McParland: Father Roy McParland

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Roy J. McParland (Father Roy McParland)

priest Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie. Ordained 1955.  Sued 2008.  Lawsuit settled out of court for undisclosed amount.

Unless otherwise indicated the following information is taken from Canadian Catholic Church Directories of the dates indicated (CCCD), the 1980 Ontario Catholic Directory (80ON) and media (M)

 

2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010:  Apartment in Sault Ste. Marie (CCCD)

22 May 2006:  Officiated at a funeral Mass Holy Angels, Schreiber, Ontario  http://www2.chroniclejournal.com/obituaries/legault/laura-mcparland

March 2006: Lenten Mission at St. Patrick’s Parish, Sudbury, Ontario

2004:  said to have retired

2002, 1999, 1991:  Pastor, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario  114 McDonald Ave, Sault Ste Marie (CCCD) (I believe he served here from his appointment in 1984 until his retirement in 2004)

1984:  Appointed Pastor Our Lady of Good Counsel (http://olgoodcounsel.diocesessm.org/about/history/en)

1980:  Pastor, St. Andrew the Apostle, Sudbury, Ontario (80ON) http://stpatrick.diocesessm.org/News.2006-02-20.4790997595/en/

1966-76:  Pastor St. Gerard Majella, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario (http://stgerard.diocesessm.org/about/history/en)

1973-74: Pastor, St. Gerard Majella, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (CCCD)

 1967:  address Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Sudbury, Ontario (Pastor Father H. Brennan) (CCCD)

1962-1964:  Pastor Blessed Sacrament, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (http://www.saultchurches.com/blessedsacrament/previous.asp)

1955-1962:  Assistant pastor, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (http://olgoodcounsel.diocesessm.org/about/history/en)

1959: Pastor, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (CCCD)

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17 February 2010:  Care of victims, church urged; Survivors of abuse by ‘monster’ priests need help

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Sault Diocese Knew of Sex Abuse

The Sault Star

October 17, 2008

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie knew Father Jean-Claude Etienne of Warren was abusing altar boys as far back as 1970, a lawyer for two sexual abuse victims said Thursday.

Robert Berube, 53, and a second man known as Claude, recently reached a settlement with the diocese for an undisclosed amount. Berube launched a $3.1-million lawsuit three years ago, followed in 2007 by Claude, who sued for $4.5 million, based on alleged abuse they endured 30 years ago.

The “most dramatic of all the information” discovered was a letter from then-Bishop Alexander Carter warning Etienne to stay away from a number of boys at St. Thomas Apotre Parish, said lawyer Rob Talach at a press conference Thursday.

Talach, with Ledroit Beckett Litigation Lawyers, of London, said Carter sent the letter in July 1970, responding to complaints by parents and listing a number of local boys by name.

Berube told reporters Etienne abused him for three-and-a-half years, starting in 1969 when he was 13. His claim listed a dozen particulars of the alleged abuse, including fondling, oral sex, sodomy, striking, punching, throwing and assault.

The claim alleged Etienne “engaged in a pattern of behaviour that was intended to make the plaintiff feel that his soul was in jeopardy.”

Claude, who asked his last name not be published because he hasn’t told some family members his story, said Etienne also abused him for about three years, beginning when he was 10.

Talach expects more victims to come forward with the publicity of these two cases. He said the diocese should be held even more accountable for crimes committed after 1970, when it was clear leaders knew what was happening.

As Etienne’s employer, Talach argues, the diocese was legally responsible for his actions.

Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe, head of the diocese, said an apology has been issued “to the individuals concerned.”

But a public apology won’t be forthcoming from the diocese, nor will money be contributed to a program to help men suffering post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of abuse by priests.

“A public apology has not been the practice of the church,” said Plouffe.

Berube and Claude are challenging the diocese to establish a program to help male sexual abuse survivors and to fund it.

A similar program in London, Ont., is heavily funded by the Roman Catholic diocese, said Berube.

Plouffe said his diocese simply doesn’t have the money to get involved in such a program at this time.

He said some “worthwhile” pastoral services may have to be “restricted” or “restrained” and other expenses cut to cover the cost of legal settlements.

Talach’s law firm specializes in litigation concerning clergy sexual abuse and has been part of several high profile court cases in Cornwall and London.

He currently has six outstanding cases in this diocese, including a Sault Ste. Marie man who claims he was repeatedly assaulted by a city priest in 1965. Jim Lanigan alleges he was 15 when Rev. Roy McParland sexually abused him, including anal and oral sex.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

McParland, 77, is the only one still alive of four area priests Talach’s clients are suing. McParland founded St. Gerard Majella Parish before moving on to Our Lady of Good Counsel, where he stayed for two decades until he retired in 2004.

Talach said he is trying to schedule an “examination for discovery,” which involves question and answer sessions with all parties involved.

“There are wonderful, holy men who serve in the priesthood,” said Talach. “There are also some monsters operating in the cloth.”

He said the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie is beginning to deal with these allegations instead of sweeping incidents under the rug, but Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe still needs to be more proactive.

