Why the protocol?

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Perry Dunlop is a political prisoner. He has spent 173 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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Hearings resume Monday 25 August 2008.  Bishop Eugene Larocque, the former bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall,  is supposed to return to continue his testimony. Whether or not he does remains to be seen.  He will be followed by Bishop Paul Andre Durocher, the present bishop.

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Perry is in good cheer.

The little squirrel is scampering about.  Perry can watch him from the cell window.  Seems the little fellow has honed in on the location of the garbage cans and, as only squrrels can, diligently finds his way there.  The garbage cans are metal so there’s no gnawing at corners to access the garbage, but there must be a crumb or two to be found because Perry can sometimes see him perched on the lid.

CIA keeps busy.  A few days ago his refrain was “Women of God, wear an ankle bracelet.” One day he was singing his ABCs, today he’s on to the Rolling Stone’s “You can’t always get what you want.”

I’m not sure what the status on the baby birds is.  I must ask next time we talk.

That aside, life goes on behind bars.  Perry was out in the yard this morning –the first nice weather day for some time.  He enjoyed the clear sunny sky.

Hard to believe six months of coercion is nearly behind Perry.  What comes next remains to be seen.  Justice Glaude and the AG’s request is for another 15 months.  Keep the prayers and outpouring of love and support going. He needs them.

A reminder – Perry has not sought the easy way out of his predicament.  Without doubt he could have tracked down a doctor willing to sign a sick slip.  That’s not Perry’s way. He’s quite a man.

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Mark your calendar.

Thursday 28 August 2008:  A rally in front of the Weave Shed

Time: 8:30 to 9:30 am.

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Am still waiting for call backs with further information re Father Carl Stone 🙂

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Something has been puzzling me.

The protocol…

The 17 June 1996 diocesan protocol which ensures that “alleged” clerical paedophiles receive full salary, lodging, car allowance and other benefits for the duration of the legal process, including appeals.  The one in which clergy who deny the allegations have access to unlimited diocesan funds to cover legal costs.  The one which even covers legal expenses for clergy indirectly involved in the allegations

Larocque testified the protocol was needed so he and his priests could defend themselves against the Ron Leroux allegations against them.

Quite intriguing.

I have been trying to make sense out of it all.  What follows is the best I can do.

I will cover a few details and some of Larocque’s testimony regarding the protocol and follow with my observations, thoughts and questions.

The Protocol

On 17 June 1996 Bishop Eugene Larocque signed off on a diocesan protocol geared to provide virtually unlimited legal funds to diocesan clergy charged, sued or indirectly involved in allegations of clerical sexual abuse.

A few details on the protocol.

The protocol was drafted to ensure that “alleged” clerical paedophiles receive full salary, lodging, car allowance and other benefits for the duration of the legal process, including appeals.  It affords unlimited legal funds to clergy who deny the allegations. The costs are borne by the diocese. The protocol also covers legal expenses for clergy indirectly involved in the allegations:

 “Legal assistance should be provided to other priests who are interviewed by legitimate investigating authorities, both civil and religious,…”

In his testimony Larocque said that priests found guilty in criminal actions would have to reimburse the diocese. There is apparently, however, no such clause in the protocol.  When queried on this matter Larocque replied:

MSGR. LAROCQUE: That was an understanding, I think, that is in the back of my mind at least. I know it’s not in the documents.

According to the protocol the “Church is not taking sides” and that  “The victim has the full power of the Crown at his or her disposal.”

And here is the exchange which led to Larocque’s strange explanation that the protocol was needed so he and his priests could defend themselves against the Ron Leroux allegations:

MR. ENGELMANN: I’m just wondering; I’m not familiar with other employers who would fund legal fees for their employees if they’re charged with criminal offences.

I’m just wondering where that rationale comes from.

MSGR. LAROCQUE: I suppose it’s from the fact that priests do not receive a salary comparable to other people. They don’t have the funds usually to be able to engage legal help.

MR. ENGELMANN: But there are lawyers available through other means for individuals who don’t have funds; are there not, sir?

MSGR. LAROCQUE: I would suppose so, yes.

As you know, I did not draw up the document myself. I mean, I’m reading it as you are. I don’t know – – I was not privy to the discussions that took place in order to put this down on paper.

MR. ENGELMANN: But it seems that as long as a priest maintains his innocence, there are many rights that he’s afforded under this protocol in 1996.

MSGR. LAROCQUE: Well, isn’t that true even in law, that you’re innocent until you’re proven guilty?

MR. ENGELMANN: Sir, that’s — I think you’re misunderstanding my question. I’m talking —

MSGR. LAROCQUE: What is the question then?

MR. ENGELMANN: The question is that as long as a priest maintains his innocence, denies responsibility, he’s entitled to many benefits under this protocol? He’s entitled to full legal fees —

MSGR. LAROCQUE: Right.

MR. ENGELMANN: — throughout either a civil or criminal process. He’s entitled to reasonable lodging and necessary expenses. He’s entitled to receive full salary, car allowance and benefits until the completion of all legal processes, including —

MSGR. LAROCQUE: You have to know the context, sir. The context is that many of my priests, as well as myself, were accused.

