Stories goes to grave: Plouffe; Bishop says full story of abuse allegations may never be known

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 The Sudbury Star 

2008 (exact month and date not given) http://www.thesudburystar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=879819 

By Carol Mulligan 

We will never know the full story behind claims of sexual abuse against Roman Catholic clergy and the people who make them, says Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe. 

Plouffe isn’t denying there have been instances of sexual abuse by priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, but they are hard to prove when the priests named in lawsuits are dead.  

“Let’s put it this way: ‘They’ve taken it to their grave,’ ” said Plouffe on Monday in a 55-minute interview with The Sudbury Star. 

Plouffe was responding to a news conference held hours earlier at which seven lawsuits against Roman Catholic dioceses and a religious order of priests were announced by Ledroit Beckett Litigation Lawyers of London, Ont. 

Six of the lawsuits were filed against the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and four of the five priests named in those suits are deceased. 

One, Gerald Roy, is in his early 70s and lives in Warren, east of Sudbury, said Plouffe. 

The bishop said Roy took early retirement after he served time in a federal penitentiary after he was sentenced in 2001 to 2 1/2 years for sexual abuse of four altar boys in the 1980s. 

“After coming back (from prison), Roy decided that he wanted to live as a hermit, a monk. He wanted to live a sort of monastic life and his ministry is now one of prayer,” said Plouffe. 

Roy is allowed to celebrate mass “on his own, for himself. But he has not asked to be defrocked or dispensed of his priestly obligations “of celibacy and prayer for the church,” said Plouffe. 

Roy, Father Don Holmes and Father Thomas O’Dell have all been convicted of sexual offences against children and are living on pensions which all priests pay into from the day they were ordained, said Plouffe. 

Plouffe said regular Sunday contributions from parishioners in the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie do not support these priests. 

Absolutely nothing. I look you in the eyes. Nothing, absolutely nothing,” said Plouffe. 

Priests have vested rights in a pension plan “and it kicks in whenever it has to,” he said. 

Priests, such as the three convicted, do not get the maximum pensions because they retired early. 

Priests who have been disgraced with criminal convictions can continue to say mass privately, but no longer receive appointments from the bishop. 

Once civil lawsuits are filed against the diocese for sexual misconducts by its priests, those cases must proceed through the legal system. 

Plouffe said his diocese is accepting responsibility for the alleged sexual misconduct of some of its priests, some of it dating back more than half a century. 

When asked how his diocese is doing that, Plouffe said softly: “The best way we can.” 

When you’re involved in the legal process, you try to be as sensitive as you can to the issue “because it hurts. It hurts people.” 

That legal process can sometimes be restrictive, said the bishop. 

“You can’t do at times what you would like to do.” 

In the best of all possible worlds, Plouffe said he would be able to sit with the accusers and the accused – “and see what we can do to help these people in a very practical way without having to go through a process which is, at times, very painful.” 

Plouffe said the goal would be to “alleviate the hurt as much as you can, be as fair and honest as you can, so that people can move on.” 

Someone finding it very difficult to move on is Daniel Contant, 54, of Callander. 

Contant sat in the audience at Monday’s news conference as his sister, Anita Contant, 60, spoke about the abuse she suffered as a child. 

Anita Contant is one of the seven plaintiffs in new lawsuits being handled by Ledroit Beckett. She alleges she was abused by Father Magnus J. Fedy and Father Victor Killoran, both of whom taught at Scollard Hall in North Bay and both of whom are dead. 

Killoran pleaded guilty in 1990 to sexually abusing a boy and girl in Kitchener-Waterloo. 

Daniel is one of three plaintiffs who launched lawsuits last year against the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie for sexual abuse by Fedy and Father John Fisher. 

He was too overcome with emotion at Monday’s news conference to speak to reporters. 

On Tuesday, Daniel Contant said priests who sexually abuse children commit “soul murder.” 

He said his alleged abusers “systematically brainwashed and seduced you in a way that you felt that you were doing right in the eyes of God. 

“We were taught that priests in general were all representatives of God in conjunction with our Roman Catholic upbringing from the day that we were baptized into this faith,” said Daniel. 

“How much is a life worth when all you have left is an empty shell to attempt to grow and nurture yourself with, aside from all the psychological effects that comes along with being victimized? 

