Ritual/sexual abuse case in Cornwall, ON, Canada
The ritual abuse and sex-ring stories unravel
The case collapses:
Claude McIntosh of the Cornwall Standard Freeholder has written an
article titled "False allegations have hurt innocent people." He reviewed
a hoax during the 1960s when a young woman disappeared in his city. Rumors
spread that she had been raped and murdered. The local radio station organized a
massive hunt for the woman. The next day, it was found that she had simply run
away with her boyfriend.
"Today, the city is dealing with an even bigger hoax . . . the biggest
and most damaging hoax ever inflicted on this community. It is also arguably
the most expensive hoax the country has known."
"We speak of the Cornwall Public Inquiry and its investigation into
allegations that a clan of pedophiles, made up of mostly prominent citizens,
operated with impunity. According to the wicked tale, orgies were held in
and around the city and involved young boys. Some of these sadistic rituals
had the young, naked boys paraded around in white sheets with candles
inserted in their rectums. The clan list, it was claimed, contained the
names of priests, lawyers, probation officers, police officers and
"The allegation and names were contained in a affidavit sworn out by Ron
Leroux, a Cornwall man, who claimed to have been a witness to the horrible
On 2007-JUN-28, Leroux admitted in his testimony that he has no knowledge of
"the clan," and does not know where some of the names mentioned in the affidavit
came from. He allegedly said that the story itself came from a book, and is a
hoax. He testified: "That's why I'm here today - to set the record straight.
... I'm taking the blame for some of this mess."
Leroux is reported as saying that
some of the names on the infamous list are simply those of priests whom he had
seen in the company of Ken Seguin, a probation officer, or Malcolm MacDonald, a
crown attorney, both deceased. There are allegations that both Seguin and
MacDonald sexually assaulted young boys. Leroux testified that he never used the
phrase "clan of pedophiles" and cannot understand why it appears in his
Without the apparently unfounded rumors of a hebephile ring called "the
clan," and the ritual abuse of children, all the available evidence would have
pointed to a bunch of abusive hebephile adults, working independently, sexually
abusing post-pubertal youths. This is a scenario found throughout North America
in which the youths and abusive adults are generally unaware of each other's
existence. In short, there probably would never have been a Commission of
Inquiry without Leroux's affidavit. The budget of the inquiry, estimated by
McIntosh as "maybe 40 million" dollars, could have been spent on useful
McIntosh criticized Judge Glaude's decision to allow names of adults who have
never been charged to be mentioned in court. He suggested:
"... perhaps Judge Glaude might like to tell the innocent folks whose
names he allowed to be smeared in his courtroom where they can go to recover
their reputations. As one victim of the hoax, who says he has lived in hell
for the last 10 years, said: "I've been ruined."
Comments on the collapse:
An article by the Canadian Press interviewed David Sherriff-Scott, lawyer for
the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese. He said that there is now
no foundation to the rumors of a list of prominent people in the community, "the
clan," being able to control the investigation into the abuse, and the "specter
of dark, ritual abuse" of young boys. He said that these:
"... are three things that have gripped the collective conscience of this
community. These things have now been shown to be false and this is
extraordinary ... for the community."
Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail newspaper wrote of the inquiry:
"A large part of its mandate is to promote 'healing and closure' for the
victims, even though many of their allegations have never been proved and no
evidence of a pedophile ring has ever been found."
"And so the inquiry has become yet another platform for trashing the
innocent. A parade of victims have taken the stand to name local policemen,
businessmen and priests in the pedophile ring that refuses to die. The fact
that these people have never been convicted of a thing doesn't seem to
matter. On top of that, the commissioner has cautioned lawyers for the
institutions to go easy on the witnesses, so they won't be retraumatized.
" 'Anybody can get up and say anything they want,' says Claude McIntosh, a
local journalist. He has been scathingly critical of the inquiry, whose
costs, footed by the taxpayer, have mounted into the millions. Since it
opened in February of 2006, the inquiry has become a gravy train for
lawyers, social workers, psychologists, experts in child sex abuse, healers
of all stripes. 'It's a very expensive form of group therapy,' Mr. McIntosh
says. And there's no end in sight."
"There are other problems. As the witnesses recall events of 30 years ago,
memories tend to blur. Some of them name people who weren't around. And two
weeks ago, as the inquiry was about to take its summer recess, one of the
key witnesses described how he had been pressed by victim advocates to stick
to his story - which he then proceeded to recant."
"Mr. McIntosh figures the bills for investigating the imaginary pedophile
ring must now total more than $30-million. That doesn't count the human
cost, of course; the other day, someone who had been named at the inquiry
phoned him to describe how he had been cut off by close friends because,
they said, they were afraid for their nine-year-old son."
"As for the out-of-town media, they've gone home. For many years, they
milked this town for lurid headlines, but even they know the jig is up. The
only headline they could write today would read: No pedophile ring in
Cornwall. And who would bother to read that?"
The Inquiry resumes in 2007-AUG.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Claude McIntosh, "False allegations have hurt innocent people,"
Cornwall Standard Freeholder, 2007-JUN-30.
- "Now, the Truth comes out ... Witness tells child abuse inquiry he lied in
many of his allegations." Canadian Press. Published by the Ottawa Sun on
- Margaret Wente, "Cornwall's never-ending witch hunt," The Globe and Mail,
Copyright © 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2007-JUL-09
Latest update: 2007-JUL-11
Author: B.A. Robinson