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Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh remains a free man, judicial case now over

Posted: Apr 22, 2013 6:23 AM AT

Last Updated: Apr 22, 2013 8:15 PM AT

Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh heads from Nova Scotia Court of Appeal in Halifax in 2010. MacIntosh's case was thrown out by the Supreme Court of Canada.Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh heads from Nova Scotia Court of Appeal in Halifax in 2010. MacIntosh’s case was thrown out by the Supreme Court of Canada. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

One of the accusers in a long-standing Nova Scotia legal saga says even though the case against the man he says sexually abused him was thrown out, he hopes some good will come out of the Supreme Court ruling.

Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh, now 69, was convicted in two separate trials in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court on 17 counts of indecent assault and gross indecency, almost 15 years after allegations surfaced that he sexually abused boys.

However, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal dismissed the convictions late in 2011, arguing MacIntosh was not brought to trial in a timely manner. The appeal court justices found the trial judge wrongly placed the onus on MacIntosh to turn himself in while he was living in India.

Crown lawyers appealed that decision but Canada’s top judges in Ottawa threw out the case and upheld the Court of Appeal decision even before MacIntosh’s lawyers had a chance to speak on Monday.

“The court heard from the Crown who were asking for the appeal and decided that they haven’t raised any grounds that required us to respond,” said Brian Casey, MacIntosh’s lawyer.

One of the children, identified by the initials B.M., said this decision to throw out the charges against MacIntosh might be the push that policy makers need to change the system.

“Maybe this is a wake-up call for the bureaucrats to say, ‘Okay, we have to do things in a timely manner,’ because people like myself will not come out or disclose to the appropriate agencies — and we want to — and I would do this tomorrow in a heartbeat,” he said.

“We want to come out we want to tell our story, we want these people put away, we want people to be comfortable coming out because I don’t want people looking at me and say, ‘Hey, God, he’s been at that for 17 years and they let the guy go, I don’t want to do that,'” he said.

B.M. said he would not participate in a civil case against MacIntosh, but he said he would welcome an inquiry. He is also pleased that the director of public prosecutions has ordered an internal review into how his department handled the MacIntosh case.

“It doesn’t happen often that they deliver a decision right away and it doesn’t happen often that they don’t need to hear both sides. But if the issues are clear and the decision under appeal is solid, then they can sometimes say that there’s nothing really they need to do to improve on the existing decision. They’re content to just dismiss the appeal.”

Case marred by delays

Casey said the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision proves his client’s right to a trial within a reasonable time was violated.

“Ordinarily, the courts have established frameworks for trials in the range of 18 months and so it’s not hard to say that 14 years is way out of whack,” he told CBC News.

“This does mean things are over for him and the Canadian judicial system is finished with him and he can get on with his life.”

In 1995, the RCMP received complaints from two men who said MacIntosh, a businessman and a one-time political candidate living in Port Hawkesbury, abused them back in the 1970s when they were boys.

Over the years, more complainants emerged and the list of charges grew to more than 40 counts of sexual abuse involving nine alleged victims.

Even though police knew exactly where MacIntosh was living in India, he wasn’t extradited until late 2007; more than 11 years after the first charges were laid. Once back in Nova Scotia, it took almost three years for a trial to be held.

During the first trial, he was convicted of 13 counts of gross indecency and indecent assault and sentenced to four years in prison. In a second trial, MacIntosh was convicted on another four counts and sentenced to another 18 months in jail.

MacIntosh’s lawyers appealed those convictions to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, arguing the 11 years it took to extradite him from India, plus the three-year delay in getting to trial once he was back in Nova Scotia, violated his charter rights to be tried within a reasonable time period.

What are the arguments?

The Crown argued most of the blame for the almost 14-year case should be placed on MacIntosh’s shoulders.

Prosecutors said he was notified of the charges during a phone call he received in 1996 while living in India from the investigating officer in Cape Breton, telling him they had issued an arrest warrant for the two charges they had laid at the time.

The Crown contends if MacIntosh was interested in a speedy trial to clear his name, he could have returned to Canada voluntarily to face the charges, but instead chose to stay in India until he was finally extradited a decade later.

