Three updates

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First, three updates

(1)  Father Omer Desjardins (Oblate priest. Previously convicted)

02 October 2017: 1 pm,  “to set date,” court room # 302, Winnipeg Provincial courthouse (Main Floor, 408 York Ave.)

I’m not sure what the date is which is to be set.  We shall see.  At least it’s a sign of movement.

Please keep the complainant in your prayers.

(2)  Father Robin Gwyn (Kingston Archdiocese)

Father Robin Gwyn was sentenced yesterday on the charges to which he had entered a guilty plea last October.  He has now been sentenced for the charges which evoked a guilty verdict, and the charges to which he entered a guilty plea.  The sentences are to run concurrently:

I personally hate concurrent sentences, but at least the victim has the comfort of the guilty plea.

Please keep the complainants in your prayers.

(3)  Eric Dejaeger omi (defrocked Oblate, currently incarcerated serial molester)

27 July 2017Appeal now underway in Nunavut for convicted child molester

Anyway, note that it is not a lawyer but lawyers – plural. Dejeager has lawyers, – who knows how many? They’ve made Dejaeger’s file their priority.

How I wish there were half as much loving, caring,  sharing and rights for victims as we all too often see offered to these child molesters.

Please keep Dejaeger’s many victims in your prayers.

*****

There are several other articles of interest posted.  One regarding a priest’s  acquittal in Michigan:

20 July 2017:  Rev. Sylvestre Obwaka Found Not Guilty Of Sexual Assault & related articles and information

Read the articles.  Disturbing.  I hope and pray that Father Obwaka is defrocked as, under the circumstances, he should be.

I do, however, have concerns regarding the future of the priest/complainant/victim.  It’s one thing if he was a willing participant, but quite another if, as he alleged, he was sexually assaulted by Obwaka.

As I said in a comment earlier, I hope that there is an appeal.  I hope and pray too that there is some way to allow testimony from the victim in Kenya who is more than willing to testify.

Finally, I trust that the diocese will dig a little deeper into all of this to ensure that the truth is known and both priests are dealt with accordingly.

And then on to Australia…

The other articles relate to the sex abuse allegations against Cardinal George Pell and his first appearance in court.

26 July 2917:  Secrecy and security envelop George Pell’s magistrates court show

26 July 2017: Cardinal George Pell faces court over historical sex offences

It’s going to be an absolute circus every time there is a court date. I think Ii will put his upcoming court dates on the legal calendar to ensure we don’t inadvertently overlook one.  I am sure many of you are as interested as I am in seeing how this winds its way through the courts.

On that note, time for supper 🙂

Enough for now,

Sylvia

Posted in Accused or charged, Acquitted, Bishops, Canada, Cardinal Pell, Clerical sexual predators, homosexual, Scandal, Vatican | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Betrayed!

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Previously convicted Oblate molester Father Omer Desjardins had a courtdate scheduled in Winnipeg this afternoon:

24 July 2017: 1 pm,  “to be spoken to,” court room # 302, Winnipeg Provincial courthouse (Main Floor, 408 York Ave.)

I see no coverage of the outcome as yet.  If you hear or see anything please pass it along.

Please keep the complainant in your prayers.

*****

The next court date for Father George Ansel Smith is:

28 August 2017: 09:30 am, “Adjourned for Election and/or Plea,” Stephenville Newfoundland courthouse.

 

 

 

Note too that the following article ran in the Western Star on 17 July 2017:

An incident alleged to have taken place nearly 40 years ago has resulted in a 79-year-old man from Dartmouth, N.S., being charged with indecently assaulting another male.

The man was not present when his case was called in provincial court in Stephenville on Monday and was instead represented by a lawyer.

The appearance was the third one since his first appearance on the charge on May 1.

There is publication ban in place on the case and The Western Star has chosen not to identify the accused because as of press time it was unable to confirm if the ban extended to the man’s name.

Information filed with the court indicates the alleged assault occurred sometime between Jan. 1, 1978 and Dec. 31, 1980 and that it took place at or near St. Fintan’s.

During Monday’s appearance the case was set over to Aug. 28.

Please keep the complainant in your prayers.

