Okay, a little information regarding testimony yesterday (Thursday 16 November 2017) at the sex abuse trial of previously convicted former Cornwall school Catholic teacher Marcel Lalonde.
1. Marcel Lalonde has been previously charged and convicted, as I understand it, three times. I will have to sort that out – right now there is mention of being previously convicted twice;
2 Lalonde was a good friend of Ken Seguin an ex-seminarian turned probation officer at the heart of the Cornwall sex abuse scandal. Seguin committed suicide November 1993 after Perry Dunlop started asking questions and the David Silmer sex abuse had allegations came to light;
3. Don Johnson was the Crown at the time of what I can only say was the thoroughly botched January 1989 Cornwall Police “investigation” into sex abuse allegations against local Roman Catholic teacher, Marcel Lalonde. In that instance, there were a total of six complainants. With regard to one of the complainants Johnson – then the Crown – told Cornwall Police Service Constable Kevin Malloy that the sex between Lalonde and the complainant was consensual: charges were not laid. With regard to the other complainants, Malloy allegedly asked Staff Sgt Wells if the Lalonde file could be placed in abeyance for a spell because he, Malloy, wanted to interview Lalonde. And that was the end of it! The Children’s Aid Society was not informed. The school was not informed. Lalonde continued to teaching.
Johnson also told Malloy that there were no grounds to obtain a search warrant of Lalonde’s home for photos of nude persons.
Since then, that Crown has become a defence lawyer. Don Johnson is Marcel Lalonde’s lawyer ;
4. In 1997 – eight years after that Cornwall police “investigation” Lalonde faced 16 charges from seven male complainants. The investigation became weighed down in jurisdictional issues, and essentially whether or not, since Perry Dunlop had information regarding Lalonde allegations, Project Truth should be handling the file. At the end of the day the Lalonde allegations were broken from the other Project Truth allegations and investigated separately. If memory serves me correctly, at one time there were three different police forces or groups ‘investigating.” When the case finally went to trial the trial got bogged down with allegations that Perry Dunlop had not disclosed information. (Those following the Cornwall Public Inquiry know that what in fact had happened is that files which Perry had disclosed were not shared between various investigative bodies. The left arm didn’t know or have a clue what the right was doing. It was a mess! )
Lalonde was convicted on charges related to abuse of four victims. He was acquitted on charges related to allegations of three complainants. Don Johnson was representing Lalonde. (On 04 July 1997 he sent a letter to the Crown regarding a bail review hearing for Lalonde.)
5. Don Johnson testified at the Cornwall Public Inquiry. His testimony was to be related solely to his years as a Crown attorney. Johnson expressed concerns that he might be asked questions which would violate Lalonde’s solicitor-Client privilege. Thus, lawyers were allowed to ask questions of Johnson which were deemed to be “safe.”
1. Lalonde is facing three charge from one complainant: one of sexual assault, and two of sexual interference. These charges date to the Fall of 1989. The charges were laid February of 2014.
After a preliminary hearing in January 2015 Lalonde was committed to stand trial.
2. For reasons unknown a three day trial set for June 2016 never got off the ground. Again, for reasons unknown, a four day trial set for December 2016 ended up as day one of this trial which, as we now know, continued on Tuesday of this week, 14 November 2017. Yes, you read it right. That’s almost one full year from day one to day two of the trial;
3. Don Johnson, the former Crown, is defending Lalonde.
Testimony at this trial (Wednesday, 15 November 2017)
There is a publication ban on the name of the complainant and anything which would reveal his identity. I will refer to the complainant as “Greg.”
There were two Crown witnesses called, one male and one female. Both were students and fellow classmates of Greg.
Much of the testimony related to whether or not students at Sacred Heart school stayed after school for certain activities. The male witness recalled staying after school for activities on a fairly regular basis, sometimes right after school and occasionally in the evenings. He did not recall having to have his parent’s permission to stay. There was testimony regarding what time the school closed, and whether or not teachers stayed for a period of time after school was out.
There were also questions related to what time school was dismissed..
After the above two witnesses testified the Crown’s case was concluded.
Defence began its case.
