Okay, here goes. More on the Father Stephen Amesse verdict..
First, I want to draw your attention to this comment posted this morning by “Robert’s” father “Pierre”
Please take the time to read it. Every word. A father who has without doubt had his heart torn out while ‘good’ Roman Catholics cruelly tore his son to shreds.
Next, a reminder that I will not be posting any further comments which attempt to denigrate, vilify and/or and refer to Robert and/or his family as liars. There has been ample opportunity for that. Most of you have thrown in your two-cents worth, – many have done so again and again and again. Those who wish to discuss or make comment on the verdict in a respectful manner are free to do so.
Now on to the few comments I wanted to make regarding Justice Martin James’ decision of yesterday. First, a few observations
1. About 20 minutes before the judge’s decision was due to be rendered it was like grand central station outside the courtroom #333. Father Stephen Amesse was there surrounded by a number of his followers. The group was animated. Father Amesse greeted and hugged those arriving;
2. As soon as the doors to the courtroom opened the place was flooded. People were asked to vacate the two benches on the front right-hand side to accommodate the complainant (“Robert”) and his family ;
3. At one point I counted about 65 persons in the courtroom. Some more came in so there must have been around 70 people packed in that room. Of the 70 or so there were perhaps 14 who were either media, or family and friends of the complainant. In other words, there were in the order of 56 Father Amesse supporters packed into the standing-room only courtroom;
4. I have made mention elsewhere of the clapping and cheering which broke out when the judge pronounced his “not guilty” verdict. The verdict came quickly. Often it seems to take forever for the judge to pronounce after detailing his reasons in minute detail. Yesterday was fast. Very fast’
5. You may recall that on 11 March I blogged that the trial ended up in a bit of mess. and opened the blog with the following:
“There are questions as to whether or not there are contradictions in testimony as to whether or not the electric body shaver which Robert brought home was the same one used by Father Stephen Amesse to give the post-shower genital shave to the then 14-year-old Robert in 2008, and there are questions about the age of consent .
That was in closing arguments, so, it was over and done with. No further testimony or evidence could be introduced. It was down to speculation.
I was quite certain that those matters would become an issue in the judge’s decision. It sounded for all the world that the judge would be spending time on those specific points. But, no. Not a word. Not a judicial boo about the body shaver or the age of consent. Just, well, strange.
6. The judge briefly recounted some of the allegations, noting what both Robert had to say about them and also Father Amesse’s denials.
Then he led into and referenced the WD Analysis which is the 1991 Supreme Court of Canada case R v W in which Justice Cory ruled as follows that a trial judge had erred in instructing a jury
It is incorrect to instruct a jury in a criminal case that, in order to render a verdict, they must decide whether they believe the defence evidence or the Crown’s evidence. Putting this either/or proposition to the jury excludes the third alternative; namely, that the jury, without believing the accused, after considering the accused’s evidence in the context of the evidence as a whole, may still have a reasonable doubt as to his guilt.
and then Justice Corey cited what he proposed as the correct method for a jury to assess credibility as follows:
First, if you believe the evidence of the accused, obviously you must acquit.
Second, if you do not believe the testimony of the accused but you are left in reasonable doubt by it, you must acquit. (Note: this is a more contentious point)
Third, even if you are not left in doubt by the evidence of the accused, you must ask yourself whether, on the basis of the evidence which you do accept, you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt by that evidence of the guilt of the accused.
Justice James did not cite Justice Corey verbatim, but he did cover those three points.
In the absence of a jury, the trial judge is expected to follow those rules.
7. Perhaps I missed it, but at no point did I hear Justice James comment on his views on the veracity of Father Amesse’s testimony. Nor did I hear a word of incredulity expressed regarding Father Amesse’s claim that he, a priest, who as a layman helped hammer out the CCCB’s sex abuse guideline, has not a clue what grooming is.
In fact, as I think on it and scan through my notes, I realize that the judge seemed to shy clear of comment pro or con on any of Father Amesse’s testimony. When an accused has testified in his own defence a judge generally gives a bit of a feel for what he thought of the accused’s testimony and how that factored in to rendering the decision. But, nothingl.
