A long day yesterday…
I’m not sure exactly when Claude Marleau took the stand. I think close to 11 am – after an in camera session and some subsequent discussion concerning documents which were to be entered into evidence which David Sheriff-Scott considers highly prejudicial.
Barring an interval where Justice Glaude read his ruling dismissing the diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall’s motion for a publication ban to protect the identity of one of Claude Marleau’s alleged clerical abusers the rest of the day was committed to commission counsel Simon Ruel’s examination in chief of Claude Marleau.
The day wrapped up around 6 pm.
As he was throughout the various Project Truth trials Claude Marleau is an excellent witness. A lawyer by profession (specializing in international law) he is intelligent and articulate.
For Claude this inquiry is essentially the culmination of a series of legal processes which began when he first came forward in 1997 after reading an article in a Quebec paper about Father Charles MacDonald, the pay-off and Constable Dunlop.
Since then two of his molesters died before standing trial. He has endured preliminary hearings, four trials, the acquittal of four of his alleged abusers and the very recent conviction of one, Father Paul Lapierre, in a Quebec court after years of appeals. Only last week he was contacted by parole board regarding the possibility of Lapierre’s release: he has served 1/3 of his sentence!
Claude Marleau alleges he was sexually abused by a group of men who knew each other. His abuse started in the mid 60s when he was around eleven or twelve years of age.
The boy was passed around like “a used toy” from one to the other. In resppnse to a query by Ruel he said he has no knowledge of any meetings of the group but has no doubt they knew each other and had no doubt as a child of their intentions when he was introduced by one to the other.
Like most male victims of same sex abuse he told no one the abuse. The secret and shame was shared only with his best friend who was also abused. They rarely discussed it but from time to time shared their anger over what happened to them as young boys.
Once a top student his marks in school plummeted after the abuse began. He dropped out of school in Grade 10. In later years he realized the need for an education and returned as a mature student. Law was always on his mind as a profession but he was turned down time and again. He carried on with other studies. He continued to apply for entry to the faculty of law. Eventually his persistence paid off and he was accepted. He specialized in international law, has extensive experience and expertise in immigration law, was a member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, taught Health Canada employees who were to appear as expert witnesses, moved to Costa Rica six years ago and is currently practising in both Costa Rica and Canada.
I am shy on time so will cover only a small portion of Claude’s testimony and will do so in point format. (His examination is being conducted in French so this is from the translator)
Claude Marleau’s ring of real and “alleged” molesters
(1) He was first sexually abused when he was an 11 or twelve-year-old boy by Roch Landry, a butcher. Landry was married to the secretary at Claude’s father’s workplace.
(2) Landry introduced him to Father Lapierre. He alleges he was frequently sexually abused by Lapierre.
(3) Father Lapierre introduced him to Fathers Don Scott, Kenneth Martin and Hollis Lapierre. He was abused by all three of the priests on a number of occasions. Scott and Hollis Lapierre were American, both, he believes, originally from Boston;
(4) Claude alleges Father Lapierre introduced him to an individual whose name is currently under a publication ban. He alleges he was molested by that individual;
(4) Father Lapierre introduced him to George “Sandy” Lawrence an organist/musician, owner of Melody Music and entertainer at a local nightclub. He alleges he was molested by Sandy Lawrence on a number of occasions ;
(5) Sandy Lawrence introduced him to Dr. Arthur Peachy, a physician and coroner, to treat a unrinary tract infection. He was molested by Dr. Peachy on a number of occasions;
(6) According to Claude, all of his molesters knew each other. He recalls them speaking of each other. He also testified there was no doubt in his mind that when one of molesters introduced him to one of the others that he was being introduced to someone with the same inclination.
(7) He was also molested by an individual whose name I didn’t catch (a Mr. Benoit?). This fellow told Claude that Roch Landry had told him he had had engaged in sexual activity with Claude.
The violation of innocence
(1) Claude’s first molester was Roch Landry, a butcher at Landry’s Meat Market, a store owned by Landry’s brother. The abuse transpired in the basement of Landry’s Meat Market. In that instance there were three other young lads involved. Landry gave them rum and coke – “that was his way”;
(2) Claude and several young lads earned pocket money doing odd jobs at corner stores. They also delivered fliers for Landry’s Meat Market and Gosselin Grocery store. Landry drove the truck for flier delivery;
(3) Landry “used to pick us up at school” and drive to the North or East end of town. Claude was abused in the car at these locations. (Claude corrected the “us” and said perhaps he should just say “me.”)
The years of silence
(1) Claude became the “black sheep” in his family. He became a liar, a “bad boy.” When he told Father Lapierre of problems with his parents the priest would tell him that his parents aren’t necessarily right. His abuser, Lapierre, became the most significant person in his adolescence, replacing what he thought he had lost at home;
(2) Claude testified that his life was turned upside down. In all the years of silence he survived by trying to deny the abuse. He tried to bury the memories. He put the abuse, as he said, in the bottom of the drawer. At this the burly man who only moments before seemed to be so in control began to break down, tears welled, and a recess was called.
(3) Sometimes over those years something would “trigger” him, something as simple as seeing boys play, or hearing people say that those who have been abused become abusers, or a flashback that comes out of the blue. Then it all comes back;
(4) He struggled with guilt and the sense that he had participated in the abuse voluntarily. One day he finally understood that it was not he who was guilty, it was his abusers;
(5) He touched briefly on the impact of talk that the state doesn’t belong in the bedrooms of the nation and how it made “you start doubting your own sexuality” and he would just try to put it away ( This would be reference the late 60’s when the Trudeau Liberal decriminalised buggery “between consenting adults” and in so doing, as generally understood, legalised homosexuality.)
(6) He didn’t tell his wife. He was too afraid that she might judge him.
It’s late. I will leave it at that for now, but before signing off will let you know that yes indeed Claude Marlow did rub shoulders with Perry Dunlop. Many questions and queries in that regard and without doubt many more to come.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on New to the Site on the Home page. And do listen to the CBC interview with lead counsel Peter Engelmann. It’s quite enlightening. This inquiry will be going on for a long long time 🙂
Hearings resume at 9:30 am.
Enough for now,