In an argument filed with the court, the Crown said MacIntosh is turning the shield of the charter into a sword to fight his convictions. They also argue that even with the delay, it’s in society’s interest to have these serious charges of the sexual abuse of children decided in court on their merits and not thrown out on legal technicalities.

The Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear the case of Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh in June 2012.

The Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear the case of Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh in June 2012. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Nova Scotia first made the extradition request to Ottawa in 1998, although it was paused for a couple of years in late 1999 while new complainants came forward. No one has ever explained why the request sat on someone’s desk in Ottawa between 2001 to 2006, before the formal extradition request was made to authorities in India.

Casey said his client didn’t learn about the charges until 1998 when he received notice his passport was going to be revoked.

“He contacted the passport office through his lawyer and said, ‘What’s the problem?’ Asked for disclosure of the file that had led to this decision and they decided they would reinstate his passport instead of disclosing the file information to him. He took from that whatever the allegation was had gone away or wasn’t being proceeded with,” said Casey.

“He continued to come back and forth to Canada. The passport office always knew where he lived, they hand delivered documents to him, he renewed his passport giving him his address. The RCMP always knew where he was. He says all of that delay is theirs.”

Casey argues that MacIntosh — and anyone else accused — does not have an obligation to voluntarily return to Canada to face trial.

“It’s just an unfortunate thing where these are now 40-year-old matters. Most of the people who were living in the next room or living on the same property are now dead. That makes it pretty hard to defend the charges,” he said.


Top court upholds MacIntosh sex crimes acquittal

The Halifax Herald

April 22, 2013 – 12:54pm

By PAUL McLEOD Ottawa Bureau

OTTAWA — Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh will remain a free man after the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed Monday his sex crime convictions must be thrown out.

The Supreme Court judges surprised the courtroom by dismissing the Crown’s appeal after a 15-minute morning recess.

MacIntosh’s lawyers had not even spoken yet.

Victims and victims’ rights advocates are now demanding an inquiry into how authorities botched the case.

In 2010, MacIntosh was convicted by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court of 18 counts of indecent assault or gross indecency against four boys in the 1970s.

But by the time the allegations came forward in 1995, MacIntosh was living in India as a vice-president of a cellphone company. It took over a decade for the government to extradite him back to Canada.

MacIntosh appealed on the basis that his right to a speedy trial was violated. The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal agreed and overturned the convictions.

Crown lawyer Mark Scott tried to have that ruling reversed Monday, but found himself repeatedly rebuked by Supreme Court judges.

Scott argued MacIntosh himself was partly to blame for the delay in the extradition. He conceded that there were periods of years where the case did not appear to move forward. He also agreed there was a frustrating lack of answers as to why it took so long to extradite MacIntosh.

But Scott said that MacIntosh showed no sign he desired a speedy trial. He argued MacIntosh knew he was being investigated, but remained “wilfully blind” by not having his lawyers check to see what was happening with the case.

“If the record shows that he had no interest in a speedy trial, then he can’t complain of prejudice thereafter,” said Scott.

But one by one the judges tore apart his argument. Several judges noted this would put a burden on the accused to speed up their own prosecution.

“What you’re essentially saying is, if the Crown is slow, is negligent, it will have no consequences unless the accused actually takes active steps to speed up the process,” said Justice Louis LeBel.

“So the accused would have, in a way, a legal obligation to prosecute his own case?”

MacIntosh’s lawyers did not even need to rebut the Crown’s argument. After a scheduled 15-minute break, the justices returned and surprised the courtroom by dismissing the appeal.

Oral judgments such as this are rare but not unheard of.

The federal government has so far declined to start an inquiry into why MacIntosh’s extradition took so long because the case was before the courts.

At Province House in Halifax, Justice Minister Ross Landry said the Public Prosecution Service will review its handling of the case. He said he expects a report by late May.

Landry said he’d like to get a better understanding of the connection between the responsibilities of the federal and provincial governments in the case.

“The outcome says that we need to examine this,” the minister said.

Liberal justice critic Michel Samson had called for a review more than a year ago. “Someone has to explain what went wrong here,” Samson said. “More importantly, let’s make sure that this never happens again.”

Progressive Conservative justice critic Allan MacMaster said the review should be by someone independent.

“I think people need to know it’s not just people inside the system reviewing what happened themselves,” he said. “And I would hope that something could be done fairly quickly as well.”

