Burton: Brother David Burton

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David Jerome Burton

Member of the Christian Brothers.  Served at Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s Newfoundland.  1983: GUILTY plea to charges of sex abuse of Mount Cashel boy.  1999 – Supreme Court of Newfoundland ruled that it would violate Burton’s Charter rights to proceed with further charges related to abuse of  G.M., another boy molested by Burton at Mount Cashel.

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The following information is drawn from media reports (M) and legal documents (L)

30 June 2000: R v Burton (Supreme Court of Newfoundland) – court ruled that proceed with the charges (GMs) would violate Brother David Burton’s Charter rights. (According to Jusitce O’Regan: “The circumstances leading to the decision not to prosecute may have been influenced by erroneous information, but nevertheless the decision was done without malice and to subject the applicant to further charges in these circumstances would be manifestly unjust.” )

July 1999:  charged with indecent assault and gross indecency in relation to allegations of G.M in July 1997 (L)

1997:  G.M told police he was sexually abused by Brother David Burton (L)

11 June 1993:  Burton interviewed in Toronto by Sergeant Wall in relation to further allegations against him, Burton. At that time Burton confessed to sex abuse of five Mount Cashel boys (see 1983) including G.M.  An investigation followed and police elected not to lay charges.   (L)

1983:  Left Mount Cashel.  Spent time at Southdown

1983:  GUILTY plea to charge of sex abuse of boy at Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s Newfoundland (L)

in police interview in ’93 Burton said that in ’83 when he was on trial for the sex abuse of one boy he went to his lawyers home and told his lawyer, William English, about abuse of other boys . According to the police report, English told him to leave the others alone and only face the charge against him now.

1975-1982:  Mount Cashel (L)

teaching at st. Pius X

1976-1982: supervisor of the St. Stan’s Dormitory(L)

– possibly it was during this period that he lived at Mount St. Francis on Merrymeeting Road and taught at St. Pat’s School on Bonaventure Ave., St. John’s, Newfoundland

1964-1968:  Mount Cashel (L)

1964-1965: supervisor of the St. Stan’s Dormitory(L)

1957: joined the Christian Brothers (L)

DOB: 14 July 1939 (L)

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Official thought orphanage complaints had been resolved

The Ottawa Citizen

22 March 1990

ST. JOHN’S _ A Newfoundland official responsible for looking into sex-abuse cases testified Wednesday she has no idea why complaints in 1982 from boys at Mount Cashel orphanage were not investigated more fully.

Jean Wells, who was co-ordinator of child welfare services for the province’s Social Services Department, told the Hughes inquiry she knew about complaints at the orphanage but felt they’d been resolved.

”The surprising thing is there (was) nothing to inform me that it was discussed or (was) going to be,” Wells told the inquiry into abuse at the St. John’s orphanage.

Wells is one of several officials who have testified they don’t know why moves were not taken to help or protect orphanage residents in 1982 despite a rash of complaints.

Ronald Penney, then deputy minister of justice, told the inquiry he had a meeting with his counterpart in social services about abuse complaints but heard nothing afterward.

Penney said he should have been informed of the extent of complaints but did not receive information police had gathered. If he had that information, Penney testified he would have taken the matter to the justice minister.

Headed by retired judge Samuel Hughes, the inquiry is looking how Newfoundland officials responded to complaints of abuse at Mount Cashel.

The first group of complaints was received in 1975 when police interviewed 26 boys but laid no charges.

The inquiry has heard testimony that Christian Brothers – a Roman Catholic lay order that intends to soon close the orphanage it has run for almost a century – struck a deal in the 1970s with officials that no charges be laid if suspected brothers left their teaching posts.

In 1982, police again looked into complaints of sexual abuse involving 21 boys, a brother and an adult volunteer worker. The brother – David Burton – was convicted of abuse.

Government officials have said many boys had frequently performed sexual acts on each other and police were supposed to charge older boys and adults who might be abusing younger residents. But more charges were not laid until last year, when former residents went public with stories of long-standing abuse, prompting charges against nine brothers or former brothers.

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Official thought orphanage complaints had been resolved

The Ottawa Citizen

22 March 1990

ST. JOHN’S _ A Newfoundland official responsible for looking into sex-abuse cases testified Wednesday she has no idea why complaints in 1982 from boys at Mount Cashel orphanage were not investigated more fully.

Jean Wells, who was co-ordinator of child welfare services for the province’s Social Services Department, told the Hughes inquiry she knew about complaints at the orphanage but felt they’d been resolved.

”The surprising thing is there (was) nothing to inform me that it was discussed or (was) going to be,” Wells told the inquiry into abuse at the St. John’s orphanage.

Wells is one of several officials who have testified they don’t know why moves were not taken to help or protect orphanage residents in 1982 despite a rash of complaints.

Ronald Penney, then deputy minister of justice, told the inquiry he had a meeting with his counterpart in social services about abuse complaints but heard nothing afterward.

