Priest Can Be Named, Inquiry Judge Decides
Request for Publication Ban Denied at Project Truth Inquiry
Ottawa Sun [Canada]
November 29, 2006
Cornwall — A priest who was acquitted of sexually abusing a teenage boy will not suffer undue harm if his name is once again in the public realm, the Cornwall Public Inquiry judge ruled Tuesday.
Commissioner Normand Glaude dismissed a motion by the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese to enact a publication ban on the name of a priest expected to be identified in allegations being made by a witness this week.
In delivering his reasons for the decision, Glaude said the priest has been the subject of media attention in the past and would not be significantly impacted by additional publicity. Glaude also said it his not his intention to find fault when hearing any allegations made against any individual.
"I will not and cannot try or re-try the allegations that were made against him (the priest)," said Glaude, "nor will I make findings of criminal or civil responsibility."
The name of the priest is protected under an interim publication ban while lawyers for the diocese seek a stay of the ruling prior to a judicial review of the decision. The Ontario Divisional Court was expected to decide Wednesday whether to extend the publication ban until such time as a judicial review can be heard.
Tuesday's session of the public inquiry, which is evaluating allegations of systemic sexual abuse by public figures in the Cornwall area, also featured emotional testimony from one of the victims.
Claude Marleau described the impact of abuse he allegedly suffered at the hands of eight local men in the 1960s.
Only one of the men, Rev. Paul Lapierre, was found guilty of abusing Marleau.
Lapierre was convicted in a Quebec court in 2004 and began serving a one-year jail sentence in September 2006.
For years, Marleau said, he buried memories of the sexual assaults in order to protect himself emotionally.
"The only way to survive is to dig this into the bottom of a drawer," said the 54-year-old. "It was buried in my memory for 30 years."
Born and raised in Cornwall, Marleau dropped out of high school and was working in factories during his late teenage years.
He eventually pulled away from his abusers and returned to school, going on to earn a law degree.
Marleau told the inquiry he did not begin to deal with the ramifications of the abuse he suffered until 1997 when he read newspaper accounts of similar allegations.
Later that year, he testified against some of his alleged abusers.
Marleau's testimony continues Wednesday.
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