One of MacIntosh’s victims, known as DRS in court documents, was in the audience for the Supreme Court hearing. He said the government needs to explain why MacIntosh’s passport was renewed twice while he was wanted in Canada.

“The key factor is why was he given his passport when there was a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest on outstanding charges? That is squarely in the hands of the federal Department of Justice,” said the man, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban.

Another victim in Nova Scotia said he was disgusted that MacIntosh will walk free after everything the victims and their families have gone through.

“My concern is that any victim in any situation may have trouble going to authorities to disclose any type of abuse when they look at my case. Look at the mess of this injustice,” he wrote in an email.

Rosalind Probert, president of Beyond Borders/ECPAT Canada, said the MacIntosh case reveals systemic problems that still exist. She said the government needs to start a public inquiry into the case.

“Listening to the Crown attorney from Nova Scotia basically fall on his sword and talk about the bungling in his own department was difficult to listen to. It cries out for an answer for these victims,” she said.

Beyond Borders is a national volunteer organization fighting for the rights of all children to be free from sexual abuse and exploitation.

With David Jackson, Provincial Reporter



Supreme Court dismisses Crown’s appeal of Ernest MacIntosh abuse case


22 April 2013

By The Canadian Press


OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected the Crown’s appeal of a decision quashing sex offence convictions against a Nova Scotia man involving boys in the 1970s.

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal originally threw out 17 sex offence convictions against Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh on the grounds that a 14-year delay between the original allegations and the trial was too long.

The Crown’s appeal was only being heard today, but the high court settled the matter quickly with a rare oral judgment.

The allegations against MacIntosh, a former Cape Breton businessman, date back to the 1970s, but only surfaced in 1995 when he was working in India.

An extradition request was not made until 2006 and MacIntosh was returned to Canada in 2007.

He faced two trials on the charges.

MacIntosh was convicted of molesting four boys, although the charges filed against him in 1995 alleged he engaged in sex acts with six boys.


Child sex offenders: Canadian justice system faulted for cracks in system

The case of Fen MacIntosh, being heard Monday before the Supreme Court, raises questions about Canada’s system of bringing alleged sexual predators to justice.

The Toronto Star

22 April 2013

Child sexual abuse victim D.R.S., whose identity is under a publication ban, sits on the steps of the Supreme Court in Ottawa on Sunday. D.R.S. first came forward to police in 1995 with allegations of abuse against Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh dating back to the 1970s. He is dubious that the Supreme Court, which is hearing the case beginning Monday, will be more help to him and others who have made these accusations than the rest of the justice system has been.

Blair Gable / for the toronto star

Child sexual abuse victim D.R.S., whose identity is under a publication ban, sits on the steps of the Supreme Court in Ottawa on Sunday. D.R.S. first came forward to police in 1995 with allegations of abuse against Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh dating back to the 1970s. He is dubious that the Supreme Court, which is hearing the case beginning Monday, will be more help to him and others who have made these accusations than the rest of the justice system has been.

For 18 years, allegations of sexual abuse have swirled around Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh, levelled by a group of men who say the Nova Scotia businessman repeatedly molested them when they were young teens in small-town Cape Breton.

On Monday, after a long-delayed extradition from India, two convictions in Nova Scotia on 17 counts of sexual abuse (later overturned by a provincial court) and a litany of questions about why it all took so long, the case of “Fen” MacIntosh will be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Star investigates child sex tourism

For much of the nearly two decades since allegations first emerged against him, MacIntosh, now 69, has lived the life of an international jet-setter. Based in India between 1994 and 2007, he worked as a manager for a telecommunications company and successfully renewed his Canadian passport twice despite being a wanted man in Canada, where his name was on a countrywide arrest warrant.

To those who allege he destroyed lives through predatory abuse, the sequence of events that kept MacIntosh out of Canadian courts for so long represent a scathing indictment of the country’s justice system.

“When it comes to going after sex offenders and protecting children, Canada is a complete laughing stock,” says D.R.S., as he is identified in court documents, his identity protected by a court publication ban.

It was 1995 when D.R.S. first came forward to police with allegations of abuse by MacIntosh dating back to the 1970s, and he has remained a tireless advocate for MacIntosh’s arrest and prosecution.