Some larger dioceses, like London, now automatically fund counselling for victims who come to them with credible claims of abuse.

Bishop Plouffe was not available for comment Thursday.

Talach said the Catholic Church has to start looking at clergy sexual abuse as a systemic problem instead of just “a number of rogue, bad priests.”

“Why do so many of these characters end up in the priesthood and are allowed to do what they do for so long?”

Corina Milic, The Sault Star, Carol Mulligan, Sudbury Star

Article ID# 1251982

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Care for victims, church urged; Survivors of abuse by ‘monster’ priests need help

Sudbury Star

February 17, 2007

The lawyer for three men suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie for $13.5 million is appealing to the diocese and Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe to do the right thing.

Robert Talach represents three men who allege they were sexually abused by four priests – three of whom are dead – decades ago in parishes in Sault Ste. Marie, Warren and North Bay.

The men were six to 15 years old when the abuse began. They have suffered physical and mental agony, lost educational and work opportunities, and crippling self-blame ever since, Talach said.

His clients need “true Christian ministry right now,” Talach said at a news conference Friday.

“They need the understanding and the care the Roman Catholic faith was founded to provide.”

Talach urged the diocese to be progressive and give them the financial, psychological and spiritual assistance “they so desperately need right now.”

His three clients sat with him for 90 minutes at a table in a meeting room at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Sudbury.

Propped up against water glasses in front of each were photographs of the men taken about the time they allege they were sexually abused.

Robert Berube, 50, formerly of Sudbury, who in 2005 launched a similar suit against the diocese, joined the men. Berube is on sick leave from his job as a school principal in London and works with an organization called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).

He was there to provide moral support to Jim Lanigan, 59, Daniel Contant, 53, and a man who wishes only to be known by his first name, Claude, because he hasn’t told some family members what he experienced as a child.

Talach asked reporters to be sensitive when posing questions to the men who have suffered what he called a “devastating affliction.”

The men are victims, not only because they were sexually abused, but because of the fundamental breach of trust during their formative years.

Part of the purpose of the public news event was to allow the men to “release their demons” and exorcise their pain, shame and guilt.

Talach said the lawsuits were not an attack on the Roman Catholic faith, but on fallible humans involved in the organization.

“There are wonderful, holy men who serve in the priesthood,” said Talach. “There are also some monsters operating in the cloth.”

His clients allege they encountered monsters when they were young and impressionable, and believed their priests were God.

Claude, 48, sat ashen-faced early in the news conference. Later, he pointed to a large picture of himself as a child.

“That’s the guy that got raped,” he said. “I was gonna’ die.”

Claude said he tried to kill himself twice, and was stunned years later when his sister read him an article about Berube.

Both men say they were sexually assaulted by the same priest – Father Jean-Claude Etienne, who was pastor at St. Thomas Apotre Parish and St. Thomas Separate School in Warren.

The men and their lawyer said that’s why it is so important to go public with their stories. They urge people who may have suffered abuse at the hands of these priests and others – or who may have knowledge about it – to come forward.

Claude alleges he was 10 when Etienne began sexually abusing, assaulting and molesting him for three years. He said he loved the priest.

It is alleged in his lawsuit that clergy, parishioners and others had concerns about Etienne, and some had spoken with former Bishop Alexander Carter about it.

Contant was six and his mother was the organist at St. Rita’s Roman Catholic Church in North Bay when he alleges he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Father Magnus J. Fedy.

He claims the priest showed him pornographic material and exposed him to nude adolescents, both at the church and at Scollard Hall, the Catholic boys’ high school where Fedy worked.

He claims the abuse occurred at the church at Scollard Hall.

Contant claims to have been sexually assaulted again when he was 17 by Father John Fisher, whom he alleges got him drunk and tried to have anal sex with him after he passed out.

Lanigan alleges he was 15 and an altar boy at Blessed Sacrament Church when he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Father Roy McParland, the only one of the four priests still alive. He alleges the abuse continued for two years.

In 1975, when he was experiencing a personal crisis, Lanigan alleges he sought the advice of McParland, whom he claims took advantage of his “troubled mental state” and sexually abused him again, including oral and anal sex.

Lanigan said he has lost his faith in the Catholic church, “but I have never lost my faith in my higher power,” clinging to it in his darkest hours.

“Without that, I don’t think I could have gone on.”

McParland, 77, retired two years ago, but apparently still says private masses.

Father Angelo Caruso, spokesman for the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, said Friday the Diocese has retained the law firm Lucenti Orlando Ellies of North Bay to respond to the lawsuits.

“I’m very sorry towards the survivors,” Caruso told The Star, adding he was also sorry for the diocese, which is being portrayed in a negative light.

The men claim in their lawsuits the diocese had a duty of care to its parishioners because of the “close proximity” of its priests to the lives of parishioners.