*****

There are two courtdates set for this coming Wednesday:

1. Ex priest presently incarcerated convicted serial Oblate molester Eric Dejaeger is attempting to appeal a number of his convictions.  A court date reralted to that appeal is set

26 July 2017:  1:30 pm,  Nunavut Court of Appeal, Iqaluit courthouse, Iqaluit, Nunavut

Dejaeger will probably not be in Iqaluit but will without doubt – as per court order – be represented by a court appointed lawyer whose tab will be picked up by the Attorney General of Canada.

Please keep the many victims in your prayers as this appeal continues to drag its way through the system.

2.   Convicted molester Father Robin Gwyn has a court date related to the charges to which he entered a guilty plea:

26 July 2017:  11 am,  “to be spoken to,” Ontario Superior Court of Justice, 5 Court Street, Kingston

There is a possibility that this will be sentencing, but it is highly possible that it will be tied into setting a date for a sentencing hearing and/or sentencing.  I do wish I knew.  No matter, I encourage those who can do so to attend.

Please keep the complainants in your prayers.

*****

Yes, I realize that I have yet to blog on the Father Denis Vaillancourt closing arguments.  It has been running through my head every day.  All I can think of when I think of Father Vaillancourt and these charges is the terrible betrayal of the complainant/victim/”Craig” and this young man’s entire family.  Yes, it’s true, that betrayal is always there. Always.  But, in this instance it has been so visible.  It has been almost palpable.

There were at least 15 members of the complainant’s family and extended family members in court for closing argument.  A lovely family.  Father Vaillancourt was  brought into that family about 28 years ago.  He married their children.  He baptised their babies. He shared their special occasions.  He was invited into their homes for Christmases and Easters.  He was virtually viewed as one of the family.

Many of the family members are still in a state of utter shock.   They don’t understand.  How could he do this?  Why did he do this?

There were tears in the courtroom during the closing arguments.  The Crown was talking about relationships of trust.   Craig’s mother broke down completely:  big deep sobs suddenly emanated through the courtroom.  The kind of sobs that convulse your entire body.  The talk of relationships of trust was just too much.  Mom was heart-broken .  She was asked to leave the courtroom.  Craig left with her.  Eventually both returned.

And then it was Craig’s Dad.  Dad barely managed to stifle the sobs, but, despite shoulders heaving, he did so.   It was a battle, but he managed to ensure that not a peep emerged from his lips. He manged to keep his agony silent.  He was able to stay.

These poor souls can not believe that the Father Vaillancourt that they knew and loved would sexually assault Craig.   True, we do not as yet have a verdict, but we have heard Father Vaillancourt admit that he had had his hands on Craig’s bottom, and we heard him admit to having his hand or hands on Craig’s belly, and we heard him dance around in ever decreasing circles while he admitted to making – but trying to explain away or rationalize – his simultaneous very inappropriate sexual comments and questions.

Aside the usual argument that anything which happened was consensual, and the claim that there is no “air of reality” to the allegations made by Craig and other witnesses, defence is basically arguing that the acts (bottom and belly) were not sexual and that the Criminal Code does not define sexual assault and that therefore the judge will have to determine if those acts constitute sexual assault which in Mr. Johnson’s opinion they are not.   The Crown did a masterful job of tying all the pieces together; the hands on the bottom and the belly touching were  sexual, intertwined as they were with the sexual language which simultaneously emanated from Father Denis Vaillancourt.  She addressed the fact that consent can not be obtained after the fact, as Vaillancourt has tried to imply when he asked Craig “Is that okay?”  Ms. Evans compared that to closing the barn door after the horses have escaped.

Father Vaillancourt sat poker faced throughout most of the hearing.  He did become very flushed when Mom broke down.  And he had a little chuckle when his lawyer exchanged a few joking words with the judge which Father Vaillancourt found to be quite amusing, but, that aside – poker faced.

His lawyer Johnson tried to imply that Grandma’s testimony was all triggered by her anger at Father Vaillancourt.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Grandma is not angry at Vaillancourt.  Strange as it may sound, she truly is not angry.  She just can not understand why Vaillancourt would do what he did to her grandson.  “My Craig.”  She constantly referred to Craig as “My Craig.”  She would look at Father Vaillancourt when she was testifying and ask “Why did you do this to my Craig?”  or “How could you do this to  my Craig?”

And so, even during the brief break between submissions Grandma approached Father Vaillancourt in the hall.  She wasn’t angry.  They talked.  I couldn’t hear what was said, but I could see.   She wasn’t yelling and screaming.  She was looking for answers.  She is finished with Father Vaillancourt.  There is no doubt about that.  Byt, she’s still trying to understand.