MR. ENGELMANN: In 1996, sir?

MSGR. LAROCQUE: In 1996.

MR. ENGELMANN: I thought that that was —

MSGR. LAROCQUE: Beforehand.

MR. ENGELMANN: It was before this, before June —

MSGR. LAROCQUE: The Leroux accusations.

MR. ENGELMANN: Sir, those accusations only became public quite a bit later, did they not?

MSGR. LAROCQUE: I don’t believe so.

MR. ENGELMANN: You believe they were public in June — on June 17th, 1996?

MSGR. LAROCQUE: I believe so.

MR. ENGELMANN: All right.

So you believe that all of these rights that were set out for you and other priests in the Diocese might have been influenced by the Leroux affidavit?

MSGR. LAROCQUE: Absolutely, because we knew that we were innocent.

MR. ENGELMANN: I’m sorry?

MSGR. LAROCQUE: I said we knew that we were innocent.

MR. ENGELMANN: Okay.

MSGR. LAROCQUE: And the law was not protecting us, so we had to have some way of being able to protect ourselves.

MR. ENGELMANN: Okay. Well, were any of you charged, sir?

MSGR. LAROCQUE: No. We were investigated, but we were not charged because there were no grounds for the accusations.

. . .

MSGR. LAROCQUE:  These were accusations that were investigated by the police and where the priests and myself had to have legal counsel.

My Observations, Thoughts and Questions

Testifying at the Cornwall Public Inquiry 31 July 2008 Bishop Eugene Larocque said the impetus for the protocol was the need for he and “many” of his priests to defend themselves against the allegations of Ron Leroux. In fact, according to Larocque “the law was not protecting us” so they had to protect themselves, hence the protocol!

Aside from the obvious ethical questions regarding such wanton use of the laity’s contributions to ‘the Church,’ such a protocol might sound reasonable.   But, one major problem:  the Protocol to presumably defend against the Leroux allegations was signed 17 June 1996; the Ron Leroux allegations and affidavit weren’t out until at least the Fall of 1996!

Since Ron Leroux’ allegations definitely were not known at the time, why the mysterious appearance of the protocol in June 1996?

There are, I believe, only three possibilities: 1) an Act of Perfect Charity to finance Father Charles MacDonald’s protracted defence; (2) diocesan officials knew things were about to go awry, 3) certain clergy within the diocese were clairvoyant, or (4) Bishop Larocque is totally confused.

(1) An Act of Perfect Charity

On 17 June 1996 the one and only priest charged and known publicly as an “alleged” predator since the September 1993 diocesan pay-off of David Silmser was Father Charles MacDonald.  “Charlie” in fact had just been charged 11 March 1996.  Aside from Charlie there was not to my knowledge any other priest from the diocese publicly identified as an “alleged” molester.

True, Larocque testified the protocol materialized because of the Rob Leroux allegations, but the Leroux allegations weren’t out and about until the Fall of 1996!  The Leroux allegations as we all know came out through Perry Dunlop, and Perry didn’t meet Ron Leroux until October 1996.

Perry had however initiated legal action against a number of parties, the diocese included.  On or about 06 June 1996 Perry filed a lawsuit, naming amongst others, the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation for the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall as a defendant.  The suit alleged malicious prosecution, negligence, abuse of process and defamation related to the Police Services Act charges initiated against Perry for going to the Children’s Aid Society.

The bottom line is that on 17 June 1996 there were no public sex abuse allegations by Ron Leroux or for that matter Perry Dunlop against clergy.  Nor was there even talk of Fort Lauderdale or a “paedophile clan” involving amongst others Larocque, Father Charles MacDonald, Ken Seguin, other clergy, the former Chief of Police and the Cornwall Crown attorney.

On 17 June ’96 there was no apparent need for concern on the part of Bishop Larocque and/or his clergy.

Why then the protocol?

Was the impetus the sex abuse charges against Charlie?

Is that it?

Was the protocol a sort of Act of Perfect Charity to ensure that Charlie could financially secure and retain the services of Ottawa lawyer Michael Neville, and that for the ensuing six years of legal shenanigans Neville would be paid and Charlie would be housed and well fed until he “walked” free as a bird after he and Neville made their 2002 dash for the Charter?

Is it possible then that the protocol was an Act to Perfect Charity geared simply and solely to fund Charlie’s defence?

I doubt that anyone would want to admit that it was just for Charlie, but, is it all possible?

(2)  Diocesan official knew things were about to go awry.

Why would Larocque say with such certitude that the impetus for the protocol was the  need to defend against the Ron Leoux allegations.   It makes no sense.  Had he left it at that I believe we could view it as an error on the bishop’s part, but, he didn’t leave it that – he said the protocol was needed because there were allegations against he and a number of his priests and “the law was not protecting us.”

What’s he talking about?  What was happening in June 1996 that gave Larocque et al the idea they would need of access to a near bottomless pit for legal defence? Aside from the fact Charlie had been charged, and the diocese was a defendant in a lawsuit initiated by Perry Dunlop, what was going?

