I have a commitment this morning, and this afternoon will be picking up a grand-daughter for a long overdue weekend sleepover 🙂 So, reports on the goings on and testimony at the Father Denis Vaillancourt sex abuse trial will come in bits and pieces, but, I promise that over the next few day I will get as much information out into the public domain as I legally can.
Things were running a little behind schedule yesterday at the sex assault trial of Father Denis Vaillancourt. Closing closing arguments have been scheduled for 2 pm, 13 July 2017.
Those who have attended a trial know the import of closing arguments . That’s when the Crown and defence pull together evidence and testimony to argue their case, the Crown for conviction, defence against. A good closing argument/submission sometimes seem to magically pull together all the little bits of information into a cogent argument for his/her case.
Yesterday morning I blogged that the day would start with with arguments by Defence and Crown regarding introduction of evidence regarding an incident alleged to have transpired over 30 years ago. The Crown hoped to call a witness whose testimony would, she believed, counter the good character testimony she felt had been introduced by defence lawyer Don Johnson.
Well, the arguments were made. After a recess Justice Diane Lahaie ruled that the Crown (Elaine Evans) could not call a witness to counter the defence inference that Father Denis Vaillancourt is a man of good character.
The witness would apparently have testified that about 30 years ago, when he was a Grade 9 student at La Citadelle High School, he went to confession in the school gymnasium to Father Valillancourt. I beleive it was at the end of confession that Father Vaillancourt allegedly started asking the boy about his, the boy’s, sex life. When the boy asked Vaillancourt what he meant, the priest is alleged to have said something to the effect of ” Are you getting enough?” and ” Do you want more?” The boy did not tell his teachers about this, but he did tell his friends. The boy has never gone to confession sicne that day.
This boy, now a man, was apparently prepared to testify and be cross-examined about the incident.
The bottom line is Lahie said no. Sadly she also closed the door on Don Johnson’s offer to let Evans cross-examine Vaillancourt. (Johnson was adamantly opposed to allowing Evans to call the witness, but he did say that he would have no objection to the Crown corss-examining on the allegations.)
So, no evidence that prior to these current allegations and charges Father Vaillancourt was perhaps not at all a man of good character.
The trial resumed with the Crown’s cross examination of Father Vaillancourt.
It was a painful process. Painful!
How long did it take Father Vaillancourt to finally acknowledge that he is in fact a person in a position of trust? It seemed like forever. Hats off to Elaine Evans for her patient, diligent and persistent line of questioning in this matter. She really did a remarkable job. I will come back to that later, but I will tell you that as a Roman Catholic there were moments that I couldn’t believe me ears. Father Vaillancourt is a priest. Not only that, but he was Chancellor of the scandal-plagued Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall for eons, and, he is a canon lawyer! And there he was dancing around trying to sort out if he actually was or was not a person in a position of trust.
Anyway, first things first…
You are probably wondering what exactly is the nature of the sex assault allegations against Father Vaillancourt. Briefly, the complainant (I will call him Craig) has known Father Vaillancourt his entire life. His parents were married by the priest, he and his sibling were baptized by the priest. Craig’s grandparents are good friends of the priest.
On the Sunday afternoon of Labour Day 2015 Craig a situation arose wherein Father Vaillancourt and Craig had an encounter at Vaillancourt’s cottage. Both were in their bathing suits. Craig’s bathing suit was one of those long legged short type bathing suits. We don’t know what kind of bathing suit Vaillancourt was wearing.
Here is the essence of the allegations.
– there were two hugs (Criag says intittaed by Vaillancourt. Vaillancourt says at least the first hug was initiated by Craig) The second hug was a long hug
– during a hug, Father Vaillncourt’s hands landed on Craigs’s bottom. There is agreement to that, but dispute as to exactly where on the buttocks the hand or hands landed, with the priest claiming it was high up in the lower back, a portion most would not construe as part of the buttocks.
– After his hands landed on Craig’s bottom Father Vaillancourt asked “Does this bother you?”
– Craig says Father squeezed his buttocks. Father Vaillancourt denies the pinching;
– Father Vaillancourt asked Craig “Do you have a bid one?” Both agree on that, with Father Vaillancourt testifying that that was a joke
– Vaillancourt said, in French, “I miss human contact.” There are several variations on the translation. There is agreement that it was said, but great pains taken by Father Vaillancourt to explain what he meant by what he said
– The 69-year-old priest asked the 20 year-old, “Do you swallow?”
– The 69-year-old priest told the 20-year-old boy “You have a beautiful body.”
– Vaillacourt made some comment about what a nice navel Crag has, and another about his Treasure Trail (apparenlty this refers to the area from navel to genitals)
– According to Craig, Vaillancourt touched him on the stomach – a rub across the stomach. Vaillancort denies he touched the boy’s stomach.
Craig immediately told various family members what happened. Two have testified. Their testimony corroborates that of Craig.
More to come.
By the way, Father Vallancourt has quite a temper! At one point, he lost it completely on the stand – voice raised, alternately wagging his finger at the Crown and banging the the podium. It was fascinating to behold.
Enough for now,