School board issues apology

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Cornwall Standard Freeholder

30 June 2010


The Upper Canada District School Board issued a formal apology Tuesday to sexual abuse victims who had contact with four former employees hired by its predecessor public boards.

At the four-year long Cornwall Public Inquiry, county public school boards were one of several institutions under the microscope. For the board, it was questions about their hiring processes, student supervision, and their protocols for reporting allegations of sexual misconduct related to students.

Those county boards were amalgamated under the Upper Canada District School Board in 1998.

“I can’t imagine what a student goes through when the adult or person they look to, in a system they look to to protect them, cannot do that,” said Greg Pietersma, UCDSB chairperson. “I want to again extend a sincere apology to them.”

The school in question was La Citadelle Catholic Secondary School, operated at the time under UCDSB’s predecessor board called Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry County Board of Education.

It was run at the time on behalf of the French Catholic community, Pietersma said.

Pietersma referenced four former staffers at La Citadelle as the key perpetrators under the former school board structure: Robert Sabourin, Father Gilles Deslauriers, Nelson Barque and Jean-Luc Leblanc.

Sabourin, a retired art and photography teacher, was convicted in 1999 on charges he had sexually abused four boys between the ages of 12 and 14 three decades earlier. At the age of 84, he also pleaded guilty in January to sexually abusing another young student.

Father Gilles Deslaurier was named chaplain at La Citadelle in 1977. Eventually, he was found guilty of multiple charges of sexual abuse against five boys between 1978 and 1984.

Jean-Luc Leblanc provided transportation for public board students. He pleaded guilty to two counts of gross indecency on Nov. 6, 1986.

Nelson Barque worked as a substitute teacher at La Citadelle for less than two months in 1971 before securing full time work as a city case worker. He admitted to sexual contact with three youths, but committed suicide in 1998, the same month he was formally charged.

UCDSB superintendent of education, David Thomas, was asked why the board has waited until now to apologize when the inquiry’s final report was issued in December 2009, and other inquiry players such as the police and the Diocese have already apologized.

“We had seriously and solemnly looked at all our procedures,” Thomas responded.

The word “transparent” was used several times as Thomas and Pietersma explained some of the changes that have been made through the Robbins report in 2000, and following the the report of Cornwall Public Inquiry Commissioner Normand Glaude.

“What the commissioner encouraged us to do is to continue to update all our procedures and policies to recognize that the safety and security of children -you can’t check it off as being done. It’s something that you have to continually have to review and reflect.”

Thomas said that twice per year teachers are reminded about proper reporting procedures for sexual abuse. That, he said, is in addition to child abuse prevention training.

Every single person working or volunteering in a school run by the UCDSB is now subjected to a criminal background check, Thomas noted, which wasn’t the case during the 1980s.

Thomas also said that four times per year students anonymously fill out surveys about school safety.

Pietersma said the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario was invited to be part of a joint apology on Tuesday at the Ramada Inn, but declined.

The Catholic board issued a written apology.

Of the eight parties that made final submissions at the inquiry, only the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the UCDSB chose not to deliver their statements orally.

On Jan. 28, 2009, Thomas testified about recommended practices for identifying and preventing sexual misconduct in Ontario schools.

“We’re not going to stop today,” Pietersma said. “For many of our students, school is the safest place for them to come to, and that is something we’re quite proud of, and we recognize our role in continuing that.”

Pietersma encouraged any additional victims of sexual abuse to come forward and seek help.

– – –

Catholic board opts for letter

CORNWALL — While the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario declined to participate in a sexual abuse victims news conference Tuesday with the Upper Canada District School Board, it issued an open letter yesterday on the subject as a paid notice in the Standard-Freeholder.

As with the public board, student abuses related to the inquiry occurred prior to the creation of the Catholic board in 1998.

The following is an excerpt from the statement signed by William Gartland, the Catholic board’s director of education: “…I want every victim or alleged victim of assault or abuse, whether pyschological, physical or sexual, to know that the board is sorry for the pain that you have suffered. We will continue to respond appropriately to any allegation brought to our attention.”

