Temporary Ban on Accused Priest's Identity

CBC News [Canada]
November 28, 2006

A Catholic priest accused of child sexual abuse will have his identity kept private at the Cornwall public inquiry, the commissioner has ruled — but only until Thursday at 5 p.m. unless a court decides otherwise.

The inquiry is looking into the way public and private institutions in Cornwall responded to scores of allegations of child sexual abuse made against prominent people in the eastern Ontario community over several decades.

Commissioner Normand Glaude dismissed a request Monday from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cornwall-Alexandria to put a publication ban on the priest's identity, but has given lawyers time to appeal.

Glaude did put a temporary ban in place while the diocese seeks a review of the ruling in the Ontario court of justice.

Until Thursday evening, the media cannot publish anything that might identify the priest and a live internet broadcast of the proceedings will be suspended while witnesses testify about him.

It was the second such request he had rejected. On Nov. 17, Glaude dismissed a petition to ban the identification of Rev. Charles MacDonald, another priest in the diocese.

The inquiry follows the results of a 1997 provincial police investigation into an alleged pedophile ring in Cornwall. The investigation, called Project Truth, resulted in 114 charges against 15 men, including a doctor, lawyers and three Roman Catholic priests.

But only one person, unconnected to the alleged sex ring, was ever convicted of sexual offences.

Lawyers have argued some of the accused men should have their identities protected by publications bans because the allegations of sexual abuse have never been proven in court.


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