Some thoughts

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The Bathurst Diocese/Bastarache proposals for settlement  business has been bothering me all day. Some thoughts. I’m not sure that they will make sense, but, I’ll do the best I can.  I am just bothered by it all and am trying to put a finger on what it is that’s bothering me. 

Here goes: 

(1)  First, I must say that I am happy for the victims who will receive financial “compensation” offered by the Bathurst Diocese in a speedy fashion.  I pray that the payout packages are reasonable.  I have no idea what amounts will be proposed; 

(2) I don’t understand why the 11th hour change of mind and heart on the diocese’s behalf. 

(3)  Re 27 October 2010:  N.B. Catholic clergy sex assault report due soon  

Note the following:

The church will not be given the names of the individuals involved, instead they will only see the number of victims and where they fit into the scale established by Bastarache.

Once he hands out the compensation cheques, Bastarache said he will destroy the files to assure the victims of confidentiality.

 If the files are to be destroyed, and if the bishop has no victims names and only some sort of grading of their abuse, what is to prevent a victim from coming forward again in three years or six years or whatever with claims of abuse?  How is anyone at the diocese to know that the victim was part of the Bastarache settlement? Do they contact Bastarache to see if he remembers? 

 I’m not suggesting that anyone would try to ‘double dip’ like that, but I am querying the wisdom of the confidentiality process and the administration of the this entire process. 

It makes no sense. 

 Justice Bastarache is to be the one and only person who  will ever  ever know the names  of each victim and the details of that victim’s abuse?  And he will destory all the files?

I don’t understand this at all.

When I think on it I can see that the one thing this might do is ensure that, barring the names of the molesters and a coded accounting of the abuse/damage inflicted,  there will be nothing on record with the diocese indicating that, for example, John Doe said a bishop promised his mother him that Father X would never be around children again, or John Doe2 told the bishop and was told in turn that he was an outright liar, or John Doe said he told Father X and Father X did nothing, or John Doe3 said that Father Y passed him on to Father X and that Father Y and Father Z walked in while eh was being molested by X and the three priest got an orgy going.

Shouldn’t a bishop know those things?  Shouldn’t the names of those victims be available in the event they could be called upon in the future to corroborate the allegations of others?

Is this a healthy way to administer a diocese in this day and age? 

I don’t think so.  It makes no sense.  Unless this is about destroying  evidence to protect the diocese in future legal actions (disclosure) I can make no sense of this.

I can see even  less sense to it when I read that the bishop is planning some sort of formal apology.   

If the victims’ identities are supposed to be confidential from even the bishop, how will this formal apology be executed?  How will the bishop apologize while retaining this cloak of confidentiality promised the victims by  both Mr. Bastarche and the diocese?

As I say, this makes no sense.  I must be missing something here.  What is it?

Another thought here:  If a victim chooses to waive his/her confidentiality will Mr. Bastarache’s full account of the victim’s allegations be put on file in the diocese?  If not, why not?

(4)   As we now know, the deadline for the settlement deal has been extended. After Bastarache met with the Bishop to submit his report/recommendations, the deadline was extended.

However, Mr. Bastarache spoke to the media just days before he was to submit his report/recommendations to the diocese.  At that time there was not a hint that  he wanted or needed more time.  In fact, I took it from the media coverage that Mr. Bastarche he was happy with things and  keen to get on with the 01 November with the bishop, get approval for the compensation proposal and then carry on with getting the cheques made out and dispersed.

What happened?  Why the 11th hour change?

According to the diocesan press release it was Mr. Bastarche who wanted the extension….

On 02 November the Diocese issued a press release announcing in part that (i)  “on  recommendation” by Mr. Bastarache”  the Diocese “agreed” to extend the deadline for applicants to the process until 01 December 2010 and (ii) before the deadline Bastarache will attempt to meet with the victims who “hesitate” to participate (opted out) and “invite them to reconsider their options.”

What happened at that meeting?   Why the change?

Was there a sudden rash of calls to the diocesan centre with new allegations?  Is that it?  Is it simply that it would be cheaper for the diocese to delay the process in order to bring new victims in than it would have been to leave them to pursue other legal action?  

But then, presumably it was Mr. Bastarache who asked for the extension, not the diocese.  Did Bastarache receive a raft of calls on the heels of his media exposure?  Is that it?

I don’t know.

Is it perhaps something to do with concerns about the victims who opted out of the process?   Is that it?  It seems Mr. Bastarche is now wanting to reach out to them and somehow draw them back in.  But, those victims were out of the process  he spoke to the media on the 27th.  He didn’t seem overly concerned then that they had opted out, at least not enough for him to refuse to talk to the media until he talked to the bishop and asked for an extension.

In short,  Bastarche wasn’t looking for time when he spoke to the media just days before the meeting.  Strange

(5)  Before the report was to be submitted Mr. Bastarache was quoted as follows:

“In actual fact there are a larger number of priests that are involved. I can’t give the names, but the bishop will have to decide himself whether he wants to make public those names,”

Why is Mr. Bastarche not allowed to name known clerical molesters?  Was he told that that would be an absolute no no?  If yes, by whom?

