This is a work in progress with guidance from Helen Dunlop and with lots of help from Sylvia MacEachern, editor and publisher of The Orator.

Note: "There are many individuals who played major roles in this scandal. The names of Nelson Barque, Richard Hickerson and Martial "Killer" Gagnon and others will be profiled separately."

Timeline of the Cornwall scandal:

February 1992: David Silmser, 35, a former altar boy at St. Columban's Church claims that he was sexually abused in the late 1960s by the parish priest, Fr. Charles MacDonald and by Ken Seguin, a local probation officer and a close friend of Fr. MacDonald. He first lodges his complaint with the Children's Aid Society but gets no response. He then requests an apology from the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall but is rebuffed there as well.

December 1992: Silmser meets with the Cornwall Police stating that he had been sexually abused by Fr. MacDonald and Ken Seguin.

January 1993: Silmser is interviewed by the Cornwall Police and asked to provide a written statement outlining the details of his allegations. The Police receive his eight-page handwritten statement on February 16th.

Almost two years after the Diocese learned of the allegations and 10 months after the Cornwall police are notified, Fr. MacDonald is still functioning as a parish priest and Seguin as a probation officer. During that time, at least three more men make similar allegations to the Cornwall police. Their allegations are never investigated.            

September 1993 Const. Perry Dunlop (33), already a veteran of 13 years with the Cornwall police, who twice was honoured with the prestigious 'Policeman of the Year' award, overhears several of his colleagues. discussing Silmser's case and the Church settlement. Unsure of what he's hearing, he pulls Silmser's case file and to his dismay, the victim had reputedly made a monetary settlement with the Diocese to drop the charges against Fr. MacDonald and Ken Seguin.

For Dunlop, the allegations in Silmser's statement were believable and extremely disturbing. Father 'Charlie' was his parish priest who had officiated at his wedding to Helen Chisholm and had baptized his first daughter.

Dunlop takes the case file up the chain of command looking for answers. He is told by his superiors that the investigation into allegations against Father Charlie and Seguin had been terminated because the victim had received a monetary settlement. A $32,000 settlement paid to David Silmser had been brokered by lawyers for Fr. MacDonald . The settlement was also accompanied by a gag order and an agreement not to press charges. Lawyers who participated in the writing of this agreement were primarily Jacques Leduc, the Diocese Canon lawyer, Malcolm MacDonald QC, the local Federal Crown attorney and Sean Adams, a local lawyer.

Sgt. Luc Brunet tells Dunlop to mind his own business and that the case was closed. Dunlop points out that they were bound by law to report all allegations of sexual abuse of minors to the Children's Aid Society (CAS). The Ontario Child and Family Services Act supercedes the Police Services Act. Police must report suspected cases of child sexual abuse to the Children's Aid Society (CAS).

September 20, 1993 Stunned by the Chief's cavalier attitude towards the crimes committed by Fr. MacDonald plus the blatant obstruction of justice by the Diocese which now amounts to a cover-up, Dunlop gives Silmser's statement to tRichard Abell, executive director of the Cornwall Children's Aid for its own investigation.

Silmser had lodged a complaint with the CAS several years earlier and Abell was aware that he had. Rather then admit his error in not pursuing Silmser's complaint and embarass himself and the agency, Abell, once a good friend of Perry's, pretends he knows nothing of the matter and lets Perry hung out to dry. Had he said something to Perry back then, Perry would never had gotten into such trouble. Silmser's statement had become superfluous and there was no need for Perry to disclose it to Abell.   

October 1993: Malcolm MacDonald QC  is invested into the Order of St. John of Jerusalem as Chevalier, Knights Hospitaler, given "in recognition for his achievements and contributions to his community". He is recommended to this highest of lay Roman Catholic orders by Bishop Eugène Larocque.

Murray MacDonald, the local Crown and nephew to Malcolm, allowed the payoff to happen. Only Malcolm was prosecuted. Why not the others?

October 12, 1993 Perry is told that he is under investigation by his own police force.

On November 2, 1993, Shaver resigns as Chief of Police, giving a 3 month notice. With respect to Const. Dunlop’s discipline, according to a statement made by Acting Chief Jos St. Denis, Shaver retained full control of Dunlop.

On his leaving the force, Shaver receives a severance of $200,000 dollars, a new car and his pension premiums prepaid so that he could receive all of his pension benefits  On completion of his notice, he quickly exits Cornwall to Florida. The lawyer who negotiated that deal for him was now-judge Colin McKinnon who we will meet again later. Shaver retains him for personal work.

November 4, 1993, Chief Shaver proclaims the investigation into Silmser's allegations over. Case closed. No charges laid.

