As promised, a few comments on the 10 November 2013 statement of “Jacob Bernsteins”’s mother, a mother’s account of what transpired in first few days after learning her son had been sodomised by Brother Lawrence Lambert.. (The given and surnames of Jacob and his family are pseudonyms)
Mrs. Bernestein’s comments speak for themselves, alternately troubling and enlightening. Particularly troubling to me personally are the following:
(1) ” [Gordon]…. drove home a short time later and advised the Ambassador refused to have the Police called.”
(2) “[[Gordon] was reposted out of Tokyo and advised to not mention it again if he wanted a career.”
As I mentioned before, prior to posting the document I contacted the Australian Embassy (with Mrs. Bernstein’s signed statement attached) asking if there was any comment or clarification regarding the statement. An embassy official replied as follows:
“ In response to your enquiry, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has deep sympathy for victims of abuse. It takes these allegations seriously and has provided the attached statement to the Australian Federal Police. As the embassy staff allegedly involved are no longer employees of the department, the department is not in a position to investigate. The department has passed to the Australian Federal Police any material relevant to the matter.”
I have asked for and am awaiting the name of and contact information for the police officer who is allegedly now handling the matter.
At this time, we have Mrs. Bernstein’s account of events. Not mentioned in the statement is the fact that the crucifixes of both Brothers Lawrence and John were taken/removed/ (torn? ripped?) during the heated encounter. One of Mr. Bernstein’s friends, a Roman Catholic, believed the pair were not fit to wear them.
We can only wonder what else happened behind those Embassy doors, before, during and after the arrival of Gordon Bernstein and his angry friends ? What phonecalls, if any, were made, and to whom? We can only speculate.
I will leave it that. Let’s hope and pray that an investigation is indeed conducted to shine some much needed light on the matter.
That said, on to Brother John Paradis (Paul-Emile/Paul Paradis), the SMIS Headmaster of the day who was not only present at the showdown, but probably wound up with a pair of broken glasses before he and his paedophile confrere (yes, Brother Lawrence) were summarily tossed out the door and “hobbled’ off into the sunset.
It wasn’t ‘over.’ Not at all. True, as we sadly know all too well, these heinous acts which entail the rape of a child’s soul are really never over per se. But on that particular day there seemed to be a finality to the decisions and deals made. So, yes, from that perspective, it was over.
Remember: “Brother John agreed that Brother Lawrence would be sent to Canada and never permitted near children.”
The “Hero” Returns
Brother Lawrence Lambert did indeed return to Canada.
In the 25 September 2010 issue of Contact magazine Brother Jean-Pierre Houle gives us a bird’s eye view of the 33-year-old religious brother’s return:
“In 1966, after five years of work in Japan, he was allowed to visit his family in Canada. He had not attended his father Hector’s funeral. Mr. Lambert had passed away in 1963, three years earlier. However, with God’s grace, Br. Lawrence overcame his cross religiously, without complains [sic]. He went on in his life and met with all the other members of his family who had increased during his absence. He received a hero‟s welcome right on the tarmac at the Montreal airport….. The good steaks and wines were not missing … the word celebration was the key word!
The “hero” returns!!
Whether Brother Houle did or did not know the real reasons for Brother Lawrence’s trip to Canada is an unknown. But, there it is. “Celebration is the key word.” A grand old time was had by all, and Brother Lawrence was apparently none the worse for the showdown at the Embassy.
Happy times and all aside, the return to Canada was no more than a brief interlude. After about eight months on home soil Brother Lawrence was on his way.
“Brother John agreed that Brother Lawrence would be sent to Canada and never permitted near children.”
On to Washington, D.C. – to study Theology.
One can only study Theology for so long…
In 1968, a mere three years – give or take a few weeks – after the promised expulsion to his native land, Brother Lawrence was back on Japanese soil:
According to Brother Houle, Brother Lawrence
“…came back to Japan in September 1968 to study Japanese at Tokyo Nihongo Center for two years. In January 1971 he was sent to Seiko Gakuin, in Shizuoka, to teach catechism and English”
Truth be told, while Brother Lawrence may well have been studying Japanese, he was also, believe it or not, right back to the scene of the crime. Yes, back at St. Mary’s International School. And, yes, contrary to promises made, with unfettered access to all those young boys.!
Perhaps Brother Houle knew nothing of Brother Lawrence’s immediate return to SMIS? or, perhaps it was not deemed worthy of note?
