If you haven’t heard yet the big news from the Archdiocese of Moncton is that former Supreme Court Justice Michel Bastarache has been retained to deal with/’compensate’ the “alleged” victims of Father Camille Leger, and, of course any other victims who happen to come forward.
As much as I had anticipated such a turn of events after the interview with Donald Langis was aired on CBC, a part of me obviously didn’t want to believe the Archbishop of Moncton would stoop so low.
I was sick when I read the first report this first report on the ‘good news’ morning:
04 June 2012: Cap-Pelé church abuse victims can turn to ex-judge
I am still sick, and totally and utterly disgusted.
Another cover-up in the offing.
I have two big problems with this deal:
(1) Cover-up of any and/or all prior cover-ups
I am in no way, shape of form adverse to the victims being compensated, nor am I adverse to their desire to retain their anonymity, but I am totally opposed to concealing the number of victims who come forward along with details as to when they were molested, who was aware of and/or advised of the abuse, which diocesan officials and/or clergy – by name – knew of the abuse, and when diocesan officials and/or clergy were informed of the abuse and their response.
All of this can be done without sweeping the facts under the carpet as was done when Mr. Bastarche brokered the deal with the victims form the Diocese of Bathurst. Catholics have not only a right, but a need to know, what has been going on the Archdiocese of Moncton.
(2) Cover-up of the identities of predatory priests
I am totally adverse to concealing the names of all other clerical predators, dead or alive, who molested in the Archdiocese of Moncton and whose victims will be quietly be compensated by Bastarache/Archbishop Richard “conciliation” deal. Again, I believe to the depth of my being that Catholics have both a right and a need to know what has been going on the Archdiocese of Moncton, and, for that matter, in every other diocese in the country.
There was not a murmur from the archdiocese of financial compensation for the many Father Camille Leger victims. Not a boo – until Normand Brun spoke out. All we heard were tales about “rumours.” Everyone it seemed had heard “rumours” about Father Camille Leger. Just “rumours.” Until Norm Brun spoke out.
Norm is no rumour. Back in 1997, within 48 hours of his standing on archdiocesan doorstep he had a cheque in his hand. the archdiocese put a cheque in his hand .
That’s no rumour. That’s fact.
Don’t, please don’t anyone tell or try to convince me that Archbishop Richard didn’t see that little factoid stashed away in the Father Camille Leger file.
We were told that Norm’s lawyer was there to negotiate the 1997 ‘deal.” False. Norm was told to find himself AFTER the pay-off had been negotiated. That’s fact.
I personally think that once Norm spoke out the archdiocesan house of cards was about to come tumbling down.
Time to do damage control. Time to circle the wagon. And time to herd the scared, ashamed and ever-so-vulnerable victims, one and all, into the Bastarche/Moncton Archdiocese corral.
Keep control, and keep the lid on the magnitude of the archdiocesan sex abuse scandal. That’s the name of the game. The victims are unwitting pawns.
I urge those who opt to go with the Bastarche/Moncon Archdiocese deal and desire anonymity to insist that details of their abuse and/or contact with clergy and/or archdiocesan officials in the past re the abuse be made public in such fashion that their anonymity is respected. Believe me, it can be done and Mr. Bastarche is more than capable of complying with such a request.
I likewise urge those victims of clergy other than Father Camille Leger who opt to go with the Bastarche/Moncton Archdiocese deal to insist that the name of their priest-molester be made public by both Mr. Bastarache and Archbishop Richard, and that is to be done along with details of the abuse and/or contact with clergy and/or archdiocesan officials regarding the abuse. If they desire anonymity then demand it. Both Mr. Bastarche and Archbishop Ricard are more than capable of complying with such a request.
Please don’t allow yourself to be used and abused as no more than pawns in a coverup. You are worth more and deserve more.
