There are three good articles on the sentencing of Monsignor Robert Borne yesterday in Pembroke, Ontario, one by Tina Lipinski (Pembroke Daily Observer) and two by Debbi Christinck (Eganville Leader):
11 April 2012: Borne receives house arrest for indecent assault
11 April 2011: Monsignor Borne given nine-month conditional sentence
I will add a few other details, comments and observations.
(1) The sentencing
First, I must say that yes, indeed, Monsignor Borne has successfully eluded time behind bars for sexually abusing a 16-year-old boy (C2). And to that I add that I must add that prior to this Monsignor Borne saw other charges against him dismissed or withdrawn on the grounds.
In fact, I’d say that all in all, over the last three years, Monsignor Borne has had a few good days in court. Think about it: Borne started off with 19 charges from five complainants; at the end of the day there was one victim left standing.
‘Only’ one, some might say. I don’t, and can’t, see it in that light. I truly don’t think Monsignor Borne is any better the man or the priest because there was ‘only’ one victim, any more than I think the murderer of little Tori Stafford is a bit better the man because little Tori was his ‘only’ victim.
And, of course, it goes without saying that it is the rare clerical molester indeed who restricts his perverted lust and passions to ‘only’ one child.
Anyway, as I say, yesterday was another of those good court dates for Monsignor Robert Borne.
Nine months. Five months house arrest sporting an electronic monitor. During those five months Monsignor Borne is free to go shopping or whatever for three hours on Saturdays, and free to go to Mass on Sundays.
It’s not really the end of the world is it? Far from it I’d say.
“Tut tut, bad boy” really doesn’t capture the essence of the good day which Monsignor Borne – convicted molester Monsignor Robert Borne – had yesterday.
It must have been a happy day for him.
He didn’t look particularly happy. Bu, then again, nor did he look particularity sad. I truly saw no expression on his face either in or out of the courtroom. Yes, an ever so brief smile in greeting someone, but beyond that -nothing.
I am surprised actually that he is free to attend Mass, because, he is after all, still a priest. Has he been prohibited from even saying private Masses? I would guess that he has had his faculties to say Mass and hear confessions revoked, but usually in such circumstances a priest is still free to say his own private Mass. If that’s the case there is no need for him to go out to attend Mass/Church services, is there?
No matter, should he wish to attend Sunday Mass he is legally permitted to do so.
(2) Victim Impact Statements
C2 was in court with his wife, mother, father and a sister.
The VIS of both C2 and his mother were moving. There is no doubt that the family was a close-knit devout Catholic family.
(An important aside here is the fact that Monsignor Borne had some sort of sexual interaction with C2’s brother. Charges were laid but were whittled away before trial. It seems to be a given by all however that Borne did interact sexually with the brother.)
C2 described his parents as loving and caring people who never turned anyone away. He was close to his father. He was taught to respect others. He loved and respected his father. He believed priests deserved the same respect he had for his father.
Monsignor Borne betrayed his trust, and said C2, that betrayal changed his life forever.
C2 believes that other priests knew what Borne was doing, and , in that regard, he had questions: Why did those priests not come forward? were they doing the same thing? or were they protecting Borne? or, were they advancing their own careers?
The one for sure in it all, said C2, is that his faith in the Roman Catholic Church is gone.
C2’s mother was in the courtroom, but she opted to have her statement read into the record by the Assistant Crown, John Pepper.
C2’s mother spoke of the gravity of the betrayal – of how being raised Catholic dictated and shaped their lives. She spoke of being flattered and pleased that Monsignor Borne, the Bishop’s secretary, took an interest in her sons. It was several years, she said, before she would know why.
The mother spoke of learning of the abuse of both of her sons some years ago and going to confront Borne in person. He denied. She felt it would be impossible to get an appointment to see the bishop because Borne was the bishop’s secretary. She eventually sought advice from a parish priest and a doctor: she said their hands were tied.
The mother talked about years of sleepless nights. Of difficulty attending Mass. Of finally understanding why C2 had, as she put it “spun so out of control.”
She was tempted, she said to call Monsignor Borne’s mother, to tell her of the heartache Borne had inflicted upon her family, but then she thought of Mrs. Borne’s pain and never made the call.
She talked of the relief she felt when she heard that Borne had been charged, and that parents would now be aware of the danger.
She wishes that Borne had never darkened their doorstep.
She is proud of her son.
(3) Character witness
Eganville lawyer Stewart Lavigueur took the stand as a character witness for Monsignor Robert Borne.
Lavigueur has known Borne since 1994. According to Lavigueur Borne became a best friend of the family. He told the court that his youngest son used to drop in to see Borne quite a bit and thought a lot of the priest. He said that Borne had the ability to bring people together, even in Eganville, where Catholics tended to be live on one side of the river and non-Catholics on the other.
According to Lavigueur, who’s wife died the died before, Borne had an “extraordinary gift” to comfort people.
The negative publicity surrounding the Borne charges and trial has not, Lavigeuer told the court, affected his views of the priest at all.
As he concluded Lavigueur told the judge that as a lawyer of 31 years he knows that there must be compassion for the victim, but there should also be compassion for the accused.
There were no less than 59 letters entered into evidence, all allegedly supportive of and/or attesting to the good character of Monsignor Robert Borne.
One from an Yvon Beamish talked about how when a priest “falls” the media pounces and expressed fear that Monsignor Borne was convicted before he was tried.
Another queried where were the parents in all of this, and what was their responsibility?
Included in the stack was the letter Al Donohue sent to the Eganville Leader last December.
Monsignor Borne spent time in Southdown in 2002. I am trying to get more information on this before I say any more.
Quite a day today getting the site sorted out. It truly was a disaster this morning. In order to keep the site up and running I had to de-activate my site’s anti-spam. I get at least 1,500 spam a day – it is a disaster to have to shut down the anti-spam!!!
But, that got me on my toes and forced me to do what I would not otherwise have tackled. Aside a little tweaking the menus are now basically fixed and the site is no longer groaning because of the memory drain 🙂
On that note, I am calling it a day.
Enough for now,