More Connecting the Dots

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Father Kenneth O’Keefe’s next court date is 03 May 2012 “for a plea.” I have been trying to get further info but so far without success.

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The Father Michael Reed page has been added and further information has been added to the Father Paul Hamilton page.

It’s amazing digging back into the memory bank to see how names from one area surface alongside those from another, and how years downstream, on hindsight, things start to look a little different.  It always intrigues me to see ‘connections,’ however distant they may be, or appear to be.  I call it Connecting the Dots.

So here’s yet another attempt’s to connect a few dots.  I will going all over the place here, but, for me at least, it’s part of trying to put this sordid puzzle together

As you see on the pages, Paul Hamilton and Michael Reed attended the St. Augustine’s Charismatic Prayer Group  in Ottawa before they were ordained.  I imagine that must have been while they were at St. Paul’s Seminary.  I can’t prove it – but it’s the only thing which makes sense given that some recall the pair at prayer group meetings in the latter part of the 70s and early 80s, and Reed was ordained in 1982 and Hamilton in 1984.

Anyway, the two were regulars, strumming their guitars – both said to be talented guitar players and generally strumming away together.

It was sometime in the early 80s that Paul Hamilton made the announcement at one of those prayer meetings that if Mike Gibbons showed up he was not to be given ‘pride of place,’ – the understanding was that Gibbons was to be left alone.  The directive allegedly came from the bishop, who at that time would have been Joseph Aurele Plourde.

Why the shunning of Mike Gibbons?

Well, when it comes to clerical sexual abuse. Mike Gibbons was an early whistle blower.

Gibbons, a teacher with the Catholic school board in Ottawa, had been told by one of his students that he, the boy, had been molested by Father Dale Crampton.  Gibbons checked out the boys story and went to the bishop.  Nothing.  Gibbons continued to dig and information came his way.  Eventually Mike Gibbons had a list of names of priests in the Archdiocese of Ottawa who were allegedly abusing children: included on the list was the name of one Father Ken Keeler, and the name of an auxiliary bishop in Ottawa, John Beahen.

When Archbishop Plourde failed to take action on the information Gibbons printed a list of the names and began to flier windshields.

Plourde threatened Gibbons with excommunication!

I don’t know at what  stage in this horrific saga Paul Hamilton relayed the word to the prayer group that Mike Gibbons was not to be given “pride of place” if he showed up at the meeting – it was probably shortly before Hamilton’s ordination in 1984.  Whatever the date, Hamilton relayed the message.  Gibbons, thankfully, was spared that particular insult:  he didn’t show up.

I have no idea what Paul Hamilton did or did not know about Mike Gibbons.  I do know that somehow the message was relayed to him and that it was he who in turn relayed to the prayer group.

The next step in my recollections is that of the death of Bishop Beahen in March 1988.

I was relatively new to the Ottawa area, only a few years a Catholic, and knew nothing of the allegations against Bishop Beahen.

My parish priest was Father Stephen Hill.  Father Hill was a late vocation to the priesthood and a canon lawyer. Before pursuing the priesthood Stephen Hill taught a St. Pius X.  He was there in 1975 when 18-year-old Robert Poulin raped and murdered a young girl before heading off to St.Pius X High School where he opened fire in a classroom, kiling one student and wounding five.

Stephen Hill was a hemophiliac and, in those days because of his medical condition, not eligible for ordination.  Bishop Beahan, a canon lawyer himself, somehow managed to waive the medical restrictions and, in 1978,  Stephen Hill was ordained.

Father Hill’s “friend” Steve worked in the parish, first as a janitor and then rose quickly to the rank of parish co-ordinator.  Steve initially lived in a nearby apartment, but in time  moved into the rectory..

I used to help out at the church, sometimes covering for the receptionist during the week, and on weekends cooking for all who lived in the rectory, including those who were there from afar to study canon law at St. Paul’s.  I cooked a big meal on Sundays at noon.  They were on their own for supper.

I recall that from time to time Father Hill would invite young teenage boys from the parish to meet Bishop Beahan over supper.  I was never there for these meals, but I do recall that they did happen, and that I used to think: ‘how nice!’

One day Steve came into the kitchen upset beyond measure:  Bishop Beahen had died.  That was March 1988.  Steve then went into a diatribe – on and on and on about Mike Gibbpns and how it was Mike Gibbons who killed the bishop!  I had no idea what he was talking about.  I asked, and I was told essentially that Mike Gibbons had been going around hurling false accusations against Beahan.  Father Hill shared Steve’s sentiments:  Mike Gibbons was responsible for Bishop Beahen’s death.

