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Ritual/sexual abuse case in Cornwall, ON, Canada

The ritual abuse and sex-ring stories unravel

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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.

McIntosh wrote:

"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 businessmen."

"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 activity." 1

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." 2

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 affidavits.

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 projects.

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." 1

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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?" 3

The Inquiry resumes in 2007-AUG.

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

  1. Claude McIntosh, "False allegations have hurt innocent people," Cornwall Standard Freeholder, 2007-JUN-30.
  2. "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 2007-JUN-29.
  3. Margaret Wente, "Cornwall's never-ending witch hunt," The Globe and Mail, 2007-JUL-10.

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Copyright 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2007-JUL-09
Latest update: 2007-JUL-11
Author: B.A. Robinson

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