Don Johnson called two witnesses on Thursday: (1) Marcel Lalonde and (2) Kevin Lamoureux
1. Marcel Lalonde, now age 69, testified in his own defence. He started teaching in 1969. He attained a B.A. from Ottawa U. in 1987. He attained a B.Ed. from Ottawa U. in 1991. With the exception of one course he was able to attain credits for all courses in Cornwall;
2. He is homosexual. He was married in 1979 (did not say for how long, only that he had been married in 1979). He taught at Catholic schools. He did not initially disclose his homosexuality for fear of retaliation against the Separate School Board but testified that those close to him knew;
3. Has been living with Kevin Lamoureux since 1986 – had known him for six years before they moved in together;
4. Taught at Bishop Macdonnell Catholic school from 1969 until 1987. Taught at Sacred Heart school from 1987 to 1997. (Both are elementary schools – classes fro Kindergarten to Grade 8)
5. In 1989 was taking two University of Ottawa courses, one being Religion;
7. Testified that he wears dentures. In his examination in chief (by Don Johnson) testified that he and Kevin engage in oral sex, and that when they do, he, Lalonde, has to remove his dentures or he, Lalonde, gags. There was no testimony as to how long he has had these dentures;
6. There is some sort of issue regarding Marcel Lalonde’s criminal record and what can be entered into evidence at trial.
Don Johnson read out what was referenced as Lalonde’s criminal record. There was one set of convictions read out in court as being Lalonde’s criminal record. Lalonde agreed that that was it. Under cross examination however he said soemthing which made clear that there had been another conviction, and this came from a guilty plea a guilty plea he made while he was in jail.
Lalonde testified that what happened in that case was consensual. He said he entered a guilty plea on the advice of his lawyer who, he says, told him that since he, Lalonde, was already in jail he would not end up spending any more time in jail if he entered the guilty plea.
The victim in that case was, by the sound of it, 19.
There followed some discussion between Crown and judge regarding Lalonde’s criminal record and what could be entered into evidence or addressed at trial.
The Crown indicated that she would like to know when the assault of the 19-year-old transpired and hence would like to see the record. The judge has a soft voice – I couldn’t hear what she was saying at all so have no idea what is going to happen with this. Puzzling;
6. At one Lalonde point denied that Greg ever was in class for any period of time class after school hours, but later it was “I don’t believe so.” ;
7. Lalonde insisted that children did not stay after school without a note from parents. Those students who wanted to help clean up the classroom would be required to bring a note giving permission to stay the following day, or whatever day or days. Lalonde filed and kept those notes. According to Lalonde this was a rule which came from the Principal;
8. He insists that he was out of the school as soon as he was free to leave ;
7. Lalonde alternately denigrated Greg as a problem child, a belligerent child, a bully and/or a child who needed a lot of discipline and a lot of extra help. Testified that Greg was “bad” but when questioned about that comment replied: “Did I say that? Children aren’t bad.”
He testified that he had to give Greg simpler assignments which the boy could accomplish, and that he had to find things for Greg to do to make Greg “feel good.” There was an inference that the boy was perhaps mentally slow. But then he testified that the boy was smart and intellectual, and Lalonde had to challenge him.
At times, according to his testimony, he wanted Greg to see him as a friend.
8. Lalonde met with Greg’s parents at their home. Lalonde testified and insists that he was invited. He insisted that the visit was made during the day;
He denies that he joined the family for supper. He also said something about the parents inviting him because they wanted Greg to see him, Lalonde, as a person.
He testified that he had a cigarette out on the porch, and that he accepted a beer offered to him by Greg’s Dad. He seemed to have great difficulty recalling what they talked about.
When the Crown suggested that he visited the parents to tell them how well Greg was doing he replied: “It’s nice to make people happy sometimes.” At another point in his testimony said: “I’m not just a teacher, I’m a person too.”
9. He testified that he now works as a gardener, and as a housekeeper and assists Kevin at KAV Productions.
1. Now age 55. DOB 19 September 1962.
2. Moved to Cornwall in 1977 – and into Bishop Macdonnell school in Grade 7. Lalonde was a teacher at Bishop Macdonnell school. Lamoureux said he knew who Lalonde was as a teacher but they did not meet during that time frame;
3. Living with Marcel Lalonde since 1985. Initially not many knew about them but gradually more and more knew as society was changing and it became more acceptable;
4. Attended St. Lawrence High School. He became involved with a musical theater group in his last year of high school (Grade 13). This is when he and Lalonde became acquainted and would socialize at Lalonde’s house;
4. Said that Lalonde did not keep children in after school and added: “He didn’t want to stay at the school.”;
5. Testified that he and Lalonde had their routines . Lamoureux would have considered 4:30 pm late for Lalonde to get home. Said that Lalonde would tell him, if, for example, he, Lalonde, was visiting parents that night. He testified that it would only be the odd time that Lalonde would visit parents – it was not often.
