What does it take?

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Hearings resume at 0930 hours (9:30 am) tomorrow, Tuesday 22 January 2008. Jos van Diepen will return to continue his cross –examination.

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This is unbelievable! I can not believe my eyes and ears.

Where oh where are the “proper authorities”?

How can I recap?

Barely had the morning kicked off than recently retired probation officer Jos van Diepen announced that he wanted to “”re-visit” his testimony of Friday past. He felt he had provided erroneous information. He’d read the media coverage and the headlines triggered his memory to realize that what he read wasn’t at all the testimony he wanted to give!

Part of the problem with his Friday testimony van Diepen felt was the way Engelmann posed questions, but, bottom line was he’d talked to his lawyer and would like to set the record straight.

Well. Can I begin to tell you the fruckus that erupted. He’d talked to his lawyer!! And he’s under oath!!!

He’s not supposed to talk to his lawyer. Testimony is absolutely not to be discussed with anyone – lawyer included – whilst under oath. Turns out that not only did he talk to his lawyer, he also talked his family, and he talked to friends – and he talked to Michael Neville!!!!

What was the area which he wanted to correct? Well, it was the testimony about fellow probationer Nelson Barque suggesting it would be good for one of van Diepen’s probationers, to spend time at the rectory with Father Charlie because Charlie needed some to do odd jobs and cut grass and so on.

The lad was back in less than a week calling Charlie a “” queer”who likes little boys, and he told van Diepen that he woke up one night to find Charlie sitting on his bed – an d the boy refused to say anymore but refused to go back. Stereotypical behaviour I’d say of a boy whose been sexually abused. And that’s certainly the way the evidence came across on Friday.

Van Diepen read the media coverage over the weekend. Friends and family apparently talked to him. All well distressed.

Mr. van Diepen wanted to set the record straight: “There was no inappropriate sexual behaviour to report.” “There was never any inappropriate behaviour.”

I believe van Diepen even said that at some time there were three separate police investigations which concluded nothing inappropriate happened. He also said he felt no need to report to CAS because at that time CAS wouldn’t deal with a complaint with a boy that age.

How did he feel sure that nothing happened to the probationer?

He asked Mr. Neville!!!. That’s where the contact with Neville comes in. He said he asked Michael Neville had Charlie been charged in relation to that probationer?

Neville popped up to explain that no, Mr. van Dipen had not actually spoken to him. It was Mr. Westhal who spoke to him and that actually Van Diepen came in at the tail end of the conversation, – whatever the conversation was. No one really asked.

There was also a chat with Peter Chisholm (Children’s Aid Society). Van Diepen wanted to find out what the CAS reporting duties were back then. Chisholm then explained that he hadn’t actually spoken to Mr. van Diepen. According to Chisholm when the question was put to him he actually directed his answer to Mr. van Diepen’s lawyer. In other words he did not engage in conversation with van Diepen while van Diepen is under oath.

I am certainly bothered by van Diepen’s assertion that nothing happened to the lad that night in the mid 70s because charges were never laid, information which seemingly came from Charlie’s lawyer. He even suggested that late night visit of Charlie’s might have been a misunderstood counselling session!!!

As much as I’m bothered by this reversal by van Diepen I admit that am equally bothered by the fact that there has not been a judicial whimper about this. No one been shipped off to the “the proper authorities” There has been not a murmur about interrogating any or all of those to whom Jos van Diepen spoke while under oath.

There is no sign of a rush to implicate anyone with whom Mr. Van Diepen spoke of criminal wrong-doing.

Steve Parisien was less fortunate. Much less fortunate.

A double standard?

I don’t wish what Steve went through on anyone. I truly don’t. He still hasn’t gotten over it. But why is it alright for lawyers to speak to witnesses under oath, and not alright for a sex abuse victim to check on the well being of an emotionally drained fellow victim under oath?

Why was Mr. Neville permitted to offer explanations from the floor and Steve?

And why the empathy and sympathy for Jos van Diepen after he said he spoke to family and friends over the weekend about his testimony and after he anxiously explained that he had been misunderstood on Friday and that there was really never any inappropriate behaviour between Father Charlie and that particular probationer.
Steve made a phone call. He called a fellow victim. He was concerned about Albert. That phone call launched the grand inquisition in the Weave Shed.

In the end Steve was publicly humiliated: arrested, frisked, and hand-cuffed in broad daylight. Charged with obstruction of justice. Thousands of dollars to mount a defence. Treated like a common criminal in a court of law. Charges withdrawn.

He talked to a witness under oath!!!

Does anyone recall when John MacDonald testified? He wanted to talk to his lawyer for a few minutes.

Not on your life. The operative assumption with the gathered throng was that John’s motives were sinister. Heaven forbid John. John was under oath. A mortal sin. Up to no good.

Chaos!

A double standard prevails.

Why?

So on they went. Jos van Diepen stammering and stuttering and fidgeting his way to the lunch hour.

I don’t know if was just me but it seemed that he was rejuvenated by late morning and certainly upon his reutrn from lunch. It was after luch that Glaude turned a blind eye – said a few words to address the sticky situation. A “tut tut” here and “bad boy” there. Not a word about “the proper authorities.” No symbolic washing of the judicial hands.

All is well. No frisking. No handcuffs. No charges. No debt.

