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Ritual/sexual abuse case in Cornwall, ON, Canada

What really happened in Cornwall?

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What really happened in Cornwall?

Sexual activity between adults and children have occurred and continue to occur in Cornwall, as in every other city in North America. However, we have always suspected that neither:

bulletRitual abuse of children by adults, nor
bulletSexual abuse by adults in a sex-ring

have happened in that city.

We wrote the following in 2006-FEB, before the revelations of a massive hoax surfaced.

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The facts:

The city was rife with conspiracy theories, claims, counter-claims, accusations and denials. Some apparent facts are:

bulletIn 1992, a former altar boy accused a local priest of sexual abuse. He went to the Church chancery, seeking an apology. None was forthcoming, so he went to the police. When the dust settled, Bishop LaRocque approved payment of $32,000 (CDN) in 1993 to the alleged victim in exchange for not filing criminal charges. This would be have been worth about $21,000 in U.S. funds at the time.
bulletA Cornwall Police officer, stumbled across the police file on this case. He felt that a crime had been committed, and that it should be pursued. He turned the file over to the local Children's Aid Society. He was verbally attacked by persons within and without the Cornwall Police. His family received death threats. He suspected that there were many victims of sexual abuse that had been quietly settled without criminal charges having been laid. (The officer has since relocated to British Columbia.)
bulletAccording to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Roman Catholic Bishop Eugene LaRocque held a news conference in which he admitted that "part of the deal was to halt the criminal investigation. He called it morally unjust. The CBC report continued:

"Later, police laid charges of obstruction of justice against the lawyer who brokered the deal. The lawyer pleaded guilty to the charge of interfering with a criminal investigation but he was given an absolute discharge. Since those early days, dozens of people have come forward with new stories of abuse. Some are suing the church and again, there have been cash offers. One person has settled and others are thinking about it, as they wait to testify in criminal court about their sexual abuse." 1

bulletTwo internal investigations by the Cornwall Police, in 1992 and 1993, uncovered no evidence of organized sex-rings or sex orgies involving children or youths.
bulletAn initial investigation by the OPP in 1994 also found no evidence.
bulletSome local residents conducted their own investigation and uncovered enough evidence to prompt a second investigation by the OPP, called Project Truth. 
bulletProject Truth started in 1997 and was finally closed in 2001-AUG. It was led by Det. Supt. Jim Miller of the OPP. For two years, the Project ran ads in local media asking for victims to disclose sexual abuse to the police. Dozens did. The OPP interviewed 672 individuals and identified 69 complainants. But no evidence of a sex ring surfaced. There were no instances where one perpetrator was accused by more than one victim. Also, most of the accused apparently did not know each other.
bulletDozens of alleged victims told their stories to the police; none involved sheets, candles, or orgies. The only evidence alleging ritual abuse came from a single sworn affidavit by Ron Leroux. 2
bulletThe Ontario Provincial Police laid 115 sexual abuse charges against 14 (some sources say 15) adult males, including four Roman Catholic "priests, a former butcher, a school-bus driver, and a man who owns a diner." 3 Some were for alleged offenses as far back as the 1960s. Charges included gross indecency, indecent assault on a male, and sexual assault on a male.
bulletIn the year 2000, Roman Catholic laity formed a local group, the Catholic Laity for Justice.
bulletA second local group called Citizens Against Pedophiles was founded. They circulated a petition which asks for increased penalties against child molesters.
bulletOn 2001-MAY-29, during a (CBC) radio news report, Roman Catholic Bishop Eugene LaRocque was named "as a key figure in a lengthy police probe into sex abuse allegations in the eastern Ontario city, even though the bishop has never been charged." 4 LaRocque has stated that he was not in Cornwall at the time of the alleged orgies. Only one affidavit accuses him of wrongdoing -- those crimes allegedly happened in 1961. The bishop said: "...in 1961 I was teaching at King's College at the University of Western Ontario. I'd never set foot in Cornwall. I never lived in Cornwall until 1974 when I came as bishop." 5 On another occasion, he said: "Whoever claimed that certainly perjured himself and all I can say is I'm innocent." 2 According to the London Free Press, Bishop LaRocque:
bulletGraduated from the University of Western Ontario in London ON, in 1948.
bulletWas ordained in 1952.
bulletReceived a master's degree from Laval University.
bulletWorked as a registrar and lecturer at King's College at the University of Western Ontario.
bulletTaught French and ascetical theology in St. Peter's Seminary.
bulletWas appointed as principal of King's College in 1966.
bulletMoved to Tecumseh, ON where he was the pastor of St. Anne's.
bulletMoved to Cornwall in 1974 where he was consecrated as Bishop of Alexandria [-Cornwall] 6
bulletBy 2001-AUG, only six (some sources say seven) of the 14 or 15 accused remained to be tried. Of those originally charged, three have committed suicide; one has died from health problems; one had his charges dropped; one was found unfit for trial because he had suffered a debilitating stroke; one was found not guilty; and one received a stay of proceedings. Only one person has been convicted. Jean-Luc Leblanc, a bus-driver, 56, pleaded guilty to 12 charges. All of the remaining charges were dropped.
bulletThe Victims Group, an organization of alleged victims in Cornwall, has official standing at the inquiry. Forty-eight individuals, including seven women, have sworn an affidavit naming their alleged abusers. They hope to be allowed to tell their stories in person. They name 24 alleged abusers. Eleven are priests; four victims name one priest. Two victims name a priest who held a high office in the Roman Catholic diocese. Nine affidavits name Ken Seguin, a probation officer who committed suicide after he was charged.

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Conclusions:

It is quite impossible at this time to separate speculation from reality with certainty. However, our best guess, as of early 1006 is that:

bulletIn recent decades, some abusive pedophiles and hebephiles, working alone, have each sexually abused many children and youths in Cornwall. This is not unique to Cornwall. It is seen throughout North America.
bulletAll of the charges involve allegations of single perpetrators abusing under-age children and youths. No reliable evidence of a conspiracy, sex-ring, orgiastic activity, or ritual abuse has surfaced.
bulletNo organized sex ring exists or has existed in Cornwall.
bulletNo ritual sexual abuse of children or youths has happened in Cornwall.
bulletIf the police were to converge on any Ontario city of similar size to Cornwall and mount a two year media advertising campaign to encourage victims of sexual abuse come forward, they would probably uncover a similar per-capita rate of child molestation.

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References:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Breach of Trust," CBC radio, at: http://radio.cbc.ca/
  2. "Affidavit of Ron Leroux," Hidden Mysteries, 1996-NOV-13, at: http://www.hiddenmysteries.org/
  3. Margaret Wente, "The pedophiles of Cornwall," The Globe and Mail, Toronto ON, 2001-MAY-31, Page A15
  4. Donna Casey, "CLERGYMAN CRIES INNOCENT; ON EVE OF MPP'S TELL-ALL LEGISLATURE SPEECH, REPORT CITES CORNWALL BISHOP INTOWN'S SEX ABUSE PROBE," The Ottawa Sun, 2001-MAY-29, Page 2
  5. Kelly Egan, " 'I'm absolutely innocent,' beleaguered bishop asserts," The Ottawa Citizen, 2001-MAY-29, Page A3.
  6. Lori Seymour, "Bishop got theological start in London," London Free Press, 2001-MAY-30, Final Edition, Page A6.

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Copyright © 2001 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-MAY-31
Latest update: 2007-JUL-09
Author: B.A. Robinson

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