14 November, 2013

Charges dropped against priest | Pembroke Daily Observer - A bit of good news for our little diocese!

Charges dropped against priest | Pembroke Daily Observer

17 comments:

  1. Really? How would you describe the same news for our 'little' Gordon?
    Quite sickening!

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  2. Please tell us exactly why you think it's "GOOD" news for our little diocese.

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  3. Larry: How is it 'good news'? Because an allegation of sexual abuse by one of our clergy has been determined by the Crown to be without merit. How is that not good news?

    If you read the source articles announcing this, you will find that:

    a) the complainant recently 'rediscovered' the 'repressed memory' of being abused. Recovered memories are notoriously unreliable
    b) that his own mother said that he wan't an altar boy
    c) that there is a dearth of documentation to show that what the lad said was true
    d) that no one else, under the publication of the charges came forward to either substantiate the events or to claim that they were also abused. (When was the last time you heard of a predator pedophile only abusing one kid? In all the cases I'm familiar with, other victims will come forward once a predator has been legitimately revealed in the media. That didn't happen in this case.)

    Given all the above, the Crown decided that (and this is an exact quote from the Crown Attorney) that the charges should be withdrawn because they could not be 'substantiated'. In other words, that there was no evidence upon which to proceed to try to convict Fr. Chabot. So unless you are holding to some sort of conspiracy theory that the Church still possesses enough pull to have the charges quashed (We didn't for Prince, Borne, or Miller. Why would we suddenly have such power to protect Chabot?) it would appear that Fr. Chabot has been legally vindicated in this case.

    Again, given the shortage of priests that you know first hand we are experiencing in the diocese, how could it be anything but good news that we have one more to help whom we thought was he was gone for good? To think otherwise is to both personally slam me as a supporter of pervert priests and to disparage the rest of us who are pleased that at least in this case, our worst fears have not been realized.

    Fr. Tim

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    1. You do a great dis-service to the Catholics of the Diocese of Pembroke Fr Moyle. These charges may be re-laid if more info. comes forward, or if others who may have been abused come forward.
      Once again you speak as a hypocrite !

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    2. Ted: Who knows? You could be right, especially if it ends up with these or other charges being reinstated. But as of right now that is not the case. As of now, it's good news for the diocese. How it all ends up in the future is known to God alone. So I don't think that I am speaking as a hypocrite. I believe I'm speaking as one who's rooted in the realities of the here and now. If you think about it, that's really all that any of us can do!

      Fr. Tim

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  4. Hi Tim!

    Your reply to Mr Green is thorough and quite excellent!

    It is very disturbing, in this era of such terrible scandal, that folks can lose their capacity for critical thinking and assessment, all at the altar of unfettered emotionalism. That terrible abuse has been committed by some does not or should not absolve us from the obligation of embracing the fundamental principles of our criminal justice system. In Mr Green's world and that of so many of the permitted contributors on Sylvia's Site, the verdict is in: an individual has made an allegation of abuse, so it must be true!

    In their passion to support a person who has made a very serious allegation, they forget that a man's good name has been tarnished! How does one put all those 'feathers back into the pillow case'?

    Clearly, this so-called case should never have been brought forward. I for one do not believe that any such 'cases' should be made public unless and until they proceed to trial.

    Clearly this was not a case. It was, by all accounts, a non-starter which allowed for a fishing expedition. Interesting process, unless of course you are the 'accused' and have had your good name tarnished all over North America!

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    1. Anon: I think you are perhaps being a little unfair to Larry as well as to Sylvia's Site. They are not the ones who 'let loose the feathers'. That was done by the Police when the laid the charge. I am not one who holds that the victim was acting out of any sense of malice or for some misbegotten gain. As I stated, 'recovered memories' are notoriously unreliable as relates to the truth of a situation, but they can be real for the person suffering from one. We have no reason to believe that the victim in this case was deliberately not telling the truth. Nor can we say that folks like Larry and Sylvia are wrong for standing up for victims. No one can climb into another's mind to know with 100% certainty what did or did not transpire way back then. The best we can do is trust in the legal process and choose to offer the benefit of the doubt to either the accused or the accuser. In all likelihood Fr. Chabot was simply caught up in a situation that, while horrible and trying for him, did not necessarily spring up out of ill will towards him. Given the climate of the times it's not hard to be convinced that a priest was guilty of such a crime. That's not Fr. Howard's fault, nor the complainant's, nor anyone who comments or writes on these sad subjects. It's the fault of those priests who have been revealed as predators and the bishops who covered-up their offences. They are the ones that we should all be angry with... not Larry, not Sylvia, not you, me, or anyone else.