Article ID# 2648147


School board apologizes for sexual abuse cases 

June 30, 2010 

The Ottawa Citizen

The Upper Canada District School Board issued an apology Tuesday for decades-old cases sexual abuse at a Cornwall high school, six months after a public inquiry by Justice Normand Glaude asked for it. The $53-million inquiry said police, government, the Catholic Church and other institutions failed miserably to respond to decades of alleged and real child sexual abuse by Cornwall probation officers, clergy, teachers and others. The apology named three teachers who worked at École Secondaire Catholique La Citadelle, which was operated by the former Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry County Board of Education during the 1960s. It also named a school-bus driver who worked for the board.

23 Responses to School board issues apology

  1. Sun City West,Az.USA We have one of your perverts David Ostler the Bishop Olmsted hiding him in our retirement community were there are on youn pople. Pauline

  2. Sylvia says:


    Father David Ostler has never been charged. He is originally from Cornwall, Ontario. He was ordained in 1987 for the Diocese of Grand Falls, Newfoundland. He then returned to Cornwall and served there and became incardinated there. Sometime in early 2000 he spent time at Southdown – he and others claim he was there to deal with alcohol problems. He then headed south of the border. In 2005 he became incarindated in the Diocese of Phoenix.

    Yes, there have been allegations that he was seen at the cottage of former Crown attorney and molester Malcolm MacDonald and/or the residence of former seminarian-turned-probation officer and molester Ken Seguin . Ostler apparently denies ever being on those premises.

    That’s it.

  3. Sylvia: Fr. David was a class ahead of me in the seminary. He was an excellent lad. I would be STUNNED in the extreme if he were guilty of any sexual abuse. I can believe such things about others, but I would have a hard time believing that of Fr. David.

    Fr. Tim

    • Sylvia says:

      Father David Ostler’s name is not on the Accused list Father.

    • michael says:

      You have said about Fr.David is an excellent guy. If you just go through the list of priests who are being accussed of sexual abuses 99 percentage were very smart and excellent guys and well liked by all people where ever they worked. Doesn’t that say sthing about the so called victims?????!!!. I believe most of these victims must have seduced the priests for money or other favorable benefits? That time it was fun for them lo! Now they want more money, so sue the church. I recently made a study about Fr.Grecco who worked in many parishes such as Cayuga, welland, Niagara on the lake. They all loved this man while he was their pastor. There was nothing that anyone could tlk against him while he was their pastor. Very smart , excellent in many ways. So this make me wonder most of this victims looks for money and had psychological problems the very day they are born. They blame the church for their alochoholic problems, drug abuses , failure in marriage etc. They are white lies.
      I am telling it because I myself was sexually abused by one of the neghbours while I was 12 and immediately told my mom. I never became an alchoholic or drug addict. I succedded in life. I am blessed with good family and children. Principal of a high school with over 2500 children! So I say most this victims say that all their problems are because of abuse which they say is a lie to make money. If it was a priest who abused me, certainlly I would have sued the church, so that I will get a million dollar or two and I do not need to work anymore lo!
      You may know who is going to lash at me one I write this : Larry and Leena, depends on how much they drank tonight.
      By the way Fr.Tim, I am a happly married guy, 46 years old with three lovely children.
      I love the church. Forgave my neighbour for his weekness. I believe it is myown mistakes too.
      I like your web page. You seems to be a good priest like countless of them in Ontario. Long live the Pope. Catholic church is the only church instituted by Jesus Christ. Bless all the priests. Bless all the priests WHO ARE FALSELY ACCCUSED. May God punish all priests who really commited the crime with theirown mistake ALONE.

      • John Mac Donald says:

        There is an old proverb……….Better to flatter a fool than to fight him. Michael your 2500 high school students must be so proud to have a principal who’s impeccable vocabulary, grammar and spelling can now be passed on to them. I am so glad that you keep up on current events also, without doing so and informing all of us, then I or others never would have known that victims of clerical abuse were recieving settlements in the millions of dollars. Please Michael please do keep us informed.

        I still have to say though, I truly do think that you are a Mormon (minus the m).


        • michael says:

          mMr. McDonald,
          you too are a drunk skum like many depressed people who write on this web site. Your name sounds like a drunk Irish man. Any way do you know why the Irish did not conquer the world like the English? Because they were drunk all the time. Why don’t you get out of this country? This country belongs to the native Indians.

