Connecting the dots

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For all who were wondering where lawyer, Roman Catholic Church canon lawyer and alleged paedophile Jacques Leduc did or did not fit into the Diocese’s of Alexandria-Cornwall’s handling of Benoit Brisson’s sexual abuse allegations against Father Gilles Deslaurier, we found out yesterday morning (Wednesday 11 October 2006).

Actually we learned a few interesting bits of information yesterday.

But, first things first.

Jacques Leduc

Jacques Leduc, you may recall, was one of three lawyers involved in the now infamous 1992 $32,000 pay-off hankered out between the diocese, Bishop Eugene Larocque, Father MacDonald and D.S., Father MacDonald’s alleged victim.  That deal contained an illegal gag order and eventually saw one – yes, only one – of the three lawyers involved (former Crown Attorney and  now deceased paedophile Malcolm MacDonald) plead guilty to obstruction of justice and walk away with a gentle “tut tut – you bad boy.”  And back to the question: Did Jacques Leduc factor into the diocese’s handling of the Deslaurier sexual abuse allegations back in 1986? 

Absolutely. . .

After the diocese was made aware of the allegations against Father Gilles Deslaurier an Ad Hoc committee was struck to address and presumably deal with the allegations.

According to his testimony Brisson had hoped that subsequent to the Ad Hoc committee hearings Deslaurier would be stripped of his priesthood and measures taken to ensure he no longer had access to children.

Two persons who apparently seemed to be in charge of the committee process were Father Bernard Guindon – and Jacques Leduc!!!

It is possible if not perhaps probable that this Ad Hoc  “Church” approach/response was conducted and or/controlled by members of the diocesan tribunal which at that time would have comprised of Monsignor Bernard Guindon, Jacques Leduc, Fathers Denis Vaillancourt, Rene Dube and Evariste Martin, Sisters Jeanine Lacombe and Cecile Rochin, and Gordon Bryan.

No matter.  Alleged paedophile Jacques Leduc was apparently very present throughout the committee process! 

At the end of the Ad Hoc committee day Deslaurier was not defrocked.  Instead Bishop Larocque shipped the predatory priest off to the nearby Diocese of Gatineau-Hull (Quebec) where Deslaurier’s mentor and dear friend Adolphe Proulx, the former bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall, was now bishop. 

Deslaurier was soon saying Mass in a local parish in the Quebec diocese.  

When the Brisson’s learned that Deslaurier was neither defrocked nor away from children they decided to go public.  They turned to the media, specifically Charlie Greenwell with Ottawa’s CJOH TV station. Action.

Charges were laid. 

If Leduc wasn’t hovering after charges were laid he definitively re-entered the scene during the preliminary hearings (to determine if there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial) which, incidentally, have apparently been under a publication ban for the past twenty years.

According to Brisson Leduc was present in the courtroom while he, Benoit Brisson, testified.  At some point during a break in courtroom proceedings Leduc apparently took Brisson aside and advised the young man that conversations between Benoit and Deslaurier were private –   a confession.  Benoit was advised to answer certain questions by saying he couldn’t discuss that because it was said in confession!

Benoit apparently took Leduc’s advice, and did so to such a degree that the Crown became suspicious and asked if Benoit had, contrary to routine court instructions, spoken to anyone about his testimony outside the courtroom.  Brisson replied that he had spoken to Jacques Leduc that morning.  He related Leduc’s advice.

And that cat was out of that bag!  If this wasn’t diocesan tampering of a victim’s evidence I don’t know what is!

So, yes, alleged paedophile Jacques Leduc was actively – very actively –  involved in the diocesan response to the sexual abuse allegations against Father Gilles Deslaurier.  To my knowledge to date there is no indication that Leduc was investigated for attempting to tamper with a victim’s testimony.  And Deslaurier of course was “sentenced” to probation – reporting to none other than Bishop Adolphe Proulx!

Nelson Barque

The one other matter which I want to address is the role played by Nelson Barque’s in Brisson’s allegations.

We now know that Nelson Barque, a probation officer and molester who figured fairly prominently in allegations of a paedohile ring and  cover-up, also figures prominently in Benoit Brisson’s allegations against Deslaurier.  In fact it was Barque’s sexual overtures toward Brisson which prompted the boy to seek advice from Father Gilles Deslaurier – that’s when Deslaurier began molesting Brisson.

Until I heard Benoit’s testimony I was not aware that Barque was a parishioner at Christ the King (Chrit-Roi) Roman Catholic Church in Cornwall, the same church attended by Benoit Brisson and his family.  In fact Barque was an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist (Eucharistic Minister) meaning he was actively involved in the parish by assisting in the distribution of Holy Communion when needed.

You may recall that Barque, a close friend of Ken Seguin (probation officer) and Richard Hickerson (Canada Manpower), was under investigation on allegations of sexual abuse in 1982.  He resigned and no charges were laid.  In 1995 he plead guilty to sex abuse relate charges.  The judge stated this was an isolated event and sentenced him four months in jail and eighteen months probation!It was far from isolated. 

Sexual abuse allegations against Barque and Ken Seguin and others were at the heart of an investigation conducted by Peter Sirr’s, former area manager for Cornwall Probation Services.  Sirr’s wrote a report on the matter, “The Sirrs Report.”

The report is apparently on file somewhere in Queen’s Park (provincial legislature.)  All attempts to attain a copy or related information regarding sexual abuse allegations have failed, including those of CBC Radio which eventually culminated in the recent Supreme Court ruling on Solicitor Client privilege.  As a result of the latter it is questionable whether the report will ever worm its way into the Weave Shed and out into the public domain.

You may also recall that a number of the Correctional Services victims were among those who reached a multi-million-dollar out-of-court settlement with the Ontario government (Correctional Services).  Those victims were gagged by a confidentiality clause in the settlement

.Now, another step in connecting the dots which no one wants to connect because there’s presumably nothing to connect. After Barque resigned in the early 80s (because he was under investigation for sexually abusing a male parolee) he began work for the Catholic School Board.  That position was allegedly attained through the intervention and good graces of Bishop Eugene Larocque.  And now take a look back at an excerpt from a 17 January 1991 note posted by Dick Nadeau on his website:

Jacques [Leduc] was an associate of Nelson Barque when Barque worked for the school board in the 80s.

What can I say?!

Barque, incidentally, committed suicide in 1998.  He had been under investigation by the Project Truth probe

.Now, tell me there are no dots to connect!  And tell me there’s not an inkling of cover-up!!!And tell me, do you think it’s remotely possible that Father Gilles Deslaurier’s “guilty” plea was a bit of deal made behind closed doors to keep certain diocesan embarrassments, including the Leduc intervention, out of the public domain?   I can’t help but wonder…Enough for now,Sylvia


PS: Hearings resume at 9.30 am this morning.  Benoit’s mother will be back on the stand for cross examination.

This entry was posted in Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese, Canada, Clerical sexual predators, Cornwall, Cornwall Public Inquiry, David Silmser, Ken Seguin, Non clerical RC sexual predators, Scandal and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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