Naming Names in the Cornwall Sex Abuse Scandal

CBC News
May 28, 2001

CORNWALL, ONT. - The Roman Catholic Bishop of Cornwall is among four people who have been investigated by police as part of their probe into allegations of sexual abuse in the eastern Ontario city.

Court documents show that police collected volumes of information regarding Bishop Eugene LaRocque and three other priests.

The police submitted those files to Crown attorneys more than 18 months ago. But so far there has been no decision on whether charges are warranted.

Now a Tory backbencher in the Ontario legislature has publicly announced that he'll name names and he has told CBC Radio he'll name the bishop.

The latest investigation into allegations of sexual abuse in Cornwall, known as Project Truth, began almost four years ago.

The head of that investigation has testified in court that his team of officers identified 68 suspects. More than a dozen were charged; 26 have died.

Documents submitted during a recent court proceeding show that one of those who were investigated was the Bishop of Cornwall, Eugene LaRocque.

Inspector Pat Hall testified that Project Truth compiled three volumes of documents on the bishop consisting of more than 1,000 pages of information.

The volumes were given to the Crown attorney's office in September 1999. It was supposed to decide whether charges are warranted against the church leader. So far no decision has been made public.

Decisions are also pending in investigations involving three other priests.

Gary Guzzo is a Tory MPP from Ottawa. He's also a former provincial court judge. He told CBC Radio he will name the bishop as a suspect in the Ontario legislature.

For two years he's been demanding an inquiry into the Cornwall scandal. He wants to know why the investigation appears stalled.

"It's fine that 20 people have been charged with 115 counts. I'm suggesting that the top people have not been charged and I want the inquiry to inquire into why this has taken place and that's why I will be asking the question," Guzzo said.

Bishop LaRocque was part of a deal in 1993. It saw the Catholic church pay $32,000 to a former altar boy. The man had accused a Catholic priest in Cornwall of molesting him. As part of the deal, the man was to stay quiet and withdraw the complaint he had made to police.

But the deal became public and several police investigations then began into allegations that priests and other prominent people were part of a sex abuse ring in Cornwall.

Reached at his home in Cornwall Sunday night, LaRocque said he was surprised.

He said it's the first he's heard he would be among those named by Guzzo in the legislature.

LaRocque says he is innocent. He says the original allegations against him date back to 1961. But he says he had never set foot in Cornwall at that time.

LaRocque said he wants to speak with his lawyer before saying anything more.


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