Is it remotely possible that Larocque and others in high places had an inkling of what Perry was about to uncover?  Is it possible that Larocque forgot that he wasn’t supposed to know what he perhaps knew in mid June 1996?

Is it possible that by mid June 1996 officials within the diocese knew that things were about to go seriously awry and a protocol to help them through pending troubled times would be in order?

In other words, is it possible that by 17 June 1996 diocesan officials somehow knew that Perry was starting to talk to persons who could/would/might identify persons involved in some fashion in the diocesan pay-off and cover-up?  And that at the very least Perry would learn that Father Charlie, Bishop Larocque, Ken Seguin, the former Chief of police Claude Shaver and Cornwall Crown attorney Murray MacDonald – allegedly socialized with each other? And is it possible that officials feared that in the process of learning who knew who Perry would hear allegations that Bishop Larocque and a number of his priests were preying on young boys?

Is it possible?

Look at the time lines here…

On or about 06 June 1996 Perry filed a lawsuit, naming amongst others, the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation for the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall.  The suit alleged alleges malicious prosecution, negligence, abuse of process and defamation in relation to being charged under Police Services Act for going to the Children’s Aid Society.  That was it. There was no mention then of the goings on and the Who’s Who at Ken Seguin’s and/or Malcolm MacDonald’s.

Three days later, on or about 09 June 1996 Perry had his first meeting with a victim known by the moniker C-8.

C-8 lived two doors up from “alleged” sexual predator Ken Seguin’s waterfront home, within eyesight and a short boat ride over to paedophile Malcolm MacDonald’s cottage.  C-8 said he recalled Larocque, Fathers Kevin Maloney and Bernard Cameron and other notables at Seguin’s home and Malcolm’s cottage.

C-8 had lived with Ron Leroux for a number of years. Both men were often in Ken Seguin’s home and at Malcolm MacDonald’s cottage.   Leroux had eventually married and moved to the States in 1994.

My question here is this: Is it possible that diocesan officials knew of Perry’s 09 June ’96 meet with C-8?

Indeed if we back up a little more we can see that Perry says in his Will State that in December 1995 Tim Samson, the brother of a Cornwall police officer, told Perry there was someone who wanted to speak to him.  Samson wrote down the name and phone number of the person and left it at that. The name was C-8.

Perry’s first meeting with C-8 was, as mentioned above, 09 June 1996.  The protocol was signed off 8 days later.

Is it possible then that diocesan officials heard that C-8 wanted to talk to Perry?  Is it possible they knew that Perry had eventually established contact with C-8?   And did they fear/suspect that contact with C-8 would inevitably lead Perry to others with similar allegations – including Ron Leroux?

I suppose the real question here is, is it, for that matter, remotely possible Perry was being tailed, and his every move and contact were being recorded and reported back to diocesan officials?

I don’t know that that actually happened, but for good reason I believe it is highly possible.  I have heard via the reputable grape vine that the diocese actually hired an agency to tail and try to get ‘dirt’ on Charlie’s “alleged” victims!    If the diocese went to those lengths with victims, why not the same and/or more for Perry Dunlop?

The question then is: Was Perry being tailed and watched?  Did diocesan officials know C-8 was talking to Perry?   And did diocesan officials know that the lid was about to blow sky high?

Is that why the protocol?  Is that why Larocque equates the protocol to allegations against him and a number of his clergy?

(3)  Diocesan officials were clairvoyant.

As I see it the only other rational explanation for the protocol is that diocesan clergy were clairvoyant, i.e., diocesan officials had a bad feeling or vision that there would be serious allegations levelled against a number of clergy and felt it would be wise to hammer out a protocol – just in case!

(4)  Bishop Larocque is totally confused.

Perhaps Bishop Larocque was totally confused?  Perhaps he couldn’t remember why he agreed to the benevolent protocol which eventually and undoubtedly allowed he and several priests to finance The Lawsuit?

Whatever the rationale, and contrary to Bishop Larocque’s testimony, the truth of the matter is that Ron Leroux was not on the scene in June 1996 and there was no apparent need for Larocque or any clergy besides Charlie to circumvent legal aid and have easy access to a bottomless pit to finance their denials.

So, back to my question:  Why the perceived need for the protocol?

One more question:  Since 17 June 1996 how much has the diocese paid out to finance the denials of various clergy?

Enough for now,

Sylvia

([email protected])

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3 Responses to Why the protocol?

  1. RealityChecker says:

    Seems the Archdiocese found a solution to all their problems….

    http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/08/12/ohio-archdiocese.html

    HANDSHAKES ONLY!!!(comments are interesting!)

  2. John MacDonald says:

    Reverend Bernard Cameron passed away on Sunday October 15……more secrets brought to the grave!!!

    John MacDonald

  3. Sylvia says:

    Oh my. Thanks John. I just posted the obit: 15 October 2017: Father Bernie Cameron Obituary

    So sad. My first thoughts go to Perry and Helen Dunlop, and then of course to poor Ron, and then to any and all other victims, and finally to all those who knew and chose to remain silent while the cover-ups were perpetrated.

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