same year he was, in Ottawa, and with whom he lived and served as a fellow teacher at St. Pius X High School for many years.
(5) On 27 October 1975 Robert Poulin, an 18-year-old Pius X student, raped and murdered a 17-year-old girl, then went to Pius X and opened fire in Bedard`s classroom, killing one student and wounding five others before turning the gun on himself.
Bedard was later told by Poulin`s father that Poulin intended to kill Bedard. Bedard, however, is said to be sceptical of that, believing that Poulin was familiar with the classroom and could readily have shot Bedard had he aimed accordingly.
Was Father Allen teaching at Pius X at the time? I’m not sure. I am sure however he heard the accounts of the horror from many. I first got an eye witness account of sorts around 1985 from Father Stephen Hill. In 1975 Hill was a layman/teacher at Pius X (He was ordained in 1978, a late ordination.)
(6) Father William Allen is living at the John Paul II residence near the diocesan centre on Kilborn Ave.
Isn’t that the same place Canada’s disgraced Bishop Raymond Lahey is supposed to be staying pending his 2011 child porn trial?
Is Lahey keeping an eye on Allen, and Allen keeping an eye on Lahey? Is that how it works?
Dear Lord help us!
P.S: Comments are still getting blocked by Sympatico – I will be on the phone to Ma Bell this morning to see what has been or is being done to fix this. Again, my apologies – I can do nothing to correct it – it is in Bell’s hands.
Enough for now
Father Allen was not at St. Pius X when the shootings occurred in the Fall of 1975. According to Resurrection of Our Lord website he “left his teaching position at St. Pius X for one year to be Administrator at Resurrection Parish between the summers of 1975 and 1976.”
Father Allen was never the wresting coach at St. Pius X… there was no wrestling team during the 70’s even though he was very well known for inviting boys up to his room to practice wrestling holds.
By the 71-72 school year, Father Keeler was the junior boys football team head coach and he brought the entire squad up to St. Brigids for Thanksgiving one weekend afternoon. Most of the boys returned home on the bus but five or six were kept behind and returned much later in cars with some of the Priests.
Father Bedard, according to a number of those in the classroom at the time, was shot at and ducked behind his desk.
Father Crampton was well known in the 70’s as a Priest to avoid… his arrest and subsequent trial were no more surprising to many than the fact it has taken so long to see charges against Father Allen.
This latest arrest points to a mere tip of the ‘inappropriate contact’ iceberg that was challenging the moral climate of St. Pius X in the early 70’s.
Keep in mind that many potential witnesses are conflicted because of their love and respect for some of the Priests and lay teachers at Pius who were there back then and were nothing but caring, special people.
Folks like Father Baxter, (yes, he’d whack you a good one for being an idiot) Father Gavan and Father Redmond were and are still admired for their patience, forgiveness and caring approach to the students.
However, as adults it is difficult now for some of us to not to ask how obvious predators like Allen were allowed free reign in respects to their illnesses and predilections when his nefarious intent and actions were clear to the students, some whom did some did complain.
For good measure check out Father Haley who came and went from Pius X a number of times, the last departure being basically a trip to the psychiatric ward after a series of in-class meltdowns that lasted for hours before Father Nugent put him in a headlock and dragged him out from in front of an astonished class . A very disturbed and disturbing individual who had no business being anywhere near a student body.
Thanks for that clarification on the wrestling Aardvark.
You mention Ken Keeler and football. I was just today going through Ad Multos Annos 25 and was surprised to see Ken Keeler named in conjunction with coaching football at Pius X.
Keeler is identified as “Ken Keeler,” not as are all other clergy, Fr. Ken Keeler. It looks as though he was coaching football when he was a seminarian and then carried on after his ordination while he was assisting at St. Brigid’s.
Here are the relevant lines from the yearbook:
Do you know if in fact Keeler was coaching while he was seminarian? It looks like that to me, but I’m not certain.
Father Keeler was wearing his collar and we all addressed him accordingly during that first football season. I should point out that his troubles came as a surprise to many of us and that he had a number of admirable qualities to the extent that well after his conviction a number of his former players stood by him and even had their children baptized by him through request.
This does not mitigate the damage of his actions but does speak to the intricate complications involved in investigating situations of this nature.
I saw that at St. John the Apostle – in that instance the many who refused to believe Keeler was guilty despite his guilty plea. They were furious at the victims.
I believe it goes to show that the manipulative personality of clerical predators holds powerful sway on those they befriend and/or seduce to serve their selfish self-serving and perverted interests.
People think these priests sport horns and wield a pitchfork. No. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing – masters of deception.
Alas, it works.
St. John The Apostle had a WORSE offender before Father Keeler. Father Whalen who proceeded him was a groper and a drunk.
