Painful

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Perry has now spent 127 days in jail – for stepping up to the plate to protect children, and then daring to say he has lost faith in the justice system. This is the institutional response to allegations of childhood sexual abuse.

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While Perry languishes in jail his lawyer Lawrence Greenspon is all over the news – defending an alleged terrorist.  I can’t bring myself to read the articles.  Where is Lawrence Greenspon when it comes to defending a decent cop who stepped up to the plate to protect children?  Where is Lawrence Greenspon when it comes to protecting a whistleblower whose 15-year dealings with lawyers, judges and law enforcement have caused him to lose faith in the administration of justice?

Where for that matter was Lawrence Greespon last week when Perry’s hearing was cancelled at the 11th hour? Where was he?

I am disappointed.  Greenspon will be wrapped up with his prima case for weeks – probably months.  What of Perry?

What of Perry?

What’s going on?

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Hearings resume at 0930 hours (9:30 am) this morning, Tuesday, 24 June 2008.  Former D/C Joseph St. Denis will complete his cross- examination.  Then it’s on to former Chief Anthony Repa.

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It was painful to watch.  Painful.

Yesterday (Monday, 23 June 2008) former D/C Joseph St. Denis was stammering and stuttering and defending and explaining and excusing and not remembering his way through the afternoon.  It was painful.  He was extremely uncomfortable and seemed to be equally extremely concerned that anything he says now would reflect negatively on former Chief Claude Shaver,  and he seemed too taken to explain away any negative impressions which might be construed from any statements he made in the past. And he steadfastly refused to discuss the “vicious” rumours which he brought to former Chief Claude Shaver’s attention around 1991 and which, it seems, led to the blow-up between the pair and the end of their friendship.

All this AFTER St. Denis said with a fair degree of conviction that he’d like people to stop talking negatively – locally, provincially, inter-provincially and internationally. He expressed concern about “rumours” circulating.  He expressed his opinion that no single institution can be blamed for the “shortcomings” of investigations and acknowledged that “some” mistakes were made in a small percentage of cases some of which were those of historical sexual abuse.  He’s in healing mode. He appealed to Perry Dunlop.

Then it was on to the faltering and stammering.

St. Denis testified that Shaver sometimes over-reacted and got overly excited and that’s perhaps why Shaver has no recollection of the big  blow-up between the pair which brought their friendship to an end

And then it was on to the dancing over what the blow up was all about.

Amidst it all, perhaps a Freudian slip. St. Denis said he attended Perry Dunlop’s funeral at St. Andrew’s West!

Yes.. He did say funeral.  And he was more than flustered after the words slipped out of his mouth.  He meant to say wedding, but, ….he said funeral.

And then there he was, a former Deputy Chief testifying that, yes, he heard about the pay-off,  and did nothing to find out if anyone was looking into it a little deeper.

Painful.

What I really wanted to address at the end of the day was the issue of the “rumours.” I was away from the computer for a spell and thought I had perhaps missed something vital.  I decided to wait to go through the transcripts.

No.  I missed nothing of substance.  Unfortunately not.  I had hoped that Justice Glaude would have pressed St. Denis further.  He did not.

So,  now that I have them I will give sections of the exchanges verbatim.  I will also copy the bulk of St. Denis’ comments made before his cross-examination started.  In light of the ensung stammering and reluctance to give evidence on certain rumour-related matters they are particularly interesting.
(1) St. Denis’ Comments

I have no intention of repeating my evidence and I’m not here to defend myself against any alleged misconduct during my tenure as Deputy Chief.

However, now that I’ve been given the opportunity to speak at this Inquiry I will take a few minutes to try and encourage people to stop speaking negatively about misinformation and false rumours that continue to circulate locally in our community, provincially, inter-provincially, as well as internationally.

Unfortunately some of these false rumours and innuendo about people in our community has existed before I took over the Deputy Chief’s position; some rumours continued during my tenure as Deputy Chief; some rumours continued after I officially retired from Cornwall Police Services, and some rumours even continue to circulate to this date.

As I indicated at the beginning of my testimony on June 4th I clearly stated that no single person, and in my opinion, no single institution or agency is totally to blame or totally at fault with respect to any potential investigative shortcomings of alleged historical sexual abuse cases in Cornwall, Stormont Dundas, South Glengarry area.