8. Finally Justice James addressed “some issue” with Robert’s testimony before concluding that the Crown’s evidence must be conclusive and stating that he was unable to determine conclusively, hence, ‘not guilty.;
Cheers and applause +++ followed by a rebuke by the judge: “This isn’t a cheering section.”
Now, on to three points points on which I wanted to make comment regarding “some issues” the judge had with some of Robert’s testimony. I am addressing here only those three “issues” which troubled me specifically because they seem to reflect a very subjective vs objective judicial view and , further to that, what can only be described as an abysmal failure to comprehend the conniving, cunning and manipulative ways of the average clerical molester. :
Justice James had difficulty believing that Father Amesse would kiss Robert on the lips in public. He made no reference to the testimony of Robert’s mother . Robert’s mother testified that she had personally witnessed Father Amesse kiss her son on the lips at the church once.
There is at least one case where a priest molested a victim at the dining room table in the presence of the boy’s parents. Can you believe it? Does the fact that that is untoward and the insolent priest managed to boldly molest the child in such a manner as to avoid detection mean such a thing can not and therefore did not happen? It happened
There are cases where a priest sexually molested a child in the bedroom adjacent to the boy’s parents bedroom. Can you believe it? Again, does the fact that the priest managed to perpetrate the abuse silently and without alerting the parents mean that such a thing can not and therefore did not happen? It happened.
What about priests who sodomize altar boys in the sacristy just before Mass? That’s hard to believe, but, yes, it has happened. Does the fact that the abuse was not witnessed by others coming and going in preparation for Mass mean it couldn’t possibly have happened? Believe me, it has happened.
Why a judge would conclude that it is virtually impossible that a priest could kiss a young boy on the lips in the presence of others without being seen is beyond me. Think it through.
2. Eric’s picture
Justice James had difficulty believing that any priest would have a framed picture of a nude man in the rectory.
Well, what about priests who have stashes of child and other pornography? They don’t leave it lying around the rectory do they? No. Of course not. They don’t leave damning stuff like that lying around for all to see. They’re usually too clever for that. They keep it secreted, and they pull it out when and only when it is advantageous to themselves do so. Advantageous can be to get their own kicks while in private or with ‘trusted’ and like-minded friends, and , yes, it can also be, as we have heard time and time again, to consciousness raise and lower the inhibitions of their targeted prey.
I must note here that Justice James did not mention Eric by name, but, the one picture referenced by Robert which became a topic of testimony at trial was, according to Robert, that of Eric.
Robert testified that Father Amesse told him Eric is a body builder from California. The judge however did not acknowledge that Robert was certainly telling the truth there because even Father Amesse admitted that he does indeed know Eric, and Eric is indeed a body builder.
However, Father Amesse testified that there was no nude picture of Eric, and at trial’s end felt the need or desire or whatever to introduce inot evidence a picture/promo from a website which would seem to imply that Eric is both a family man and body builder, and that the picture which Robert saw would have been a brochure similar to this which Father Amesse had in his office. On the picture Eric is clothed – shirt wide open mind you showing off his clean shaven chest, but, he has pants on. Still, Amesse did agree that the picture and Eric’s pose are suggestive.
I found the website with the ‘suggestive’ pose of Eric. I also found a raft of truly filthy pictures of Eric. Nude. Genitals visible. Porn. Straight porn. I blogged on this under Many are sheer porn.
True, the judge probably has no idea those pictures exist, but I know. I’ve seen them.
Anyway, why in this day and age would Justice James discount Robert’s testimony regarding the nude framed photo because he, the judge, doesn’t personally believe that a priest would have pictures like that in the rectory?
Where has the judge been for the past 20 or 30 years? Where in the name of goodness has he been? Doe she really and truly not know how cunning and clever most sexual predators are?
3. The cards
Justice James seems to have no problem at all with the fact that Father Amesse mailed cards with money to Robert. To the contrary. The judge actually believes that by mailing the card a sexual predator would increase the risk of detection.
I am beyond dumbfounded. Totally beyond.
Surely the judge knows that most predators are of necessity manipulators and con men. Mailing the cards is akin to a thief robbing a house in broad daylight. Just plain clever.
The judge can’t see that? Really?!
Please keep Robert and his family in your prayers
Enough for now,