“I did my part coming forward as a victim,” he says. “But I’m tired of holding the damn torch in my hand.”

MacIntosh, now living in Halifax after being extradited to Canada in 2007, declined an interview request from the Star.

His lawyer agrees with critics who say it took a long time for police and prosecutors to take action against his client, but for different reasons.

“What I would take from the fact that the Crown took . . . years to do anything with the file is not that Canadian sex offenders can wander throughout the world , but they didn’t size this up as being a case with much merit,” says Brian Casey, a veteran Nova Scotia criminal lawyer.

The narrow legal issue before the Supreme Court focuses on the Charter right “to be tried within a reasonable time” and who shoulders the blame for the endless delays in MacIntosh’s case: the authorities or the accused himself.

But for child rights advocates, the MacIntosh case illustrates wider problems of bureaucratic bungling and incompetence in cracking down on Canadians abroad who have been accused of serious sex offences at home .

Roz Prober, president and co-founder of Beyond Borders , is calling for a public inquiry into how MacIntosh was able to renew his passport in 1997 and again in 2002 — instances in which the Canadian government effectively assisted a fugitive from justice, she says.

“The disconnect in these (government) departments is amazing,” Prober said. “The right hand has no idea what the left hand is doing. I would characterize this as the system gone insane and a nightmare for victims.”

A Star investigative series recently exposed similar loopholes in the system designed to monitor sex offenders who have already been convicted and served their time, making it relatively easy for them to travel abroad to exploit children.

MacIntosh’s decades-long legal saga illustrates other loopholes and failings in the system.

MacIntosh was a sex offender long before the allegations now before the Supreme Court were first alleged; he was convicted twice, in 1983 and 1984, on charges involving teenage males who were above the age of the consent of 16 at the time.

His lawyer said in an interview that MacIntosh, “either misunderstood or was blind to the absence of the complete consent” of the teens involved and he received a suspended sentence in one case and a fine in the other.

A decade later, in December 1995, MacIntosh was charged with sexually abusing a minor by the RCMP in Nova Scotia after D.R.S. came forward with allegations MacIntosh had molested him when he was a child in Port Hawkesbury in the early 1970s.

Soon after, the RCMP discovered that MacIntosh had left for India the previous year.

But what should have been a simple case of returning a citizen overseas to face criminal charges in a Canadian court spiralled into a decade of fumbles, confusion and mishaps.

A warrant for MacIntosh’s arrest was issued on Feb. 21, 1996.

“Mr. MacIntosh advised that he had no intention of returning to Canada,” Const. Donald Joseph Deveau recounted in a sworn affidavit of an August 1996 phone call he had with MacIntosh in India. “I advised Mr. MacIntosh there was a warrant for his arrest.”

MacIntosh disputes that, arguing in his Supreme Court response that the phone line was cut off before the conversation ended and the Mountie did not give him the details of the charges or mention the arrest warrant.

A little more than a year later, in May 1997, MacIntosh walked into the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi and got his passport renewed without any problem.

Six months after that, Gar Pardy, then the director general of consular affairs for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, picked up the phone in his Ottawa office.

D.R.S., the original complainant, was on the line, upset at the slow pace of action against MacIntosh.

Pardy began looking into the file and discovered MacIntosh wasn’t on the Passport Control List, an internal security tool containing information from Canadian law enforcement organizations that embassy staff use to flag applicants requiring in-depth review.

“The transfer of information from police forces is not as tight as we would like to think it is,” he said.

At Pardy’s urging, the federal passport office informed MacIntosh in India that his passport was cancelled and no longer valid.

“Without a valid passport, we assumed the Indians would kick him out,” Pardy said.

That didn’t happen.

MacIntosh hired a lawyer in Ottawa who went to federal court on his behalf to appeal the revocation in early 1998.

That’s when federal Crown prosecutors made a fundamental misstep that would have lasting repercussions, says Pardy.

They failed to present the judge with the evidence of MacIntosh’s charges, for reasons that Pardy — and MacIntosh’s alleged victims interviewed by the Star — don’t understand to this day.

Instead, a deal was struck in April 1998 that overturned MacIntosh’s passport revocation.

“The people charged with the responsibilities in this area have not measured up,” says Pardy.