I believe that as and when any shortcomings were identified by one agency or another, these issues were examined over time and new policies and directives were developed to meet the required needs at the time.

Yes, some mistakes were made; yes, there was some mismanagement of files, but overall, Mr. Commissioner, that represented, in my opinion, less than 1 or 2 percent of the overall workload at the time.

Yes, unfortunately a few historical sexual abuse cases may have been part of the 2 percent of case files at that time.

Well, I wish to clearly enunciate and unequivocally state that as Deputy Chief of Police I was not involved in any conspiracy or cover-up; these claims are completely false and completely unfounded.

I did not leak any documents, nor did I pressure any member of the Cornwall Police Services to do  anything illegal or in bad faith.

I have no recommendations to make and will leave this up to the brilliant lawyers that have appeared  before you.

Since I am no longer in a fixing or recommending mode I am nevertheless in the healing mode.

As one citizen in Cornwall, I feel we cannot move forward unless we stop talking negatively about ourselves, our leaders, and our institutions. Our community as a whole  must soon turn the page and I for one look forward to your  final report which no doubt will shed some light and help with the healing process.

If during my tenure as Deputy Chief of Police I offended any victims of sexual abuse, historically or otherwise, then I do sincerely apologize.

In conclusion, I would like to use this avenue to reach out and encourage Perry Dunlop to please attend this Inquiry.

It is important for Perry, it is important for Perry’s family, it is important for sexual abuse victims and it is very important for all citizens in Cornwall to hear from Perry as he can only enhance the healing process in our community.

(2)  “The Rumours”

The transcript doesn’t come close to capture this testimony.  It doesn’t come close.  But, here goes…

Under cross examination by Helen Daley (Citizens for Community Renewal) reference was made to a 24 January 1994 memo from St. Denis to incoming Acting Chief Carl Johnston.  Therein St. Denis wrote in part:

“My decisions and leadership abilities were seriously controlled, curtailed, bypassed, overruled, or ignored by both the Chief [Shaver] and some Board members.”

Somewhere in the document St. Denis indicated that he was muzzled by Shaver on 26 August 1991.

The conflict between the pair it seems was both work related and personal.

The work related conflict apparently entailed such things as being by-passed by Shaver, and perhaps regarding Shaver being away from the office too much or golfing too often.

The personal?

A problem.

St.  Denis did not want to go there:

THE COMMISSIONER: You say personal, you know, we don’t want to get into all that.

Was there ever any concern that the Chief was doing anything illegal?

MR. ST. DENIS: No.

THE COMMISSIONER: All right.

MR. ST. DENIS: Absolutely, unequivocally,no.

THE COMMISSIONER: Immoral?

MR. ST. DENIS: That’s not for me to judge.

THE COMMISSIONER: Okay. I’m just trying to clear the deck here of things. Anything — any conduct outside of the office that you would think was unbecoming a Police Chief? Did you ever discuss anything like that?

MR. ST. DENIS: All I — I think, sir, there were so many rumours out there and half of them were untrue.

THE COMMISSIONER: Right.

MR. ST. DENIS: And the other half I’m not sure where they were coming from, but there were rumours about my Chief, yes, and I don’t dare repeat those rumours today because I don’t think I have a right to do that.

THE COMMISSIONER: Well, no, no, no, what I’m asking, did you ever discuss those things with him?

MR. ST. DENIS: Yes, I did. Some of them yes, I did.

Daley came  back to the “blow-up.” She said she doesn’t want to revive painful memories, but she doesn’t understand what the blow-up was about.

St. Denis replied: “It was work-related and personal.”

Glaude stepped in.  He didn’t want to be overly inquisitive, but, he wondered, what were the personal issues?

St. Denis absolutely did not want to talk.  Glaude squeezed:

THE COMMISSIONER: And without being overly inquisitive, what were the personal issues?

MR. ST. DENIS: You covered some of them already, Your Honour.

THE COMMISSIONER: No.

MR. ST. DENIS: Just rumours. There were vicious rumours out there.

THE COMMISSIONER: Vicious rumours that he was hanging around with people who abused children?