Beahen, by the way, died suddenly – while assisting at confirmations in the Diocese of Pembroke.

By 1993 I was no longer attending the same church.  I did however attend the sex abuse trial of Father Ken Keeler.

Yes,  Mike Gibbons had it right.  Father Dale Crampton had already been charged and convicted (1987).  Now Father Keeler was in court.

Witnesses at the Keeler trial testified to what they had seen at the summer camp in Low, Quebec which had been founded and was run by Father Ken Keeler.  They talked of seeing Bishop Beahen and Keeler engaged in sexual activities on a cabin porch, and they talked of the young boys who barricaded themselves into their bunk rooms to keep Beahen out.

That’s when I realized what the Bishop had been up to.

Sad to say, Beahen died suddenly, before justice could be done.

The next step to cover is ten years down-stream.  The funeral of Father Stephen Hill.

I attended the funeral.  It was held at St. Patrick’s in downtown Ottawa.

Steve was there, as was the young man Father Hill had recently brought back with him from, I believe it was,  Mexico.

And now it’s back to Father Paul Hamilton.

Father Paul Hamilton sang at the funeral.  He climbed right up the winding steps of the old high stone lectern at the front of that beautiful church, and he sang.  As I said elsewhere, to this day I recall the refrain:  “Out of the darkness and into the light.”  It was almost like a chant.  Many in the congregation joined in.  I personally found it eerie. Others thought it was beautiful. A matter of taste I suppose?

Father Paul Hamilton singing at Father Stephen Hill’s funeral.

I don’t know how Father Hamilton knew Father Hill.  Perhaps through the charismatic renewal?  I do know that Father Hill had at one time been actively involved in the renewal.  No matter, the thing is that Father Paul Hamilton from Kingston sang at Father Stephen Hill’s funeral in Ottawa, and that was the same Paul Hamilton who made the announcement on the bishop’s behalf that Mike Gibbins was to be sort of given the cold shoulder at the prayer meeting.  And both Father Hill and Steve blamed Mike Gibbons for ‘killing’ Bishop Beahan.

And now, for those new to the site who don’t already know another  little corner of the puzzle, I’ll  just to take this another interesting step in the direction of Cornwall, Ontario.

On 26 August 2006 I blogged the following.  For ease of reading I will reproduce the blog here.  And, yes, the “Jack” I mention is of course Mike Gibbons. I decided to identify him.  I  think Mike Gibbons deserves a medal for all he sacrificed to protect children and to try to bring the truth to light away back then.  He’s a good man.

Here it is, from August 2006.  Parts of this are slightly repetitive. Apologies.

This story entails a Roman Catholic teacher in the Archdiocese of Ottawa. I won’t name him. He has suffered enough and I doubt that he wants his name blasted back into the public domain. I’ll call him Jack.

Jack taught at a Roman Catholic school. It was around 1983.

Through various means Jack began to receive reports that a Father Dale Crampton was sexually molesting young boys. Father Dale Crampton, a very popular priest, happened to be chaplain to the RCMP. He also happened to Jack’s parish priest.

Jack was alarmed and concerned for the well-being and safety of the young lads in his school and parish. He managed to over-ride his admiration for Crampton and dug in to find out if there was any substance to the allegations. He concluded there was indeed.

Jack’s baptism by fire into the world of whistle-blowing on clerical sexual abusers had begun.

The long and short of it is that in time Jack’s name was out and about and his phone began to ring off the hook. There were calls with sexual abuse allegations against this priest, that priest and the other one – and allegations against Bishop John Beahan, auxiliary to Archbishop Joseph Aurele Plourde (Archdiocese of Ottawa).

I’ll skip the rest and take you to two items of interest regarding Jack and the Cornwall connections, specifically those related to Archbishop Joseph Aurele Plourde and Ottawa lawyer Michael Neville: .

Joseph Aurele Plourde
Plourde you may recall was auxiliary bishop to Rosario Brodeur in the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall and actually administered the diocese following Brodeur’s retirement and until the installation of Brodeur’s successor, Adolphe Proulx.

What do you suppose Archbishop Plourde did when he got wind that Jack had information about a number of clerical abusers in the Archdiocese of Ottawa?

He threatened to excommunicate Jack!

That’s a fact. Archbishop Plourde threatened to excommunicate the whistleblower rather than try to protect the young lads in the diocese.

Now if that’s not an abuse of authority, lack of concern for children and outright intimidation I don’t know what is!!

Jack wasn’t excommunicated. But he was treated like a leper by clergy, bishops and laymen alike and eventually, of his own volition, did as so many in his situation do – he washed his hands of the Roman Catholic Church.