These things are not as cut and dried as some would think. I tell you again that Father Keeler, as did others of his ilk, possessed a number of fine qualities… you might hope to sit in judgment of what appears to be clear and demonstrable evil but people are complex creatures and not easily so defined.
I assure you from my personal experience that he was by no means the worst offender back in the day and that it is understandable how some folks cannot see the forest for the trees of spoiled meadows.
Do you have the right spelling Aardvark? Do you perhaps mean Whelan, with an E? Father John Whalen was the founding pastor of St. John the Apostle (1969).
You say that Keeler was by no means the worst offender back in the day. When it comes to speaking of a clerical offender it strikes me that that is akin to saying that a woman is a little bit pregnant.
What fine qualities would you say that Keeler possessed/possesses?
Aardvark has some good points. Fr. Allen was still doing a bit of the wrestling thing into the late 1970’s but we always thought it was a bit of a weird joke. Certainly not something I would have done but the only guy who spent any time ‘wrestling’ with Fr. Allen was the largest, most intimidating bruiser in our grade – odd but not what comes to mind as a threat.
Steve Hill (now Fr. Hill) had the same look at the aftermath of Mark Poulin’s path of destruction as the rest of us – that is to say, very little and from far away…now that I think of it, Mr. Albert was the first guy on the scene and the only reliable witness to the carnage, one of my brothers was standing in the Quad and saw the aftermath through the window but had no idea what he was looking at. My buddy Mark was killed and my buddy Terry still carries the pellets in his neck to this day. Fr. Bedard was not a target, Poulin never came into the room and Fr. Bob was at the front of the class where the angle to the door was to acute to aim at him. (I agree with Fr. Bob that he wasn’t likely a target).
I also agree with Aardvark that there was enormous love and respect for the priests so, I’m one of a very large group of alumni who are watching this closely for either proof or inconsistencies. I will close with – whoever the victims are – we likely know each other and if you’ve been hurt then I wish you’d have spoken up at the time instead of 35 years later – that doesn’t diminish my sympathy for your pain and sorrow but I really hope this something cynical.
Yours in Christ.
It is the rare boy indeed who speaks up at the time of his abuse Mike. Most take 20, 30, 40 years or more to finally summon the courage to confront the demons which haunted and plagued their lives for all those years.
Re the carnage, and the loss of your good friend and serious injury to another. Were there any explanations as to what made or may have made Mark Poulin snap that day? Were there any signs that he was troubled?
Such a terrible tragedy!
Fr Allen was teaching at the time of the shooting, and it was not in 75 it was 76, because Rob Poulin was allowed to skip final exams as he was accepted to be a military reserve for the 76 olympics in Montreal IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE!
I know some of the people (won’t mention names) who were hit with pellets from the shotgun….he has withdrawn from society 2 marriages as far as I know. Met him several times over the years, doesn’ t even acknowledge me…very sad.
and God bless!
Thanks Pat. Some articles have the date as ’75 and others as ’76. It’s good to have that clarified. So, in fact Father Allen was at the school and experienced the horror of that day.
Yes, I am sure those who were shot have suffered and continue to suffer. We don’t tend to think of them after it’s all over. Let’s keep them in our prayers. It had to be both a horrifying and terrifying experience.
The shooting at Pius X Catholic School happened Monday, October 27, 1975 and not in 1976. Check the achives of the Ottawa Citizen.
Thanks Norma. Lots of confusion on this one. I will check my files after Christmas – was quite certain myself it was ’75 but questioned that after pat swords’ comment.
My older sister, my younger brother and I attended catechism classes at Saint John the Apostle church. The classes were held after dinner and took place in the basement. We all dreaded the moment that Father Whalen would emerge to check up on our activities. He liked to tickle us like we were toddlers, when we were actually teens and pre-teens. There was something very creepy about it. A catholic school teacher told me more recently that Father Whalen had been accused of sexual abuse. I wasn’t surprised, given all the inappropriate tickling and touching, but I can’t seem to find any information about it.
Are you referring to Father Jim Whelan with the Archdiocese of Ottawa? He died in 2008 and was headvof Priests for Life? I think that must be who youvare referring to? If yes to my knowledge there gave never been any formal allegations of sex abuse against him.
Sylvia, the Father Whalen being referred to0 is Fr. JOHN Whales, a teacher at Pius. He is alo referred to in other posts.
Correction- It should be FR. JOHN Whalen- first Pastor of St. John the Apostle Parish
Yes, you’re right 1 abandoned sheep. Father John Whalen is mentioned in a comment here.
Remember the Pius shooting of October,1975 well – a very sad time when school mass shootings were a new phenomenon in North America.
Reading this post is creepy. I wonder why both the chair of the Worship Committee and a director of the Sunday School at my church (United) are both converts from R. Catholicism, among several others.