The Congregation of the Resurrection in Ontario is also named in Contant’s lawsuit

41 Responses to McParland: Father Roy McParland

  1. Carole Zuke says:

    This priest ruined our life. My father…trusted the church…..when he died so young….at 38 after post traumatic stress from the war…….when my family was falling apart……we were moving into poverty….and this priest……was young….and stood in our kitchen…..wanting us to give money to the church……we had no money my father died…….I will never forget what he did to my faith……standing there…..telling my mother to give money to the church. Actually…..we did get help from the Salvation Army…and we did get help from the township….Tarentorus. No help from the church that my father loved. That day……this priest…..destroyed my faith. In confession he gave me real bad advice. When I shared the sexual abuse I had in my life….he wanted to know the details…..and then……the church gave my mother a job at the catholic school……in the end…I cleaned the toilets….I had to come into the school at six every morning to dust the desks….for sister Ste. Anthony Daniels….and Sister Alexa….. The church did not help us……I became a slave to these sisters. I need some help to move forward in my life….and this priest…..above all others….stole my childhood and still shows up in my dreams…..in my past…….God knows…..I need help to live the rest of my life…..in peace…. This man……influenced my life so negatively…..that…..today….I think I need a exorcism….

  2. Carole Zuke says:

    He also….took advantage of the poor desperate people……when he came to our house….we lived in the country….he told my mother to sell the car and give the money to the church. We lost the car……a widow….my mother…..with four children….this man seems to have abused…alter boys… I sang in the choir……at lady of Good Council…….time….for me to be set free….So……help me heal…..

  3. Steve says:

    Hi,
    I’m Steve and I was about 14 or 15 in ’80,’81 a student at a nearby catholic school to St. Andrew the Apostle. The media has been such lately that a memory has popped up over the past few years every now and then that relates to Father McParland. I was an alter boy but nothing bad ever happened and but for my brother, I can’t recall what any of the other boys were named and actually, even my sister was an alter girl! I should ask them what they experienced but I haven’t yet. One day soon I will ask them if anything ever happened. So what happened to me was, I guess, a near miss. A couple years later, about 16, I was hitch-hiking at the corner of LaSalle and Barry Downe to go downtown as had become a last resort if I had no bus money and needed to get home after visiting my grade school buddies and neighbourhood. My mom and us kids had moved back downtown after 4 years in New Sudbury. I had been picked up by idiots before but of the 10 or 15 times I hitched, 4 occasions were questionable; 1 polite requests politely declined, 1 put their hand on my knee which I removed and showed my fist to and 1 drove past the turn to downtown and I became loud, and threatening and demanding to be let out. I had to walk back from the LaSalle extension if anybody knows it. The fourth occasion is when Father McFarland picked me up. He wasn’ t wearing his collar so he sure seemed surprised when I cheerfully greeted him with, “Hey! Father McParland!!” He wasn’t the easygoing Father from before and after Sunday mass. Anyway as I recall he dropped me off early. I don’t know how he excused it, but I hitched again, arrived home and told my mom cheerfully that Father McParland had picked me up but had to drop me off early. I said so as a way of explaining my delay. I thought nothing of it and pedophiles and especially pedophile priests were unheard of back then. Shortly after, I made friends at my new school. Anyway, and I make this long description because I want to get it off of me, and I want to suggest what occurs to me as, this is probably his and other clergy’s M. O., way of doing things. If he picked me up he was probably picking up other young guys and keeping out of his own community. When he saw it was me, a kid that called him Father must’ve given him a fright. The only stories you hear are from guys who were connected by family or school or parish and priests who had the gall or stupidity to do it in their own identifiable community. If they said in Sudbury, have you ever been picked up by this man while hitching in the 80’S, they’d probably net some more victims. He didn’t get me because I was lucky enough to know him.

    • Sylvia says:

      That’s a good point Steve. Ottawa’s Father Michael Mullins got away with that here in Ottawa in 1990. Heartbreaking for the victim, Scott Wharram, a non Catholic who had not the faintest idea that the man who picked him up while hitchhiking was a priest. Charges were laid in that case. Mullins got off. Scott was scoffed at by the judge.

      Mullins was later convicted in Ireland on separate charges.

      If you or others haven’t already read about it, please do. The judge actually called Scott later to apologise, and told Scott that if he, the judge, had to do it again he would have done it differently and that he hoped Scott felt exonerated!

      I have often wondered how many hitchikers Mullins alias “Pete” picked up? And I often wonder where Michael Mullins – a convicted molester – is these days. After serving a few years behind bars in an Irish jail Mullins returned to Canada. The Ottawa Archdiocese of Ottawa flatly refused to divulge his whereabouts – Mullins had a right to privacy!!!!

      Anyway, here is the article: The Skateboarder

      I wonder how Scott is doing these days? I really must get in touch.

  4. David says:

    It has been several years since the 2007 and 2008 newpaper articles about the allegations against Father McParland. Is there any update? There is no indication of any criminal charges so the only ongoing legal proceeding presumably was the civil lawsuit. If there is some news of either exoneration or a finding of liability, that should be made public. If he has not been found to be liable, then that should be publicized just as any conviction or negative finding has been elsewhere on this website. As an aside, there is very useful information on this website. Keep it up.