Penney said he should have been informed of the extent of complaints but did not receive information police had gathered. If he had that information, Penney testified he would have taken the matter to the justice minister.

Headed by retired judge Samuel Hughes, the inquiry is looking how Newfoundland officials responded to complaints of abuse at Mount Cashel.

The first group of complaints was received in 1975 when police interviewed 26 boys but laid no charges.

The inquiry has heard testimony that Christian Brothers _ a Roman Catholic lay order that intends to soon close the orphanage it has run for almost a century _ struck a deal in the 1970s with officials that no charges be laid if suspected brothers left their teaching posts.

In 1982, police again looked into complaints of sexual abuse involving 21 boys, a brother and an adult volunteer worker. The brother _ David Burton _ was convicted of abuse.

Government officials have said many boys had frequently performed sexual acts on each other and police were supposed to charge older boys and adults who might be abusing younger residents. But more charges were not laid until last year, when former residents went public with stories of long-standing abuse, prompting charges against nine brothers or former brothers.

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Ex-jurist airs ‘suspicions’ about bishop-judge meeting

The Windsor Star

28 February 190

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) – A Roman Catholic bishop visited a magistrate in 1979 to talk about the sentencing of a priest convicted of indecent assault, says a former head of the Newfoundland provincial court.

Cyril Goodyear told an inquiry Tuesday he was disturbed by a meeting in Cornerbrook, Nfld., between the late Richard McGrath, former bishop of western Newfoundland, and Magistrate Gordon Seabright.

GOODYEAR SAID the two men met to discuss the case of Rev. Ronald Kelly, 47, who had been convicted of indecent assaults against males. Kelly was given a suspended sentence and placed on probation for two years.

“In my view it was improper behavior and I thought someone should make that decision of whether it was,” Goodyear testified.

Goodyear’s testimony surprised an inquiry looking into how the justice system responded to child abuse at the Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s, on the province’s east coast.

The former judge said he met with Seabright in mid-1979 to tell him the meeting would be reviewed by a judicial council. But Goodyear later learned no judicial council existed.

In late 1979, Goodyear said he was made director of public prosecutions and no longer had the legal power to do anything about the meeting.

“He (Seabright) felt that he hadn’t done anything wrong although I had some very serious concerns that while the matter was before him some representative of the church and the defendant came to him,” said Goodyear.

Inquiry lawyer David Day read to the inquiry a 1979 letter by Seabright to Goodyear, explaining that McGrath had contacted him on the case and he had invited the bishop to his home.

Seabright, who retired from the bench last year, said in the letter he discussed the charges with McGrath “to the extent of what was involved and the range of penalties available to me.

“No representation was made to me at any time.”

Day said the Kelly case appears to have influenced how justice officials handled a 1982 charge against Christian Brother David Burton, a member of the Roman Catholic lay order that runs the orphanage.

Burton was convicted of sexual assault against boys in late 1982.

DAY PRODUCED A police report on the Burton case with a note from Goodyear. The note instructed a Crown prosecutor to treat Burton “like everybody else.”

Goodyear said he wrote that note because he was aware of how the clergy had tried to influence the justice system in the past.

“I had learned to be wary of matters involving the clergy,” he testified.

“They were prone to exert whatever influence they might possibly be able to exert in situations where they were having difficulty. ”

Goodyear, who has since retired, also claimed there were other irregularities in the Kelly case that gave him reason to worry. For example, part of the trial was held in private and began early in the morning.

Goodyear said he instructed a prosecutor to appeal Kelly’s sentence but the appeal was dismissed in November 1979.

Headed by retired judge Samuel Hughes, the inquiry wants to know why police received complaints from 26 orphanage boys in 1975 but didn’t lay charges then. Police interviewed another 16 boys in 1982 and charged one brother – Burton.

Another nine brothers and former brothers were charged last year after former residents complained publicly.

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Brother guilty of abuse in 1982, probe told

The Montreal Gazette

12 December 1989

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) – The Newfoundland Justice Department dealt with complaints of abuse and homosexuality at the Mount Cashel orphanage in 1982 – seven years after a police investigation was halted – an inquiry was told yesterday.

Inquiry lawyer Clay Powell produced documents showing that in 1982, the department prosecuted Christian Brother David Burton, who pleaded guilty to a charge of gross indecency with an orphanage boy.

At the same time, justice officials discussed a report that indicated there might be widespread homosexuality among orphanage boys.

Powell introduced the evidence as he questioned Ronald Richards, the Crown prosecutor who handled the Burton case.

Richards testified that during Burton’s three-day court hearing, he was pressured by the Christian Brothers who run the St. John’s orphanage.

“When I was going into the courtroom itself, there’d be some of the brothers around making comments to me: `Oh, why are you doing this to the institution, why are you doing this?'” he said.

“There was certainly as much pressure that could be placed upon me, I felt, by the Christian Brothers.”

