15 Nov 2010

Child sex abuse inquiry finds Ontario church and gov't institutions revictimized survivors seeking help

CBC News - Canada December 15, 2009

Abused children revictimized by public institutions: Cornwall report

Children in Cornwall, Ont., who were sexually abused or at risk of being abused were sometimes further harmed by the authorities entrusted to help them, a public inquiry has found.

The authorities singled out in the inquiry headed by Normand Glaude included police, churches and corrections officials.

"I find there were systematic failures in the response of institutions to allegation of sexual abuse of children and young people in this community," Glaude said in a statement Tuesday.

"For some, this resulted in revictimization by the institution from whom they sought help. The response of institutions became a further source of harm."

The institutions Glaude examined in his report include the:
  • Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
  • Cornwall Community Police Service.
  • Ontario Provincial Police.
  • Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall.
  • Children's Aid Society.
  • Upper Canada District School Board and the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario.
  • Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.

Glaude suggested many institutions were more concerned about their own embarrassment or the hassle of possibly having to discipline their employees than about the people who said they were abused.

Shortly after Glaude delivered his report, the Roman Catholic Church responded with an apology, delivered by Paul André Durocher, the bishop with the diocese of Alexandria Cornwall.

Speaking in French, Durocher apologized to all of the victims of sexual abuse committed by priests. He said he would offer counselling to the victims to help them heal and rebuild their lives.

The 1,637-page report examined how seven institutions in Cornwall, including the local police service and Catholic diocese, responded to widespread allegations of child sexual abuse since the 1950s that surfaced in the community and were brought to their attention in the decades that followed.

Some repeated themes in the report were that authorities failed to:
  • Record, share and keep information about allegations of abuse.
  • Act quickly to investigate cases of abuse, especially historical abuse.
  • Follow up to see if other victims were at risk or had been abused after allegations against a particular person surfaced.
  • Offer services to help victims in a timely fashion.

Among Glaude's recommendations to minimize the risk of further abuse and deal effectively with abuse cases in the future were that:
  • Corrections officials and the Catholic diocese should do more rigorous screening of parole officers and priests.
  • The Catholic diocese, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the local school board should consider making a public apology to all confirmed victims of sexual assault or abuse by their employees; they should also make a public appeal, urging victims to come forward.
  • Police should inform other public institutions about sexual abuse complaints made against their employees and the Ontario government should develop provincewide guidelines about when similar disclosures should be made among a wide range of institutions.
  • Institutions should provide better training about sexual abuse and assault to employees who may deal with child abuse complaints.
  • Sexual abuse complaints should be investigated in a more timely fashion by all institutions involved and more support should be offered to victims.
  • All institutions should do a better job of taking notes and keeping good records of abuse allegations and investigations.
  • Urges money for healing, reconciliation

Glaude also criticized the Ontario government for planning to discontinue a counselling program for victims. He recommended that Ontario spend $5 million over the next five years on healing and reconciliation in the community. The government has said it will find other ways to help victims.

In the document, Glaude acknowledged the $50-million inquiry was established in 2005 partly to "respond to rumours and innuendo in the community," including suspicion about the cover-up of an alleged pedophile ring.

It was also, he wrote, partly the result of public dissatisfaction with Project Truth, a high-profile Ontario Provincial Police investigation that concluded there was no evidence of a pedophile ring in the community.

Glaude said he would not make a pronouncement on whether the ring existed. He did acknowledge that throughout the inquiry, he heard evidence suggesting there were cases of joint abuse and the passing of victims from one abuser to another, as well as possibly passive knowledge of abuse.

He criticized the OPP for the way it approached and communicated about the Project Truth investigation. He suggested Project Truth was a narrow, incomplete investigation of individual cases that could not have found out whether the ring existed because it did not look for those connections. He also suggested it was designed simply to disprove a theory of what happened that was brought forward by former Cornwall police officer Perry Dunlop.

And he said it was not surprising that the public was confused after police told the media that six men arrested in Project Truth were lifelong friends who shared victims, but there was no evidence of a pedophile ring.

He added that the Ministry of the Attorney General "fuelled public concerns" when it lost a binder of information about the case provided by Dunlop — an incident he said was "not acceptable."