  5. David says:

    There may well be another explanation but I take it from the lack of response to the email from three weeks ago that Fr. McParland has not in any legal forum been found liable to the decades old claim of abuse. It would have been at the very least fair of the media who gave the lawyer for the alleged victim an unchallenged news conference to have followed up on this. Of course, any information would be welcome if the above is not correct.

  6. Pat Murphy says:

    I grew up going to St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in Sudbury, many years of which Father McParland was the parish priest. I was an altar boy for a number of years, and my parents were good friends with him. In fact, he was often at our house on weekends, playing cards with my parents and other friends on Saturday nights. It would be a fair statement to say that this man was an important figure in our lives. I do not pretend to speak for others, but during all of those years Father McParland was nothing less than a gentleman, and at no time did he act inappropriately. He was always, at least to us, a kind man who was always quick with a smile and a joke, and made you feel immediately at ease as a kid.

  7. 1yellowknife says:

    Hello Pat Murphy:

    Good thing you were not a non-Catholic kid who was skateboarding and hitchhiking. Or one of the many other youngsters who were harmed by this predator.

    Please read the reports above. You were priviledged and protected. They were not.

  8. David says:

    1yellowknife. I have read the comments of Pat Murphy as well as the other comments above. Your comment about describing Father McParland as a predator is puzzling. Please refer to any convictions in criminal court or findings in a civil legal action which justify your use of this term for him. I note that there was no response on your end to my questions raised in the emails of February 18 or March 7, 2014. Please share what you know that the rest of us do not know. Otherwise, you should be cautious in slandering the name of a person.

  9. raffaela medaglia says:

    It is sad that abuse of any sort is happening and yes especially when it comes from a man of god I cannot even try to imagine the impact and my heart goes to each and every victim survivors. But it is numerous of years since the crucifixion of father Roy began .Nothing conclusive came out. He served the people all his life. Please finish with this and let him retire in peace. He did say he didn’t commit this offence. Let him free. It is about time

  10. Sylvia says:

    Unfortunately rafaella, it is probably the rare molester who initially admits to the charges/allegations against him. I know of none. The fact is that most deny and then, after two or more years of denials, either enter a guilty plea at the 11th hour or are convicted at trial. They do no favour to this who truly are innocent.

  11. David says:

    Sylvia you do great work on this site. However, I am just wanting to make sure I understand the gist of your comments to rafaella as these apply to Father McParland. He was the subject of a civil action by an individual who alleged that he was abused between three and four decades earlier. (The newspaper article makes reference to both 1965 and 1975). There were no criminal charges laid against Father McParland. The complainant files his civil action which is his right and there is newspaper coverage in 2007 and 2008 in which the allegations are made about abuse by Fr. McParland. This is done through communications to the press in the Sudbury and the Sault Stars by the complainant’s legal counsel, Mr. Talach. Those newpaper articles are not only reproduced on your site but are still as of today available on the internet. Now several years have passed since those newspaper articles and the commencement of that civil action. There has been no reports of any adverse findings against Father McParland in a civil action and I had asked for clarification of this in messages dated February 18, March 7, 2014 and January 5, 2015 to which no responses were received. In civil legal actions, the person commencing them bears the burden of proof on a standard of proof based on a standard of probabilities which is less demanding than a criminal prosecution. So therefore there has been no evidence of any finding against Father McParland of the decades old allegations made by the complainant in the civil legal action between six and seven years after the commencement of the proceeding. So I was raising in my earlier communications and what I think rafaella was saying is that in the absence of any definitive proof Father McParland should be given the benefit of doubt and have his name cleared of these very significant and public allegations. As I read your response to rafaella, you make reference to the term “true molester” and that must be taken to be a reference to Father McParland. (Interestingly, you say that true molesters deny and deny, and then enter a guilty plea or are convicted at trial. Well, he has not admitted any guilt here and no courts have convicted him. On those standards, he cannot be considered a “true molester.”) So if I am reading your response to rafaella correctly then your position is that any person in a clerical role like Father McParland who is accused whether in a civil or criminal court proceeding or otherwise of abuse is to remain under that cloud indefinitely whether or not the allegations are ever proved or not and even though in this society the burden of proof is on the person making the allegations. I have gone to some length to outline what I think you were expressing to rafaella as it applies to Father McParland. It is of course entirely possible that I have misconstrued your comments as these applied to him. If the intent was just to make some comments in general, that is of course an entirely different matter and I spent a lot of space attributing an incorrect understanding to your comments. So please feel free to clarify what the nub of your comments as these apply to Father McParland were.

    • PJ says:

      David, I could not find any quote in Sylvia’s replies in this collar’s posts that uses the words “true molester”. As Sylvia said, you are twisting her words. Where did you find those words? You write like a lawyer so I suspect you’re one. What’s your “true” reason for posting here?

    • BC says:

      The vast majority of civil actions are settled out of court and those settlements usually include non-disclosure clauses. Almost all torts are never litigated because our modern legal systems make litigation not affordable to virtually all persons. But just because a case was not adjudicated and/or prosecuted at crim.pro. certainly does not mean that nothing happened per se. It only means that they were not adjudicated and/or prosecuted.