        • michael says:

          Mr. McDonald,
          who knows you being an Irish man, a child abuser. Most of the abusers are Irish men or white men ,( priests, ministers or ordinary men) . Spanish, asian or black do not do these. like guys like you do

          • Michel B. says:

            not killing anyone with kindness here I see, It’s a shame especially from someone purported to be educated. Sad commentary not based on fact.

      • Lina says:

        Michael you do have a right to express your opinions. I am happy for you that you told your mother right away about your ordeal of you being abused.

        It is good you never became an alcoholic or drug addict. You are successful with a blessed family.

        Michael not everyone has a fairytale ending like you.

        Not everybody who been abused follows your blueprint of your journey Michael. Assuming you are telling us the whole truth about your life?

        That is so not fair and so insulting what you say about all the clergy abuse victims especially the ones who may be reading these posts here.

        You are not hurting me Michael but inside of me I do cry for the others that you are hurting with your unbelievable cruel words.


        • michael says:

          I do not deny the fact that there are genuine cases, but there are some which are dobtful! I agree that all abusers to be locked up and put in jail. But one thing i do not understand , or agree too is that the victims asking for millions of dollars. When somone brutally abuses a girl or kills her, we do not see the victims family sues the govt. or the school or society for money, they request the criminals to be brought to justice.
          The second thing which make me angry is that some of you condemn the whole church, all priests etc That is not right. Condemn who are doing wrong. Get the facts . When many do the same thing on this web page and claim to be right in all grounds , I have also gone too far with my comments which sometimes were not appropriate.

          • Sylvia says:

            Yes, Michael, you have gone far too far with many of your comments. I was actually debating banning you. The victims don’t need your incessant insults.

            One more thing, please please get your facts straight before you comment. There have been countless lawsuits against school boards, many filed by females.

          • arlene says:

            I agree with your post.Thank You for speaking out.

      • arlene says:

        I highly doubt you are the principal of any type of school based on your ranting.

  4. prima facie says:

    Is it not true, that many people are “stunned in the extreme”, when they are presented speculation, rumour, fact, or otherwise (through whatever means), or, when some “NEW” information, “CLASHES” with previously attained information, which had became part of a persons’ beliefs (cognitive development-dissonance)?
    The feelings, emotions, defences, etc., are intensified/augmented, when the “subject” is a “significant other”.
    I think Sylvia’s post above, said it all….perfectly.

  5. I recognize that Sylvia. I was responding to the from comment Pauline in Sun City AZ. ‘asking’ about him. Sorry if I sowed any confusion. That was not my intent.

    Fr. Tim

  6. Larry Green says:

    Michael do you know what the word “inadvertently” means? You look it up and I’ll use it in a sentence.
    Michael has inadvertently revealed to everyone on Sylvia’s site, a sketch of his own profile in intimate detail.

  7. prima facie says:

    You know Sylvia—following up on a couple of the above “posts” and relating to ALL the cases you are following and have followed—-and, based in part on what we have experienced/witnessed for more than 20 years (twenty years), now, I wouldn’t be risking anything if I stated the following; “I would be “stunned in the extreme” if ANYONE or even if 5% of the accused were to be found “GUILTY”.”
    I submit, “GUILTY” has NO significance with ANYTHING!!

  8. prima facie says:

    To clarify: What I am saying and implying is, “we” never know what will happen, even if the facts weigh heavily that an accused/charged is obviously guilty. You know what we always hear, “innocent until proven guilty”. Well, despite what the facts show, there are many, many, “man made” obstacles to overcome, before a “guilty” verdict.

    What I am saying is, #1) I am “stunned in the extreme”, when an accused gets to a trial and everything has not been derailed or settled out of court before proceeding to a trial; #2) ……when complete prosecutions and judgements of “guilty” occur; percentage wise, the number of cases where a guilty conviction is made, are few and far between; #3) …..when in many cases, it has been obvious that some of the accused are/were guilty, yet for various reasons the accused/charged “walked”. So, I would be “stunned in the extreme” if such cases actually resulted in guilty convictions.

    …..and yes, as per your reply, “I am stunned in the extreme” when an accused/charged gets to proceed through a full trial, is found guilty and is thereafter treated as though they never laid a wayward hand on a child.

  9. says:

    Micheal, I am speechless. Thank heavens more people do not think like you.

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