Remember the Pius shooting of October,1975 well – a very sad time when school mass shootings were a new phenomenon in North America.
Reading these posts is creepy. I wonder why both the chair of the Worship Committee and a director of the Sunday School at my church (United) are both converts from R. Catholicism, among several others.
NOT SAYING abuse doesn’t occur in any organization, religious or otherwise.
I would have thought Fr. Allen was certainly at Pius at the time of the shooting but perhaps as it’s been suggested or reported, he was on a sabbatical away from the school. Most troubling, the allegations and charges that have arisen over the years. I was at Pius, 73-78. I was in school the day of the shooting. 40 years ago…tomorrow!! And Mark Hough was from Manotick, Terry V from Century Road, Marc Potvin south end rural area as well….All I have to offer is during our reunions of 2008 ( 30th for our class-50th for the school) and 2009 ( our class ‘the 78’s’ celebrated all turing 50 years old so we held a dance in the old gym) during those two years many of us reconnected and in going through the year books I counted 27 nuns and priests who taught or were somehow involved in the operation of the school. 27; that’s a big number. The overwhelming of them, certainly all the ones who taught me were phenomenal, impactful and caring with at times a very firm hand, literally, ( Fr. Baxter-Fr. Nugent) but that was the era and Pius was only two years removed from all boys when our grade started in 1973.
I’ll be thinking of our school tomorrow at 220pm…I was in the cafeteria, the school was under construction. The juniors ( grade 9-10) had already departed for the day, they started early, finished early. The seniors ( gr 11-12-13) started at 135 and we finished at 530 while the school was under construction. That’s why almost no juniors other than those in varsity sports were at the school the time of the shooting. Wild scene, to say the least. I believe I counted somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20+ police cars in our parking lot.
Mark Hough was a gentleman and a fine hockey player. I do believe Rob Poulin was bullied, he looked weird, very tall, 6’2″ or so, very slim, odd hair, curly and parted on the side sort of and he carried a brief case. I can picture him in the hall way with the briefcase.
I to am of the belief that had Poulin wanted to kill or shoot Fr. Bedard he most certainly would have done so or could have. Just my belief. I also think given he was quite familiar with operating a weapon he could have killed several more.
Lastly, ironically no girls were hurt. Reason being religion class which was a non credit course in those days was the only class where inexplicably the boys sat on one side and the girls on the other. Every other course we mixed as you would expect but for some reason, not religion class. All the girls were on the window side of the room, I believe it was room number 74. We referred to the hallway as ‘the 70’s’ as all the rooms were a 70’s number….anyway, hard to believe, 40 years ago. I raced out of the cafeteria when student body president Mark Arsenault came in through the double doors from the ’70’s and said there had been a shooting…….this was a full cafeteria; seconds before we had seen people running across the quad from the smokers area in front of the old gym. I remember saying to Pat Moran, ‘Pat, there must be a fight, let’s go see,’ and stood up. Seconds later Arsenault came through the doors and then all hell broke loose. I led the charge out of the cafe which meant running down stairs to get to the doors to get out and then up the stairs outside to head to Fisher avenue. About 50 of us were on the dead run. I didn’t stop until I hit the lights on Meadowlands……scary, very, very scary. We thought the shooter was still active and in the school. I then raced to the pay phone, phoned my Dad, told him he’d hear shortly but my two younger brothers were safe and home given they were juniors and I was okay as well. He said he’d come and get me, I then followed the dozens of squad cars back into the compound and raced toward the old gym where they were taking the injured out. At that point I spotted my former elementary school teacher, Mr. Yates, sort of guarding the area entrance of the 70’s, he was now a teacher at Pius and just his presence there gave me peace of mind. Ironically, I’m going to Mr. Yates wake tonight…he passed away last week. On that note, I’ll sign off not knowing if anybody will read this given this thread started years ago. 🙂 But it was good to write it all anyway. God Bless, hug your children and your loved ones every day.
Thank you for the reminder Liam.
40 years ago yesterday. I recall so well hearing of the shootings when I was living in another little corner of Canada. Yreasr later, when I moved to Ottawa, my parish priest initially was Father Stephen Hill, who, as you no doubt know, at that time was not a priest, but a Pius X teacher who was in the school that awful day.
It truly must have been terrifying for all of you. Terrifying. I am sure the memories are engraved in your mind.
Sylvia, I strongly advise you against going to Windows 10. I did, and some others I know did also. It was a terrible mistake for us. In y case it cost me quite a bit to get rid of it, and about 70 days to get it to stop popping up on the computer again.
The tech I use for these things is very knowledgeable, and he has even had to do the same work for a member of the Police force, It takes over your computer !!!
