The Bathurst Diocese/Bastarache proposals for settlement business has been bothering me all day. Some thoughts. I’m not sure that they will make sense, but, I’ll do the best I can. I am just bothered by it all and am trying to put a finger on what it is that’s bothering me.
(1) First, I must say that I am happy for the victims who will receive financial “compensation” offered by the Bathurst Diocese in a speedy fashion. I pray that the payout packages are reasonable. I have no idea what amounts will be proposed;
(2) I don’t understand why the 11th hour change of mind and heart on the diocese’s behalf.
(3) Re 27 October 2010: N.B. Catholic clergy sex assault report due soon
Note the following:
The church will not be given the names of the individuals involved, instead they will only see the number of victims and where they fit into the scale established by Bastarache.
Once he hands out the compensation cheques, Bastarache said he will destroy the files to assure the victims of confidentiality.
If the files are to be destroyed, and if the bishop has no victims names and only some sort of grading of their abuse, what is to prevent a victim from coming forward again in three years or six years or whatever with claims of abuse? How is anyone at the diocese to know that the victim was part of the Bastarache settlement? Do they contact Bastarache to see if he remembers?
I’m not suggesting that anyone would try to ‘double dip’ like that, but I am querying the wisdom of the confidentiality process and the administration of the this entire process.
It makes no sense.
Justice Bastarache is to be the one and only person who will ever ever know the names of each victim and the details of that victim’s abuse? And he will destory all the files?
I don’t understand this at all.
When I think on it I can see that the one thing this might do is ensure that, barring the names of the molesters and a coded accounting of the abuse/damage inflicted, there will be nothing on record with the diocese indicating that, for example, John Doe said a bishop promised his mother him that Father X would never be around children again, or John Doe2 told the bishop and was told in turn that he was an outright liar, or John Doe said he told Father X and Father X did nothing, or John Doe3 said that Father Y passed him on to Father X and that Father Y and Father Z walked in while eh was being molested by X and the three priest got an orgy going.
Shouldn’t a bishop know those things? Shouldn’t the names of those victims be available in the event they could be called upon in the future to corroborate the allegations of others?
Is this a healthy way to administer a diocese in this day and age?
I don’t think so. It makes no sense. Unless this is about destroying evidence to protect the diocese in future legal actions (disclosure) I can make no sense of this.
I can see even less sense to it when I read that the bishop is planning some sort of formal apology.
If the victims’ identities are supposed to be confidential from even the bishop, how will this formal apology be executed? How will the bishop apologize while retaining this cloak of confidentiality promised the victims by both Mr. Bastarche and the diocese?
As I say, this makes no sense. I must be missing something here. What is it?
Another thought here: If a victim chooses to waive his/her confidentiality will Mr. Bastarache’s full account of the victim’s allegations be put on file in the diocese? If not, why not?
(4) As we now know, the deadline for the settlement deal has been extended. After Bastarache met with the Bishop to submit his report/recommendations, the deadline was extended.
However, Mr. Bastarache spoke to the media just days before he was to submit his report/recommendations to the diocese. At that time there was not a hint that he wanted or needed more time. In fact, I took it from the media coverage that Mr. Bastarche he was happy with things and keen to get on with the 01 November with the bishop, get approval for the compensation proposal and then carry on with getting the cheques made out and dispersed.
What happened? Why the 11th hour change?
According to the diocesan press release it was Mr. Bastarche who wanted the extension….
On 02 November the Diocese issued a press release announcing in part that (i) “on recommendation” by Mr. Bastarache” the Diocese “agreed” to extend the deadline for applicants to the process until 01 December 2010 and (ii) before the deadline Bastarache will attempt to meet with the victims who “hesitate” to participate (opted out) and “invite them to reconsider their options.”
What happened at that meeting? Why the change?
Was there a sudden rash of calls to the diocesan centre with new allegations? Is that it? Is it simply that it would be cheaper for the diocese to delay the process in order to bring new victims in than it would have been to leave them to pursue other legal action?
But then, presumably it was Mr. Bastarache who asked for the extension, not the diocese. Did Bastarache receive a raft of calls on the heels of his media exposure? Is that it?
I don’t know.
Is it perhaps something to do with concerns about the victims who opted out of the process? Is that it? It seems Mr. Bastarche is now wanting to reach out to them and somehow draw them back in. But, those victims were out of the process he spoke to the media on the 27th. He didn’t seem overly concerned then that they had opted out, at least not enough for him to refuse to talk to the media until he talked to the bishop and asked for an extension.
In short, Bastarche wasn’t looking for time when he spoke to the media just days before the meeting. Strange
(5) Before the report was to be submitted Mr. Bastarache was quoted as follows:
“In actual fact there are a larger number of priests that are involved. I can’t give the names, but the bishop will have to decide himself whether he wants to make public those names,”
Why is Mr. Bastarche not allowed to name known clerical molesters? Was he told that that would be an absolute no no? If yes, by whom?
Note too that Mr. Bastarache said “larger number.” According to the 02 November 2010 diocesan press release it is “a few others.”
I don’t know how many constitute a “larger number” than the initial two (Picot and Noel). I suppose it could be two, or five, or ten? Who knows how many.
According to the diocesan press release it was a “a few” others:
Clerics identified by victims include Levi Noel and Charles Picot, as well a few others who are either dead or no longer in ministry within the diocese.
A “few” known molesters whom we can presumably discount because “they are either dead or no longer in ministry within the diocese.”
How many is a “larger number”? How many is “a few”?
No matter. Who are they? And, for those who are not deceased, where are they?
This exercise led me to do a little more work on Father Levi Noel’s page. I went through the directories I have on hand and filled in dates and years.
A few things caught my eye.
Twelve years after his ordination Father Noel was assisting in Tracadie. Ditto in Shippegan the following year.
I find that unusual. Generally twelve years down stream a priest has his own parish. Perhaps there was an over-abundance of priests in the diocese? Still, it’s strange.
In the early 70s (1970-1971) he is pastor, but, a year later it looks like he’s back to assisting again.
Then, in 1991 he is off in France.
Why France? What was he doing off in France?
Then he’s back and his address is Sheila, NB. What was he doing there? Had he perhaps retired? What could he as a priest have been doing in Sheila, N.B. I don’t know the area so don’t have a clue.
If anyone can fill in any of the gaps please post a comment or send me an email (email@example.com) I w0uld also love to know what he was doing in Montreal for all those years.
Enough for now