      Fr. Tim

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    2. Anonymous... muster up the courage to put your name behind your mouth.

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    3. Mr. Green, I ask very simple questions and I would be sincerely interested in your reply:

      1) Do you believe that every accusation of sexual assault that is brought forward is true?
      2) Do you believe that there is the possibility that those who bring forward such accusations can be quite mistaken or may intentionally or unintentionally accuse the wrong person in such cases?
      3) In your eyes, is Father Chabot already guilty?
      4) What does it say to you that this case has been tossed so early in this usually lengthy process?

      I might add that all of us feel passionately about these matters. My GREAT concern is that so many folks jump to conclusions about cases - the accused is guilty, the complaintant is a victim EVEN WHEN the crown withdraws the case. How is Father Chabot's good name restored?

      (P.S. I would feel the same way about you and your rights if you were in Father Chabot's shoes during this terrible ordeal).

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    4. Mr/Ms. Anonymous, here is a reply that should compel your interest even more sincerely than you already are:

      1) For some minds ( apparently, yours being one of the many) certitude is a must. Can’t function without certainty. So much so that one assumes to be certain about ‘matters’ where there can be no certainty.
      The truth of the matter is that it just ain’t as black and white as ‘believing’ or ‘not believing.’ It’s a question of probability , like it or not. Each and every one of us -including yourself Mr./Ms. Anonymous are subject to many prejudices that affect and influence our perception and judgment always.
      Based on my perception , here is my truth.: Probably not every accusation of sexual assault that is brought forward is true but every accusation of sexual molestation by a priest is probably true.
      2) There are countless possible realities but only one exists , yet you pick and choose the ’possibility’ that helps you to believe what you want while you stick your head in a dark place when it comes to considering probability.
      3) probably
      4) It says that to achieve a conviction for these pedophiles the burden of proof is very high , and it says that due to the nature of these crimes -‘these matters’ as you say- i.e. the rapist always gains the advantage of time and very often victims don’t ever come forward for that very reason.- There are many many clerical molesters who are never brought to justice only because the victim dosn't make a good wittness.
      It doesn’t say the same to me as it says to you.

      We see many victims degraded and dragged through the coals by top notch lawyers and members of the general public even after their molester is found guilty. We never hear any sincere apology from the church with an attempt to restore a terrible injustice from a victim whose ‘good name’ was desecrated as a child at the hands of trusted priest . Pedophile priests who were subsequently showered with love, admiration and a good place to hide and in most cases also provided by our church with the premises in which to perform their revolting attacks on children.

      First, you state four conclusions that you have jumped to. Then you admonish the many folk who draw theirs because theirs are different from yours.




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    5. Mr Green,

      Thank you for your reply. I can assure you that I am well aware of the many 'shades of gray' that exist in our life experience - and no I didn't read the book with a similar title!

      Believe it or not i was simply trying to understand you better and your thought process. I also 'get' the anger you feel - been there. Btw I think I asked four questions. I did not present four conclusions.

      I guess where we part company is the 'probably' response you have given to one of my questions. Don't get me wrong. If crimes are alleged to have been committed and their is substantial evidence, bring them to trial and let's have them dealt with. Where there is smoke there is usually fire. With the presence of such smoke and fire, a judge or jury can often (notice I didn't say always) reach a proper verdict beyond a reason doubt.

      In the case we have been discussing it seems to me that the so-called evidence brought forward was extremely light, save the word of the complaintant. I would never presume that a Boy Scout leader, hockey coach, teacher, father or priest would be probably guilty based on what we have here. I am very concerned that a good priest's name can be dragged through the mud with this kind of so-called evidence. I believe it to be unjust and cruel. As Father Tim has already mentioned elsewhere, in the present 'case' we 'probably' would have seen a good number of other young men come forward once news of this arrest was made public. That has been something of a pattern.

