Late Ottawa Catholic bishop who managed sex abuse complaints now accused of sex abuse

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Ottawa CitizenPublished on: April 18, 2017 | Last Updated: April 18, 2017 5:21 PM EDT

Bishop John Beahan
An Ottawa man says he was sexually abused in August 1979 by the late Bishop John Beahan, who was once the second-highest-ranking member of the Ottawa clergy Ottawa Citizen

An Ottawa man says he was sexually abused in August 1979 by Bishop John Beahan, who was then one of the most powerful figures in the Archdiocese of Ottawa.

The man, now 52, has launched a $2-million lawsuit against the Catholic archdiocese. It represents the first time that Beahan, once the second-highest-ranking member of the Ottawa clergy, has been named in a sex abuse lawsuit.

The allegations also raise a potential motive for Beahan to dismiss sex abuse claims made against fellow clergy members in the 1970s and 80s.

Appointed auxiliary bishop in May 1977, Beahan also served for 12 years as vicar general — essentially, the archdiocese’s chief administrative officer — until he suffered a fatal stroke in March 1988. In his role as vicar general, Beahan would have been responsible for managing complaints lodged against abusive priests.

In a statement of claim filed earlier this month, the man — identified only as M.D. — says he was an altar boy at Nepean’s St. Maurice Parish in the late 1970s, when Rev. Dale Crampton was pastor.

Crampton is the most notorious perpetrator in Ottawa’s clergy sexual abuse scandal, a pedophile with more than 10 known victims. He killed himself in October 2010 by jumping from an Ottawa highrise.M.D. claims that Crampton sexually abused him for two years from time he was 13 years old.

In an interview with the Citizen, M.D. said Crampton invited him to a West Carleton cottage in August 1979. M.D. said he agreed to go because he didn’t want to explain to his parents why he was reluctant to spend time alone with the priest.

Bishop Beahan appeared at the cottage unannounced on Saturday afternoon. “I sat down beside him, we were kind of introduced, and then I remember Father Crampton said he had to go into town to do groceries or something,” M.D. said. “He left me and Bishop Beahan alone.”

They talked for a while, M.D. said, until Beahan began to flatter him, touch, kiss and fondle him. The bishop, he said, asked, “Does Father Dale do this, too?” They moved to Crampton’s bedroom, M.D. said, where the abuse escalated to masturbation and simulated sex acts.

“I remember thinking, ‘Man, I’ve been set up here,” he said. “I was nervous, scared, confused, all three.”

At one point, he heard Crampon return from his errand, but the priest did not intervene. “I wanted to go home,” he said. “I was so concerned they’d come into my room (that night), but they never did. They did drink quite a bit.”

Beahan was gone the next morning.

The lawsuit’s allegations are still to be tested in court. A spokesman for the diocese, Deacon Gilles Ouellette, said it does not comment on matters before the courts.

M.D. said he didn’t deal with the emotional turmoil caused by his abuse for decades, and relied on alcohol to numb the pain: He developed a stutter, was uncertain of his sexuality, found intimacy difficult, and was often suicidal. It was only after reading about Crampton’s history of abuse in the Citizen last year that he resolved to confront his past.

He told his therapist, then his wife, children, siblings and parents about what happened. A father of three, M.D. said all of his most important relationships have been damaged by it. “My children deserved a more attentive, loving father,” said M.D., who works in the funeral services industry.

M.D.’s lawyer, Rob Talach, said his client’s allegations support the notion that there existed in the 1970s and 80s a close-knit circle of child abusers in the Ottawa clergy, and that Beahan — the senior diocesan official responsible for managing abuse complaints — was part of it. “When the shepherd is the wolf,” he said, “it’s pretty hard to protect the flock.”

In June 1986, Crampton was charged after a group of parents from St. Maurice Parish went to the police with sex abuse allegations. The parents approached police in March after becoming frustrated by the inaction of then Archbishop Joseph-Aurèle Plourde and Bishop Beahan.

Crampton was at the hub of the archdiocese’s small circle of child abusers.

He was a longtime friend of Rev. Barry McGrory, who was convicted in 1993 of sexual assault, and now faces charges in connection with three other alleged victims. Crampton and McGrory were friends while students at St. Patrick’s High School in Ottawa, and later attended the seminary together.

As a young priest, Crampton travelled with Beahan to New York City for the visit of Pope Paul VI in October 1965,  and worked with him at St. Elizabeth Parish.

In 1974, Crampton became one of two priests elected to the Ottawa Catholic School Board. His Catholic board colleague, Rev. Kenneth Keeler, would be charged with abusing three boys in the 1970s and 80s.

Keeler’s criminal trial was halted by his sudden guilty plea. During early testimony, court heard that the priest would select young boys to share his bed at St. Brigid’s Summer Camp for needy children in Low, Quebec. One witness also testified that he saw what appeared to be Keeler masturbating Beahan on a cottage balcony at the camp. Keeler denied the incident took place.

