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Ritual/sexual abuse case in Cornwall, ON, Canada


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Comparison of Cornwall rumors to other ritual abuse cases:

There have been dozens of MVMO (Multi-Victim, Multi-Offenders) cases in North America since the early 1980's. Most have fallen into one of two types:

bullet Those similar to the McMartin pre-school hoax, involving nursery school teachers engaging in mass sexual and ritual abuse of pre-schoolers, or

bullet Those similar to the Wenatchee sex-rings hoax, involving an organized sex abuse ring of adults from the community abusing young children on a regular basis.

In the cases that we have studied, improper interview techniques caused young children to disclose abusive events that never happened. Convictions were often facilitated by defective medical lab analyses. Cooler heads eventually prevailed; almost all of the alleged perpetrators have been released from prison. However, allegations in Cornwall do not follow the patterns of these earlier cases. The Cornwall situation appears to be uniquely complex, involving older victims and allegations of police and government incompetence and cover-ups.

Cornwall is a town of 47,000 in eastern Ontario Canada, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence river/seaway. Surprisingly, it is quite close to Prescott, Ontario which is the location of another ritual abuse case whose validity has not yet been established. Cornwall is directly across the river from Massena, NY. 

As of mid-2007, charges and countercharges of a multigenerational sex ring had widely circulated for over five years. This ring, locally called "the clan" allegedly involves community leaders engaged in ephebophilia (sexual abusing of older, under-age male teens), and ritual abuse over an interval of many decades. The alleged victims are older than is typical in previous MVMO cases. One police investigation took five years, 670 people were questioned. 114 criminal charges were laid. There were rumors that 15 of the city's most high-profile figures were accused of sex-related charges. These included doctors, lawyers, justice officials and Roman Catholic priests. Many of the charges were abandoned because of long delays in the investigations.

The study produced only one conviction for abuse. However, there was no evidence that he was associated with an organized sex-ring. Three of the alleged perpetrators have committed suicide. There are allegations that the Roman Catholic church paid hush money to at least one victim. There are accusations of a cover-up, perpetrated by the local police, by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), and even by the office of the Attorney General of Ontario.

Most sexual molestation cases involve a single perpetrator abusing one child or youth at a time. Sex rings are extremely rare. Sex-rings involving abusive ephebophiles (adults having sex with post-pubertal youth) are even rarer. Ephebophilia sex-rings involving ritual abuse are probably even less common. We have never uncovered such a case previously.

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The story according to some Cornwall residents:

Elements of the story differ among the various sources. As a result of revelations in mid-2007, none of the following allegations seem to have any validity.

Some frequently mentioned events are:

bullet Every Friday night, for many decades, Roman Catholic priests, lawyers, probation officers, police officers, businessmen, and other leaders of the Cornwall community would meet with selected church altar boys. The boys would be subjected to ritual abuse.

bullet Allegations of ritual abuse are reported to have come from a single 1996 sworn affidavit by Ron Leroux (1947-), a painting contractor now living in Maine.

"I have witnessed a 'clan' of pedophiles...During this party, I observed a ceremonious ritual of candles in the altar boys' rectums with sheets over them. These altar boys were walking around with the candle in the rectum and the sheet over them with no clothes on, during this ceremony, several members of the clergy were fondling these young boys, and molesting them....I have witnessed sexual improprieties -- molestation, fondling, oral sex, intercourse (anal) between the above mentioned clan members and minors." 1

bullet This sex-ring is believed to be multi-layered, highly organized, and intergenerational.

bullet Since the perpetrators were in positions of power in the community, they were able to manipulate the system so that they were never arrested.

bullet Some in Cornwall believe that there was a recruitment ring that passed young victims from one rapist to another. 2

bullet Some suggest that pornographic videos were taken showing both the abusers and the victims, but the Ontario Provincial Police destroyed them.

bullet When a victim complained to the police, a cover-up was initiated so that the abuse could continue. The cover-up extended to the Cornwall police, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), and perhaps even to the office of the Attorney General of the province.

bullet This concealment has resulted in few criminal trials and no convictions.

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The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. Affidavit of Ron Leroux," Hidden Mysteries, 1996-NOV-13, at:
  2. "A worthwhile investigation," Editorial, Ottawa Citizen, 2006-FEB-16. Reprinted in the Toronto Star, 2005-FEB-17, Page A22.

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Copyright 2001 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-MAY-31
Latest update: 2011-SEP-20
Author: B.A. Robinson

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