Sad. An entire family.  Betrayed. Betrayed by a priest they loved, a priest who had become a part of their family.

That’s actually what has stuck with me about this trial.  The betrayal.  The terrible terrible sense of betrayal felt by young and old alike. As I said, it was palpable.

How will the judge rule?  I have no idea.  I know how I think she should rule, but I have no idea what the verdict will be.  No matter the verdict, Craig and his family know what happened.   The trust is gone.  The friendship is over.

As for Father Vaillancourt, whether convicted or not, he  has, of his own volition,  lost the love and long-term friendship of an entire family – from Grandma, to children, to husbands and wives , to grandchildren.

Please keep Craig and his family  in your prayers.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

Posted in Accused or charged, Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese, Canada, Circling the wagons, Clerical sexual predators, Cornwall, Scandal, Trials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Was it financial “impropriety”?

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Previously convicted molester Father George Smith had a court date in Stephenville, Newfoundland this morning:

17 July 2017:  09:30 am, “Adjourned for Election and/or Plea,”  Stephenville Newfoundland courthouse

If anyone has nes regarding the outcome please pass it along.

As always, please keep the complainant in your prayers.

*****

Yes, I will be making a few comments regarding the 13 July 2017 closing arguments at the Father Denis Vaillancourt sex assault trial.  I hadn’t realized how much catch-up I had to do on emails, and had completely forgotten that we had headed off to Alabama without cleaning up and planting our garden, 🙁  All the flats of bedding plants were neatly lined up in the corner of the garden!  I knew they wouldn;t last so, just before our departure,  told a neighbour to take them (I’d rather than than see them shrivel up and go to waste)

So, garden clean up has been more or less accomplished and I am heading off now, hoping to pick up some bedding plants.  It’s a clear sunny day so am hoping to get those purchased and planted before another downpour!

*****

Please note the following information posted on the Father Fred Olds thread.  Note that according to Archbishop LeGatt Father Olds does not have permission to engage in public ministry of any kind and is permitted only to ‘say Mass” in his residence, in other words, he can not ‘say’/offer u a public Mass.

It is unknown if the impropriety which prompted the preliminary enquiry relates to the $4000,000 which was stolen from St. Bernadette’s.

*****

There are more bits and pieces of information to post.  Right now I must head off to see if at this late time of the year I can find some bedding plants 🙂

Enough for now,

Sylvia

Posted in Accused or charged, Administrative, Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese, Bishops, Canada, Cornwall, Scandal | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More later

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Closing arguments in the Father Denis Vaillancourt sex assault trial were delivered yesterday in Cornwall.  The judge will render her decision on 14 September 2017 at 09:30 am.

I have a commitment this morning – will give you a bit of an idea of what transpired later today.  Please keep the complainant and his family in your prayers.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

Posted in Accused or charged, Administrative, Canada, Scandal, Trials | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Day four of trial tomorrow

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A reminder that closing arguments in the Father Denis Vaillancourt sex assault trial are scheduled for tomorrow afternoon:

Thursday, 13 July 2017:  2 pm, TRIAL day four,  closing arguments,   Cornwall Ontario courthouse (29 Second St. W.)

I encourage those who can do so to attend.  Please keep the complainant and his family in your prayers.

*****

We arrived home at 11:30 pm last night.  Today was the usual business of unpacking and then a dash out to pick up some food to tide us over until the weekend 🙂  I had to put on a sweater for the first time in well over 10 days – it’s actually quite cool here in Ottawa – and I hear that it has been raining and raining and raining for days on end 🙁  I must say the weather in our little corner of Alabama was absolutely beautiful.  We were fortunate enough to have a pond to pop in for a refreshing dip when we felt the need, and lots of trees and a beautiful big porch for shade.  So, no complaints about the weather down south at all. We did have several rounds of dry thunder, but it never amounted to any more than that – lots of rumble but not a drop of rain :).

And, it’s looking like more rain is about to hit us here in the Ottawa area any minute.  I feel sorry for the poor souls who are camping 🙁

Anyway, back to work.  A few articles posted this afternoon.  Check NEW to the site  If there is anything of import which was in the news while I was away please send a link.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

Posted in Accused or charged, Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese, Canada, Cornwall, Scandal, Trials | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Nearly home

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A wonderful visit in Alabama, and now, nearly home! We spent the night in Lexington Virginia- all being well we’ll be home some time this evening.   A beautiful drive up so far – looking forward to today’s run.