      Your own digging-up of this story is contributing to any libel and or slander that could be inflicted upon Father McFarland who doesn’t need a supporter such as yourself according to my sincere belief. If I was to use your own legal analysis; because Father McFarland has not obtained a court decision against
      the media it would signify that he hadn’t been the victim of libel; in effect you are allocating to Father McFarland’s guilt. Your own legal reasoning is prejudicial against Father McFarland.

      Nobody’s claiming that Father McFarland was/is guilty of anything. It is lawful in Canada to report about civil litigation and if you don’t like that then willful blindness is your sole option. But it sure is not a valid defense.

  12. Sylvia says:

    You are twisting my words David.

    That said, it is not easy for me to follow the status of a lawsuit – it is a very different with most activity conducted outside a courtroom and therefore no fixed court dates to follow. Further to that, lawsuits can take up to six years to either go to trial or settle out of court.

    I will see if I can find out what the status of this lawsuit is. Meanwhile I am sure that if you know Father McParland he could and surely would tell you if the case has settled out of court or is moving on towards trial? Have you thought of asking him? If you receive news before me please pass it along.

  13. David says:

    Thank you to all who have thus far responded. So to deal with certain points in the following manner.
    1. Sylvia and PJ, you are correct in that the words “true molester” were not used by Sylvia . That does not obscure the theme that was being raised in my outline which is that rafaella wrote to the effect that the allegations should perhaps be put to rest and Sylvia’s response was at the very least capable of the interpretation that the fact that these claims were made were suggestive that these should be left out there indefinitely whether or not these have ever been proven. The fact that these were decades old (not in itself by necessity an impediment to being truthful) and trotted out in the media has an element of unfairness to it especially since the priest in question was retired at the time. I am certainly open to any clarification of whether that was the interpretation intended and in fact asked for such input.
    (2) we can certainly ask Father McParland about the status of the litigation if we had his contact information. However, perhaps a better source is the plaintiff’s lawyer Robert Talach who is frequently quoted in the media and was prominent in publicizing this legal action in the Sault and Sudbury Stars in 2007 to 2008 as well as other cases not only involving clerical abuse but also by others such as Bill Cosby. Perhaps the fact that there has been nothing reported at the very least points to the fact that nothing has happened that has been reported to substantiate the plaintiff’s claims.
    (3) well PJ, I have not seen anywhere on Sylvia’s Site or elsewhere that a person’s motivation or background one way or the other has some correlation to being able to comment. To answer your question, I have some difficulty with the general proposition of seeing a person’s reputation besmirched especially in the media when allegations especially about abuse are brought forward and particularly in the media long after these allegedly happened and especially with that person retired and not having many years left.
    (4) with respect to BC, you are incorrect when you say no one is claiming Fr. McParland is not guilty of anything. Rob Tallach and his client certainly are with their legal action and did so in the media in 2007 and 2008. The articles are posted above and can be found on the internet. In addition, your comments about my somehow suggesting that the media libeled and slandered Father McParland and he somehow has to be exonerated by a trial involving defamation are a red herring initiated on your part and nothing outlined in my initial communications. So that does not even have to be responded to.
    (5) Thank you 1yellowknife. I do my best.

    • PJ says:

      David: Fair enough on your replies to me. I was just curious as your posts are quite eloquent. WRT your statement “when allegations especially about abuse are brought forward and particularly in the media long after these allegedly happened and especially with that person retired and not having many years left.” Although a lot of time has gone by, it is still important to keep in mind that many of the convicted collars are retired with not many years left…that is of no concern to me as long as justice prevails. If this collar were that concerned, why hasn’t he pursued this himself? I can assure you that I would be doing whatever it takes to clear my name if I were innocent. He has not done so…why? And for those who want to help him clear his name, I’m sure they know how to contact him and assist him. Until there is some update on his case, I see no reason to remove it.

  14. Sylvia says:

    Lets’ bring this to an end…

    I checked. The lawsuit settled out of court for an undisclosed sum of money. (In Canada the amounts paid in such settlements are rarely if ever disclosed)

  15. David says:

    Fair enough Sylvia. Thanks to you for the update. Thanks to you and BC and 1yellowknife and PJ for a spirited and civil discussion both ways. Keep up the good work Sylvia.

  16. margaret says:

    I have known Fr. Roy for 65 years. I know persons people who have known him for 65 years or maybe longer. both female and male young children in school and church and I know of no one who Fr. Roy has harmed in anyway. If these things were true they would have been known before now ,even through gossip!

    No no something is missing here. Fr. Roy will never ever be found guilty!

    • PJ says:

      margaret, did you not read Sylvia’s last response above? Here is is for you, “Lets’ bring this to an end…I checked. The lawsuit settled out of court for an undisclosed sum of money. (In Canada the amounts paid in such settlements are rarely if ever disclosed)”
      He won’t be found guilty because he settled out of court! As I said in an earlier post, if i was innocent, I would not be settling out of court, I’d be fighting it. So your roy is likely guilty of the offense but it will never be made public. Yes something is missing here…the reason why he settled the case.

