Didn’t Offer Documents about Priest to Police, Former Bishop Tells Probe

By Trevor Pritchard
Ottawa Sun

August 28, 2008

CORNWALL, Ont. — A former eastern Ontario bishop withheld documents from police that showed one of his priests was on probation for abusing boys in the U.S., a long-running sexual abuse probe heard Wednesday.

Eugene LaRocque told the Cornwall Public Inquiry he still complied fully with all the requests he received from officers with the Ontario Provincial Police’s Project Truth team, even if he didn’t volunteer additional information.

“I was asked for a photograph — I gave them a photograph. I was asked for a curriculum vitae — I gave them a curriculum vitae,” said LaRocque, who ran the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese from 1974 until 2002.

In 1998, investigators with Project Truth — a four-year probe into allegations a pedophile ring was operating in the Cornwall area — came looking for information on a number of people who had been with the diocese, including a former priest named Carl Stone.

Stone, a U.S. resident, was convicted in 1981 on two counts of sodomy involving teenage boys.

LaRocque testified last month that he hired Stone even though he knew Stone had been kicked out of his New York State diocese.

Stone was assigned to the St. Joseph’s Villa care home in Cornwall and a rehabilitation centre in St. Raphael’s, Ont., on the condition he was never alone around children.

Over the next few years, LaRocque would lobby the federal immigration minister to let Stone stay in Canada. But in 1985 he fired Stone after learning he’d been inviting young men to his room at St. Joseph’s Villa.

LaRocque told Rob Talach, a lawyer for the Victims Group, that when the Project Truth team came calling in 1998, he gave them what they wanted: pictures of Stone, along with the former priest’s resume.

But Talach suggested to LaRocque that there would have been numerous documents outlining Stone’s trouble with the law “right there at your fingertips,” and that he wilfully kept them from the provincial police.

“You didn’t provide them any additional information that may have given a fuller picture, is that correct?” Talach asked.

“I gave them what they requested,” said LaRocque.

At the same time as the Project Truth investigation, accusations against members of the diocese, including LaRocque, had surfaced online on multiple websites.

Inquiry commissioner Normand Glaude asked LaRocque if he was hesitant to divulge the full story about Stone because that would give “more fodder, more ammunition” for people to attack the diocese.

“I don’t believe that consideration came into my mind, no,” the former bishop said.

While LaRocque had assigned Stone to the two facilities in Cornwall and St. Raphael’s, Talach said there was nothing in writing preventing him from celebrating mass or hearing confession at other parishes.

Talach also pointed out the rehabilitation centre in St. Raphael’s was right next to Iona Academy, a grade school.

“None of the students, and none of the staff at Iona Academy knew that Stone was going to be right next door,” Talach said. “At the time, did you consider warning the young people at Iona Academy?”

“I wouldn’t have warned the young people — I would have warned the administration,” said LaRocque. “That should have been done, but it was not done, to my knowledge.”

Stone died in 2006.

LaRocque is expected to continue testifying at the inquiry, which is probing how institutions like the diocese handled allegations of sexual abuse from decades past, on Thursday.


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