Daniel said he is grateful to other alleged victims who have come forward because it encourages his resolve and empowers others to go public with claims of abuse. 

cmulligan@thesudburystar.com  

The Cases 

Here, are some of the facts in seven lawsuits launched recently against the Roman Catholic Church in Ontario. None of the allegations have been proven in court: 

Anita Contant v. The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and the Congregation of the Resurrection in Ontario. Perpetrators: Father Magnus J. Fedy and Father Victor Killoran, both deceased. Abuse alleged to have occurred at Scollard Hall; 

Raymond Carriere v. The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie. Perpetrator: Father Rene Hebert, deceased. Abuse alleged to have occurred at L’Annonciation Church in New Sudbury; 

J.G. (name not given) v. Gerald Roy and The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie. Perpetrator: Father Gerald Roy (living). Abuse alleged at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Parish in Field; 

Thomas Miller v. The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and the Congregation of the Resurrection in Ontario. Perpetrator: Father Victor Killoran. Abuse alleged at Scollard Hall; 

Gregory O’Connor v. The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and the Congregation of the Resurrection in Ontario. Perpetrator Father Magnus J. Fedy. Abuse alleged at Scollard Hall; 

R.D. Sabourin v. The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie. Perpetrator: Father Rene Hebert. Abuse alleged at L’Annonciation Church; 

Notice Letter of Kevin Bishop to the Province of Ontario and The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie. Perpetrator: Father John Fisher. Abuse alleged at Vita Way Farms in Powassan, Ont. 

Article ID# 879819

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Comments

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In many criminal cases the accused envokes their right of silence and never speaks in their defence yet the Justice system is still able to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the criminal acts occurred. How is the silence arising from death any different? In many of the present cases of sexual abuse there are multiple victims of the same priest, who did not know eachother, all giving similar evidence. Some of these people are decades apart in age and live 100 of miles apart yet all still identify the same priest with the same sexual habits. Can all this be chance, conspiracy or coincidence, I THINK NOT!!! 

Post #1 By RobTalach

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RE the article about sexual abuse in the diocese. 

I am a victim of homosexual assault by a priest who has now died. Father Fortier was convicted of a similar offense a few years before I came forward and I find Bishop Plouffe’s comments to be rather offensive.Plouffe states that we may never know the truth in these matters but I suggest that if he really wanted the truth to come out he could actively help search it out. 

Perhaps he could make the personal records of these priests public or at least open to some neutral party who could look into why these priests were moved so often. Perhaps he could ask other priests about their experiences in confession as I know that some of these diviates did confess there crimes.
Plouffe could get active instead of mearly trying to stem the tide of public opinion. 

Later in the article Plouffe stated “His diocese is accepting reponsability for the alleged sexual misconduct” 

Before I commenced my law suite Plouffe turned me over to Father Caruso who made three appointments to meet with me. He broke all three, the last one because the sewers were backed up and I quote “I can’t meet with you because I’m up to my knees in ****”. 

In October He asked my lawyer if I would like to settle my suite to which I replied that I would but part of the sEttlement would be to meet face to face with him. 

I haven’t heard from them since. 

Doesn’t sound like wants to take much of that responsibility does it? 

How about Bishop will you meet with me? 

Can I tell you how I hurt for forty years? How I was taught to believe that a priest could do no harm so therefor the abuse must have been my fault? 

Come on let’s meet, bring Fortier’s personal records, lets try to find out if there are any others out there. Maybe we can save a life, after all may abuse victims kill themselves from the pain they feel.
You said that “you can’t do at times what you would like to do” 

Let’s get together and maybe we can come up with things that you can do.
Rick Brazeau 

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Post #2 By 15 megs 

RE the article about sexual abuse in the diocese. 

I am a victim of homosexual assault by a priest who has now died. Father Fortier was convicted of a similar offense a few years before I came forward and I find Bishop Plouffe’s comments to be rather offensive.Plouffe states that we may never know the truth in these matters but I suggest that if he really wanted the truth to come out he could actively help search it out. 

Perhaps he could make the personal records of these priests public or at least open to some neutral party who could look into why these priests were moved so often. Perhaps he could ask other priests about their experiences in confession as I know that some of these diviates did confess there crimes.
Plouffe could get active instead of mearly trying to stem the tide of public opinion. 

Later in the article Plouffe stated “His diocese is accepting reponsability for the alleged sexual misconduct” 

Before I commenced my law suite Plouffe turned me over to Father Caruso who made three appointments to meet with me. He broke all three, the last one because the sewers were backed up and I quote “I can’t meet with you because I’m up to my knees in ****”. 

