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,