Note too that Mr. Bastarache said “larger number.” According to the 02 November 2010 diocesan press release it is “a few others.”

I don’t know how many constitute a “larger number” than the initial two (Picot and Noel).  I suppose it could be two, or five, or ten? Who knows how many.

According to the diocesan press release it was a “a few” others:

Clerics identified by victims include Levi Noel and Charles Picot, as well a few others who are either dead or no longer in ministry within the diocese.

A “few” known molesters whom we can presumably discount because “they are either dead or no longer in ministry within the diocese.”

How many is a “larger number”?  How many is  “a few”? 

No matter.   Who are they?  And, for those who are not deceased, where are they?


This exercise led me to do a little more work on Father Levi Noel’s page.  I went through the directories I have on hand and filled in dates and years. 

A few things caught my eye. 

Twelve years after his ordination Father Noel was assisting in Tracadie.  Ditto in Shippegan the following year.    

I find that unusual.  Generally twelve years down stream a priest has his own parish.  Perhaps there was an over-abundance of priests in the diocese?  Still, it’s strange.

In the early 70s (1970-1971) he is pastor, but, a year later it looks like he’s back to assisting again.

Then, in 1991 he is off in France.

Why France?  What was he doing off in France?

Then he’s back and his address is Sheila, NB.  What was he doing there?  Had he perhaps retired?  What could he as a priest have been doing in Sheila, N.B.  I don’t know the area so don’t have a clue.

If anyone can fill in any of the gaps please  post a comment or send me an email ( I w0uld also love to know what he was doing in Montreal for all those years.

Enough for now


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7 Responses to Some thoughts

  1. ValleyGirl says:

    Sylvia, am I understanding this correctly, that Bastarache is simply a mediator between the church and the victims? He’s only there to deem if financial compensation should be made to the victims? If that is the case, why not a crimminal trial?

    The BISHOP will have to decide to release the names of ‘the larger group of priests involved’? Yes, because that has worked so well in the past. I know that certain professions have an obligation to report suspected abuse to the authorities. Why would Bastarache not be obligated to turn over the names of the priests and evidence to the authorities to have this investigated?

    That evidence should never ever be destroyed, what is going on there? At the very least it is really suspicious and would certainly not be in the best interest of the victims.

  2. prima facie says:

    Hi Sylvia: Well, supported by what you have written, it appears to people like me, that, “the powers that be” are moving into a different stage of “non-disclosure”…..Make no mistake about it, “the powers that be”, supposedly “for the greater good”, seek new ways to hide and manipulate the facts…..daily.

    I believe it is because of websites like yours, that “the powers” are deciding to withdraw and re-group, back into the shadows. Isn’t this behaviour so typical of a “closed-abusive system”—whether it is a family system, religious, community, municipal, government, judicial or otherwise.

    I believe, that “the powers that be” are watching your WEBSITE CLOSELY and in fact, studying it, to see how it evolves. I am surprised lawyers are not contacting you, attempting to elicit names and contact numbers of victims, etc., for their own practice. Besides “public inquiries” and sexual abuse allegations, I believe many law firms are finding it hard to “pay the hydro” these days (satiracal comment or not so satiracal-you decide.)Abuse cases generally (in Canada)involve guaranteed monies, from Government, insurance carriers, The Holy See, so to put a few “juniors” on the case, may just be cost-effective. Of course, when the cameras are nearby, insteps the “big name” “avocat”.

    NOW, more than ever Sylvia, you are helping to connect victims/survivors with each other–your website has emassed a treasure of information, facts, evidence, etc. and you have made contacts around the world. Victims/survivors, etc. are networking and organizing.
    To the “accused” and “powers that be”, this new method of communication and disclosure (such as a website), is a great threat to “them”. “Their” true colors, modus operandi, is NOW open for everyone to view any second of any day and readers can also comment; as my Mother would say, “Holy Doopers!

    In Cornwall, for various reasons, I believe victims/survivors and people who had significant knowledge, were silenced. The audience your site now attracks, appear to be more vigilant and willing to fight back/speak out..(that is of course until $$$$ start to flow, the lawyers get better control-collaborate with the accused and justice and academia, and “put a lid” on this grassroots unrising.ex-“CCCB’s” from “Pain To Hope”, which in my opinion, overall is a disgrace. (Did I write collaborate, sorry, I meant collude LOL!! Conspiracy theorist??).
    Well, yet again, as with the other “stages”, we will see where this one goes.

    THE aforementioned “uprising-acts” by victims/survivors/citizens, is the most threatening act that puts the fear of God in the “accused”, “the systems” including the insurance carriers….make no mistake about it!! (Unfortunately many of these readers will be told otherwise and convinced otherwise. I do not blame readers!)
    Disclosure, open systems and the “breaking of silence”, is what “the accused and systems” fear the most.