  17. Leona says:

    Just watched the movie “Spotlight” twice this weekend. What this fabulous film showed was the number of civil suits the church in the U.S. settled out of court, and how by doing this they put other children at risk. From my own personal experience, I believe strongly that this has happened in Canada and that these quiet settlements are harmful to everyone. If McParland did abuse young boys and if others are aware of it, they have a duty of care to all, to share that information. Margaret appears to be understanding how her beloved family friend could have done these things. It would be beneficial if all in McParland’s world of influence, both past and present, were made aware of the truth. One of the quotes from the movie that stood out for me, “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.

  18. Michael says:

    Actually, he won’t be found guilty, because he was never charged with anything. When this lawsuit was first launched, the police opened an investigation and then quickly closed it – no evidence to lay charges. Fr. Roy is innocent as far as our legal system is concerned.

    As far as the lawsuit goes, LOTS of people settle out of court. It’s often far cheaper than ‘going the distance’. An out of court settlement does not admit of anything done wrong. It simply ends a legal procedure in civil court. I know of many police officers, teachers, lawyers and others who were sued for one reason or another, and who ‘settled out of court’. In many cases, their insurance companies insisted on it and gave them no choice. It’s cheaper than fighting a claim in court.

  19. Sylvia says:

    Are you saying Michael that you have proof that the victim went to police and police failed to lay charges? If yes, would you please tell me which police force and the name of the police officer who headed up the investigation?

    As for settling out of court, why would a Roman Catholic priest settle out of court when he has the option of going to trial? If he opts to go to trial his lawyer has opportunity to defend him publicly and prove that the plaintiff has no case against. You, I am sure, know as well as I and countless others know that the general public views an out of court settlement as an admission of guilt.

    Why, therefore, would an innocent priest choose to settle out of court? And why I wonder would a bishop advise or force an accused priest to settle out of court.

  20. prima facie says:

    Of course, based on my personal experiences, the accused’s lawyers claim that a settlement out of court saves money, pain and suffering for all persons involved, because as “they” assert, “litigation or prosecution may go on for years and years” . In addition, as you know Sylvia, a settlement includes a stipulation that there is no admission of guilt and furthermore, there are other non disclosure, confidentiality, release of all claims , agreed upon in a settlement. Release of all claims can include all heirs, successors, family members, etc, of alleged victims/victims from the beginning of time to the end of time. I have seen this type of “settlement agreement” more often than not. Oh yes, some money is given to the “alleged victim”. It is often spent quickly; left with just the misery and hopefully good counselling $$$$. Finally, to be sarcastic, I too ask, why would anyone settle if they are innocent? Really, as I have written, it is obvious that, in my opinion, they don’t. So fall into order people. Listen to the lawyers and the blind following media when they say “settlement” really helps everyone. I think NOT!

  21. Michael says:

    It was quite a few years ago, Sylvia, that all this took place, and so I don’t have the article any more. It was, however, printed in the local paper: The Sault Star. The plaintiff never went to the police (as far as I know). He went directly to a lawyer to initiate a lawsuit. After the Sault Star published (announced) the lawsuit, at which time they indicated the police were not investigating, the police (Sault Police Service) did begin an investigation. Having worked in another police service previously, I can only presume that a citizen, having seen the initial article, complained to the police that they had not investigated. That complaint, in and of itself, would form the grounds for an investigation. What is known is that afterwards, the Sault Star indicated an investigation had now been initiated, and then that it was dropped for lack of evidence. It was a classic “he said/he said” case and no other individuals came forward with new evidence or complaints despite it being well publicized in the places where Fr. Roy had ministered. I do not know the name of the investigating officer – sorry.

    As to the rest, you are right that the public makes judgments of innocence and guilt regardless of truth. An accusation against someone today is enough to make everyone assume they are guilty. Even those names published on your site means, in the minds of many, that they are guilty. I would suggest that is true even if the individuals wins in court.

    What I do not know is how I would respond. Like I said above, I am personally aware of other professionals who have been forced by their insurance companies to settle. I also know, having been in the policing field awhile, that a lot of pressure is carried by someone when an accusation is made, up until it is settled. With that kind of pressure, I do not know how I would react. I hope I never have to find out. So, can a person snub the insurance company and fight it out in court? Sure, if they want to pay their own way. Can a Bishop advise or force an accused to settle? Well, for sure can advise. That happens all the time. Force – depends on what you mean. The accused always has the final say, but being hung out to dry with no insurance coverage is a pretty strong force to apply, if you ask me.

  22. Leona says:

    Michael, you say this was a classic “he said/she said” case. That’s a line that features in the movie “Spotlight”. It’s a line that has been used to dismiss victims. In abuse cases, there are no witnesses. Just a vulnerable victim and a powerful perpetrator. I wonder what you mean when you say “despite it being well publicized in the places where Fr. Roy had ministered.” Was it announced from the pulpit at every Sunday mass where Fr. Roy served? Was it published in the local Catholic newspapers, diocesan webpages, etc? How did the leadership of the church support the uncovering of truth? I’m really open to hearing a good news story on this one.