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COMMENTS

Kenneth McGrath ·

The Roman Catholic Church should lose its tax exemption status – period. They keep enabling criminals. There’s no reason for their church to have that privilege within our country any more.
Like · Reply · 25 · 13 hrs
Dibby Guarna

I could agree more!
Like · Reply · 2 · 12 hrs
Non.Violence

It is time to stop pretending that religions are real.
They can’t all be real now can they ? …and most likely none of them are.
We are far too deferential to religions, pretending that somehow they have an inherent sense of morality, when in fact, the opposite is usually true.
Whether it is Catholic child abuse, or Islamic violence, or the oppression of women in many sects, it is time to demand that religions comply with human rights or go out of business.
If they have ancient texts that justify atrocities, then change the texts, or subject them to hate crimes legislation.
We don’t need religions….their day has passed.
Like · Reply · 3 · 3 hrs
Andy Andreadis

True Bishops defrock Priest’s and have them arrested for these deeds. Bishop’s that move Priest’s around or on the hush hush are usually complicit to these actions. So sad.
Like · Reply · 2 · 9 hrs
Allan du Manoir de Juaye ·

Lies, abuse, illicit behaviour – the true indicators of catholicism. I am a recovering catholic, but I’m not sure I will ever get over it.
Like · Reply · 2 · 5 hrs
Donna Grose

Wow most of these priest have a problem. They need to have lead a normal life and these disgusting things would not happen- very sad
Like · Reply · 4 · 12 hrs
Renee Deschenes ·

Father Joe isn’t looking si bad now is he? He might have had a gambling problem but at least he wasn’t a diddler
Like · Reply · 2 · 13 hrs
Tania Leggat ·

Don’t excuse one crime for another. Father Joe is still a thief who stole from his parish to feed his gambling addiction. Not excusing the pedopheliac behaviour of his counterparts but he still stole his parishioners money and made them love him so much that they were ok with it
Like · Reply · 2 · 10 hrs
Allan du Manoir de Juaye ·

…That we know of yet…
Like · Reply · 1 · 5 hrs
Jody Maclaren

So far as we know…
Like · Reply · 1 · 1 hr
Joel Urnill ·

Didn’t anyone learn anything from South Park? All priests are pedophiles….sheesh
Sharon Thibodeau

Shameful disgrace to the church any church and the worshippers.
Like · Reply · 1 · 11 hrs
Sharon Thibodeau

The worshippers go to church to worship their God not to be abuser by those they trust.
Like · Reply · 11 hrs
Allan du Manoir de Juaye ·

Sharon Thibodeau You can’t tust anyone in that church.
Like · Reply · 5 hrs
Elizabeth Zeidan

Makes me sick that people idolized these people.
Like · Reply · 3 · 10 hrs
Anne Laalo ·

Sick sick sick.
Like · Reply · 1 · 10 hrs
Stephen Lowry ·

Works at Retired
No, Father Joe is still looking bad.
Like · Reply · 1 · 12 hrs
Nour Eddine Chaouai

Robin Galipeau

They should be crucified.
Like · Reply · 1 · 12 hrs
Anabel Ruiz

Haruki Chou

Is there any priest who’s not in there for the sex?
André Beauchamp ·

They’re all the same

7 Responses to Late Ottawa Catholic bishop who managed sex abuse complaints now accused of sex abuse

  1. Sylvia says:

    Good for you MD for speaking out!

    Bit by painful bit. Slowly but surely. Slowly but surely the dots are being connected.
    There are others….

  2. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    MD – I applaud your courage in coming forward! Try to be patient with the process for it is a long one. I believe you have picked the best of the best to represent you!
    Rob Talach will lead you through it all. Trust in him, even when you might think there is no progress in your case.
    Also, believe in yourself! Mike.

  3. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    I have railed on over the past few years about leadership. Again I say an organization is only as good and strong, or weak and disordered as it’s leadership is.
    Need I say anymore?
    I hope that any victims of these priests can find some peace and solace for themselves in coming forward. There is NO shame or guilt in the truth. Mike.

  4. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    If I may Sylvia, I would direct everyone here to your post of January 12/2012, regarding “connectng the dots”.
    I really hope that Mike Gibbins is doing okay, and that he feels vindicated by his efforts to help root out the ills of the Archdiocese of Ottawa.
    Just imagine, each one of us here, being threatened with ex-communication for telling the truth!!!
    This was done by our very own “Christian Catholic Church” (ie – Plourde). the senior Ctholic cleric in the Archdiocese of Ottawa!! Mike.

  5. TC says:

    Hi Sylvia,

    I hope you are well! I know a story that is very similar and I know that you know that too ;)! Also, and sadly I know that there are many others that haven’t found the moment in their life to come forward. I am willing to support MD with any thing he needs as “the cottage story with Priests and Bishops is all to familiar!

  6. michael says:

    thank you for your support I would love to speak to you if i could md

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