With respect to Dunlop, who served seven months in jail for refusing to testify at the inquiry, Glaude said the police officer was correct in blowing the whistle on the case that started the investigations in Cornwall and it was regrettable that he was disciplined for that, leading to a hard mistrust between Dunlop and public institutions.

"This distrust overwhelmed what I find was originally a genuine desire to be of help to children and young people," he said.

In Toronto, Ontario's Liberal government said Tuesday it was important to have held the public inquiry even though the rumours of a pedophile ring in Cornwall have not definitively been proven either true or false.

Attorney General Chris Bentley defended the $53 million that was spent on the four-year inquiry.

Bentley said the victims, their families and the entire community needed to be heard by someone who was there to listen just to them and to help stop such abuse from happening again.

This article was found at:



CBC News - Canada December 16, 2009

Cornwall moves on after child sex abuse scandal

'I'm hoping that this report helps people turn the page': victims' lawyer

The final report into a child sex abuse scandal that marred Cornwall, Ont., for decades has brought relief and some closure to many people in the community.

Dallas Lee, a lawyer representing about 50 people who said they were sexually abused in the eastern Ontario city, said that the reaction he has heard to the findings and recommendations of the Cornwall Public Inquiry has been has been "rather positive."

The victims had been hoping for recognition that their complaints were real and institutions such as the police and the Children's Aid Society really had failed them, Lee said Wednesday.

"We've certainly been validated on those points," he added.

Normand Glaude, the commissioner for the inquiry, released his final report on the four-year, $50-million inquiry Tuesday. It had been examining how public institutions like police forces and the Catholic church responded to widespread allegations of child sexual abuse against priests, parole officers, lawyers and other members of the community.

The report had criticisms and recommendations for all seven institutions it looked at, saying they did not meet their responsibility to help the community's children and protect them from predators.

Lee said he hopes the report will help Cornwall residents recognize that the problems examined in the inquiry existed everywhere and weren't their fault.

"I'm hoping that people will recognize five years down the road that Cornwall was a real agent for change," he said. "So I'm hoping that this report helps people turn the page."

When asked about criticism that the inquiry took too long and cost too much, Lee responded: "It cost what it cost, but I think it had to be done."

Premier Dalton McGuinty told The Canadian Press it's a good question to ask whether the inquiry into allegations of child sex abuse really had to cost so much. He said there's accountability to taxpayers, not just to the people of Cornwall.

He added that his government has made legislative changes to give it greater authority to limit the scope of inquiries and make sure they're run more efficiently.

Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley said through the report, the community and its victims of child abuse have been able to speak out about issues that have, in some case, been hidden for many years.

"He found the conclusions that were there to be found," Bentley said, although he acknowledged in some cases "there were not the conclusions that people were looking for."

In the end, the report did not provide an answer about whether there had, in fact, been a pedophile ring in the community — a rumour that had plagued the city for decades.

Victims' reactions mixed

Steve Parisien, who calls himself a sexual abuse survivor, was one of the dozens of people who packed a meeting room at a Cornwall hotel to hear Glaude speak about his report Tuesday, and he seemed satisfied.

"I have come to a full circle in my life in the healing process," he said. "We need to move on, we need to come together as a community."

Not everyone in the audience shared that positive outlook.

"They said come forward and we did come forward and they did nothing to the victims but minimize, minimize and minimize our agony," said Marc Carrière, who also heard Glaude speak and didn't try to hide his anger.

At a nearby department store, local resident Theresa Ryan said she's "definitely glad" the inquiry is over.

"It's too much money and a waste of time," she said while doing some grocery shopping Tuesday.

Another Cornwall resident, Herta Schweitzer, said she believes some good has come out of the report, as it brought a lot of happenings to light and she thinks that will prevent similar incidents in the future.

This article was found at:


Child sex-abuse scandal spawns hearings and healing in Cornwall  (Backgrounder on Cornwall Public Inquiry)

Cornwall awaits report on sex-abuse inquiry (Backgrounder on expectations for the report)

The Fifth Estate: The Good Priest – Clergy Sexual Abuse

Cornwall Public Inquiry (Official website)

Cornwall public inquiry report

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