In 2000, four more men came forward to accuse MacIntosh of sex crimes when they were younger; two more lodged complaints in 2001.

R.M.M., one of those complainants who also cannot be identified, says he was sexually abused between the ages of 14 and 15, a time when his parents were separating and he was vulnerable to MacIntosh’s sudden interest in him.

“I blame the lawyers, the government of the day, the passport office,” he told the Star last week. “It’s just a mess. He fell through a lot of cracks.”

By December 2001, according to the Crown’s Supreme Court filing, MacIntosh faced 37 counts of sexual abuse allegations against both minors and young adults — and a flood of new arrest warrants.

Yet, just a few months later, MacIntosh again received a quick and easy renewal of his passport in Delhi as he had five years earlier.

It is not clear how or why, in the face of a flurry of new criminal charges, that happened.

Federal regulations clearly state that “Passport Canada may refuse to issue a passport to an applicant who … stands charged in Canada with the commission of an indictable offence.”

Passport Canada refused to discuss the specifics of the MacIntosh case citing privacy reasons.

Spokesperson Béatrice Fénelon says that only beginning in 2004 did the department gain access to the Canadian Police Information Centre database as part of its security reviews for passport applications.

If officials who renewed MacIntosh’s passport in 2002 had such access, presumably his more than three dozen charges would have been easily accessible.

During his time in India, it was never hard for authorities to find MacIntosh.

According to his Supreme Court brief, MacIntosh “lived openly under his own name in New Delhi, three blocks from a regular member of the RCMP stationed in India as a liaison officer.”

“To the knowledge of the RCMP and the Crown, MacIntosh travelled back and forth [to Canada] using his Canadian passport,” his court filing says.

Casey says MacIntosh, like many expats, was a frequent guest at the Canadian High Commission, enjoying the facilities.

“He was there regularly to use their pool for his entire time in New Delhi,” Casey told the Star. “It’s pretty hard to say he is hiding out.”

It was not until July 2006, more than a decade after the RCMP had first located him in India, that Canadian officials finally made a formal request to Indian authorities for his extradition.

Indian police arrested MacIntosh on April 5, 2007, and he was deported back to Canada two months later.

Macintosh was eventually convicted in two separate trials in 2010 and 2011, receiving a four-year sentence for 13 counts of sexual abuse against two minors and, in a separate trial, 18 months for four other counts of sexual abuse against two males over the age of 14.

But the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal struck down the convictions, in part on the grounds of “unreasonable delay” and also questioned the reliability of some of the evidence by the victims in one of the trials.

In today’s hearing in Ottawa, the Nova Scotia Crown — supported by the Attorney General of Canada — will argue that MacIntosh can hardly blame the government for taking its time to bring him to trial since he knew of the sex offence charges against him at least since 1998, yet stayed in India until forced home by extradition.

His lawyer says that after MacIntosh had his “little flap” with Passport Canada in 1998, he assumed the charges against him had been dismissed.

“When he got the green light from the Passport Office, he didn’t think anymore of it,” Casey said.

Casey said MacIntosh has been without work since his return to Canada and his legal battles have swallowed his life savings.

D.R.S. and others who have made those accusations of child molestation are dispirited, dubious that the Supreme Court will be any more helpful to them than the rest of the justice system.

“I have no confidence this will be successful,” he said. “Eighteen years of waiting, waiting and more waiting has taken its toll on myself and many others. I want answers as to who helped MacIntosh.”

Former director general of consular affairs Pardy says regardless how the Supreme Court rules, the government has failed in representing alleged victims of sexual abuse.

“Sometimes I don’t think there’s any pavement in Ottawa. It’s all cracks.”