Finally, there are a number of victims who opted out of the Bastarche/Bathurst deal. That’s fact. I don’t know the details as to why they opted, but I do believe they may be in a position to reach out to victims in the Archdiocese of Moncton who are struggling right now and see this Bastarche/Moncton Archdiocese invitation as a welcome “deal.” For the sake of truth and justice, and for the well-being of the “Moncton” victims, I urge and implore those who opted out of the deal in Bathurst to speak out.
I have posted a number of documents and article re this ‘good news’:
04 June 2012: The Church reaches out to alleged victims of Father Camille Leger
04 June 2012: Case against Roman Catholic priest set over (Accused/Smith: Father George Smith)
03 March 2012: Archdiocese of Moncton newsletter Pastoral Action with two articles (in French with minimal English translation) re sex abuse and Father Camille Leger
Undated: Sexual Assaults: Conciliation Process Announced
Undated: Michel Bastarache undated Press Release re abuse by Father Camille Leger and/or other priests and his conciliation process
02 June 2012: Moncton’s Archbishop Andre Richard press release/letter re “alleged victims’” of Father Camille Leger and retaining the services of former Supreme Court Justice Michel Bastarache
On a final note, I will say yet again that I am sick and tired of Church officials using, playing on and encouraging the fear and shame of victims. It is well beyond time those same officials started to assure the victims that they, the victims, have nothing – nothing – to be ashamed of. It is high time too that those officials start to assure victims that the shame belongs squarely on the shoulders of their molester. I don’t expect them to add that the blame also belongs squarely on the shoulders of those who covered-up for and/or blithely reycled their molester, but, of course, it does. For now I would be happy to see officials reach out to victims and let them know what we know but so many victims do not know or believe, the shame does NOT belong to the victims. Stop, for goodness sake stop encouraging the silence and shame.
Sorry, one final note on this. For what it’s worth, Bathurst’s Bishop Valery Vienneau who last reatined the services of Mr. Bastarache, is the former Vicar General of the Moncton Archdiocese who , in 1997, was present for the brokering of the Norm Brun pay-off. Vienneau is a Cap Pele native – he and Norm when to school together for 10 years. And, also for what it’s worth, Moncton’s Archbishop Richard spent several years serving in Cap Pele while Father Camille Leger was there.
Father George Ansel Smith’s court date of today has been set over to 10 September 2012:
04 June 2012: Case against Roman Catholic priest set over
All we know at this time is that the Crown is still awaiting the outcome of the Nova Scotia investigation.
Keep the complainants in your prayers. This is hard on them.
I have heard nothing as yet on the outcome of today’s court dates for
(1) Gabriele Del Bianco (Sarnia, Ontario)
Does anyone have any news?
Enough for now,
Bastarache mentions the 90 abuse victims in Bathurst…but not a peep about even just the “number” of priests concerned…THAT is what was so important to seal out of public view!
90 abuse victims? Oh my God! Yes, there must have been a number of priests involved whose names are presently hidden in a secret file only to be made public and possibly have another Bishop or secretary Msgr put on trial for maybe 11 weeks or so.
I agree with the author of this blog/site that shame lies squarely on the shoulders of any priest living or dead who sexually abused children. These children, now adults, must be compensated to help in any way possible for counselling. They should not be ashamed. The shame should not lie on these abuse victims but on the abusing priests and those fellow priests and Bishops who allowed this to continue. The abuse victims’ names can be concealed if they wish, but their abusers…living or dead…should be in the sex offenders list for Canada.
It’s obvious to me…even in these times of 2012…..the coverups are still happening. Shame on the Church. Let the world know who these abusing priests are.
Yes, 90 victims begs a few questions;
(1) how many priests in Bathurst, past and present, were identified to Mr. Bastarache and Bishop Vienneau as molesters?
(2) How many of those predators are still alive?
(3) How many known predators are, unbeknownst to the flock, still functioning?
Yes, sad to say, the cover-ups continue.
I have sat with these correspondences since November of 2010 but I think that it is time to post the letters that I have written to various people in political positions in New Brunswick.