Headed by Samuel Hughes, the inquiry is looking into claims of physical and sexual abuse by the brothers, a Roman Catholic lay order.

In December 1975, police interviewed 26 boys but didn’t lay charges until this year after former residents publicly complained of a coverup. Nine brothers and former brothers have been charged.

Witnesses have testified that justice officials stopped the investigation after several brothers were moved out of the province.

Richards – who stepped down as deputy minister of justice earlier this year – said Burton offered to plead guilty if he could receive a conditional discharge with no record of conviction.

Burton also wanted his court hearing to be held in private and a publication ban placed on the identification of him and Mount Cashel.

Although he rejected the offer, Richards said the defence still tried unsuccessfully to get the judge to order a private hearing.

Brother Gordon Bellows, then Canadian head of the lay order, told the court that the publicity would seriously harm the institution.

Powell asked Richards if his anger was fuelled by knowledge of the 1975 complaints. Richards said he only learned about those complaints this year.

“If I did know … you probably would not have a Hughes inquiry in 1989 – you would have had it in 1982,” said Richards, 43.

Provincial court Judge Edward Langdon gave Burton a four-month jail term but the sentence was reduced upon appeal to time already served – 12 days.

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Courts protected orphanage, not boys, witness tells inquiry

The Windsor Star

12 December 1989

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) – The Newfoundland Justice Department dealt with complaints of abuse and homosexuality at the Mount Cashel orphanage in 1982 – seven years after a police investigation was halted – an inquiry was told Monday.

Inquiry lawyer Clay Powell produced documents showing that in 1982 the department prosecuted Christian Brother David Burton, who pleaded guilty to a charge of gross indecency with an orphanage boy.

At the same time, justice officials discussed a report that indicated there might be widespread homosexuality among orphanage boys.

Powell introduced the evidence as he questioned Ronald Richards, the Crown prosecutor who handled the Burton case.

Richards testified that during Burton’s three-day court hearing he was pressured by the Christian Brothers who run the St. John’s orphanage.

“When I was going into the courtroom itself, there’d be some of the brothers around making comments to me: ‘Oh, why are you doing this to the institution?’ ” said Richards.

HEADED BY Samuel Hughes, the inquiry is investigating claims of physical and sexual abuse at the orphanage by the brothers of a Roman Catholic lay order.

In December 1975, police interviewed 26 boys but didn’t lay charges until this year, after former residents publicly complained of a coverup. Nine brothers and former brothers have been charged.

Richards – who stepped down as deputy minister of justice earlier this year – said Burton offered to plead guilty if he could receive a conditional discharge with no criminal record.

Burton also wanted his court hearing to be held in private and a publication ban placed on the identification of him and Mount Cashel. Richards rejected the offer.

Brother Gordon Bellows, then Canadian head of the lay order, told the court the publicity would seriously harm the institution.

“THE CHILD WAS the last thing he (Bellows) was worried about,” said Richards.

Provincial court Judge Edward Langdon gave Burton a four-month jail term but the sentence was reduced upon appeal to time already served – 12 days.

Powell also introduced a 1982 letter from social worker Sted Crawford to Frank Simms, then director of child welfare, about an orphanage boy who claimed he had performed sexual acts with other boys.

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Principal faces sex abuse counts

The Vancouver Sun

13 June 1989

Douglas Todd

The principal of St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby and a former teacher at the Catholic-run school were charged Monday with sexually abusing a young boy at a Newfoundland orphanage.

This brings to five the number of Christian Brothers who went on to work in B.C. after alleged incidents occurred at the St. John’s orphanage for which they were later charged or convicted.

Christian Brother Kevin Short, 38 – principal of St. Thomas More for about five years – was charged Monday in Newfoundland with one count of indecent assault and another count of gross indecency against a boy at St. John’s Catholic Mount Cashel orphanage between 1973 and 1976.

Edward French, a 57-year-old English teacher at St. Thomas More who recently retired, was also charged with one count of indecent assault against the same boy during the same period.

Brother Bill Carrothers, a former principal at St. Thomas More, sent a newsletter home with students Monday telling parents that Short would be replaced as principal because he had to return to Newfoundland in connection with a police investigation.

Carrothers said in the newsletter that he wanted parents to hear about Short’s departure through the school. Carrothers, who has been designated the school’s spokesman, was not available for comment Monday. John Burnell, who has been appointed acting principal of St. Thomas More, would not comment.

In April, Newfoundland police charged the vice-principal of Catholic-run Vancouver College, Joseph Burke, with one count of indecent assault, one of gross indecency and one of assault causing bodily harm involving boys at the orphanage.

Steven Gerald Rooney, 36, of New Denver, was also charged in April with three counts of gross indecency and two of indecent assault at the orphanage.

In February, Rev. David Burton was removed from his teaching job at St. Thomas More after the order decided no member convicted of sexual offences should work with youth. The courts had found Burton guilty in 1982 of gross indecency involving a young boy at Mount Cashel orphanage.

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