      As a final thought, did you happen to see 'Dateline' on Friday evening? A nineteen year old named Ryan Ferguson, just released from prison, was imprisoned for almost 10 years for a crime that he did not commit. It is an interesting story - if it were only a story. His conviction occurred within the legal system, built on a case that featured lies, police pressure and a great deal of agony for a young man and his family. I guess it is the other side of the coin when folks believe they are 'certain' or someone is 'probably' guilty.

      In case you may see me as a bleeding heart for all the accused, I for one believe that the sentencing for these pedophiles needs to be stepped up in a substantial manner! If Dan Miller were preparing to see me for sentencing, better forget house arrest - 10-15 years without parole would be my minimum sentence. The lives of these young men who have been forever damaged - their lives stolen away in such depraved acts. Disgusting.

      Thanks for the exchange.

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    6. Mr/Ms. Anonymous, Are you pretending that conclusions are not implicitly asserted in the questions you asked ?
      The 'probably' response in 3 follows logically from the premise established in 1 ( the one in which we have an opinion in common).
      The ‘word’ of the complainant is so often all the ‘victims’ ever have. These assaults can literally take only a FEW MINUTES -out of a whole lifetime- to level the shocking destruction of human heart ,spirit and body of an unsuspecting little human being. They do not often think to document or record the history and the details of their lives for future benefit. They more often live down to the degradation they have received because that’s all they know and that’s all they remember.
      Boy scout leaders, teachers and hockey coaches are rightly cast out of their roles and ostracised by their peers and the general public , but Roman Catholic Priests are coddled , esteemed and provided with the ’perfect’ pedophile environment to carry on routinely to deliver the worst possible treatment to the most vulnerable and unsuspecting members of our society. There’s a difference (among the professions) that is always conveniently (for many) overlooked Mr/Ms Anon. Unlike teachers ,boy scout leaders and hockey coaches we see in cases of convicted molesters , supporters ,both professional peers and laity who continue to degrade the wounded victims and elevate the monster. We see victims whose families are dragged down even deeper by ‘brother priests of the pedophile priest’ and by bishops and then by lawyers in the court. Victims whose name never gets restored, who never receives any semblance of compensation or restoration for dignity stripped way back when.
      When we begin to hear bishops reporting and brother priests begin to report -before the police show up with hand cuffs- then we might be able to begin to trust again. When we see a pedophile priest turn himself in before wounded man does it will mean something good to the world and to the church.
      I am angry .I am very angry. The truth is though that the conclusions that I draw are based on an objective observation according to the best of my ability. Who can do it any better ?


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  5. Hi again!

    I think you are actually agreeing with me in your response. I too have no idea what goes on in others hearts and minds. What we can deal with are only the objective facts brought forward in a court of law. That this case has been tossed at such an early stage (for the reasons you reiterated above) tells us all we need to know. I am QUITE surprised that the kind of connections and questions regarding the complaintant were not asked prior to this case even moving forward!

    I centre on Mr Green and Sylvia only because they consistently proceed with the notion that this gentleman is a victim - Mr Green says 'for our little ....' He may well be a victim of something, deserving care and compassion. This however has nothing to do with Father Chabot.

    Finally, to address a statement you have made, this is much much more than a situation that Father Chabot was 'caught up in'. To have your good name sullied from here to Texas and beyond, to have people laugh in your face when you tell them you are innocent and when your many good works are stained by this serious allegation, must be extremely painful and sad. I am heartened to know that he is a man of deep faith and trust in God.

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  6. a) You don’t believe that we humans have the capacity to detach ourselves , memorably, from excruciatingly painful situations? We forget. Why would the recall of these memories be so much less reliable than the recall of so called ‘normal’ memories? They are terribly unreliable according to your convenient sources but not so at all according to mine.
    According to the logic above …if I discover today that I was robbed yesterday , the robber is free to go if I don’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday.,

    b) My own mother remembers things about me when I was a child that I don’t. I remember many things about my childhood that mother does not.

    c) Who documents the movement of their lives?

    d) Each molested child grows up thinking that they were the only one… right? ( We know)…right?
    How many others has Your molester been charged and convicted of?

