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.
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.
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.
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)
I have some new information regarding Monsignor Robert Borne which I will get together and blog some time tomorrow.
Enough for now,