I agree with 1AS on this issue, Sylvia. Windoze 10 is one to stay away from unless you don’t mind your computer and it’s contents to be hijacked by microsoft. My understanding is that the software agreement you sign gives microsoft permission to check your computer for software it deems “against microsoft policies” and then disables them. Win 7 is the best choice out there for a pc.
Thank you both for the heads up 🙂
Well, what do I do? 🙁 I have been waiting and waiting and waiting to make the change. At one point I would have been able to get a computer with Windows 7 installed as a downgrade, and that was definitely my intent, however it seems that a new computer with Windows 7 is now much more difficult to come by. They are few and far between, particularly looking at those with a minimum of 16 GB of RAM
I basically decided a few weeks ago that at some point I will have to make the leap because the day will come – and probably in the not too terribly distant future – when there will be no support for Windows 7, and that perhaps now is as good a time as any to jump into the fray. But…..
I don’t think I’m ready to risk headaches of that magnitude.
I wonder if I can buy Windows 7 and then have it installed on a new machine? That I haven’t check out. Does anyone know?
yes there are still some small computer repair places that have Win7 cds. I also know that Best Buys has laptops with Win 7 Pro on them but they have to be ordered online and free delivery to your home.
Retired priest Father Denis Valliancourt charged in Cornwall for an incident a FEW weeks ago? Any other details Sylvia?
I’m just getting media coverage together now John.
Oh my,0h my, oh my!!!!!
I will post…..
We have to always remember though that there is NO pedophile ring…….Jacques Leduc, Malcolm MacDonald and Father Denis Valliancourt all surrounding Dave Silmser upon first contact with allegations against Father Charles MacDonald. Dave did not stand a chance!!
Wait a second, the picture is becoming clearer. Of course there was no RING, they weren’t encircling him, they were standing behind him in a row doing what they do best….easy now people, get your minds out of the gutter. They were stuffing cash into his pockets whispering run along little boy and don’t tell a soul. Optics people, it is all in the perception.
Dave is on my mind plenty tonight. If I could talk to him I would say….way to hang in there my friend!!!
For now, here is article from Standard Freeholder. I will add name of Father Vaillancouart to the Accused list and provide what info I have.
I remember like it was yesterday sitting in that room in the diocesan centre with that group which included the mother of a Leduc victim, and Father Vaillancourt ‘chairing’ the impromptu meeting, and him leaving that poor dear mother in tears.
More to come.
Here is the article:
I remember that meeting well Sylvia!!!
“Holy predators Batman”, like are we ever surprised to hear about another allegation out of Cornwall and Area? NOT!! Oh, have any other allegations floated by “under the radar” so-to-speak? Silence=$$$, non-disclosure. Sylvia, one thing about your website and your reporting; you will never go out of business. I wish you could have access to the one’s that have “slipped” by the news media. I thought everything was good in Cornwall after the various investigations and inquiries were completed and the recommendations publicized. Yes, in my opinion, some of the very best lawyer’s in the country were paid millions. I thought all was well since running the Dunlop’s out of town. I thought all was well since the City went into a numb silence=closed system (3 mystic apes) version. Yes, Dear Lord, as I see it, the Power’s That Be implied that “all was/is well” or at least getting better. Well, I guess not. Like all good lawyer’s, after a $60 million dollar inquiry pay day, the finding was, there was no conclusive proof whether there was a paedophile ring in the area or not. Oh, in this most recent case, as I ask in others, is there a publication ban yet, or a stay, or re-scheduling, deferral to mediation, counselling or has the accused proposed an admission of a mental illness/addiction, requiring immediate treatment or, is there a settlement in the offering? Maybe I am early with these “assumptions”, but they have been prominent in similar cases; eventually. Make me puke..still!! As your website records, many, many sexual assault victims were being victimized in Canada and elsewhere at the very moment well publicized inquiries were in progress in the 90’s, and 2000’s. Yes, the very moments. And these predators oh yes and alleged predators allegedly abused their victims with impunity. Yes, I suppose a few predators paid the price, but in my opinion, only “a few”. Mark my words, no person will fear the law or comply with the law and truly rehabilitate if they realize before they act, that they have “highly paid for”, well versed and experienced lawyers waiting in the wings to rescue them and a “system” willing to minimize and/or cover-up their wrongful acts and omissions. This is neither reconciliation and healing nor is it truth and reconciliation. Rather as I see it, the aforementioned is “waiting it out, play the good role until everything blows over and then back to the same old, same old.” Finally, as I recall the interaction, an accused once told me face to face, in a public square during the Cornwall Public Inquiry, he was above the law. He and his friends were “untouchables”. Really, I mean really.
Well said prima facie. Well said.
To my knowledge there is not – at least YET – a publication ban.
It will probably be the standard two years before this reaches the point of a guilty plea or on to trial. I think throughout those months we all really need to keep the complainant in our prayers.