Sylvia

Posted in Clerical sexual predators | 2 Comments

Nearly there

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We’re  in Alabama 🙂  three more  hours on the road and we’ve reached our destination.  A beautiful drive.

Sylvia

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Will defend charges rigorously

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By now most of you probably heard or read that The Cardinal has been charged .  Yes, Cardinal George Pell has been charged and is facing “multiple” charges from “multiple” complainants :

29 June 2017:  “Senior Vatican official Cardinal George Pell facing multiple sex assault charges in Australia” & related articles & VIDEO

According to a statement released by the Archdiocese of Sydney the Cardinal will return to Australia to face the charges.  Here is the statement in its entirety:

Although it is still in the early hours of the morning in Rome, Cardinal George Pell has been informed of the decision and action of Victoria Police.

He has again strenuously denied all allegations.

Cardinal Pell will return to Australia, as soon as possible, to clear his name following advice and approval by his doctors who will  also advise on his travel arrangements.

He said he is looking forward to his day in court and will defend the charges vigorously.

Cardinal Pell will make a further statement in Rome at the Holy See Press Office at 8.30am, Rome time, or 4.30pm AEST

The statement is here.

Counseling is available from CatholicCare on 131819.

For information on safeguarding and protection of children protocols and complaint handling please contact the director of The Safeguarding and Ministerial Integrity Office on 9390 5810.

For a summary of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney Policy on the care, well-being and protection of children and young people and for the Code of Conduct – Working with children and young people, please visit www.sydneycatholic.org/safeguarding.

If his doctors allow him to travel I  am sure the Cardinal will mount quite  a defence.

Please keep the complainants in your prayers.

*****

I am off to Alabama in the wee small hours of the morning – will be visiting family who are are in the process of moving, so it will probably be a sort of a working holiday 🙂   The car is packed – we are looking forward to driving in new territory.  Meanwhile, local family members are coming to spend some time here while we’re gone to enjoy the benefits of living out of the big city.

Once we reach Alabama there will probably be issues for me getting online to work on the site.  Cable and all are yet to be connected down there and I have no idea how long it will take.  So,  I ask that you please not send emails to me for the next week to ten days. I’m just not sure if I will see them 🙁  And, for those waiting for a reply to an email sent over the past few days, sorry, but I probably won’t have an opportunity to get back to you until we’re back home.

If worst comes to worst I will make a point of getting to s restaurant or something periodically, but that will be limited  to checking and moderating  comments .

Thankfully there is nothing on the Legal Calendar until 13 July when Father Denis Vaullancourt‘s sex assault trial wraps up with closing arguments from both sides.  I will be back by then for sure.

Mark your calendars:

13 July 2017:  2 pm, TRIAL day four,  closing arguments,   Cornwall Ontario courthouse (29 Second St. W.)

Please keep the compliant in your prayers.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Clerical sexual predators | 1 Comment

The Cardinal has been charged

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He’s been charged:

……..

Cardinal George Pell charged with multiple sexual offences

Third-ranking official in the Vatican charged by Victoria police in move that will send shockwaves around the Catholic church

The Guardian

28 June 2017

Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic and the third-ranking official in the Vatican, has been charged with multiple sexual offences by police.

The charges were served on Pell’s legal representatives in Melbourne on Thursday and they have been lodged also at Melbourne magistrates court. He will appear at the court on 18 July.

“Cardinal Pell is facing multiple charges … and there are multiple complainants,” Victoria police’s deputy commissioner Shane Patton said. The charges were “historical sexual assault offences”.

Pell is the highest-ranking Vatican official to be charged in the Catholic church’s long-running sexual abuse scandal.

Pell has consistently denied all allegations against him. After the possibility of his being charged was raised publicly, Pell told reporters: “I’d just like to restate my innocence.”

“I stand by everything I’ve said at the royal commission [on child sexual abuse] and in other places. We have to respect due process, wait until it’s concluded and obviously I’ll continue to cooperate fully.”

Asked if he would be prepared to go to Australia, he said: “I will continue to cooperate fully.”

It is so far unclear just which allegations Cardinal Pell has been charged with.

