I want to briefly touch upon what happened in Ottawa twenty long years when it came to clerical sexual abuse allegations. I do so for two reasons: (1) to show what happened to those who dared point a finger at priest or bishop back then, and (2) two of the players have Cornwall connections.
This story entails a Roman Catholic teacher in the Archdiocese of Ottawa. I won’t name him. He has suffered enough and I doubt that he wants his name blasted back into the public domain. I’ll call him Jack.
Jack taught at a Roman Catholic school. It was around 1983.
Through various means Jack began to receive reports that a Father Dale Crampton was sexually molesting young boys. Father Dale Crampton, a very popular priest, happened to be chaplain to the RCMP. He also happened to Jack’s parish priest.
Jack was alarmed and concerned for the well-being and safety of the young lads in his school and parish. He managed to over-ride his admiration for Crampton and dug in to find out if there was any substance to the allegations. He concluded there was indeed.
Jack’s baptism by fire into the world of whistle-blowing on clerical sexual abusers had begun.
The long and short of it is that in time Jack’s name was out and about and his phone began to ring off the hook. There were calls with sexual abuse allegations against this priest, that priest and the other one – and allegations against Bishop John Beahan, auxiliary to Archbishop Joseph Aurele Plourde (Archdiocese of Ottawa).
I’ll skip the rest and take you to two items of interest regarding Jack and the Cornwall connections, specifically those related to Archbishop Joseph Aurele Plourde and Ottawa lawyer Michael Neville: .
Joseph Aurele Plourde
Plourde you may recall was auxiliary bishop to Rosario Brodeur in the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall and actually administered the diocese following Brodeur’s retirement and until the installation of Brodeur’s successor, Adolphe Proulx.
What do you suppose Archbishop Plourde did when he got wind that Jack had information about a number of clerical abusers in the Archdiocese of Ottawa?
He threatened to excommunicate Jack!
That’s a fact. Archbishop Plourde threatened to excommunicate the whistleblower rather than try to protect the young lads in the diocese.
Now if that’s not an abuse of authority, lack of concern for children and outright intimidation I don’t know what is!!
Jack wasn’t excommunicated. But he was treated like a leper by clergy, bishops and laymen alike and eventually, of his own volition, did as so many in his situation do – he washed his hands of the Roman Catholic Church.
One can only ponder the fate of those who dared to approach Plourde with similar allegations during his time in the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall.
Father Crampton stood trial in 1986.
His lawyer? Michael Neville.
Yes, the same Michael Neville who defended Charlie (Father Charles MacDonald) and eventually got him off the hook, and the same Michael Neville who is representing Charlie at the inquiry, and the same Micheal Neville who is undoubtedly at this very moment pulling out all stops to keep Charlie’s alleged victims from taking the stand.
Now listen to this. . .
During Father Crampton’s sexual abuse trial Neville nabbed Jack, took him aside and said he wanted to talk to him.
Well, Michael Neville wanted tell Jack that he (Neville) would sue him (Jack) if Jack didn’t stop talking about Bishop Beahan and his sexual proclivities!
Neville didn’t sue Jack. Perhaps because the allegations against Beahan became too numerous? Or perhaps because the soon-to-be-charged Beahan died 14 March 1988 after suffering a massive stroke while assisting with confirmations in the Diocese of Pembroke? For whatever reason, the threat never materialized into fact. But it was very real.
Neville did manage to win Crampton a suspended sentence and two-years probation after successfully convincing Judge Keith Flanigan that society would best be protected and served if the priest were cared for by doctors and psychiatrists rather than incarcerated. The “sentence” was appealed (July 1987) and Crampton was sentenced to eight months in jail. After his release Crampton, a canon layer, was quietly recycled to the Diocese of London Ontario where he worked with the diocesan marriage tribunal.
As for Beahan’s sexual proclivities for both young boys and his fellow clergyman, that oozed into the public domain during the sex abuse trial of Ottawa clerical paedophile Ken Keeler. Keeler victims testified that boys at Keeler’s summer camp would push bunk beds against the door to barricade themselves into their rooms to keep Beahan out, and there were eyewitness accounts of Beahen and Keeler doing their sexual thing to/with each other. (Keeler, who suddenly changed his not guilty plea to guilty when the Beahan filth started to ooze, was defended by William Carroll, the same lawyer representing the Ontario Provincial Police Association at the Cornwall Inquiry)
That’s a very brief bird’s eye view of how allegations of clerical sexual abuse were handled in the Archdiocese of Ottawa twenty long years ago. I will leave it at that.
But it does sound strangely familiar, doesn’t it?
Roman Catholic clerical sexual predators had the legal world and the judiciary and who knows who else in their back pocket back then. They were a protected species.
Has anything changed?
Enough for now,