The Andre Lavoie Victim Impact Statement is back on the site 🙂 Yes, the ban was thankfully and finally lifted.
An intriguing news item yesterday regarding what has the all-too familiar whiff of cover-up, this one involving Toronto police misconduct and corruption during the Fantino regime. I am coupling this with news of sexual abuse allegations against a former OPP officer I had tucked away a few weeks back, right after Julian Fantino began his new job as top man for the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) . I was unsure if I would ever run it, but somehow it now seems timely.
By way of background, Julian Fantino, former Chief of the Toronto and London police forces, was Premier Dalton McGuinty’s recent pick to head the OPP. Fantino assumed his duties as OPP commissioner 30 October 2006. He was officially sworn in 16 November 2006.
You may recall that there is a Fantino/Cornwall connection. In December 1996, probably in desperation that not a soul was listening to his concerns, Perry Dunlop turned the files he had amassed regarding sexual abuse in Cornwall over to Julian Fantino who was at that time Chief of the London police force.
Fantino is past President of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, Past Chair of the Canadian Association of Chiefs Organized Crime Committee and Past Vice President at large of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
In those capacities it is highly possible if not probable that he knows Claude Shaver, former Chief of the Cornwall Police Service. It is also possible that he at least crossed paths with Justice Normand Glaude when Glaude was with the Ontario Civilian Commission Police Services. And who knows who he knows in Ontario provincial governments, past and present. Or why McGuinty picked his name out of the hat right when the OPP and the office of the Attorney General are presumably under intense scrutiny at the Weave Shed?
Perhaps a few more red flags? It’s hard to say.
But, back to the latest news as it relates to Fantino in his new role as OPP commissioner…
According to Toronto police tried to dodge bullet of public inquiry, report during the years Fantino was Chief of the Toronto Police Service a 2001 internal report identified serious problems within the force, most of which, it seems, were drug-related.
The report is described by one source as “a blueprint for how to conceal from the public the malfeasance and the corruption.”
In response to the report, rather apparently than risk a public inquiry, Chief Julian Fantino struck a task force to conduct an internal investigation which, he vowed, would leave no stone unturned in his search for truth. He was also apparently insistent that the problems were isolated.
Two former members of that task force have now come forward alleging that supervisors failed to follow up on a long list of additional cases identified as problematic, including, according to CBC, suspicion that members of one police team were running a drug ring.
According to one defence lawyer, the outcome of the task force was pre-determined: “It was going to be restricted to what police brass can describe as a few bad apples and anything else they unearthed was to be buried.”
Now, couple that with the following….
Former OPP officer charged
On Thursday 02 November, two days after Julian Fantino took the OPP reigns, a former OPP officer, George Robert Lewis, appeared in an Orangeville Ontario courtroom on a bail hearing where he was charged with four additional counts of sexual abuse of young boys. That brought to 24 the charges levelled against Lewis by ten men.
Did you hear a boo about this OPP horror story?
I doubt it. The story was buried. Not even buried, barring a little local coverage, it didn’t get out.
A 01 November 2006 OPP press release announced the scheduled 02 November ’06 court hearing of a St. Thomas man charged with sexual assault and child pornography. For whatever reason there was no corresonding press release and advance notice that on the same day (02 November) in a different courthouse (Orangeville) a former OPP officer would also make an appearance.
True, a press release on the former OPP went out the next day.
Too late. The media was in frenzy…
The media story of the day on 02 November 2006 was St. Thomas. Every hour on the hour. Every half hour. For several days. In every newscast and in every paper. For several days.
Nothing about Orangeville. Or George Lewis, the former OPP officer facing 24 sexual abuse charges. Nothing about the men behind the charges. The nameless men who’s childhood innocence and trust were – allegedly – so cruelly and selfishly violated.
Accident or design?
I don’t know. Would I did. I suppose with rational explanations it could readily be either.
But it does strike me as passing strange that we have heard barely a boo about George Lewis, the former OPP officer who was allegedly abusing young lads left, right and centre while he was still with the force.
And I find myself pondering that comment that the outcome of Julian Fantino’s Toronto police taskforce was pre-ordained (“It was going to be restricted to what police brass can describe as a few bad apples and anything else they unearthed was to be buried.”) and the other one about concealing malfeasance and corruption from the public.
And I think about Cornwall, and the scandal, and boys who are sexually abused, and the cover-up, and the inquiry, and concealing and burying …
Lots to think about 🙂
At the end of the day I suppose that if nothing else I can say with certitude that Julian Fantino’s first month on the job has been, well, …. eventful. Very eventful.
Enough for now,