Detectives from Victoria police’s Sano taskforce, established to investigate allegations that emerged during a parliamentary inquiry in Victoria and the later royal commission, interviewed Pell in Rome in October last year about allegations against him.

Last year, citing ill health, Pell declined to return to Australia to give evidence to the royal commission on child sexual abuse in person last year and instead gave evidence by videolink from Rome.

The royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, formed in 2013, is due to deliver its final report by 15 December.

In February this year the Australian Senate called on the cardinal to return home “to assist the Victorian police and office of public prosecutions with their investigation into these matters”.

Pell dismissed the parliamentary resolution as “an interference on the part of the Senate in the due process of the Victoria police investigation.”

Pell is a former archbishop of Sydney and Melbourne. Since 2014 Pell has been prefect of the secretariat for the economy, the Vatican’s treasurer.

When Pope Francis was asked about allegations against Pell last year, he told reporters: “It’s true, there is a doubt. We have to wait for justice and not first make a mediatic judgment a judgment of gossip because that won’t help. Once justice has spoken, I will speak.”

Shane Patton, Victoria state police deputy commissioner, announcing charges against George Pell in Melbourne.
Shane Patton, Victoria state police deputy commissioner, announcing charges against George Pell in Melbourne. Photograph: STAFF/Reuters

Patton told the press conference: “During the course of the investigation in relation to Cardinal Pell, there has been a lot of reporting in the media and speculation about the process that has been involved in the investigation and also the charging.

“For clarity, I want to be perfectly clear, the process and procedures that are being followed in the charging of Cardinal Pell have been the same that have been applied in a whole range of historical sex offences whenever we investigate them.

“The fact that he has been charged on summons, we have used advice from the office of public prosecutions and also we have engaged with his legal representatives is common and standard practice. There has been no change in any procedures whatsoever. Advice was received and sought from the office of public prosecutions, however ultimately, the choice to charge Cardinal Pell was one that was made by Victoria Police.

“Cardinal Pell, like any other defendant, has a right to due process and so therefore, it is important that the process is allowed to run its natural course.”

Patton said as the matter was now due before the court, police would be making no further comment.

Posted in Accused or charged, Cardinal Pell, Clerical sexual predators | Tagged , | 6 Comments

”this happened to me therefore I did it to him’?

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This is a an attempt to  recap  Father Denis Vaillancourt‘s testimony at his sex assault trial in Cornwall.

The judge in the case is Diane Lahaie.  Some of you may recall that Lahaie represented the Ontario Provincial Police at the Cronwall Public Inquiry.

Former Cornwall Crown turned defence lawyer Don Johnson is representing Father Vaillancourt.

Elaine Evans is the Crown attorney.

For reference sake, the following are the past blogs dealing with testimony at the trial:

22 June 2017:  BLOG “Why is he saying he’s not guilty?” (this carries a brief overview of the testimony of other witnesses and the OPP videotaped interview of Father Vaillancourt)

20 June 2017:  BLOG   A little background

16 June 2017:  BLOG  A painful process

15 June 2017:  BLOG  But, here we are at trial

13 June 2017: BLOG Day One wrapped up

Before starting on the testimony, a reminder that Father Vaillancourt is a canon lawyer who also served as Chancellor of the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall for  nearly 30 years . He also headed the committee which came up with the 1995 Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall’s sex abuse guidelines.

 

TESTIMONY (15 June 2017)

  • Attended Cornwall Classical College;
  • He was ordained October 1974 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Alexandria;
  • On 01 September 1980 he purchased a cottage in Bainsville, Ontario
  • Now 71-years-of age;
  • Retired 30 June 2015.

 

  • During his examination in chief Father Vaillancourt was asked if he had ever been disciplined as a priest.  Vaillancourt replied in the negative.   At this the Crown protested that Father Vaillancourt was using this to hide behind a claim of good character.  Evans  asked that the court permit evidence  from a witness who would testify that about 30 years ago he went to confession to Father Vaillancourt and the priest 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 16 June 2017 blog A painful process covers this in a little more detail.  Justice Diane Lahaie denied Evan’s request.

