Things went longer today (Friday) than planned. Both defence (Robert Carew) and the Crown (Fara Rupert) took a little longer than the one hour each had intended for closing arguments. We wrapped up the day at 3 pm. and, I’m thinking that had the judge (Justice James) not said things must wrap up at 3 pm we would have been there longer. (I believe but have not as yet confirmed that Justice James is Justice Martin S. James from Sudbury, Ontario?)
Things wrapped up in a bit of mess. There are questions as to whether or not there are contradictions in testimony as to whether or not the electric body shaver which Robert brought home was the same one used by Father Stephen Amesse to give the post-shower genital shave to the then 14-year-old Robert in 2008, and there are questions about the age of consent .
Here’s how things stand with regard to the shaver …
Earlier this week, under cross-examination by Mr. Carew, Robert’s father is thought to have said that when he, the Dad, saw the box on the bed in Robert’s bedroom it was sealed. Robert, however, testified that when Father Amesse arrived post shower with the shaver he, Amesse, used scissor to open the box. The implication here is that there was no post shower shave of Roberts genitals, and that the razor on the Robert’s bed at home was simply the brand spanking new never been used before shaver which Father Amesse purchased for Robert. Father Amesse has denied the shower and shave incident, but admitted to, believe it or not, buying a Philips body shaver for the boy. nets
Was the box open or not when it landed in Robert’s home? Believe it or not, that is what is causing great consternation. Was it open or not?
Mr. Carew made a great to-do about all of this, and of how the box would have been damaged by the scissors when it was opened by Father Amesse. I thought about that. In my experience, a shrink wrap on a box can be easily opened by sliding the tip of one blade of sharp scissors along the edge of the box, and the box can in fact then be opened readily. It seems to me that in fact a wrapped box can be opened in such fashion that, barring that slit along the edge of the opening flap, the shrink wrap remains intact, or, I should say seems to be totally intact. Probably the manner in which that particular model of Philip body shaver was boxed and wrapped wrapped back in 2008 would make a difference? I don’t know? Are they even all shrink wrapped? I haven’t seen one, so have no idea, and like everyone else, am now reduced to speculating.
Another thing. I believe that it is highly possible that the razor which Father Amesse used to “teach/instruct” the 14-year-old lad was not the same razor which was gifted to the boy. I think it is highly possible that the razor used by Father Amesse to shave the the boy’s genitals was a new one which he bought for himself to do his own body shaves – in other words, a little gift from self to self. Perhaps this was a super deluxe sort of body razor at a super good price which enticed Father Amesse to buy not one but two razors, one for himself, and one for young Robert. There was no mention of such scenario today, but I do believe that it is highly possible. After all, Father Amesse clearly has a thing about shaving his body. That is an admitted fact. If one became available on the market, why would he not want to buy himself a new model of shaver which looks to be more adept at the task at hand, one which is perhaps advertised as a gentler shave for those delicate areas? And why would he not want to test out his new shaver on the boy himself? And why not then ‘gift’ the boy with a brand new shaver just like his? Why not teach the boy the do the teaching with his shaver, and then he can send the boy home with a brand new shaver?
Yes, it’s speculation. I know. But, that’s where we’re at.
So, all of this is up in the air, and the judge is actually obtaining copies of the tapes of the Dad’s testimony to determine what exactly the Dad said about the wrap or whatever on the Philips shaver box.
As for the age of consent
In Canada the age of consent was raised from 14 to 16 on 01 May 2008. According to testimony, the pubic/genital shave transpired in 2008.
Robert turned 15 in 2008. If he was 14 and the shave happened before 01 May then, under the law of the land, he would have been ‘of age.’
So, did the shower/shave happen before or after the age of consent was raised to 16?
I went through my notes and, for various reasons, not the least of which is typical Ottawa weather pre 01 March, do believe that the shave happened after the age of consent was raised to 16. But, age of consent or no, there is the issue that Father Amesse was in a position of authority and trust over the boy.
A heavy day.
Now a few little bits and pieces until I can bring you up to date some time over the weekend on testimony.
Yesterday I mentioned that we were packed into the courtroom like sardines. Well, today was sardines ++. People were literally sitting on the floor in the morning. Really. People were sitting cross-legged on the courtroom floor! Chairs were eventually brought in, but really and truly, people were sitting cross-legged on the floor! At one point I counted 47 in the room. There may well have been more, but there were certainly at least 45. The bulk were there to support Father Amesse. A number of those supporters are, believe it or not, school teachers.
Another little item of interest…
Did I mention that there has been an elderly priest in attendance since day one? He actually walked across the courtroom to speak to/confront me directly, specifically to tell me that “his brother priest’ Father Stephen Amesse is a good priest. When I queried “brother” he repeated that Father Stephen Amesse is a very good priest, then he turned on his heel and away he went.
Is it his brother? There is no other priest in Canada with the surname Amesse. Today I finally had opportunity to check an American directory of priests. Lo and behold, there is in fact an American Oblate priest i the States with the surname Amesse . I checked further. He is from Montreal. Is that who it is? I think so. Can anyone confirm.
Finally, I must tell you about the strangest thing I have ever witnessed in a courtroom in all my life. I felt and looked like post Mass on Sunday morning. You know how, at most churches, when Mass is concluded on Sundays, the priest processes to the entrance of the church and stands there to shake hands with departing parishioners? Well, today , as we filed out of the courtroom, there in the ante room between the two doors stood Father Amesse. There he was, waiting, – smiling, chatting and shaking hands with each of his departing flock . I couldn’t believe my eyes. In fact. I peeked back in to see if I was imaging things. No, there he was.
On that strange note, I will close off for now. There is lots to pass along but not just yet. Tomorrow I will be gone for the day – family birthday celebrations 🙂 So, I will get to work going through notes on Sunday. As I say, there are lots of bits and pieces to pass along.
One more thing while it’s on my mind. The sequence for Robert’s disclosure and contacting police are sorted out. Robert disclosed first to a close friend in 2013. He then disclosed to his parents, and then, in 2014, to a woman who had a duty to report to police and who did in fact call the police in Robert’s presence. Robert went to the police station shortly after that call. I just wanted to clarify that 🙂
What’s next? Justice James will review the tape to see exactly what was said about that shaver. He indicated that he really wants to do that before he renders his decision. Then a date has to be set to render the decision. There are no dates yet.
Please keep Robert and his family in your prayers. This has been a difficult week.
As anticipated, four new charges have been laid against Father Barry McGrory
10 March 2017: “Former Ottawa Priest faces further charges of Gross Indecency and Indecent Assault ” & related article
Here’s the text of Ottawa Police Service Press Release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, March 10, 2017 4:20pm
Former Ottawa Priest faces further charges of Gross Indecency and Indecent Assault
(Ottawa) – Today, William Barry McGRORY was charged by the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Section with four additional charges relating to assaults that occurred in the 1960’s against two victims. The new charges are:
2 counts of indecent assault on a male
2 counts of gross indecency
The incidents occurred at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church and St. Philips church in Richmond.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Ottawa Police Service Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 5944. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or by downloading the Ottawa Police app.
I commend those complainants who came forward. Please keep them, and all the others, in your prayers.
Enough for now,
I have heard of unrelated priests refering to each other as brothers before (if they are in the same order or diocese), but could not remember where I had seen it in print. Well I found it, in my own CBC story…””If we were to throw an 85-year-old man out, he’d end up in a public institution … Who would be supervising him?” said Coonen. “Right now he’s living in a house with a bunch of his brothers who know his case and know his situation and he is better monitored then he would ever be if he were an 85-year-old man living in a public institution.””