17 Responses to “Sex assault accuser reacts to top court case dismissal” & related articles

  1. JG says:

    So many cases of child abuse have been discussed on this site. MOST of the time we have been very critical of the church handling—MIS-handling, sorry!..of these child abuse cases…How they should be referred to the “authorities” for prosecution!
    Well, here we have it!!!! The other side of the treason coin!
    If the Holy Catholic Church screwed up “royally” for all these years…this is just another chapter, of the Civil dimension!! Or is it??…
    I have watched this case come up on our local news regularly for at least a year and there was always the mention of his “money”, that he had the finances to defend himself. Is this another case where money speaks for everything else in this country?
    Frankly, after considering the involvement of our Courts in cases of child abuse one has to wonder if any of it makes sense! Why did he live continuously in India for 11 years?…Did he have or does he now have the finances to influence the people in power to side with Him??? Did he stay away because his lawyer advised him to do so??
    Does any one out there still believe in the JUSTICE system?…The onus is now on the victims, on the prosecutor, on the Police to make sure the offender shows up for Court! Bull cream!
    Did he know of the allegations against him back in 1998??!! ….If he did have the “slightest” suspicion, he should have been held accountable.Period! This is absolutely mad to constantly “cater”” to the offender …and not even get some “questions” from those “Supreme” judges!
    On top of it all, the same “system” that screwed up, according to the decision, is chastising “itself” for screwing up and not extraditing!!..Crazy !!!
    If he did the crime, he better damn well do the time!
    Just another one in a series of legal screw ups that we all take at face value because it is the “Supreme Court”…Haven”t we heard enough about this “infallibility” … We recently heard of Laskin’s 1982 possible meddling…we have had Michel Bastarache offering his “Supreme” help to cover-up for the “church” in New Brunswick…Now this!
    Between the Courts, the politicians, the Church and the people with enough “money” to pay for the best lawyers( the rats who can find the holes in the switch cheese!) how do we ever see the scale of Justice!…(I think they have already melted it for scrap metal…and it returned in the form of a toaster from China!!)
    If a pedophile can walk away on a technicality that he probably created himself and if the people in positions of Power can screw up as badly as in this case, I think we have to be seriously concerned about any future “political ” nominations aligned with the “color” of the Party and not the common sense of the “Justice”….
    The Church needs to protect the “brothers”, the Governments need to protect their “appointments”, and the “bureaucracy”…needs to keep the rest of us numb to the bones to believe that it is “right” …
    It is not!


    • Sylvia says:

      Yes, JG, we do need to make child sex abuse an issue in elections. We need to elect officials who will take a stand to protect children and in so doing enact legislation which puts the safety and well-bung of children and the vulnerable before the “rights” of sexual predators. When it comes to dealing with child molesters, there is much which must be done.

      This site addresses betrayals in the Catholic Church. I have found however that it is impossible to delve into the scandal in the Church without becoming aware that we live in a society which is soft on molesters. They’re all over the place. Those who are successfully prosecuted either spend no time behind bars, or are back out on the streets in a matter of months. Who are they? Where are they? The sex offender registry is an aid only after the fact, and then only to law enforcement officials – it does nothing to let the general public know where these predators are. Why?

      I believe that clerical sexual predators should be defrocked. These men are unfit to be priest. But, I am aware too that once they are out of the priesthood and no longer answerable to a bishop they become someone’s else’s problem. Whose? Who is going to ensure that a known predatory ex-priest isn’t busily grooming his next victim? Police? Church officials? Who?

      How do we reach a point that we don’t have to worry about who and where the predators are, either in or out of the Church?

      How, for example, do we reach a point that the primary concern of officials everywhere is children (that includes teens), and that the sex abuse of a child is deemed so abhorrent by all that not a judge in the country would even consider letting a suspect predator walk on a technicality? and that government officials would turn themselves inside out to ensure that a fugitive predator is found and brought to justice before he can harm another child, either at home or abroad? and that all sentences truly reflect the abhorrence of the crime? and that parents have a right to know the identity and locale of known predators? and every child has a right not to be exposed to known predators? and lawyers and judges all fully understand and and readily identify the horrific impact of sexual abuse on a child?

      I’m not for a moment trying to avert the scandal in the Church here, just addressing the reality which I see and which causes me deep concern. Yes, I absolutely want to see the scandal in the Church addressed and to see that those responsible are held accountable. I pray for the day that a priest can be trusted because it is known that as far as is humanly possible he is not a predator. But, I can’t quite reconcile myself with the notion that we just dump our garbage on the streets and leave it for someone else. Until laws and attitudes change, that’s what happens.

      Do you follow me? Am I making sense?