Strangely enough, in an 02 August 2013 email to Jacob even Brother Ducharme, the current Vice Provincial of the Japanese Province, negates mention of Brother Laurence’s late ’60s return to SMIS .
“ As far as I can gather now, brother Lawrence was removed from [SMIS] and sent to study in the States, I guess, then he went on to study Japanese, probably for a couple of years, and then was assigned to a Japanese school.”
There’s nary a hint that the predatory Brother returned to SMIS.
Far from Canada and close to children
The bottom line is that by the late ’60s the superiors of Brothers of the Brothers of Christian Instruction had determined that, contrary to the deal, Brother Lawrence should serve far from Canada, – and close to children.
Don’t believe it?
There’s Brother Lawrence. That’s a picture in the 1969 SMIS yearbook. Yes, that’s him. A Grade 6 teacher at SMIS. The school year for that yearbook runs 1968 to 1969.
And, yes, look. That’s him again, assisting at the First Friday Mass at SMIS.
(Is that perchance the school chapel? I think it may be. Can anyone tell? If, yes, that’s exactly where, only a few years earlier, he so savagely violated a little Jewish boy.)
Oh yes, and, look at this! Can you believe it? There’s Brother John. The same yearbook. 1969. Yes, that’s Brother John Paradis, the Headmaster. Glasses on and, yes, ….in tact.
Ah, yes, and here we are again. One year later. There he is. Yes, indeed, that’s Brother Lawrence. The 1970 SMIS yearbook.
And, well, yes indeed, – oh my, the shame of it all. There’s Brother John. Same yearbook. 1970. As I understand it, Brother John was still then, as in 1965 – when of course he was run out of the Embassy – the Headmaster.
You see, there’s no denying it. In the late 60s Brother Lawrence was back on Japanese soil, and, yes, back at SMIS – with unfettered access to countless young boys, each boy the son of unwitting and, without doubt, trusting and thoroughly deceived parents.
January 1971. Another pool of innocent children. The depraved Brother of Christian Instruction landed at Seiko Gakuin, in Shizuoka. Different school. Still in Japan. Lots of children. Unfettered access.
Never forget: “Brother John agreed that Brother Lawrence would be sent to Canada and never permitted near children.”
Spiritually renewed, promoted, …and back to the scene of the odious crime
1980-81. Time for “spiritual renewal.” Away he went. Off to Rome. A year of spiritual renewal. And, well, yes, amidst the renewal, a little travel, with jaunts off to London, Paris, St. Malo, Lourdes and Israel.
Then, yes, right back to Japan. Not to Shizuoka. No. For whatever reason, teaching at Seiko Gakuin was a thing of the past.
Back, … to Tokyo. And, as proof of the high regard in which he was held by his superior and peers alike, a few steps up the rungs of the proverbial ladder of promotions.
September 1982. Brother Lawrence was named Vice-Provincial of the Brothers in Japan. With that, Brother Lawrence became the superior of all the brothers in Japan, with he being answerable in turn to the Provincial here in Canada. (And, yes, Vice-Provincial is the same position as that currently held by Brother Raymond Ducharme)
Bad enough he’s back to Japan as Vice Provincial.
It gets worse.
Presumably spiritually renewed – and well-travelled to boot! – the deviant religious was back at the scene of his odious crime. Yes, right back back to SMIS. As Principal of St. Mary’s Elementary School.
A big year. Principal and Vice-Provincial.
Clearly the 1965 deal/promise was no more than a joke. A practical, cunning and cruel hoax. But, joke or no it is always distressing to see that innocent children were wilfully placed at risk. It is likewise distressing to realize that parents were wilfully deceived.
Anyway, back to Brother Lawrence, after what with out doubt was his triumphant return to SMIS as Principal of the elementary School and Vice Provincial of Japan.
Look, 1985. That’s him. There he is in the 1985 SMIS yearbook.
And, ah yes indeed. Fancy that. Same yearbook. 1985. There’s Brother John.
Twenty years after the incident at the Australian Embassy, with the two being hurled out the door and no doubt tumbling down the steps, there the pair of them are.
A duplicitous duo.
By 2010 Brother Paradis was back in Canada. Not Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence was still active at SMIS and surrounded by children. He even made it into the 2010 video showing off the new SMIS campus:
He was still at SMIS in 2013 where Jacob had diligently mangaed to track him down. He was briefly shipped of the Shizuoka. He is now in Canada.
