I hope the “experts” are watching

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Oh my.  This isn’t easy.

I watch and listen and my heart breaks.

This is all so disgustingly unbelievable.  While our judiciary, lawyers, politicians, Roman Catholic bishops, non-Catholic mainstream churches were clamouring aboard the tunnel-vision sex abuse feminist bandwagon young boys were being molested left right and centre and those who knew or should have known turned a blind eye.

My disgust with “the system” does not wane.  My conviction that this could happen only in system which tolerates man/boy sexual abuse grows.

And even as we watched and listened like so many peeping Toms to the Hell which becomes the life of those young boys “the system” has already predetermined that there is more benefit in a research paper than taking paedophiles out of circulation, connecting the dots, laying charges of obstruction of justice where warranted, and holding those who warrant it accountable for outright negligence and dereliction of duty or whatever. 

It’s a bit of an irony isn’t it?  The very tool which “the system” proposes to remedy the problem is in and of itself part of the problem.

Anyway, I do hope the “experts” who know little or nothing about man/boy sexual abuse and even less about “historical” victims of such abuse are paying attention. 

Yes, I am specifically referring to those “experts” who were chosen by Justice Glaude to “frame” his inquiry.

I would venture to guess that yesterday alone those who know so little should have learned a little something.  And I would hope and pray that somewhere in this land the lights will go and people will finally acknowledge that the prolonged and deleterious effects of man/boy sexual abuse is unique and that these men should neither be marginalized and ostracized by “the system”  nor  lumped in with female victims of heterosexual abuse  –  it’s apples and oranges.  It truly is. 

Somewhere downstream I will come back to that and elaborate, but for now, a few quick comments on some aspects of yesterday’s testimony.

The paedophile under scrutiny yesterday was Robert Sabourin, a school teacher, amateur photographer, Roman Catholic, friend of former Bishop Adolphe Proulx, some-time photographer for the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, married man who arrived in Cornwall around 1967 and landed a teaching position at St. Lawrence College (St. Lawrence College and LaCitadelle High School coexisted in the same facility for several years, one a French and the other an English school.  It’s rather confusing trying to sort out which is which.)

To date two of Sabourin’s victims have taken the stand.  The first, Alain Seguin has completed his testimony.  The second, Andre Lavoie, will be back on the stand this morning (Wednesday 19 October ’06) at 9.30 am.  (By the way, Andre Lavoie is an excellent witness.  I strongly recommend you tune in to Webcam)

By the sound of it, Sabourin must have had scores of victims.  He was, it seems, constantly surrounded by young boys, both at the school and in his home. 

As with most men who molest boys, Sabourin went to great lengths to groom his victims, and, indeed, not only the boys but their families as well.  In both instances Sabourin ingratiated himself to both the boys and their parents – all practising Roman Catholics –  through his connections to the diocese and his friendship with the then bishop, Adolphe Proulx.  Sabourin’s friendship with Proulx certainly went a long way to earning the families’ misplaced trust while providing a false sense of security to both the boys and their families.

Sabourin knew no shame.  He literally molested boys when and where the mood and his unbridled and thoroughly perverted lust struck him, be it in the boy’s home, in the car, driving the car, in a classroom closet, in his office, in the adjacent nursing station adjacent, during trips to Quebec city or Montreal or wherever, or in the Hull Cathedral during Bishop Proulx’ 1974 installation as Bishop of Hull, Quebec (the Hull diocese later to become the Archdiocese of Gatineau-Hull at which time Proulx became Archbishop of the new Archdiocese).

The boys were variously seduced with photography lessons, beer, driving lessons, free access to his car, study lessons,  photography lessons.  Whatever the boy’s interests Sabourin managed to hone in on, nourish and abuse both it and – inevitably – the child. 

Sabourin’s victims were frequently seen in his company, often at times and in situations which should have warranted suspicion and raised questions by responsible moral-minded adults.  No one, it seemed, said a word! Not a soul!!

The boys were told not to talk about their abuse because no one would believe them, and, as in the case of Andre Lavoie, threatened that terrible things would happen to him if told.  They struggled with their silence for many many many years.

Sabourin, it seems, had been in trouble of some sort before set foot in a Cornwall school. According to Andre, Sabourin told him that he, Sabourin, arrived in Cornwall after a Montreal school “politely” asked him to leave because of sexual innuendo.  It would seem that no charges were laid and he was free to move on to Cornwall.  Perhaps we will hear more of this?

And there are some interesting time lines to watch here.  As far as I can deduce Andre Lavoie went to police with allegations against Sabourin in early 1996.

Alain Seguin responded to a Project Truth ad in the paper and  contacted Project Truth with his allegations against Sabourin in late 1997.  Alain assumed he was dealing with Project Truth officers but was, unbeknownst to him, apparently ‘turned over’ to Cornwall Police Service after his initial contact because CPS was already investigating Sabourin.

Charges were laid against Sabourin in February 1998.  He entered a “guilty” plea around April 1999.

At this time I have no idea why charges had not yet been laid by late 1997 on Andre’s allegations from early 1996 (I understand there were several victims involved).  It seems that after Alain came forward and contacted Project Truth officers in late 1997 things moved quickly.  Was there good reason for what seems to be a rather protracted delay? Or have I missed something?  We’ll see.  I expect we will hear more on this this morning when Andre returns to the stand.

I will follow this up with a separate blog covering significant testimony from each witness.

Enough for now,

Sylvia
(cornwall@theinquiry.ca)

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