      • JG says:

        “I can’t quite reconcile myself with the notion that we just dump our garbage on the streets and leave it for someone else.”
        …I would just say we shouldn’t dump in the neighbors yard.
        Totally agree. Maybe some of my answer in my response to PJ, below.
        Getting politicians “concerned” about the subject of child abuse , to bring some changes in the Laws is the right approach but I find people in general are at a loss for words, explanation or just a desire to engage in the conversation. Most people show an immediate discomfort, maybe due to a lack of knowledge in some cases and then, in other cases, maybe the subject is tooo close to “home”…Personal observation! …I think the “education” is underway but there is still a way to go.
        There has to be a “conscious effort to not support by participating in the commission”…What I mean…don’t watch the violence on television, don’t visit the “offensive” sites, clean up your “language”….just like weeding a garden, one bad seed at a time.
        I can’t change the rest of the world. I can only decide to do better. I believe it is a personal commitment: don’t buy the stolen goods and the thief will lose his motivation to steal, to put it in simple terms.
        To make a change I think we have to remind ourselves that old saying:”Garbage in garbage out”. I don’t think there is a magic solution…well Yes! Correction, there is: but 2000 years hasn’t been long enough for us to get the “Message”…
        Maybe our GDP should be measured with the health of our children to get the attention.Maybe we shouldn’t be so tied down with bad rules both in church and in our society if we are to move ahead.
        A bad priest, an abuser of children was never really a priest in my view. He was a pretender, a fraud and should be treated as such. Let him go, out of the priesthood, no pension, no pampering by the “brothers” or “sisters”…let him sweat for his bread, like anyone else would…Maybe he will correct his ways or else, if he falls again, he will again get his due.
        You are right! We all need an “attitude” adjustment…voluntary and self imposed , or “deserved”…

        • Sylvia says:

          It’s true JG, that most people are uncomfortable talking about child sexual abuse. I recall many years realizing that the community of Cornwall as a whole seemed to respond to its scandal much as the victims: silence and shame. I don’t claim to understand, only to relay what I believe I have witnessed.

          That doesn’t mean that change can not be wrought, any more than the silence of shame of victims means that victims will never come forward.

          I do believe things are changing. Slowly. But, they are changing. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back, but even with the one step back, still further ahead. It’s like eating the elephant, one bite at a time.

  2. PJ says:

    The scary part is that as victims get screwed over by defense tactics, government screwups and perpetrator hijinks, someone is going to go off the deep end and extract revenge themselves with tragic consequences. And when that happens, maybe then people will realize the torment that the “system” inflicts on the victims. The accused has all the cards in their favour leaving victims to be further traumatized. What’s it going to take? Really.

  3. Leona says:

    I am in Dublin, Ireland for the first ever International Conference for Clergy abuse survivors conference. As exciting as it seems to be in Ireland, I need to acknowledge to myself that most people don’t spend their hard earned vacation money at sexual abuse survivor conferences!!
    I think about the journey that has brought me here, from feeling so alone a few years ago when I discovered Jack McCann was ministering in Ottawa… discovering Sylvia’s blog and realizing that these crimes were more pervasive than I ever wanted to acknowledge, and taking up an advocacy role where I could Channel my energy into helping victims heal (myself included) and keeping children safe.

    I have been asked to speak at the conference on the state of things in Canada. I would appreciate your support in filling me in on your thoughts. I feel that this site seems to be the driving force for awareness in Canada. Information from the media comes only in fits and spurts. Our justice system in inconsistent. Our church leaders feel they’re dealing with the problem, but as in the Bastarche case, continue to keep things as secretive as possible.
    Your thoughts would be very appreciated….
    Thanks so much.