Jacob asked for and received apologies from Brothers Lawrence Lambert, Raymond Ducharme (Vice Provincial for Japan), Michel Jutras . ( Brother Michel is a former Headmaster at SMIS and the first person contacted by Jacob. Brother Michel turned things over to Brother Raymond. Brother Raymond is the Vice-Provincial of the Brothers in Japan.)
Anyhow, in addition to the aforementioned apologies, Jacob wanted and asked for an apology from Brother John.
Strange. There was no real trouble getting the other apologies. The apology from Brother John, however. was quite another matter.
By way of a brief backgrounder, Brother Gabriel Gelinas is the current Provincial of the Province of Jean de la Mennais, the latter being that segment of the Brothers of Christian Instruction which is headquartered in Quebec, Canada and which is responsible for the Brothers in, amongst other countries, Japan. Brother Gelinas is Brother Raymond Ducharm’s superior.
Brother Gelinas lives at the mother-house in LaPrairie, Quebec. So does Brother John. Actually I believe that Brother John is in the infirmary, but in essence they are in the same palce.
Now, back to apologies
As I said, Jacob had been asking for an apology from Brother John.
By November of 2013 plans were underway for Jacob to receive the requested apologies in person at a face to face with Brothers Lawrence and Raymond in Tokyo. But, there was no movement on the Brother John apology. None.
On 07 November 2013 Brother Raymond sent the following email to Jacob:
I (Vice-Provincal Japan-Asia) will pay your trip [to Tokyo].
I am eager to finalize the meeting between Br. Lawrence, myself and you.
The thing that bothers me now is the question of the apology of Br. John Paradis in Canada . It does not work out the way that I thought. His superior in Quebec Canada has advised Br. John admits what he did in 1965 to cover up what the sexual assault to you, but refuses to make an apology. As you know Br. John is very old and nearly blind but his mind is quite sound and that of a younger man. I was thinking of travelling to Canada, but have been advised he will waste my time and not speak with me, and a forced apology is not better.
I wonder if our meeting should be held in January instead of December in order to really conclude the matter otherwise I am afraid that things are going to be left undone.
(The Tokyo meeting was postponed until January 2014.)
Note that, at least according to the email, “Brother John admits what he did in 1965 to cover up …but refused to apology” Note too that, in regards to Brother John, “his mind is quite sound and that of a younger man.”
Jacob decided he would contact the superior himself. He asked Brother Ducharme for the name and contact details. Back came the following (16 November 2013):
I have been in touch with the Superior of Brother John. It has not worked out the way I thought. The final answer of the Superior says that whatever concerns this problem should be dealt with the lawer of the Brothers in Canada. That directive concerns me also. That lawer is Mrs. Conrad Lord, her e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ah yes. Time to ‘lawyer up. ‘
A puzzled Jacob asked Brother Raymond why Brother John would need a lawyer for an apology. Back came the following ( 17 November 2013):
I think that the Superior of Br. John has had to deal with other legal cases in the past, and that he believes that it is the prudent way to do in our case. The question of responsibility is very important for him.
Note: “… the Superior of Br. John has had to deal with other legal cases in the past…”
Anyway, anther week. No apology.
On 24 November 2013 Brother Raymond wrote in part:
I have asked the superior of br. John Paradis in Canada to get in touch with br. John, and see what could be done for the apology. By the way, actually his name is Paul-Émile but “John”, I think, was his religious name, which was taken when a brother made his profession as brother: that was the way of doing things in the past). I am still waiting for his final answer, I believe that, anyway, br. Paradis is very sad about what happened to you and regret the whole thing. Since he is now a 87-year-old man, I wonder if it will be possible but I hope that he might do something.
A new year, and the meeting at the synagogue in Tokyo pending, – and still no apology from Brother John. According to Brother Raymond (12 January 2014):
I think that the Superior in Canada does not understand well the situation here even though I tried hard to explain to him.
What is it, I wonder, that Brother Gabriel Gelinas does not understand?
A reminder: “Brother John agreed that Brother Lawrence would be sent to Canada and never permitted near children.”
One clarification and few notes:
The Canadian lawyer referenced in the 16 November 2013 Ducharme email is Mr. Conrad Lord, not, Mrs. Conrad Lord.
The Canadian Ambassador in Tokyo was notified of the situation in 1965, and in addition Mrs. Bernstein personally undertook to speak to the visit and speak to the Cardinal Archbishop of the day in Tokyo. I will eventually pass along what information is available and what more I can learn on both