The commissioner said something to the effect that it was all done “in good faith.” That I suppose is akin to being done for the “greater good”?

At the end of the day I bemoan the fact that what’s good for the inquiry goose is not at all good for the inquiry gander.

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A few points which stick in my mind:

(1) Malcolm MacDonald told Jos van Diepen that Ken had, I think the words were, given David Silmser a hand job.

(2) Jos van Diepen was at a dinner party. A guest at the dinner party told the diners he’d been at another dinner party at which Father Charlie sodomised David Silmser. If I understood it right Ken Seguin apparently witnessed the act and did nothing.

(3) Guy Demarco, a former Cornwall Crown attorney or assistant Crown was a great friend of Father Charles MacDonald. The pair used to go to Montreal together. The cooked meals for each other. Van Diepen thinks that was around the time Peter Sirrs was officer manager at the Cornwall probation office. That would put it around the early 80s.

(4) Jos van Diepen became aware that Malcolm MacDonald was “homosexual” sometime in the 70s, during Malcolm’s “drinking hay days.”

(5) Alan Manson (Citizens for Community Renewal) came up with a rather strange line of questioning – more or less pondering why a co-worker would be reported to the boss as “homosexual”’ if in that same vein we don’t run to tell the boss that a co-worker is “heterosexual.” Something along that line. Bizarre.

Manson also seemed to invite van Diepen, unsuccessfully, to take a good swing at theinquiry.ca.

(6) I don’t recall his exact words but did get the distinct impression that Mr. van Diepen shares Alan Manson’s view that the allegations of a paedophile ring and cover-up are pie in the sky.

Some questions:

(1) What were Jos van Diepen’s thoughts when David Silmser and Charlie’s other alleged ”victims” were painted as liars by various media pundits? Did it bother him?

(2) What were Jos van Diepen’s thoughts in December 1994 when the Ontario Provincial Police declared that there was no evidence to charge Father Charlie? Van Diepen knew that the OPP knew about sodomy at the dinner party. He knew they knew about the probationer who fled Charlie’s palce. Did it bother him to know that an “alleged”clerical paedohie would stay on the loose?

(3) Did Jos van Diepen offer to give corroborating evidence at Father Charles MacDonald’s trial? Did anyone ask him?

(4) Here we go again. By Dec 1994 the OPP had David Silmser, two other victims one of whom was prepared to testify, strong statements from both Dave’s sister and mother, Jos van Diepen’s account of a probationer’s  ‘encounter’  with Charlie in the mid 70s, and Jos van Diepen’s word that someone had a first-hand account of Dave having being sodomized by Charlie at a dinner party.

What does it take?

What exactly does it take to know that a Roman Catholic priest is probably a sexual predator, a threat to children and will shamelessly use his collar to seduce his prey?

Disgusting.

I’m calling it a day 🙂

Enough for now,

Sylvia

(cornwall@theinquiry.ca)

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1 Response to What does it take?

  1. prima facie says:

    “Dear God, Give me the Strength.”

    “IS Jos van Diepen’s testimony, in part, PERCEIVED AS A RECANTATION, OR AN UNLAWFUL ACT, or simply coincidences, that occurred “in good faith?”

    All for “the Greater Good”, I suspect, “who’s “Greater Good” though.

    So blatantly thrust into our faces.

    Did anyone watch this witness Jos van Diepen? Has anyone else “out there” followed the facts since in or about 1993. Has anyone had training in “observing witnesses giving testimony” or “assessing oral evidence/testimony for credibility” or the validity, corroboration thereof?

    Why was this witness “permitted” “special consideration” surrounding his “behaviours”, specifically disobeying Commissioner Glaude’s instructions to “ALL WITNESSES UNDER OATH?” Why was this witnesses’ behaviours, since his last appearance on Friday, as a witness, ultimately “excused” by Commissioner Glaude, “in good faith”, while others, are criminally charged?

    Has anyone been following this Inquiry in general and the recent “crop” of witnesses, specifically? Again, I mean, “God, please Give me the Strength.”

    Commission Counsel Engelmann had to, “walk van Diepen to school” so to say,” “spoon feed him”, I mean Jos
    “babbled, burbled, gurgled, gaggled, stuttered, stammered, forgot, remembered, amended, on and on and on and on…”The witness could NOT answer a question directly.
    In my opinion, there was absolutely NO credibility with this witness.

    FURTHERMORE, all this took place “AFTER” he self-disclosed, that he had read news paper articles about his Friday testimony and that he got upset with, what he said was, reporting out of context and that the testimony he gave IS NOT the testimony he wanted to give. He further self-disclosed that, he collaborated with “family, friends” and even “counsel” for other witnesses who have standing at the Inquiry, about his Friday testimony….just incredible!!! Of course, after interacting with ALL these people, Josh was allowed to “amend” his testimony…..anyone else allowed to do this?…and NO SANCTIONS to anyone.

    Then Lawyer Manson came to the rescue and painted Jos as “the victim” in all of this….God give me the Strength.

    In fact, for anyone who has followed this “mess” since in or about 1993, Jos van Diepen’s testimony as well as the testimony of some other’s, can be described in part, as being a “microcosm” of the “life of the issues, attitudes, behaviours, etc, as “it” evolved, since in or about 1993, leading to some “alleged victims”, by 2000, getting frustrated and angry that “nothing was being done to help them or the community or that there was a cover-up.”

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