  4. JG says:

    you were the last I read before going to bed last night and your comment had me thinking…I want to answer a few other posts even though my time is needed in the “kitchen”… 🙂 I have to admit you are probably right to say there may be some who get pushed against the wall once too often and could think of the “deep end” retribution! That makes me kind of sad to think it could happen because it wouldn’t solve anything. The “vengeful” victim would only be further victimized by the “system”.
    I think the response by the system could be modified if in some way they(police, lawyers, judges,…)could be made to see the victim at the age the abuse took place. Probably if a photograph was available, it should be entered into evidence when the abusers face the Court.
    As it is now, most of the time, it is a wrinkled, white haired, bearded man( or woman!) who appears before the “officials” and they don’t see beyond that..they don’t see the ‘child’…
    I forget under which post but, correct me if I am wrong, wasn’t it Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Ireland who asked to see a class of 8 year old in relation to an abuse case?!… I remember thinking that this was just what the “system” needed to face here in Canada and elsewhere. It is easy to push aside the adult, to just process him while thinking “this is just another money grabber”..Much more difficult to vilify a child in this manner. He was trying to understand. That is one sign of better things…
    Yes. They should have to “see” the child. Victims who have the photos at about the age they were assaulted should get poster made for outside the Court and a copy for evidence.
    It is shameful that we call ourselves “civilized” and can’t even protect the most vulnerable little ones, our future, our children’s children.
    I hope the “shakers and movers” in government, at all levels, wake up before anyone is really backed into the wall…and comes out on the “other side” of reason!
    If a violent act(rape, abuse of children,..)begets another violent act, maybe the state should take care of it … Castration, lock up, forfeiture of “Rights” for certain crimes(child abuse being the first one!)…whatever it takes to send a message, loud and clear.


    • PJ says:

      It’s scary to think that someone could reach the point of no return, but unless things change, this scenario will likely come to pass. I’m saddened because it shouldn’t come to this. Your idea about showing a picture of the victim at the time of the abuse is good, but it is already being done in many cases. The pictures are shown to the jury or judge as part of the case…but to expand on creating a poster-size image to hold in front of the courthouse has merit. Perhaps even have a place on Sylvia’s Site for those of us brave enough to post a picture (without names or dates) might bring the message home to those who scoff at us. Something we should maybe discuss??

      • Sylvia says:

        I think there is merit in creating a spot for such pictures on Sylvia’s Site PJ. I would gladly do it. There may be those who would submit a picture taken around the time the abuse occurred and identify with name, age and identify of molester. There may be those who prefer not to identify themselves but do want to submit such a picture and to identify their molester by name. There may be those who just want to submit a picture as an anonymous victim without identifying their molester.

        Thoughts all?

        • PJ says:

          How about a page with all three options? Then once you have the picture, you can add the victim’s wishes WRT identification.

          • Sylvia says:

            Yes, PJ, that’s what I was thinking. The page would allow victims to go whatever route they wish, so it would be a mixture of anonymous and so on.

            I was pondering too the option of adding submitted pictures which identify the molester to the molester’s page? I would have to sort out how to go about that, but I think I like that idea too, not at the expense of a page for pictures, but in addition to. What does everyone think?

  5. PJ says:

    Can you explain that one again please…having a senior’s moment I think!!

  6. Sylvia says:

    Here goes PJ 🙂

    First, I agree with you that there be a page with all options.

    Second, if a photo identifies the molester I think I would like to find a way to add that photo to the page which has all of the info on the molester. For example, I will open a page which is solely for pictures of children. I will probably call it “The Children.” If on that page there are pictures of children who were sexually abused by Father Hod Marshall, I would like to find a way to add those specific pictures, or perhaps just a link to those pictures, to the Father Hod Marshall page,ie, this page

  7. PJ says:

    I think that would be perfect! A “Faces of Abused Children” page with those links would be a huge eye opener for visitors because it would show the abused as innocent children who had their lives changed forever by these pervert collars. I’ve got a school picture of myself taken the year of the abuse…and it could be linked to the collar’s page of infamy.

    • Sylvia says:

      I’m working on getting it set up right now PJ 🙂 I need to do something with email contact forms so it’s easy for people to attach their pictures – I’m just checking options.

  8. JG says:

    …plant a seed and watch it grow!…
    Interesting development! Been watching “quietly”…
    Another step in the right direction and maybe something that will help to attract more attention and “understanding”.

  9. Sylvia says:

    Okay PJ, get that picture to me 🙂 All of you, get the scanners going and send along your pictures. The impact of this page (“The Children“) depends on your willingness to take a few moments to scan a picture, or find someone who can scan it for you. I have fixed the email contact form so that a picture file can be attached. I will without doubt eventually rework and cut back on the wording on the Children page, but it will work to get the page going. As you can see, Lona had a picture off to me as soon as it looked as though the page was about to become a reality 🙂

    So, it is off the ground. As you say PG, another seed planted. Let’s hope it grows.

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