One can only ponder the fate of those who dared to approach Plourde with similar allegations during his time in the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall.

Michael Neville

Father Crampton stood trial in 1986.

His lawyer? Michael Neville.

Yes, the same Michael Neville who defended Charlie (Father Charles MacDonald) and eventually got him off the hook, and the same Michael Neville who is representing Charlie at the inquiry, and the same Micheal Neville who is undoubtedly at this very moment pulling out all stops to keep Charlie’s alleged victims from taking the stand.

Now listen to this. . .

During Father Crampton’s sexual abuse trial Neville nabbed Jack, took him aside and said he wanted to talk to him.

About what?

Well, Michael Neville wanted tell Jack that he (Neville) would sue him (Jack) if Jack didn’t stop talking about Bishop Beahan and his sexual proclivities!

Neville didn’t sue Jack. Perhaps because the allegations against Beahan became too numerous? Or perhaps because the soon-to-be-charged Beahan died 14 March 1988 after suffering a massive stroke while assisting with confirmations in the Diocese of Pembroke? For whatever reason, the threat never materialized into fact. But it was very real.

Neville did manage to win Crampton a suspended sentence and two-years probation after successfully convincing Judge Keith Flanigan that society would best be protected and served if the priest were cared for by doctors and psychiatrists rather than incarcerated. The “sentence” was appealed (July 1987) and Crampton was sentenced to eight months in jail. After his release Crampton, a canon layer, was quietly recycled to the Diocese of London Ontario where he worked with the diocesan marriage tribunal.

As for Beahan’s sexual proclivities for both young boys and his fellow clergyman, that oozed into the public domain during the sex abuse trial of Ottawa clerical paedophile Ken Keeler. Keeler victims testified that boys at Keeler’s summer camp would push bunk beds against the door to barricade themselves into their rooms to keep Beahan out, and there were eyewitness accounts of Beahen and Keeler doing their sexual thing to/with each other. (Keeler, who suddenly changed his not guilty plea to guilty when the Beahan filth started to ooze, was defended by William Carroll, the same lawyer representing the Ontario Provincial Police Association at the Cornwall Inquiry)

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I have some new information regarding Monsignor Robert Borne which I will get together and blog some time tomorrow.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

This entry was posted in Bishops, Canada, Clerical sexual predators, Cornwall, Scandal, Trials and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to More Connecting the Dots

  1. Michel Bertrand says:

    It is quite interesting to see how knowledge of one priest charged is soon to be followed by other priest and how they entertained a communal association and then how everything becomes interconnected up the power structure to the bishops and more. In some circles this is called a crime ring especially if children are the targets. I have found that priests have close friendships within their ranks and even if they have not actually abused cannot see defending the rights of children over the breach of their relationships with their close friends. Of course at some point it becomes such a tenuous struggle to keep track of all the lies that it eventually all becomes known. I wonder if that is what is meant when we hear say that the truth will set you free. I think a lot of people within the church need to finally get freedom…the survivors need justice and that is most important.

    So given this subject, if we find out who such and such a priest has been involved with throughout their alleged ministry it does not take long to rack up a docket of abusers and protectors of those abusers. A long arduous job to clear the offenders from the church but I think that exposing the truths by way of this site and sites like bishop accountability as well as the good work by snap will have for effect at the very least of some protection of children due to the risk of exposure. However there is always the problem of the blind eyes within the church. IE. Durocher stating that no secret list exists here..but omitting to state we shipped it to Ottawa..It’s not a lie so I guess no confession needed..or are they infallible by proxy. I find that little piece offending that a pope in the late 1800’s pronounced that his office was infallible. Well it is pretty clear that this is a big fat lie. Great work Sylvia.

  2. Orion says:

    Bishop Beahan did not die in Pembroke Diocese.He was never invited nor did he ever perform any liturgical function in that diocese. He suffered a stroke /heart attack while in the pulpit in the Diocese of Sault Ste Marie.
    He was alluded to in a CBC news cast as being a ‘senior church official’ from Ottawa who was to be charged. I have heard from others that his name was actually used in a news broadcast.
    Gibbon’s problem seems to have been that he issued the names of many priests who were not involved and hence lost his believability with the media.

  3. Sylvia says:

    Yes, Orion. Thank you. I you are right re where Beahan died. According to Living and Chosen Stones: History of St. Patrick’s Basilica, he died in the Pembroke Diocese. That is incorrect. Beahen did in fact die in Sault Ste Marie – of a massive stroke while in the pulpit. There are countless accounts as to where he died – I have been told Thunder Bay and Pembroke and North Bay. I think actually it was in the Diocese of Sault Ste Marie and at Pro-Cathedral in North Bay, is that right? or was it in the city of Sault Ste. Marie?

