Alleged Abuse Victims Breaks down at Inquiry

Ottawa Sun [Canada]
December 14, 2006

Cornwall — A man who says he was sexually abused by a city priest broke down in tears after taking the stand Wednesday at an inquiry probing the institutional response to allegations of systemic child sexual abuse in the Cornwall area.

John MacDonald was answering questions about a letter he wrote in 1995 in which he publicly disclosed the alleged abuse for the first time.

The letter was written to Rev. Kevin Maloney of St. Columban's Church, and in it MacDonald named Rev. Charles MacDonald as his alleged abuser.

One part of the letter suggests he may have told his parents about the abuse but Wednesday he said he knows that wasn't the case.

"I've convinced myself over the years, for my own protection, that I spoke to my parents about this," said MacDonald. "I suspect something also happened to an older brother of mine and if my parents knew about that I have to question why I would be put in harm's way."

MacDonald, 48, said he was raised in the Catholic faith and becoming an altar boy was a natural progression of that faith for him. MacDonald said he began serving as an altar boy when he was 10 years old and he says it was soon after this he was first abused by Charles MacDonald. The details of the allegations are under a publication ban.

Inquiry commissioner Normand Glaude agreed to an interim ban on the details of the allegations until 9:30 a.m. Thursday when it's expected Charles MacDonald's lawyer will advise the commission whether his client will seek a judicial review of Glaude's ruling allowing publication of the details.

Charles MacDonald was charged by the Ontario Provincial Police Project Truth team in 1996 with a number of sex-related crimes involving young boys in the Cornwall area.

In 2002, those charges were stayed when a judge determined it had taken too long to bring the matter to trial.

In a statement John MacDonald gave to police about a month after he wrote the letter, he said he was impressed by Charles MacDonald and appreciated having him as a trusted confidante.

"If things seemed to be bothering me he would always be there with a comforting touch, a rub on the shoulders, a pat on the back or taps on the leg as we sat and talked, what at the time seemed very innocent, very warm, very caring," MacDonald told police. "What this led to is something very sinister, very cold and very scary."

MacDonald said he remembered a time when he and other altar boys went with Charles MacDonald on a weekend retreat just north of Cornwall.

It was on this retreat MacDonald alleges he was first sexually abused by the priest.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.