  23. Leona says:

    Michael, you say this was a classic “he said/she said” case. That’s a line that features in the movie “Spotlight”. It’s a line that has been used to dismiss victims. In abuse cases, there are no witnesses. Just a vulnerable victim and a powerful perpetrator. I wonder what you mean when you say “despite it being well publicized in the places where Fr. Roy had ministered.” Was it announced from the pulpit at every Sunday mass where Fr. Roy served? Was it published in the local Catholic newspapers, diocesan webpages, etc? How did the leadership of the church support the uncovering of truth? I’m really open to hearing a good news story on this one.

  24. Michael says:

    Hi Leona. That expression can be used by both parties to their advantage. I used it simply to indicate that this was a single complaint made – most lawyers advancing a suit in this area acknowledge that there is rarely a single victim, so they go fishing for more, as it strengthens their case. I haven’t a clue how the Church dealt with this. I can only say what I read in the various local papers. Victims, normally, would not hear of this in the ways you mention, but they would see it in the press. In this case, nobody else, apparently, came forward with a complaint. That is very unusual, and normally gives more weight to the defendant.

    As a further observation, however, the “victim” is a bit relative. If someone is falsely accused, and especially if they are a priest in today’s context, they become the vulnerable victim and the accuser becomes the one who is the powerful perpetrator. Kind of turns things on their head, doesn’t it?

    As to the uncovering of the truth, sadly, that’s not the goal of our criminal or civil justice system. The goal, rather, is the satisfaction of the parties involved. You’ll have to excuse a bit of my cynicism there, but it comes from a long history of experience. Negotiation, not truth seeking, is the name of the ‘game’.

    • Sylvia says:

      As I am sure you must know Michael, the fact that no one else – to your knowledge – came forward does not for a moment negate other victims/complainants. It may, as is sadly often case, mean only that others were afraid to come forward. It takes some victims 20 years, others 30, others 40+. I have talked to many over the years, – grown men reduced to tears trying to tell me what happened, and so terribly afraid that they will be shunned or ridiculed if anyone finds out. Coming forward is extremely difficult; it takes courage and support. It is not as easy as some seem to think.

      As for the he/said she said business, there us generally corroboration. Not necessarily eye witness accounts, but so often the abuse us accompanied by and then followed by plummeting grades in school, sudden deterioration of relationships with parents, start of abuse of alcohol. Family members note and do not understand what happened to the child. In some instances the child refuses to attend Mass, and wants nothing to do with priest. In other instances it is some years later the victim understands what happened and from that point refuse to set foot inside the door of a church.

      A proper investigation will find those people.

      • Michael says:

        Not disagreeing with any of that Sylvia. And through my personal experience, I know first hand of what you say. It doesn’t change anything in what I’ve said previously. I’m simply stating the facts as I know them.

  25. Bob K says:

    I was an altar boy during the mid to late seventies as an adolescent/young teen with Father Roy McParland. I served Mass during weekdays and was often alone with this priest before and after Mass. He simply thanked me for having served Mass and told me “God loves ya” and sent me on my way.
    I also skateboarded on Church property around that era with many other youths of various backgrounds, and the rest of our group barely knew him. We annoyed him in various ways, such as zooming down the parking lot into Barrydowne traffic, so he eventually put an end to that.
    Also a group of us waited for our school bus during grades seven and eight, inside the Church building during the cold months, and again no such problems for any of us. He once scolded us for never kneeling down to pray to God while waiting for the bus, so in response one individual in our group did some damage to Church property.
    Also I was the local paper carrier, and collected at the rectory by-weekly. No problems to report there either.
    There were other incidents as well – overall he seemed to care deeply about the faith of youth, but his approach was lacking in social skill. Hopefully no one tries to throw someone in jail just for that – the jails would be overflowing.

    • Sylvia says:

      Lanigan alleges he was 15 and an altar boy at Blessed Sacrament Church when he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Father Roy McParland, the only one of the four priests still alive. He alleges the abuse continued for two years.

      In 1975, when he was experiencing a personal crisis, Lanigan alleges he sought the advice of McParland, whom he claims took advantage of his “troubled mental state” and sexually abused him again, including oral and anal sex.

      I hope, Bob K, that you don’t see these actions by a priest as “lacking in social skill”?

      • Bob K says:

        Sylvie, I gave you my own, firsthand experience – what I saw as a boy. You stated above you were waiting for men to come forward 40+ years later, so I did. I thought you would be relieved, that I was a boy in a vulnerable circumstance around this individual at a critical time, and was not taken advantage of. I now realize, that is not what you are looking for. Still I am unable to offer you another boy’s direct experience, only my own.

        • Sylvia says:

          I don’t believe I ever said that that I was waiting for men to come forward? I did say that it usually takes victims 20, 30 or 40 years to come forward, and that was in response to a comment made by Michael. Different.