    I am going to get a page together on Bishop John Beahen, both to get the information together and to ensure I don’t err again on where exactly he did die. Hopefully in the process I will get this squared away once and for all 🙂

  4. Anne C says:

    Great work indeed, Sylvia. It is very useful to understand the nature of these crimes when seen in the context of a network of abusers. It is easier for the church if the public view these crimes as isolated incidents. Yes, these priests would vigorously defend their crime buddies over the interests of any victims.

    What an amazingly brave teacher – it takes real character to speak the truth when all around you are lying and shunning you. I have known people over the years who have spoken out about strange goings on, and have been shunned. One priest once told me this: “every archdiocese know who the ‘trouble makers’ are – those who try to speak the truth. If you make a move to support enlightenment, you’re out. They have their ways.”

    What stands out for me in Sylvia’s post is the circle of guitar playing priests, smiling, while shunning the honest teacher who wanted to out the abusers. And, the creepy singing at the funeral. I also think of Lahey at the press conference on TV announcing the settlement for the sex abuse victims. It seems like these priests are professional actors – in layers and layers of denial and deception.

    It takes persistent digging to find the truth, and bring it out, which ultimately helps the victims in their quest for truth and justice.

    Nothing kills germs like sunlight.

  5. Cheryl-Helene Thomson says:

    A stunning account, with elements I had never heard of previously, as the ‘back story’ predates my first visits to this site, I think. I am sure there are many Church volunteers like you, Sylvia, over the years, who said to themselves “How nice…”, while evil paraded as good. In other Christian denominations, as well.

    Just for the record, to Michel Bertrand, papal infallibility is pretty exactly defined – it is limited to doctrine and certain official statements of doctrine, made by the Pope. In other contexts, the Roman Catholic Church does not teach Popes are any more “infallible” than we are. For example, the books and writings of the last two Popes are not considered “infallible.” However, many people in the pews just don’t get the difference, so your statement is quite understandable.

  6. Michel Bertrand says:

    I surfed wikipedia and found this about the above what irks me is the notation about faith and morals ..

    Papal infallibility is a dogma of the Catholic Church which states that, by action of the Holy Spirit, the pope is preserved from even the possibility of error when in his official capacity he solemnly declares or promulgates to the universal Church a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals. It is also taught that the Holy Spirit works in the body of the Church, as sensus fidelium, to ensure that dogmatic teachings proclaimed to be infallible will be received by all Catholics. This dogma, however, does not state either that the pope cannot sin in his own personal life or that he is necessarily free of error, even when speaking in his official capacity, outside the specific contexts in which the dogma applies.

    This doctrine was defined dogmatically in the First Vatican Council of 1870.

  7. James Ryerson says:

    The friendship between Fr Paul Hamilton and Fr Michael Reed was well before they were Priests. They were seminarians together at St. Paul Seminary and led music ministry at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Ottawa. I think this is where they connected with Fr. Hill who was an associate Pastor. I am not sure when Fr. Hill was ordained but it is possible that they knew him at St. Paul as well. It seems like a number of those accused were at the Seminary around the same time. Frs Hamilton and Reed were involved with St. Augsustine prayer group and where one was…so was the other.

  8. Sylvia says:

    Father Hill was ordained in 1978 – well before Hamilton (’84) and Reed (’82). He was at Our Lady of Fatima (Pastor Father Donegan) after ordination and until about 1984 (?), so you are probably right – if not before then they would all have crossed paths at Our Lady of Fatima through the music ministry.

    • William says:

      How does one even begin talking about their ordeal. It is now 2018 and I’m 54 years old and I do not even know where to start. My parents would never talk or listen. My brother to this day tells me he’s not interested in talking about things. As I read through these posts at least I feel somewhat validated that these things actually did happen. But where to start?

  9. Bernard says:

    All three (Hill, Hamilton and Reed) were at Our Lady of Fatima. Hill was assistant pastor, while Hamilton and Reed were both seminarians involved with music liturgy. All three were involved with the Columbian Squires circle at the parish. The Squires are a wing of the Knights of Columbus for male youth. The circle was ordered to close by the Knights of Columbus.

  10. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    May Mike rest in peace. His drive and integrity can be an example for all of us to follow. Mike.

  11. William says:

    I recall that from time to time Father Hill would invite young teenage boys from the parish to meet Bishop Beahan over supper. I was never there for these meals, but I do recall that they did happen, and that I used to think: ‘how nice!’

    How nice to be plied with alcohol. I just found this site and am reeling with every emotion possible. I wish someone could reach out to me!

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