    Disclosure, open systems, breaking the silence, the speaking out by those who know the facts, is very, very necessary for intervention, management of current issues and prevention.
    Otherwise, the “accused, their advisors, systems” will continue to find new “hideouts”, so-to-speak.

    As you know Sylvia, I have been a supporter of the truth being disclosed, for a long time now. You and other contributors to this website have been fighting the injustice, corruption, cover-ups for years…more than a decade now.

    We have discussed how your website has gone to a “different level”, from the days it was first conceived.
    Also, since you started this website years ago, we have discussed many times, and, you have posted at various times, some news articles published discussing how payouts/settlements or whatever you want to call it, is made and by whom, including the involvement of public liability, liabilty insurance carriers and similar, the multitude of lawyers involved and the issue of non-disclosure, secrecy, cover-up and the likes.

    IT is only “the people” who can through their acts and voices provide the answers you seek, to the questions you present…. Sylvia.

  3. Newfoundland Dog says:

    Like you Sylvia, I’m sure the Bathurst Diocese /Bastarache settlement proposal leaves many others with many questions which we can only hope to get answers to in the near future. I too am happy the victims are going to be compensated …and fairly, lets hope. What really bothers me about all this is that it seems to circumvent the criminal justice system and sets up a parallel system run by rules set up by the Church. Apparently, the Bishop will have the names of priest molesters and he won’t even have to reveal who they are! Is that even legal in Ontario?

  4. Newfoundland Dog says:

    Sorry Sylvia,I meant to write “Is this even legal in New Brunswick?”

  5. Sylvia says:

    prima facie, you always give me food for thought. Today you remind me of where I began with the website, where I’ve been, and where I’m going. I say I, and in truth it is not I. This blog is “we” – it’s everyone who contributes, everyone who reaches out to let a victim know he/she is not alone, everyone who wants to see justice for victims of childhood sexual abuse, and everyone who wants to see the Church purged of clerical molesters and those who tolerate and cover-up their ghastly crimes. And it’s you, prima facie, and Dick (God rest his soul), and Perry & Helen, and all those whose courage gave me courage to do what I believed I had to do when I truly didn’t have a clue how to do it 🙂

    I recall so often being both astounded and puzzled by the deathly silence in Cornwall. In time I came to see and understand that silence – and accompnaying shame – as an ally to every molester who walks the face of the earth, and an enemy of every child. I also, as I have said over the years, came to understand that in some strange way the silnce and shame which gripped a community rocked by allegations of sex absue and cover-up was simply but strangely a eflection of the the very silnce and shame which haunts and torments the victims.

    It is so healthy to speak out. It is the greatest weapon we all have in this battle to protect our children, and see that the judiciary and Church officials recognize child sexual abuse as the horrific crime and sin that it is, and to see that justice is done and child molesters are dealt with in a manner befitting those who dare to harm any of these our little ones.

    Let’s never lose our voices. And, when it comes to sexual abuse, let’s never ever ever forget that silence is not golden.

  6. Sylvia says:

    I agree with you Newfoundland Dog. Is it legal? I don’t know. It shouldn’t be.

    Here’s a link to a bit of an overview on the duty report:

    And here’s another little look at what’s going on in New Brunswick…

    This is a link to a google translation of an article which appeared in a French language publication yeesterday. It’s a google translation so it’s lacking, but, it’s the best I’ve got and should be fairly close.

    Here’s the paragraph which caught my eye:

    “What we found was that there were more priests involved than previously thought. Now I can not give names, for the simple reason that these people were never charged with anything. You can not make a charge. It would have to be victims who make charges and who present themselves to the police so that there is an investigation… ” says Michel Bastarache.

    Is “charge” a correct translation? Is Bastarache saying he can’t give names because these unidentified priests were never charged?

    And this after he personally worked out a process to compensate victims of these very molesters?

    I don’t think that makes an ounce of sense. At the very least, from the perspective of the Church, they are guilty. Why can the guilty not be identified?

    I see too that Bastarache said: “many priests have died.” Many!!

    Is “many” the correct translation? If yes, it sounds like there is quite a list of molesters. I gather we are supposed to find comfort in the assurance that “many” on the list are dead.

    Are you better with French than I Newfoundland Dog? Is the google translation close?

  7. Newfoundland Dog says:

    I could not hazard a guess as to whether the translation is close, Sylvia ,and English legal language leaves me tearing my hair out(and at my age I can’t be at that)! I can only offer that Bastarache doesn’t have to report names because of the solicitor client privilege clause in NB law. But even this doesn’t make sense to me because I presume the Bishop or Diocese is his client ,not the abusive priests .

    As I understand it,other than if I am a solicitor for an abusive client, I have to report the abuser to the police or social services and that’s what starts an investigation other than if the victim reports it to police or social services personally.Can someone out there shed some light on this for my feeble mind because Mr. Bastarache didn’t. I don’t see justice happening here even if I do see compensation being offered which the victims justly deserve.

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