In October He asked my lawyer if I would like to settle my suite to which I replied that I would but part of the sEttlement would be to meet face to face with him. 

I haven’t heard from them since. 

Doesn’t sound like wants to take much of that responsibility does it? 

How about Bishop will you meet with me? 

Can I tell you how I hurt for forty years? How I was taught to believe that a priest could do no harm so therefor the abuse must have been my fault? 

Come on let’s meet, bring Fortier’s personal records, lets try to find out if there are any others out there. Maybe we can save a life, after all may abuse victims kill themselves from the pain they feel.
You said that “you can’t do at times what you would like to do” 

Let’s get together and maybe we can come up with things that you can do.
Rick Brazeau 

__________________ 

Post #3 By 15 megs

And people wonder why I am so anti-religious,while I was never abused by a priest ,my grandmother in Ireland was raped moraly,spiritally and financially by the catholic church. No other religion is any better,they promote war through crusades, jihads or whatever. Believe in yourself and in your brother\friend and life will go on, belief in nonsense is just nonsense! 

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Post #4 By serious

In our judicial system a person is innocent until proven guilty.By waiting numerous years (until most of the priests are DEAD)before making these claims the defendants are unable to defend themselves.This is not right.Without being able to face their accusers and defend themselves t these charges are meaningless and this matter should not go any further. 

Perhaps some of the family members of the deceased might wish to take action against the accusers for DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER!!!!! 

__________________ 

Post #5 By DanCom

Perhaps some people need to be aware that many victims are so traumatized by their assault, that they block it out. In later years, something insignicant can trigger those memories and bring them back. I just feel it’s wrong to say that they purposely waited for these priest to die before coming forward. 

__________________ 

Post #6 By Outspoken

In response to DanCom. comments: 

Unfortunately you may not be aware or have not read all the articles pertaining to these survivors stories whereby the diocese was approaced at the time of the some of these abuses but the church/diocese totally disregarded the concerns of these survivors and their parents and shuffled these priests around the diocese….That, I find is a conspiracy within the church to “HIDE” what was actually going on all those years….and the go and preach to the “flock” a totally different version of what it is to be a true catholic…. 

Don’t you ever wonder why so many don’t attend church anymore?

2 Responses to Stories goes to grave: Plouffe; Bishop says full story of abuse allegations may never be known

  1. Pete J says:

    Where or how would one look to find out the name of a priest who was a priest at a certain church? I have searched Google many many times (did I mention many) to find out with no results. Would one have to go to the Diocese itself?

    Pete J.

  2. Louisette Malette says:

    It is so sad to see all the sexual abuse that was done to innocent victims by religious leaders as priests are suppose to be…they are suppose to lead us to Jesus….not destroy us and like one person mentioned… it is soul murder….that’s what it is…that describes it very well. So many innocent children were abused by these sick people….and so many have never talked about it because they don’t know where to go and think that it’s been so long ago and who will believe them? Yes victims often feel like it was their fault…..if only they knew how innocent they were!! The adult priest is guilty of such horrible crime!!! Yes many of these priests have passed away and never got to go to trial but they will have to answer to God. I pray that all innocent victims find peace in their hearts and soul! I know what I’m talking about as I too am a victim of such horrible crime and never told anyone until a few years ago. My dad asked me why I never told him as a child….and I told my dad….yes you believe me now because I’m an adult but as a child…would you have believed me? I was afraid of getting punished by my parents. I was afraid that they might not believe me!! I was thinking like a child as I was a child….sexual abused by my grandfather when I was around 5 or 6 years old and then abused by two uncles when I was around 11 and 16 and I was raped when I was 18 and never told anyone. I’m now 65 years old and I have learned to deal with it the best I can and I have learned to forgive my abusers because I wanted to take back control and power over my life….I want to be happy again and I am! Being a spiritual person, I find that it is possible with God in my life to forgive and learn to live with my past….it’s gets easier all the time…I don’t let my past bother me like it did before….I have the right to be happy and control my life! Yes, whenever I see any type of abuse, I feel the pain that others are suffering and I wish I could take away their pain. Victims of such abuse will block it from their minds as I did until I was 39 years old and then I started getting those flash back…that was rough and very painful….I knew that I needed professional help and I did get it! It helped me a lot! It will never go away because IT DID HAPPEN AND I WASN’T TO BLAME……..but now with all the tools that I have, I can leave everything in God’s hands, let go and be happy again.

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