As I said yesterday, Father Robin Gwyn , a priest with the Archdiocese of Kingston, Ontario, has been convicted. Superior Court Justice Wolfram Tausendfreund found the priest guilty on one of the five charges laid.
Three charges were stayed by assistant Crown attorney Gerard Laarhuis . Laarhuis opted to withdraw those charges from consideration during trial when dates and timelines became problematic during cross-examination. Yesterday (29 September 2016) confirmed that he was removing those charges from consideration and opted to have them stayed.
Father Gwyn was acquitted on one charge because, according to the judge, he was not satisfied with the timeline. (I believe that that charged referenced the victim as being under 14 at the time the abuse transpired, and there was no way to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the abuse transpired before the victim was 14?)
Gwyn was convicted on one charge, the second.
A credible witness
I previously referred to the victim as “Danny.” The judge referred to him as JB. I will use JB.
JB was not in the courtroom. I am not surprised. I think what it boiled down to is if he didn’t have to be there he was not going to be there. And I think too that he was probably scared to death that Gwyn would be acquitted, and that in turn would make him look like a good-for-nothing liar.
Thankfully, the latter did not win the day.
There is no doubt that Justice Tausendfreund found JB credible. I don’t believe the judge used those words per se in his ruling, but there is no doubt from his words that he found him credible.
From JB’s evidence the judge “accepted” that JB had frequented the rectory . Likewise, the judge concluded that the Toyota truck described by JB was in fact Father Gwyn’s truck, be it white, grey or silver. The judge also said that as a result of testimony regarding a meeting held with JB, a police officer and Father Gwyn in 1991 he, the judge, is satisfied that the paths of Father Gwyn and JB crossed in the late 80s when JB was a student at St. Pat’s (the meeting was an attempt – unsuccessful I believe – by JB to convince the officer to allow JB to date the officer’s daughter).
The judge ruled that he found no ulterior motive for JB to allege sexual abuse at the hands of Father Robyn Gwyn. Tausendfreund cited the fact that JB had disclosed his abuse to a probation officer in 2013, and did not want any action taken. The judge then referenced the 2014 incident in which JB was attending the police station on an unrelated matter and was told that police were looking for him – and discovered that they wanted to speak to him about his sex abuse allegations against Father Gwyn. And, finally the judge referenced the times that JB had bolted from the courtroom while he was testifying saying he did not want to be there. The judge said that he accepted that JB did not want to be there. He said that he did not ascribe any ulterior motive to JB. He also said that he was struck by the detail of JB’s evidence.
Prior to pronouncing the verdict Justice Tausendfreund referenced the 2004 report by forensic psychiatrist Dr. Paul Federoff report in which Father Gwyn admitted having sexual contact with about nine underage boys age 14-16, and, if I heard accurately, in response to a question posed by Federoff said that he, Gwyn, did consider entering the priesthood as a means to access young boys? (Dr. Paul Federoff works at the Royal Ottawa Hospital’s Sexual Behaviours Clinic).
After the verdict was rendered defence lawyer Clyde Smith asked for a pre-sentencing report, and noted that it will have to done in Noa Scotia (Father Glaude resides in Berwick, N.S.) Mr. Laarhuis asked that copies of the both Dr. Federoff’s report and a report from Southdown be provided to the author of the pre-sentence report.
Laarhuis also asked that a report be conducted by Dr. Anthony Eccles to determine what risk Father Gwyn poses. At this Clyde Smith cried out: ‘He’s nearly 70!’
What difference does being nealry 70 make? Does he truly think a 70 year-old priest are incapable of molesting? If so it’s time he started researching a little more thoroughly. I recall posting an account of an 86-year-old priest in South America who was , if memory serves me correctly, both molesting and videotaping his dastardly deeds.
No matter, a report by Eccles will be ordered “on issues of sexual behaviour and future risk.” The Crown also asked that the Dr. Federoff and Southdown reports be provided to Dr. Eccles. (Dr. Eccles is Director at the Kingston Sexual Behaviour Clinic)
The Crown did not request that Gwyn be remanded into custody.
The next court date will be Assignment Court, 21 October 2016. By then there should be a good idea where things are at regarding the pending reports and a sentencing date can be set.
Father Robyn Gwyn is either heading for or back in Berwick, Nova Scotia
One thing which struck me as strange. The judge has placed a publication ban on any information which would identify the victim (JB), …..or any witness. The ban on the victim’s name and identifiers is standard, but…. I don’t understand the ban on anything which would identify the witnesses. There was no ban before. There are already names of those testifying out in the public domain. Did I misunderstand? If not, where did this come from?
Anyway. the Reasons for Judgment should be available soon. As soon as they are I will post.
JB, I know it was extremely difficult for you to testify. I now too that courtroom was a the last place in the world you wanted to be, but, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you. You did it! You made it through. As I said yesterday, people now know that Father Robyn Gwyn is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And, yes, thanks to you finding the strength to get back on the stand several timers when you wanted to walk away from it all, people now know that Father Robyn Gwyn is a child molester who should never have been ordained to the priesthood.
My thoughts and prayers are with you JB. Well done!
Enough for now,