MR. ST. DENIS: No, no, no. Nothing like that, Your Honour.

THE COMMISSIONER: Well — yeah, but you see, what you’re doing is by not saying — I don’t — you know, I’m imagining the worst. As we tell our children when we don’t tell them something — not that you’re a child — but we always imagine the worst.

Did you ever ask him to resign?

MR. ST. DENIS: No. No, I did not.

Glaude continued.  What were the personal things discussed the night of the blow-up?  St. Denis referred to “the rumours.”  He said he would float “the rumours” by Shaver to see if they were true or false.  He feels Shaver may have denied some which were true.  He referred to some ”rumours” which were, in his words “totally off the wall” and “totally incorrect.”

THE COMMISSIONER: So that night of the blow up what were the other personal things?

MR. ST. DENIS: Again, what I was trying to do is the information that I would hear, the rumours that I would hear —

THE COMMISSIONER: Right.

MR. ST. DENIS: I would try and pass those on to the Chief and see if they were correct or not.

THE COMMISSIONER: All right. That’s good.

MR. ST. DENIS: And some may have been, but were denied as being correct. And some were totally off the wall and being totally incorrect.

THE COMMISSIONER: M’hm.

MR. ST. DENIS: And I was just trying to help the Chief to put these rumours to rest because these rumours were not helping us.

Glaude pressed again, but gently.

No go.

Daley took the reigns back.  She tried to hone in on the source of the rumours –  but assured St. Denis he did not need to identify the rumours:

THE COMMISSIONER: So Ms. Daley is asking you what — in the blow up at his home, what were the things, both personal and professional, that you talked about?

MR. ST. DENIS: Some of them we already talked about.

THE COMMISSIONER: Okay, well, keep going.

MR. ST. DENIS: That’s it.

THE COMMISSIONER: Okay.

MS. DALEY: No need to identify any rumours, but were these internal to the Police Force or out in the community or both?

MR. ST. DENIS: I would say some were both.

Daley asked about the root cause of the rumours. St. Denis talked the work environment and the difficulty to work as a group if someone was “out of step.”

Daley probed again.  St Denis still would not elaborate on the nature of the “rumours,” but insisted they did not relate to anything illegal and had nothing to do with “historical” sex abuse issues:

MS. DALEY: To the extent that there’s negative rumours in the community about your Chief, were you able to account for that? I mean, what was the cause of that? Did you ever think about that?

MR. ST. DENIS: No, I guess some of them were probably of his own making.

MS. DALEY: Meaning he did something then people talked about it afterwards?

MR. ST. DENIS: Yes, but again nothing illegal. Nothing to do with historical sexual abuse issues. It was his own personal life.

That was the end of it!

Questions:

(1) What were “the rumours”?

(2) Which ones were true?

(3) What constitutes a “vicious” rumour?

(4) How did St. Denis know that “half” of the “rumours” were untrue?

(5) How did St. Denis know that some of the “rumours” were “totally off the wall?

(6) Why does St. Denis feel he does not have a “right” to repeat those rumours?

(7) Why does St. Denis feel he has the right to judge that certain “rumours” were off the wall but he does not have the right to judge if whatever Shaver was doing was immoral?

(8) Why the Weave Shed tap dance?  Why was St. Denis not obliged to answer the question? This is not a case of failed memory – St. Denis obviously remembers all too well the substance of the “rumours.”  Why then was he not obliged to answer?

(9) In his comments St. Denis said

Unfortunately some of these false rumours and innuendo about people in our community has existed before I took over the Deputy Chief’s position; some rumours continued during my tenure as Deputy Chief; some rumours continued after I officially retired from Cornwall Police Services, and some rumours even continue to circulate to this date.

Why did St. Denis refuse to elaborate on the “rumours” to put them to rest.  He seems to know what they are.  He seems to know which are true and false.  He seems to know they do not entail illegal activity.  He knows which ones Shaver confirmed as fact.

Why did Shaver refuse to dispel the rumours?

(10) Does St. Denis not know that Perry Dunlop has already “attended” the inquiry?

Does he not know that when Perry attended he was denied opportunity to read his 110-page Will State into the record?

Painful…..

Enough for now,

Sylvia

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