A travesty

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Hearings resume at 09:30 am (Tuesday 29 May 2007). C-4 will be back on the stand to undergo cross-examination.

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More disturbing testimony yesterday. The damage done to these boys who have been abused runs to the very quick of their being.

Yesterday afternoon C-4 , a victim of Father Charles MacDonald, was led through his examination in chief by assistant commission counsel Pierre Dumais.

C-4 has requested and been granted confidentiality. He has also asked that he not appear on the webcam. The cameras therefore are focused elsewhere. We, the viewers, can not see C-4 as he testifies, but we can hear him.

C-4 sounds like a man of few words. For the two hours he was on the stand he came across as collected and measured in his testimony. His voice was steady. He sounded in control of himself.

The visuals may have changed that impression, they often do, but certainly the audio gave not a hint that this whole thing has been tearing C-4 apart – not a hint that is until, at the end of the day, he was offered opportunity to address the court.

Yes, he wanted to say a few words. He had in fact prepared a statement.

And in that instant his voice started to break…

Silence….

Then, in a trembling voice, he began: “ To the court: I feel that sometimes the interests —“

Again, silence.

A deafening painful silence..

Then, voice now quivering with emotion, C-4 carried on:

I feel that sometimes the interests of the victim is ignored. In my case, for instance, we had substantive proof of what I had alleged and yet today I feel —

Now I actually hear the tears. And the silence….

Finally, an embarrassed, ”Sorry.”

Justice Glaude intervenes: “No, that’s fine. That’s fine.”

Then with great difficulty and in a faltering voice C-4 picked up where he left off: “… and yet today I feel more of a criminal because I did nothing for so many years.”

Tears. And silence…

Justice Glaude stepped in yet again: “Would you like to go on today or do you want to do this tomorrow, or —“

In a trembling voice “I’d like to try and get it done today, sir.”

Yes. He wants to get this painful part where he had to try to reach into the depth of his being over with and behind him.

And here a compassionate Glaude – the same Glaude who coolly turned poor Steve, also a victim of sexual abuse, over to the “proper authorities” to face criminal charges – offered reassurance: “Okay, then we’re with you.

And C-4 carried on, choking back tears as he squeezed out word after emotional and obviously gut wrenching word:

People are not all alike. That’s what makes the world an interesting place to live.

What I mean is that I have changed greatly over my 44 years. I am not the same person I was when this occurred. If the same were to occur today, it would be a different outcome. I would fight back.

When this happened to me, I was very naïve.

I lived in a closed family. I was very close to the church. I was totally unaware and unprepared to imagine
that this could happen.

In my opinion, criminals have no conscience; therefore they do not live with the consequences. We as victims, however, must live with the events for the remainder of our days.

To the church: in the future, should accusations arise, firstly remove the accused from active duty, do a full investigation and then you can exonerate or prosecute. Do not simply shuffle him around, giving opportunity to continue. It is usually prudent to take full value of what your parishioners are telling you.

I feel the church is more interested in its pomp and pageantry and cover-ups than bringing to light the issues in today’s society. In the future, be mindful of your surroundings and listen more closely. You may find it important.”

And, finally, with great difficulty, and from the sound of it I would guess with tears, C-4 concluded:

This event has destroyed my faith in the Catholic church, and I am unable to bring my children up Catholic either.
Thank you.

Yes. How many children are being raised devoid of their Catholic faith because of the sexual perversions of clergy, the silence of fellow clergy and laity, and the tolerance of bishops? And how many victims are agonizing not only the abuse they endured but the painful and troubling void left by that loss of faith?

And, do the bishops care?

Anyway, that I suppose is another topic, a rather deep one.

For now, a few bullets regarding C-4’s testimony to date:

1. Born Valleyfield, Quebec 1963. Moved to Williamstown, Ontario (Diocese of Alexandria 1966).

2. Five brothers and five sisters. His family were “devout Catholics.”

3. Attended St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Williamstown. Parish priests were, successively, Fathers Bernard Cameron, Michael O’Brien and Charles MacDonald

4. Was first contacted Fall 1997 by Project Truth officer Joe Dupuis. Dupuis left message. Although no longer living in the Cornwall area C-4 was familiar with what was going on in Cornwall and had a good idea why Dupuis was calling. He was unsure if he wanted to talk about what he knew. Initially he did not return the call. He had to sort things out in his own mind.