Father Vaillancourt’s testimony regarding Labour Day weekend 2015:

  • – On 06 September 2015 Craig stopped by Father Vaillancourt’s cottage (Craig testified that he hoped he could go sea-dooing).  When Craig arrived, Father Vaillancourt was just coming in off the water;
  • – Father Vaillancourt said that he offered Craig a beer and  that Craig refused saying he had to drive (Craig testified that Father Vaillnacourt offered him a rye);
  • –  They talked out in the yard.  During that conversation Father Vaillancourt testified that he had asked about Craig’s personal  life.  When his lawyer Don Johnson  asked why he asked such questions Vaillancourt replied that  earlier in the summer Craig’s grandmother had told him that Craig is gay (There was no mention of this when Grandma was on the stand, and, in fact, there was no mention by any of the other witnesses that Craig is or thinks he is or might be gay.  Craig did testify that he had asked Vaillancourt the year before if it was a sin to be bisexual.  That was it.   Until Vaillancourt took the stand, that was the sole reference – at least in the courtroom – to Craig’s ‘sexual orientation.’   When Vaillancourt  was interviewed by police he was asked why he asked Craig about boyfriends his reply was that he was wondering about Craig’s sex life and that he was curious and concerned. He said that Craig was very comfortable with him, and that a year ago Craig had gone to Father Vaillancourt for confession. );
  • Vaillancourt also testified that during this chat he asked about Craig’s health.  He did so, he said, because he knew Craig suffered from depression.  He also said  he asked Craig if he was taking his meds. and Craig said “No.”  (There was testimony from other witnesses that Craig suffered from bouts of severe depression)   ;
  • – According to Father Vaillancourt Craig followed him into the cottage.  (According to Craig, Father Vaillancourt invited him  in);
  • – According to Father Vaillancourt, once inside the cottage  Craig stretched out his arms to to Vaillancourt.  Vaillancourt testified that he understood from the outstretched arms that Craig wanted a hug (Craig said Father Vaillancourt put his hand on Craig’s shoulder and Craig understood from that gesture that the priest wanted a hug.  In his police interview Vaillancourt said he didn’t recall putting his hand on Craig’s shoulder)  Vaillancourt said the hug was brief (Craig testified it was longer than a normal hug).  Vaillancourt testified that he had never done this before (Craig testified that sometimes after going to confession he would give Father a hug).

That was the first hug;

  •  There was a second hug.   When asked by his lawyer why there was a second hug Vaillancourt replied:  “I don’t know.”  According to Father Vaillancourt, it was Craig who initiated the second hug (Craig testified that Father Vaillancourt asked for the second hug);
  •  Father Vaillancourt testified that it was at the beginning  of the second hug that Father Vaillancourt  made the comments “I miss affection” and   “this makes me feel good.”  Vaillancourt had explained the former comment in a police interview by saying that he, Vaillancourt, is alone and has no spouse. Under cross examination Vaillancourt agreed with the Crown that the difference between spouse and friends is sex, – but then Vaillancourt added that affection doesn’t necessarily mean sex and he  quibbled away about what exactly he meant by the comment;

He asked Craig if Craig’s friends tell him that he, Craig, has a nice body.  Vaillancourt tried to explain that comment away as a joke.

He agreed that he had touched Craig’s belly button.

It was during this second hug that Father Vaillancourt said his hands went down and touched “the upper part” of Craig’s buttocks.  He insisted that the touch was high up, more like in or close to  the small of the back (Craig testified that it was further down – not in the small of the back).

Under cross-examination Vaillancourt said that when he realized what was happening he moved his hands right away.

When the Crown pointed out that Vaillancourt had not asked permission [to touch Craig’s bottom] the priest replied that right afterwards he asked Craig: “Does that bother you?”  The Crown told Vaillancourt that that was too late.  Vaillancourt replied that it was done accidentally and that he wanted to make amends.

That second hug lasted about 5 seconds.  Initially Father Vaillancourt said he didn’t think five seconds was a long time, however, after the  Crown literally timed out five seconds on the courtroom clock and pointed out that it actually is a long time  Father Vaillancourt seemed to have a change of heart and said that it took him a long time to realize what happened!

