Accused Priest's Identity to Remain Public at Cornwall Inquiry
CBC News [Canada]
November 17, 2006
The commissioner of a public inquiry in Cornwall, Ont., has rejected a publication ban on the identity of a former priest accused but never convicted of sexually abusing nine boys who are now adults.
Lawyers for Rev. Charles MacDonald, 73, applied for a ban on use of the priest's name, anything that might identify him and any allegations of criminal wrongdoing at the inquiry, arguing allegations against MacDonald haven't been proven in court.
Justice Normand Glaude, the inquiry's commissioner, said MacDonald continues to be presumed innocent.
But he agreed with opponents of the ban who argued the former priest has been featured in many media stories and is an important figure in the inquiry.
"Contrary to the criminal proceedings involving Father MacDonald, this inquiry is not about him, nor is it about his guilt or innocence," said Glaude.
"This inquiry is about the institutional response to allegations of historical abuse made against a number of individuals. Father MacDonald happens to be one of them."
The inquiry is examining the way authorities handled scores of allegations of child sexual abuse involving prominent members of the community over several decades.
A judge stayed 19 charges against MacDonald in 2002, citing too many delays in going to trial.
The charges stem from accusations by nine men alleging they were sexually abused in the 1960s and 1970s. They include a former altar boy who alleged the Catholic Church had paid him $32,000 to keep quiet about his allegations.
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