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    1. Larry: a) Regarding repressed/recovered memories: Yes it's possible. But that doesn't diminish or detract from the argument that they are notoriously unreliable, especially when there is no evidence to corroborate it which is the case here.

      b) Sure we all have imperfect memories, but remembering if your child was an altar boy (something that involves quite a commitment of time and effort on the parents part - ensuring attendance when scheduled to serve etc.) wouldn't seem like something a parent would forget. Again, I could be wrong.

      c) Everyone documents the movements of their lives! Photographs, letters, diplomas, certificates... our lives of filled with such ephemera

      d) My molester died by his own hand when I was still a teenager. The only court he faced is not of this realm and I do not doubt for a moments that he was convicted there. The only question is what his 'sentence' would be... something that we cannot here ascertain beyond knowing that it will be just in God's eyes.

      So in summary, if all of those cards fall in Mr. Sonier's favour, then maybe there's something substantial to his allegation. But the odds are that he is in error in placing much credence in his recovered memory which is why I believe that Fr. Chabot is not guilty or culpable of the charges levelled at him. Clearly the Crown Attorney believed the same thing since he was the one who requested the withdrawal of the charges "because there was “no reasonable cause for conviction.”

      Fr. Tim

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  7. a) You don’t believe that we humans have the capacity to detach ourselves , memorably, from excruciatingly painful situations? We forget. Why would the recall of these memories be so much less reliable than the recall of so called ‘normal’ memories? They are terribly unreliable according to your convenient sources but not so at all according to mine.
    According to the logic above …if I discover today that I was robbed yesterday , the robber is free to go if I don’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday.,

    b) My own mother remembers things about me when I was a child that I don’t. I remember many things about my childhood that mother does not.

    c) Who documents the movement of their lives?

    d) Each molested child grows up thinking that they were the only one… right? ( We know)…right?
    How many others has Your molester been charged and convicted of?

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    1. Larry: I wanted to stress again the language that the Crown used in his application to have the charges dismissed. He didn't say that he was doing so because there was little chance of getting a conviction. What he said was that there were NO REASONABLE CAUSE for conviction. (Sorry for 'shouting' but I can't figure out how to underline in these threads and I wanted to highlight those three words.) Having no cause means that in the opinion of the Crown, after reviewing the evidence gathered by what I assume was an exemplary investigation by the Jamie S. at the OPP, that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations levelled against Fr. Chabot. Given the wide-spread news coverage that followed his initial arrest up and down the length and breadth of the diocese, I am sure that if there had been other victims that they would have stepped forward once they realized (as you rightly wrote) that they were not alone in being victimized by him - the taboo on speaking about whatever happened being lifted with the that first public charge. Yet no one has stepped forward unlike what happened in each of the other cases in which priests around here have been charged and subsequently convicted. That's got to stand for something in deciding who to believe in this case.

      Finally I wish to stress as well that while I do not believe in the veracity of the recovered memory that led Mr. Sonier to seek out the police, for him it was clearly legitimate. I do not believe that he proceeded out of any ulterior motive other than to obtain justice and perhaps protect others and was not motivated (as some have said) by hopes of some big financial payoff after a conviction. NO ONE in their right mind would put themselves through the agony of prosecuting a case against someone with all its legal and judicial confrontations in either criminal or civil court in which your integrity and motivations are sullied and impugned and your spirit broken, if there's no evidence to corroborate your allegations. It wouldn't be worth the cost in blood and treasure unless one sincerely believes that they have been wronged. Mr. Sonier clearly believes this, even if the evidence isn't there to bear it out. He is not IMHO in any way, a 'bad man'... but he is someone who clearly has some important issues to work out in his life if he is to find solace. Surely we both hope that he succeeds in finding as much of that as he wants and needs.

      All the best,

      Fr. Tim

      (P.S. Typing this on 'smartphone'. Tiny screens with really tiny 'keys' on a touchscreen makes ensuring proper grammar and spelling a bit of a challenge. Hope you're able to follow any unintended twists or loops in logic or syntax!. It's just too damned hard to edit with this thing.)

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