He told the court that when he told police in an interview that he knew he had done something wrong he was referring to putting his hands on Craig’s ‘butt”;

Grandma

  • Father Vaillancourt testified that the morning after the incident Grandma arrived at his door saying that she wanted to talk to him.  According to Vaillancourt Grandma told him that the prior day Craig had arrived at her place upset and trembling.  She said that Craig had told her what had happened, and that she believed him.   He said that Grandma confronted him and asked:  “Did you touch his butt?”;

Grandma, he said, told him that Craig had told his mother and his father what had happened.   When he heard that, he testified, he wanted to call Craig’s Mom “to apologize” for having his hands on Craig’s “butt”;

  • -There was a second visit from Grandma.  Vaillancourt testified that during the second visit Grandma asked if Father Vaillancourt had told Craig that he, Craig ‘has a big one’?  On the witness stand Vaillancourt did not deny posing the question, but he testified that that was a joke.  He said that for him it was  a joke, and he didn’t expect an answer from Craig;
  • When he was asked in his examination-in-chief if Grandma asked him if liked young men he replied that it was hard for him to remember [if he told her that];
  • He denied being attracted to men.  When he was asked by the Crown why he told Grandma that he is he replied that he didn’t remember telling her that.  When the Crown suggested that there is no way he could forget the conversation with Grandma who was crying and distraught, he countered: “She wasn’t always crying.”   When the Crown said it must have been awful for Grandma feeling that she had been betrayed by Vaillancourt he replied “I told her I made a mistake.  I felt bad.”  Asked what he felt bad about, he said ‘For grabbing Craig’s butt.’

Asked by the Crown if it is shameful to be gay, there was a pause, then “well, society accepts it”;

Call to Mom

  • He testified that he called Craig’s Mom.  He said it was a short call and that she was agreeable to what he said;

“Bond” of Trust

  • Under cross-examination Father Vaillancourt was asked about his role as a priest, in general and in relation to Craig and his family.  This turned into a long long drawn out and terribly convoluted process.  The priest turned himself inside out to avoid any inference of what the Crown called ‘a bond of trust’ which existed with Craig and his family  because Vaillancourt is a priest.  He tried his darndes to negate any crossover between his friendship with the family and his vocation as a priest (the word vocation was not used. ) .  He tried to insist that being a priest was irrelevant to the bond of trust Grandma placed in him;
  • At one point the Crown was addressing  the fact that Grandma referred to Father Vaillancourt as Father Vaillancourt.  In a flash Vaillancourt shot back and referenced times Grandma  called him “Denis”;
  • Things got tense.  At one point Father Vaillancourt lost his cool completely.  With voice raised and face flushed  he pointed his finger at Evans: “”You’re putting words in my mouth.” The enraged priest alternately wagged his finger at the Crown and banged the podium.  Sad to say, it was a sight to behold;
  • Not only was there an attempt by Father Vaillancourt to downplay his role as a priest in his interactions with the family,  he tried his darnedest to put his friendship with Craig at arm’s length.  And so, when he was asked  if he considered Craig his friend, he replied “No” – and then he went on to explain his response by saying alternately  that Craig  ” is not my age,” “we don’t share the same outlook on life,” and, that in 2015 “I had just retired and he was still in school.”

When he was essentially asked if he would agree that his friendship with the family was impacted by  the fact that he is a priest he replied: “I guess”

Asked if he agreed that Craig looked up to him, he replied : “I suppose so.”;

  • Father Vaillancourt testified that Craig had gone to him for confession “two or three times.”  When the Crown raised a question related to the fact  that Craig said he had asked Father Vaillancourt if it is a sin to be bisexual, Vaillancourt blurted out something to the effect of:  ‘Your honour, I can’t answer this question.  She’s trying to make me break the seal of confession.  She’s trying to make me.  I can not do that.’

A short discussion ensued.  The Crown asked Vaillancourt to confirm that 18-year-old Craig asked Vaillancourt if it is a  sin to be bisexual.  ” No comment.”   Vaillancourt then made another comment about not breaking the seal of confession, at which point the Crown said curtly:  “You already broke it “! (Craig testified that he had asked Father the question the year before the incident at the cottage.  We were never told if that question was or was not posed during confession. )

When the Crown suggested that the matter of bisexuality was a an issue of concern for Craig in 2015:  No comment.

When the Crown made reference to Vaillancourt’s testimony that Grandma told him that Craig was gay, the priest grinned and replied “That’s different.”  Vaillancourt testified that he had no problem revealing that information because he didn’t hear it in confession.