6. Lamoureaux is the owner of KAV multimedia productions. He operates out of the home. He testified that he “doesn’t really ” have employees.
He also has a part time job in tourism.
The Marcel Lalonde trial continued this afternoon (Thursday 16 Nov. ’17). Defence was scheduled to call two more witnesses. I didn’t make the drive down.
Closing arguments are scheduled for tomorrow:
17 November 2017: 10 am, closing arguments, courtroom #4 12 Dec. 2016, Cornwall, Ontario courthouse (29 Second St. W., )
I encourage those who can do so to attend.
Please keep the complainant and his family in your prayers.
Does anyone have ready access to trial dates and convictions for Marcel Lalonde? If yes, could you please send them along? I think the information is all tucked away in transcripts and media articles .
I will post an update on Eric Dejaeger and the articles re New Brunswick lawsuit and Father Clair Richard’s death this evening – will let you know as each is posted
Enough for now,
As I see it Sylvia and therefore as I believe; anyone or any group in Cornwall who have had individually or collectively, any position of authority, power or influence in the City of Cornwall for decades, also know significant FACTS relating to “Project Truth” and “The Cornwall Public Inquiry”. They also know the TRUTH. I also believe many of the “principles” have climbed the social, political and professional ladders because of their successes in suppressing and/or misrepresenting facts. Allegations and evidence of over a decade or two ago, that were presented to the powers that be and rejected or dismissed only to resurface now in 2017 is evidence, that something just doesn’t seem right. And to see the same (people) lawyers, Crown’s and Judges, in different costume, in different years, at the same place, prosecuting or defending the same “accused or alleged abuser”, simply reinforces the old belief, “Cornwall Cover-Up”. As per the movie “SPOTLIGHT” :re: Cardinal Bernard Law and Boston, I continue to assert that Canada (Cornwall in this case) needs an independent source, independent investigative news media (doesn’the exist in Canada) and philanthropist to DISCLOSE ALL. Furthermore, as I see it, because I vist periodically, the City of Cornwall is still experiencing very overt signs/symptoms of an abusive, dysfunctional, closed ystem.
ALSO: NEW BRUNSWICK and “broke” churches. I would ask my genuine lawyer, who I am certain is representing ME and ME only, in good faith, why I can’tell sue “The Head Office”, that is, “The Pope and or The Holy See” and see what he/she says. Is it because “The Holy See” is a Nation and immune. Maybe time for the franchise Diocese’s/Churches, to declare bankruptcy, pay creditors and stop doing business in Canada. (My oh my, what a proposal).
The Holy See has been civilly sued for it`s vicarious liability in John V. Doe v. Holy See. And so it can be held civilly liable for the negligence of it`s Bishops. The Holy See fought it for a decade going as far as filing an appeal to the US Supreme Court but it refused to hear that appeal. So the case was indeed tried. Doe lost his case; but the Sovereign State Immunity of the Holy See does not shield it from prosecution in the US. Doe didn`t lose his case because of the doctrine of Sovereign State Immunity.
Currently, Canadian courts aren`t willing to hear litigation where the Sovereign State Immunity of a foreign nation is an issue. Many are working to change that. But that change will sooner come via legislation rather than litigation; it seems to me. Currently there`s no political imperative to do it; but international events could put the issue on the forefront. Will it be the Holy See’s involvement in covering-up clerical abuse that will be on trial in France in the Spring of 2018? Nobody knows yet.
You are so right James. I find it’s the strangest feeling driving into Cornwall – first past Casselman. Never do I drive through Casselman that I don’t think of Dick!
Then it’s down the 138, and through St. Andrew’s West , and past, first the Church, the site of countless allegations, and then the cemetery where Carson Chisholm is buried. Also buried somewhere in there is Father Bernard Cameron. I always say a Hail Mary for the repose of Carson’s soul. At this point, in all honesty, I can not yet bring myself to do like wise for Father Cameron.
And then the drive on down Pitt Street, – memories of driving down for various trials, and, during lunch breaks, popping into this store or restaurant or that one, and asking questions, and being constantly amazed that virtually everyone knew something.