5. He had told no one, not a single soul, about the abuse he says he endured at the hands of Father Charles MacDonald at a cottage in Eganville, Ontario (Diocese of Pembroke) in 1981.

6. He knew none of the names of the victims who had come forward and knew none of the victims.

7. He eventually decided to talk to Project Truth officers, it was the “right” thing to do. At the first meeting he disclosed his abuse. He was formally interviewed 28 October 1997

8. He recalls a brief conversation he once had with Father Gary Ostler during which Ostler told him he shouldn’t be alone with Father MacDonald. Ostler was interviewed by Project Truth officers and denied making such a statement.

9. Project Truth officers wanted to interview his parents. He asked that they wait until he had a chance to tell them himself. When he did, his father told him to “shut up.” His mother’s reaction was one of shock and disbelief, but, said C- “she knew exactly when it had occurred.”

10. To the best of his knowledge and to date he has never spoken to any of Charlie’s other “alleged” victims.

11. On 12 February 1999 he met with Crown attorney Robert Pelletier. A preliminary inquiry was eventually set for 01 March 1999

12. According to Dumais Carson Chisholm, Helen Dunlop were in the courtroom at the preliminary inquiry. C-4 was asked if he was approached by them. He was not.

13. According to Dumais, other victims were in attendance at the preliminary inquiry, including David Silmser and John MacDonald. C-4 was asked if he was approached by either. He testified that did not know, was not approached by and did not speak to any of the other victims.

14. Perry Dunlop was at the courthouse during the preliminary inquiry. He shook C-4’s hand and said Hello. Dumais asked if Dunlop was in plain clothes. C-4 thinks Dunlop was in uniform.

15. C-4’s wife attended the preliminary inquiry. She did not want to sit in the courtroom and had someone assigned to keep her company during the hearings. Dumais asked if that person was Perry Dunlop. C-4 thinks not.

16. Dumais asked if C-4 had any subsequent dealings with Perry Dunlop, Helen Dunlop or Carson Chisholm. The answer was ‘No.’

17. On 23 September 1999 he was told that a new Crown attorney was taking over. He wasn’t sure why the new Crown but believes he was told that this lady would do a better job (the new Crown replacing Pelletier would have been Shelley Hallett)

18. A new trial date was set for 01 May 2000. That trial date was cancelled.

19. He eventually met with the new Crown (Hallett) 09 May 2000. He was told that trial dates were being organized and things would be starting pretty soon.

20. For some reason Dumais seemed to be particularly interested in C-4’s dealing with VWAP, the Victim
Witness Awareness Program and the Criminal Injuries
Compensation Board.

C-4 apparently did contact VWAP at some point in time between 20 October 2000 and 24 May 2002. He testified he did not apply for compensation and does not recall any contact with CIBC.

21. C-4 has never launched a law suit.

22. On 07 March 2002 he met with yet another new Crown attorney, a male. (Hallett was replaced after the Leduc trial). C-4 did not know why there was another new Crown and that time was not concerned, he just wanted to get the whole thing over with.

23. He never testified at trial and never attended court for the trial. In fact, on 13 March 2002 all charges against Charlie were stayed. C-4 heard about the stay on the radio. (None of the victims testified. The trial came to a grinding halt before it got off the ground)

24. Pierre Dumais asked questions about another older man who showed up at the cottage in Eganville, Ontario the following day. C-4 does not know the man’s name but described him as older, tall and slender.

We have not been made privy to where this man fits into the equation. The small community of Eganville is in the Diocese of Pembroke.

I can’t help but wonder what brings “closure” to this kind of legal run around that leaves victims feeling like criminals? If there’s anything which remotely resembles justice in this whole Charlie fiasco it’s sheer coincidence.

Disgusting. And disgraceful. And a travesty. It truly is.

****

I probably won’t catch much of the hearings before mid afternoon today. Hospital appointment for my husband. Will catch what I can and then check the transcripts.

Enough for now,

Sylvia
(cornwall@theinquiry.ca)

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