          Further to that, perhaps I misunderstood when you wrote: “…overall he [Father McParlane] seemed to care deeply about the faith of youth, but his approach was lacking in social skill. Hopefully no one tries to throw someone in jail just for that – the jails would be overflowing” ? What do you mean Bob?

          Finally, yes, I am indeed happy that you were not sexually abused. I am also very cognizant of the fact that ‘a thief doesn’t strike every house in the block,’ that for every child who suffers and endures sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted priest there are probably at minimum scores with whom he interacts who do not, and, as mentioned before, those who were sexually abused frequently do not come forward for years – some in fact revealing their ‘secret’ only on their death bed.

  26. David says:

    Sylvia, I think I mentioned in my emails of June 19 and 24, 2015 on this thread about the great work you do. Your passionate advocacy on behalf of, and compassion toward, victims of abuse by predatory Catholic priests is highly commendable. However, I am puzzled by and looking for elaboration on your comments throughout this thread primarily in response to persons who have personal experiences with Fr. Roy McParland (Michael, Bob K.) and outlined that they did not observe or experience any abusive behaviour from him. Your answers suggest a belief that this particular individual, Fr. McParland, is to be considered to have conducted the behaviour that the lawsuit brought against him (now settled) alleged even though never proven. For example, in your September 26, 2016 response to Bob K., there is extensive quoting of what the victim alleged that Fr. McParland did to him as if this was a fact proven in a court of law or otherwise admitted as true. As mentioned extensively when I wrote in this thread during the spring of 2015, I am concerned about the unfairness of leaving open indefinitely the allegations that priests engaged in misconduct against persons even though never charged by the police or found in a court of law. However, before I come to any conclusions, I wonder (if you are open to commenting) if we are to take from your comments that the view is that this particular individual should be presumed at least in the eyes of this website to have committed the offenses that were alleged against him.

  27. Sylvia says:

    You are trying to put words in my mouth David. What I know is that a lawsuit was settled out of court. The case could have gone to trial to determine the veracity of the allegations. That did not happen. Perhaps Father was forced to settle out of court by his bishop ? If that is the case, how terribly sad.

    I have said any number of times in the past that I believe that falsely accusing any man of sexually abusing a child is abhorrent. Anyone who falsely accuses an innocent man of such heinous acts should be charged. There is no price tag on going to police. If the police investigate and determine that there there is sufficient evidence to lay charges, then it moves on to a criminal trial. It the police determine that there is insufficient evidence to lay charges, well, then the only recourse is to sue.

    Every priest who says he has been falsely accused should first attempt to have criminal charges laid, and, failing that, sue. Tell Father McPhail he should sue.

    And, that’s it, David.

  28. David says:

    Thanks for your perspective Sylvia. The settlement could equally have been the result of the complainant’s case being so weak that he was advised and decided to take a nominal amount. We simply do not know.
    I understand your point of suggesting a priest who is the subject of false accusations to either lay criminal charges or take civil action. With respect, that is putting a reverse onus on him that is the antithesis of the legal system. In order to uphold allegations like those of abuse made here, the accuser has the burden of proving these either beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal matter or a balance of probabilities in a civil action. In my view, it is an unfair state of affairs where a person’s reputation such as Father McParland’s can be left in tatters where allegations of decades old conduct can be brought up in a press conference, never proven, and repeated years later even when persons come forward as in this forum to vouch for him. And the suggested recourse is for him to take legal action to disprove that which was never proven. And I guess from my perspective that’s it, Sylvia.

    • J.P. says:

      David, I realize this is two years after your post. However, I have just found this site and can tell you truthfully that Father Roy is guilty of those accusations. How do I know? I have first hand experience. Just because they settle out of court doesn’t mean he is innocent, it is more probable that he is guilty. An innocent person does not settle out of court!
      Just saying!

  29. David says:

    J.P., thank you for your comments. Your contention that the fact that someone settles must mean he or she is guilty is with respect incorrect. As mentioned in my November 28 2016 response, we simply do not know what the reasons behind a settlement are. It may be that the plaintiffs took a nuisance payment in a weak case to walk away. Earlier this year you may recall four actresses, Patricia Fagan, Kristin Booth, Diana Bentley, and Hannah Miller filed civil actions against Albert Schultz for alleged sexual misconduct. They held a well publicized press conference (similar to what the accusers of Father McParland did in 2007 through their lawyer Rob Talach) to make their allegations about their lawsuit. You would have been correct to infer that this was going to result in a highly publicized court proceeding. However last summer we read that all actions had been settled. An article in Toronto Life suggested that the four plaintiffs settled for coverage of their legal fees and a very modest payment. If true, that is an example of a situation in which a settlement was made without being an admission of guilt. Furthermore, with the greatest of respect to you, what you claim to know firsthand about Father McParland has not been part of any adjudicated findings of guilt or liability against him in a civil or criminal legal proceeding and that is the linchpin on which accusations of this nature are found to be true or not. To paraphrase Steven Galloway, a former professor at the University of British Columbia who was cleared of sexual misconduct charges by multiple students,
    a person cannot be found to have committed criminal offenses just because someone else says so.

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