Memories of the silence and shame which to me seemed to totally engulf the people and the community alike.
I am increasingly aware that I don’t set foot in Cornwall without thinking of Perry and Helen. It starts at St. Andrew’s West -I look down that road by the church heading off into the beautiful countryside and remember that Helen was raised way down there on a farm with large witty and beautiful Irish family. And I am so very profoundly aware that that is the Church in Which Perry and Helen were married by Father Charlie. And that is the church where David Silmser made his Cursillo. I do believe the same holds true for John MacDonald.
I recall being in Cornwall for a Project Truth trial sometime in early 2000. I could go through notes to sort out exactly when, but it really doesn’t matter. The thing is that I was there in the courthouse for a sex trial, and word was that Marcel Lalonde was in a courtroom down the hall. I decided to pop in for a spell – maybe 30 minutes max – and recall so clearly seeing Lalonde him sitting in the prisoners box, and his partner sitting on the front “pew” behind him.
My two trips down this past were a little like a “been there done that’ moment. Different, but disturbingly familiar.
As you probably know, the courtroom has been renovated. The layout has changed. Actually, the very very first few times I went to Cornwall it was to the old courthouse down at the bottom of second Pitt St. That courthouse was replaced by the new and much large court house. And, of course, in 2009 there was that $15 million project which added, among other things, two additional courtrooms. I still find myself trying to sort out which courtroom, or at least where, was the one used for the Jacques Leduc travesty of justice? ditto the ones for Father Charlie? and for Father Paul Lapierre? and Father Kenneth Martin? Don Johnson defended the latter two, and, I must unfortunately add, did so successfully.
And, oh yes, lest I forget. There was trial of Sandy Lawrence, the owner of Melody Music. He got off too. Consensual. It was consensual claimed his lawyer. His lawyer? Don Jonson.
It’s almost like the darn place is haunted. Where the heck were the courtrooms where, time and again, the ends justified the means, with judges, defence lawyers and/or Crowns sand-bagging and/or tearing Perry to shreds in efforts to defend the indefensible acts of “alleged” child molesters.
So many memories James.
There are good memories too! The silver linings which peeped through in those dirty black clouds. I truly did meet so many wonderful people – good decent people. Yes, we shared many a heartache, and witnessed many a tear, but, what a privilege to know each and every one.
Sorry for meandering all over the place here. You of all [oeple I think know what I am talking about. and I know exactly what you are talking about.
Cornwall looks the same. I still feel the silence. I still sense the shame.
All of these years and a multi-million dollar inquiry with a flawed mandated and countless promises later, what has changed?
And, as you say, here we are years downstream, and Marcel Lalonde on trial – yet again!
And that would be why I am where I am today, away from that city. The enormous weight that I feel on my shoulders every time that I drive into that city is almost unbearable. As you say Sylvia there are some fond memories of the people that we met throughout the whole ordeal, but those are outweighed by the heart wrenching stories that we heard from the many victims of the numerous monsters there. There are just small threads that still tie me to that city, eventually even those will sever. I will sign off here by saying that I am happy to be where I am.
Let me add: hats off to those in Cornwall who, like “Greg”, summon the courage to speak out, break the silence of the community, and place the burden of shame they have shouldered for so many years squarely where it belongs.
One more thing: I don’t understand why victims in Cornwall do not turn out in droves to support complainants, but then again, there are just so many things I do not understand.
FEAR, mis-interpretation of non disclosure, confidentiality settlements and some have received promises.
You’re right of course James P. So right. And I know too that many victims are triggered when they sit in on a sex abuse trial. And there are victims who, when their case goes to trial, are still so engulfed in that awful sense of shame that they don’t want anyone in that courtroom because they can not stand the thought of bearing their all in front family, friends and/or strangers.
Still, so sad.
We have to hope justice is served. If not, think of the carnage in 1989 they created.
I am now 59 years old, and still have problems putting the past in the past, people like Charles Macdonald, Marcel Lalonde, are monsters that will one day be judged properly, people like Don Johnson, will have to answer to the good lord also. The stink in Cornwall will never go away, unless the truth comes out fully, and as we all know that will never happen, so the people of Cornwall will have to live in there own stink. I remember when I first began this fight, one of the investigating officer looked at me and said maybe when this inquirey is over the good Catholics of Cornwall will be able to raise there heads high. good luck with that.