Officer Made No Notes about Sex Abuse Allegation

By Trevor Pritchard
Standard Freeholder
May 24, 2008

A city cop told the Cornwall Public Inquiry on Friday he didn't write down an allegation against Rev. Charles MacDonald because the former priest's name only came up "in conversation."

Det. Const. Rene Desrosiers' notes from early 1997 came under scrutiny at the inquiry, which is probing how institutions like the Cornwall Community Police Service handled historical sexual abuse allegations. Desrosiers testified he had just launched an investigation into city teacher Marcel Lalonde when one complainant mentioned in passing that he had also been abused by MacDonald.

The former priest at St. Columban's church had been charged in 1996 by the OPP with a number of sex crimes involving young boys. A judge stayed those charges in 2002 after deciding they'd taken too long to come to trial.

Desrosiers said yesterday he told the man - who was at police headquarters to talk about Lalonde - that his allegation against MacDonald would be looked into at another time, either by city police or an outside force, depending on where the alleged incident happened.

Desrosiers told commission counsel Mary Simms he never entered the remark in his notebook because the two were "probably talking in conversation."

The complainant, who testified at the inquiry as C-6, was grilled by MacDonald's lawyer at a 1999 preliminary inquiry about the alleged abuse - in particular, the fact that there was no mention of it in Desrosiers' notes.

Simms suggested the fact C-6 mentioned MacDonald's name at all made the remark noteworthy. "He made an allegation against an individual," she said.

"Well, he said he wanted to talk about (MacDonald)," said Desrosiers.

"And you didn't make any note about it?" Simms asked.

Desrosiers accepted that, in retrospect, he probably should have made some notation given the media attention focused on MacDonald.

The man - who cannot be named - was one of two people whom Desrosiers interviewed that day about Lalonde.

The separate school teacher was convicted in 2000 with sexually assaulting a number of youths between 1971 and 1983.

A transcript of Desrosiers' interview with the second man, C-45, showed he also made allegations against two former probation officers, Nelson Barque and Ken Seguin.

Simms asked Desrosiers why he made mention of those allegations in his notes but not the allegations against MacDonald.

"Possibly because of the detail that was given to me by C-45 in his interview," Desrosiers replied. Both Barque and Seguin were suspected to having abused young boys, although Seguin was never charged with any crime. Barque received a four-month jail sentence in 1995. Both men also committed suicide: Seguin in 1993, and Barque in 1998. The inquiry is scheduled to resume on June 2.


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