And the immediate aftermath of yesterday’s bizarre news regarding Cornwall victims and astronomical out-of-court-settlements
There are two articles in today’s Cornwall Standard Freeholder. Well, actually, one article and one letter to the editor from Bishop Paul Andre Durocher.
Here they are, with my comments on each:
(1) 11 June 2010: Payouts far short of estimates
A few observations and comments on this:
(i) The Diocese:
According to this report, there were 16 suits against the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall. All suits are now settled and the diocese has paid out approximately $1.2 M. The number of victims is unknown.
The suits related to 10 priests accused of abuse between 1949 and the late 70s.
Yesterday I guessed at five:
Father Lucien Lussier
Father Charles MacDonald
Father Carl Stone
Father Luc Meunier
Father Gilles Deslaurier
There are five more.
What about Father Francois Lefebvre? Was one of the suits related to sex abuse allegations against him? I think perhaps it was?
Bishop Eugene Larocque? Was there a lawsuit there that perhaps made it through to fruition?
What of Father Gaetan Deschamps?
What of the Viatorian priests? Were there allegations against other Viatorians which entailed the diocese? (one suit was settled a number of years ago – the Diocese managed to xtricate itself from that action)
Who are these ten priests? Which priests affilated with the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall had sufficient evidence leveled against them in a law suit to compel the diocese to agree to an out-of-court settlement?
How many of the ten are alive? Where are they?
(ii) The office of the Ontario Attorney General
According to the report, the AG’s office has paid out 2.95M to 23 victims. The number of government employees accused in the lawsuits is unknown.
Here are the totlas: $1.25M + $2.95M=$4.20M.
Add to that the actions which were settled against the Viatorians some years back, and the total I am sure is well under $6M. (I know there was no windfall for Dick Nadeau [may he rest in peace]in the Viatorian action, and without digging around to find the exact numbers I am sure there wasn’t a handsome payout for any of the other Viatorian victims in that action. )
I don’t know what difference all of this makes, but I guess it bothers me that the perception is now out there that the victims of Cornwall (rela and “alleged”) hit paydirt are now rolling in money. That’s simply not true.
I will add that not all victims launched lawsuits. John MacDonald, for example, has not launched a lawsuit against the diocese/Father Charles MacDonald. However, for whatever reason,and strangely indeed, since news came out about multi-million-dollar-settlements people assume that John launched a suit against the diocese and has received a hefty settlement. Not true.
(2) 11 June 2010: [Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher] Diocese not involved with government lawsuits
(i) Who is this priest?
Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher thought the perception might be out there that the diocese and the Onatrio government have been in collusion in settleing lawsuits! That never oncce crossed my mind, at least not for the settling of lawsuits.
That aside, there is something rather disturbing here which warrants attention. Note the following:
Many of these lawsuits were launched quite publicly with extensive reports in this newspaper. A few of these lawsuits also named local school boards or religious orders. All of these lawsuits concerned priests or religious brothers who are dead or retired from ministry. The one exception concerned an elderly priest who was removed from ministry as soon as the lawsuit was launched and will not be returning to ministry. (emphasis added)
What’s going on here? A priest was identified to the diocese as a sexual predator. He has simply been” removed from ministry”
Were police contacted? Was an investigation conducted?
It doesn’t sound like it, does it?
Who is this priest? If there are allegations against him suffice to settle a lawsuit then the Roman Catholic faithful have a right to know. Ditto any soul who has any dealings with the man.
Where is the transparency here? Parents have a right to protect their children from clerical sexual predators. And, never mind his age, there were reports recently from South America of an 83-year-old priest whose age was no encumberance to his depraved sexual proclivities.
I repeat: Who is this priest?
(ii) No duty to report?
How is it that those who negotiate these settlements are immune from a duty to report?
Does that make an iota of sense to anyone? If the presumed object of the exercise these days is the protection of children, does it make one iota of sense that a small cadre of lawyers et al can be privy to information about a sexual predator and not be obliged to report that information to police?
Look at this. From the Cornwall Public Inquiry hearings, 02 September 2008. Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher testifying:
BISHOP DUROCHER: We put out guidelines.
That’s why they’re called guidelines. The guidelines are about transparency. They’re about protection of people. They’re about accountability.
MR. DUMAIS: All right. And as your guideline now stands, if there’s no allegation that’s been brought to the delegate but there’s a civil proceeding that’s been filed and served on the Diocese, would then the committee or the delegate investigate that type of an allegation?
BISHOP DUROCHER: No, that’s not part of the policy.
It`s not in their guidelines to investigate if !!!! If the victim launches a lawsuit the diocese has no need to investigate?
But, note, according to the bishop himself, the guidelines are about transparency!!!! And `the protection of people`!!!!
What nonsense. If a victim doesn’t report his her sex abuse allegations to the diocese but files a lawsuit then somehow the diocesan committee is immune from investigating the allegations?
But, in this instance for some strange reason the priest was actually removed from ministry?
And who this alleged`molester is is top secret ?
Cover-up. Nothing has changed. Absolutely nothing. Protect the `privacy`of clerical molesters. Willfully leave or place children at risk.
In Canada, nothing but nothing has changed.
Finally, look at this:
No confidentiality clause is included in any of these settlements. All those who have settled with the diocese are therefore at completely liberty to speak of their experience and of the settlement itself. Out of respect for their privacy, I leave such a decision up to them. (emphasis added)
What a piece of wordsmithing.
We don`t need to know who the victims are. Who are the priests? That`s where transparency and accountability come in. Who are the priests?
To dump this on the victims with the claim it is somehow in their best interests not to identify a clerical sexual predator is unconscionable.
Enough for now,
(contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org)