Dunlop, Guzzo in Inquiry Spotlight

By Trevor Pritchard
Standard Freeholder

December 12, 2008

The actions of former Cornwall cop Perry Dunlop and one-time MPP Garry Guzzo were put under the microscope as the lengthy cross-examination of a retired Ontario Provincial Police officer ursday at the Cornwall Public Inquiry.

Yesterday was Det. Insp. Pat Hall's eighth full day on the stand at the inquiry, which is probing how institutions like the OPP responded to allegations of historical sexual abuse.

In 1999, Hall took over the reins of Project Truth, a four-year investigation into rumours a clan of pedophiles had been preying upon children in the Cornwall area.

Project Truth's mandate came almost entirely from a series of allegations and statements Dunlop forwarded in 1996 to current OPP commissioner Julian Fantino, who at the time was the chief of the London, Ont. police force.

One of the alleged pedophiles named in the so-called "Fantino brief " was Rev. Charles MacDonald, a former priest at St. Columban's Church in Cornwall who had been charged that same year with sexually abusing children.

Those charges were never proven in court.

Yesterday, MacDonald's lawyer, Michael Neville, grilled Hall on the circumstances that led to a 1999 Ottawa Sun article based on a signed "receipt" Hall gave to the Dunlops in July 1998.

The receipt showed that on July 31, 1998, Dunlop had turned an additional four binders containing allegations to Project Truth - binders which had been delivered to the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services in 1997.

Hall acknowledged in the receipt that the OPP "never received the full package" delivered to those agencies.

Near the end of the Sun article, Dunlop's wife Helen was quoted as being "absolutely stunned" when she learned Project Truth didn't have the binders.

But Neville suggested yesterday that long before the article was printed, Hall had made it clear to the Dunlops that the binders contained "nothing significantly new" compared to the material in the Fantino brief.

"I suggest to you, inspector," Neville told Hall, "that (Helen Dunlop's quote) is a complete, utter, bald-faced misrepresentation of what the document represented and what the Dunlops themselves knew."

"I wouldn't disagree with you," Hall said.

Neville also accused the reporter, Jacki Leroux, of being "in effect the media spokesperson for the Dunlops."

"Yes, she (had) a close relationship (with them)," Hall said.

Also quoted in the article was Guzzo, a former judge and Ottawa-area MPP who was both a strong believer in the pedophile ring claims and a passionate advocate for the inquiry.

Guzzo would later claim he had registration slips from a Florida motel showing a number of people who were allegedly part of the clan stayed there - including Eugene LaRocque, the former bishop of the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese.

Yesterday, the lawyer for the diocese, David Sherriff-Scott, vowed to "lay the registration slip business to rest."

Sherriff-Scott entered into evidence the slips that the motel's owners provided to Project Truth, after Hall gave them a list containing the names of the members of the alleged ring.

"You never got, you never saw, and you have never had a registration slip with the name of my client, Bishop Eugene LaRocque," said Sherriff-Scott.

"Nope," said Hall.

"Or for that matter, any other member of the diocese?" asked the lawyer.

"Correct," said Hall.

Project Truth ultimately found no evidence to substantiate the pedophile ring rumours.

The inquiry resumes Monday at 9:30 a. m.


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