My original e-mail was sent to Retired Superior Court Justice Michel Bastarache on Nov. 4th, 2010 (below).
My name is John Mac Donald, I am a victim of clerical abuse in Cornwall, Ont. My perpetrator walked away from court on an 11b charter issue in 2002. He was first charged in March 1996. The previous was mentioned just to let you know why I have an interest in your work in the Bathurst Diocese.
My question to you is about a persons Duty to Report as legislated in the Family Services Act of New Brunswick. Under this legislation are you not obligated to report to the local Children’s Aid Society any suspected abuse or abusers? I am sure that as a retired Justice of the Superior Court of Canada, you would want to make certain that the law of the land is followed.
Anticipating your reply,
My next e-mail was sent two days later with the appropriate legislation attached regarding a persons duty to report. This letter was copied to Mr. Yvon Godin (Bathurst Area MP) and Mr. Brian Kenny (Bathurst MLA) (below).
To all…….Below are segments of The Family Services Act of New Brunswick on a person’s duty to report child abuse and suspected child abuse. On Thursday November 4th, 2010 I e-mailed Michel Bastarache and asked him his obligation under this legislation to report the names of abusers that he has come to learn in his role in the Bathurst Diocese. Mr. Bastarache has yet to get back to me on that first e-mail, so I am writing him again reiterating my inquiry, with the applicable legislation included. I have copied this letter to Yvon Godin (Bathurst area MP), Brian Kenny (Bathurst area MLA), Peter Engelmann (Lead Council for the Cornwall Public Inquiry) and Moncton Times Transcript (Editor Al Hogan)
(1) Any person who has information causing him to
suspect that a child has been abandoned, deserted, physically
or emotionally neglected, physically or sexually illtreated,
including sexual exploitation through child pornography
or otherwise abused shall inform the Minister of
the situation without delay.
30(2) This section applies notwithstanding that the person
has acquired the information through the discharge of
his duties or within a confidential relationship, but nothing
in this subsection abrogates any privilege that may exist
because of the relationship between a solicitor and the solicitor’s
(3) A professional person who acquires information
in the discharge of the professional person’s responsibilities
that reasonably ought to cause the professional person
to suspect that a child has been abandoned, deserted, physically
or emotionally neglected, physically or sexually illtreated,
including sexual exploitation through child pornography
or otherwise abused but who does not inform the
Minister of the situation without delay commits an offence.
I am hoping that someone will get back to me with an answer to this inquiry. (My original e-mail to Mr. Bastarache is attached).
Anticipating a reply,
My next letter was written on November 23 and sent to the Right Honourable Sue Stultz the minister responsible for the Department of Social Development (below is the letter and her response).
I am writing to you in your position as Minister of Social Development.
Below are some e-mails that I have sent over the last few weeks to various people in the province of New Brunswick and here in Ontario. I am certain that you recognize the names Yvon Godin (MP Bathurst) and Brian Kenny (MLA Bathurst). The other names are Richard Abell (retired Children’s Aid Services Director-Cornwall), Peter Engelmann (lead council for the Cornwall Public Inquiry) and most importantly Michel Bastarache (retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada) who was hired by the Diocese of Bathurst to negotiate settlements with victims of clerical abuse within the Bathurst Diocese.
The e-mails are dated (beginning with the first one dated Nov. 4, 2010-at the bottom), and to me are self-explanatory. As you can read, my question has to do with ones Duty to Report abuse or suspected abuse. I have yet to receive a response from Mr. Bastarache, which in itself I find troubling, or Mr’s Godin or Kenny on what ones duty is to report in New Brunswick.
I am hoping that you can help me out in clarifying the legislation and law in New Brunswick. I do not know if you are familiar with what is transpiring within the Bathurst Diocese, but I am hoping that you can help.
Anticipating a reply,
This is Sue Stultz’ response:
>Good morning Mr. MacDonald,
On behalf of Minister Stultz, I acknowledge receipt of your email regarding the Diocese of Bathurst and the victims of clerical abuse.