When the Crown suggested that he had counselled Craig about being gay or bisexual Vallancourt replied that he never counselled Craig apart from confession.  However the Crown then referenced Father Vaillancourt’s police interview in which Vaillancourt told the officer that he, Vaillancourt: was always trying to encourage Craig;   had asked Craig questions about his, Craig’s, sex life and about swallowing [semen]; had asked  Craig how long it had been since he, Craig, had had sex; and, he was trying to accept who Craig was.    When the Crown finished, Father Vaillancourt said:  “I should have added that I was not judgmental.” And then, shortly thereafter, Father Vaillancourt  told the Crown that he had counselled Craig regarding his, Craig’s, well being and his lifestyle, and said he suggested to Craig that Craig should be more careful.    In another exchange he agreed that he would provide advice or counsel to Craig “like anyone would do” adding that he knew Craig had bouts of depression.

There was actually some back and forth regarding the fact that Craig suffered from depression, with Father Vaillancourt denying that Craig had told him about his depression and it’s impact on is life.   According to Vaillancourt, it was Grandma who told him about the depression and the severe impact it had on Craig’s life;

When the Crown said that he, Vaillancourt,  has a sacred status derived from the fact that he is a priest, and that he always has that sacred status, he replied:  “I suppose so.”  He then agreed with the Crown that he has to very careful when dealing with the vulnerable.  And he agreed that he therefore has to be very careful about not using information he attains as a priest to his own advantage;

  • In due course Father Vaillancourt agreed that he is a person in a position of trust, but, literally within minutes said that “because of the age difference between us I didn’t view it as a position of trust.”  When the Crown queried that response, Vaillancourt replied: ‘I suppose I am in a position of trust “;

The Crown queried why he would mention age difference, whereupon  the priest replied that he had difficulty understanding the definition of the word “trust” so he didn’t really know how to respond.

When the Crown then suggested that Father Vaillancourt was referring to the Criminal Code and distancing himself from the legal definition he responded “I don’t know.”   When the Crown asked if he, Vallancourt, would be in more of a position of trust if Craig was age 16 or 17, Vaillancourt asked:  “Could you define the word for me?”   He then agreed that someone confiding in him for help or advice has nothing to do with age, and he agreed that he was thinking of the legal definition.

Finally, after endless tap dancing around, Father Vaillancourt agreed that Craig would have trusted him, and that that trust would have stemmed in part from his friendship with the family and in part because Craig had confided in Father Vaillancourt;

  • He told the Crown he could not recall telling Grandma that he was unable to sleep that night
  • He told the Crown he did not see the pat on the belly as a sexual
  • Father Vaillancourt became fidgety and nervous when the Crown turned to his response to the police officer query “did you enjoy it?’   And, “What was it you enjoyed about it?’  questions turned to his enjoyment of the interaction with Craig.

Father Vaillancourt seemed to become uncomfortable  when the Crown referred to a portion of the OPP videotaped interview in which the officer asked if Father Vaiillancorut enjoyed the five second hug.  Ihe Crown described a long pause, and then Vaillancourt laughed, and then he said ‘perhaps.’   The officer then asked “what was it you enjoyed about it?”

When the Crown reached this point in referencing the tape Father Vaillancourt began to fidget with his glasses .  He explained the difficulties of being interviewed, and then explained that the long pause was:  ‘because I wanted to be sure I gave the right answer.’!!!

The Crown suggested that if he was really sure he would have known the answer.

It was  “nervous and stressful” said the priest.

The logical answer, said the Crown in turn, would be: “I enjoyed nothing.”  And back came Father Vaillancourt to say in essence that he disagreed, and that “when I realized what was happening I removed my hands

  • Ah yes, and  when the Crown asked why he told Craig’s Mom that he, Father Vaillancourt, had been sexually abused.  Vaillancourt replied that he told Grandma.  The Crown suggested that he told both Mom and Grandma.  He didn’t recall.  The Crown asked why did he tell them?  Silence!  Then, said the priest, in that contact he had made a foolish gesture.

The Crown suggested that he told them to make it a ‘this happened to me therefore I did it to him’ move.  Vaillancourt: “That’s not the way I saw it.’

The Crown suggested that he said it perhaps as a way to get them to feel sorry for him, the same way he had talked about ‘poor me, I didn’t get any sleep [the night after the incident]’

The Crown suggested that he thought that if he told them they would understand why it happened.  To that Vaillancourt initially he replied “No.”  Then there was a “maybe,”  and then an “I don’t know.”

And on that note,

Enough for now,

Sylvia

Posted in Accused or charged, Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese, Canada, Cornwall, homosexual, Scandal, Trials | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment