Sex Abuse Allegations Were Not Investigated by CAS

By Trevor Pritchard
October 15, 2008

Sexual abuse allegations that came to light thanks to a lawsuit filed by former cop Perry Dunlop were never investigated by the local Children's Aid Society, the Cornwall Public Inquiry heard yesterday.

Bill Carriere testified the agency had doubts about the allegations -- which were disclosed to the CAS in 1997 by the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese -- because they originated with Dunlop, who was suing a number of people and organizations he believed were conspiring to cover up the existence of an alleged pedophile clan in the Cornwall area.

"In light of the context, yes, we wondered about (the alleged abuse)," said Carriere, who spent 33 years with the CAS before retiring in 2006.

Yesterday was Carriere's seventh and final day on the stand at the long-running inquiry, which is exploring how institutions responded to allegations of historical sexual abuse.

Dunlop has long been credited with bringing to light unreported stories of abuse in the community. He has refused to testify at the inquiry, however, and was recently released from jail after serving two sentences for contempt.

One of the priests named in Dunlop's lawsuit was Rev. Kevin Maloney, who took the stand in July. Maloney told the inquiry he willingly handed over the allegations -- which named a number of priests, including himself -- to the CAS because it was part of the diocese's protocol on handling abuse complaints, even if he believed they were untrue.

On Wednesday, the diocese's lawyer, David Sherriff-Scott, showed Carriere excerpts from the CAS' May 1997 files, immediately after the agency received the disclosures.

"What I didn't see in the file is that you did a detailed investigation of this stuff," said Sherriff-Scott, who then suggested the CAS didn't want to be "used as a pawn or manipulated" by Dunlop.

Carriere agreed his agency had concerns about the credibility of the allegations. But the CAS also decided not to pursue them, he added, because the Ontario Provincial Police were set to launch Project Truth, their own investigation into the pedophile clan rumours.

That four-year investigation laid 115 charges against 15 men.

Cornwall Police Service lawyer Peter Manderville suggested the CAS' suspicions about Dunlop went back as far as 1993, when Dunlop first divulged to the CAS his belief a clan was active in the community.

At the time, the agency was investigating another local priest, Rev. Charles MacDonald. A former altar boy had gone to city police with allegations MacDonald had abused him decades earlier at St. Columban's Church.

According to the CAS' files, Dunlop told the agency "there were other perpetrators involved in a ring" and promised to come in personally to share his information.

Carriere testified last month the CAS tried repeatedly to set up a follow-up meeting with Dunlop, but had no success. In the end, their investigation, dubbed "Project Blue," focused squarely on MacDonald.

Manderville asked Carriere if it would be "customary" for the CAS to cease any investigation where children were potentially at risk if they felt the allegations were credible.

"No, it wouldn't be customary," said Carriere.

"So it would only happen if you felt the story wasn't credible, correct?" asked Manderville.

"I don't know how to answer that question," said Carriere. "I think it would be fair to say that we definitely had questions about (Dunlop's) information."

MacDonald was charged in 1996 with a number of sex crimes. The charges were all stayed in 2002, and MacDonald has repeatedly maintained his innocence.

The inquiry resumes today at 9:30 a. m. with a new witness.


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