As this fall under the Department of Justice and Consumer Affairs, I have taken the liberty to forward your message on to the Honorable Marie-Claude Blais, Q.C, for her response.;
Hélène Hachey-HollandSecrétaire de Direction / Executive SecretaryBureau du ministre / Minister’s Office
Ministère du Développement social / Department of Social Development
IF one goes down to 30 (10) they spell out who of professional person, who has the duty to report an abuse on a child.
In that list you will not see the name of priest or religiouse person!!!
Ask a priest and he’ll answer I’m not a professional person as the law states, I’m a person of conviction!
This will give them the right either in confession or not, to shut up about any kind of abuse!
And one priest told me “I have to show compation to the pedophile”, I told him and what do you do with a child screaming of abuse, the next day, cause we know a pedophile only stop after he is is in Jail! He looked at me like a deer in headlights!!!
Why is it so hard to work with the truth, anything less is a strugle to what, or for what?
History will prouve us that a priest, himself will or has had the most victims of any kind of other pedophile in our society, and his name is not in the law!!!!
I cut this post into 2 segments as it would have been a long read.
Between Nov. 30th and Dec. 1st I did recieve an e-mail from both Mr. Kenny and Mr. Godin acknowledging reciept of my e-mail, but no real response to my inquiry.
Finally on December 10th 2010 I did recieve a response from Mr. Bastarache (below).
***Private and confidential***
Thank you for your emails. I have had the opportunity to look into the matter and have reviewed the relevant legislation in New-Brunswick and Canadian case law dealing with the duty to report. I apologize if this took some time, but I wanted to make sure that my research was extensive on this matter.
As you know, the duty to report exists for situations where there is a threat or potential threat to minors. Seeing as all of the child offenders that were named through the conciliation process are either in jail or have since passed away, there is no threat to the public and thus, no duty to report.
As a professional, my duty is to report if a “child” is or may be in need of protection, even when the information is supposed to be confidential or privileged. As all of the victims who have come forward are over the age of 18, they could also report this abuse, should they wish to do so. If ever there was a case where an individual would be in danger, no matter if he/she were a minor, I would definitely not hesitate to report this to the police. However, this is not the case.
I would remind you that I have not been hired by the Diocese to “broker a deal” with the alleged victims, as you have stated in your previous email. The Bishop of Bathurst, Msgr. Valery Vienneau, asked me to accept the role of independent conciliator in order to design and direct a process to identify victims of sexual abuse for which the Diocese has accepted responsibility, provide them an official apology, and offer them fair compensation for the affront to their dignity and their suffering.
This process is meant to be non-confrontational, and as simple and expeditious as possible. As the Conciliator, I am acting independently and I am not the agent, lawyer or consultant of the Bishop, which was what the Bishop wanted. Further, most if not all of the victims that have actively participated in the process have requested that we maintain the confidentiality of their complaint, and I intend to respect their wish.
I wrote both Mr. Kenny and Mr. Godin towards the end of March 2011 yet again asking for a response to my inquiry but never recieved a reply.
I am posting these correspondences now as I see Bathurst heading the way of Cornwall and a possible Inquiry sometime down the road IF and WHEN the victims realize that they have been used and re-abused at the hands of a system that wanted nothing more than containment and concealment of the true facts of the horrors that took place within the Diocese of Bathurst. If I learned anything at all throughout the Cornwall process it is that when things are down in black and white, they can sometimes come back to bite people in the ass.
Where this goes from here is in the hands of those that have been used as pawns in a process of secrecy. Find your voices, find your strength and speak up. You will be supported.
John Mac Donald
Thank you John. I really need time to read, re-read and digest this.
Meanwhile, would you send me the email exchange between you and Mr. Bastarche, the one from you to him, and his reply? I would like to post them separately on the Father Leger page as well as on the Father Picot and Noel pages.