Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/12/2009 (3595 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The tale swirled for years in this small city and cries for an investigation were the driving force behind the inquiry's creation. But four years after it began the Cornwall inquiry report left unanswered long-simmering questions about whether a ring actually existed.
Still, Commissioner G. Normand Glaude, a northern Ontario judge, said with the implementation of his recommendations, Cornwall can become a model for responding to abuse allegations and preventing such trauma in the first place.
Though the Cornwall inquiry's official mandate was to examine institutional responses to decades of historical claims of sexual abuse dating back to the 1960s, Glaude had been urged to debunk the pedophile-ring rumour once and for all. He flatly refused.
"Throughout this inquiry I have heard evidence that suggested that there were cases of joint abuse, passing of alleged victims, and possibly passive knowledge of abuse," Glaude wrote in his more than 1,600-page report.
"I want to be very clear that I am not going to make a pronouncement on whether a ring existed or not."
Cornwall Mayor Bob Kilger called it "regrettable" the commissioner didn't debunk the ring allegation, but said it won't leave an indelible stain on the city because they will now be seen as "trailblazers."
The Ontario Provincial Police spent four years investigating allegations of sexual abuse, an investigation Glaude criticized in the report. Police laid 115 charges against 15 people under Project Truth, though only one was convicted.
The report found institutional response to reports of sexual abuse was, in large part, inadequate and failed to protect the vulnerable. Among the commissioner's recommendations was to expand training and mandatory education for professionals such as public servants, those in the justice system, teachers and others having contact with children or adults who may have been sexually abused.
Perhaps the most sensational of all the stories hanging over Cornwall was that a clan of powerful men sexually abused boys at a cottage during strange rituals while clad in robes.
The source of the tale was Ron Leroux, who both police and Glaude found not to be credible and who later recanted his allegations at the inquiry.
Leroux told his story to former Cornwall police officer Perry Dunlop, who was conducting an unsanctioned, off-hours investigation.
Dunlop's probe began after he discovered an alleged abuse victim withdrew a complaint against a priest in 1993 after reaching a settlement with the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese.
Dunlop, who lives in British Columbia and could not immediately be reached for comment, spent seven months in jail for contempt when he refused to testify at the inquiry of his own making, saying he no longer had faith in the system.
— The Canadian Press