"Chief Shaver bypassed all chains of command in appropriating and directing the investigation" according to a statement by Deputy Chief Jos St. Denis who also stated that he had little or no input and that he was not involved in most discussions between the Chief’s Office and the CIB. How and why did the Criminal Investigations Branch lose its jurisdiction to the Chief? Was he actively investigating the case? Where are his notes?

The Cornwall police station is but a stone's throw away from St. Columban's church. The police who attend that church generally park their cars at the station. One Sunday morning, Constable Dunlop upon his return from church, thought it highly unusual to see Const. Heidi Sebalj's car in the parking area. She was initially part of the investigation team. Dunlop decided to check with her and see what she was working on.

What he found was her attempting under instructions to deep-six the file into the Projects file, an exclusive file maintained by the Drug Unit. This file was for informant information on  secretive operations that were currently being conducted.  Access to this file was limited to authorized personnel who were given an access code. Specific authorized access was required to enter the Project files. Constable Sebalj had no such authority therefore who gave her the access password?

By entering Silmser's file into the Projects file, it would ensure that members of the Cornwall Police force would have no clue as to the sexual assault incidents by Séguin and ‘Father Charlie’. As well, other police officers from any other police service that may investigate similar acts by the same said individuals would not have access or knowledge of this case. Constable Sebalj has been on stress leave since 1994 and has never returned to her duties as a police officer. She retired in 2000.

November 24,1993. After Ken Seguin is told by Malcolm that he has inside information from the Chief that Dunlop is not going to let the matter drop, Seguin commits suicide,   (read Ron Leroux' affidavit)

The case file is then given to Robert Pelletier, Acting Director of Crown Operations. Robert Pelletier was the L'Orignal Crown who prosecuted so dismally the Christian Brothers of the St. Joseph training school in Alfred, Ontario, just some 50 miles due north of Cornwall. He was also the Project Truth Crown at the outset but was relieved due to his connection to Cornwall's Crown Attorney, Murray MacDonald, who was under investigation by Project Truth. Pelletier had been Murray's best man at his wedding.

In a letter addressed to Inspector Pat Hall of the OPP, Pelletier states: " In any event, given the nature of the alleged comments, the lapse of time, the demise of Ken Sequin, and the present proceedings, I do not consider the public interest to be served were charges to be laid".

1993: The Cornwall police review their handling of numerous allegations of a pedophile ring involving individuals in the church, juvenile corrections system, the crown attorney's office and the local courts. The Cornwall Police Services Board concludes there is no evidence of impropriety and declares the matter closed.

Public pressure causes the Police Services Board to call in outside investigators from the Ottawa Police Service. Although the Ottawa detectives are allotted six months to complete their investigation, they conclude in one week that they cannot carry out an independent probe and close their file.

January 6,1994, Silmser's statement is leaked to the media.( Dunlop denies that it was he).The word was out; the Diocese had paid Silmser $32,000.000 in hush money. As part of the settlement, Silmser had to agree to a gag order. He wasn't to speak to anyone about the terms of the settlement or else forfeit the money. He also had to advise the Cornwall Police that he was not proceeding with the charges against Fr. MacDonald.

Further the Diocese under pressure from the community, admits that there had been a financial settlement, but insists it was never the intention of the Diocese to keep Silmser from speaking out. Bishop Eugène Larocque also denied that there was a gag order.

Larocque did acknowledge the payoff but said that he had initially been opposed to it but had reluctantly "gave in" because the alleged victim had many bills to pay for counseling he had received. The bishop also vehemently claimed that Father Charlie had not assaulted anyone.

When the settlement document entered the public domain, it did indeed contain a gag order. The settlement document, addressed to "Father Charles MacDonald and to the Most Reverend Eugène P. Larocque, Bishop, and to his successors and assigns, and to the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation for the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall in Ontario" was dated the 2nd of September 1993 and was signed by David and his lawyer Sean Adams, a prominent city lawyer with strong ties to the CatholicChurch.

In January 14,1994, the Bishop in a Press Conference stated:

"Priests who are truly guilty of such actions must be stopped! As our Conference has stated - "zero tolerance". The victims must be helped in every way, especially in the Christ-like way of being asked for and granting pard.on. Once again I urge any victims to identify themselves so that we may know the truth of the present situation and proceed to pardon and healing with the grace of God."

January 24, 1994 The Bishop attempts to exonerate himself. He explained that he had made his previous statements denying the gag order as per the instructions of his Diocesan counsel Jacques Leduc. Both state that they had never read the settlement contract. Bishop Larocque stated "I have since learned that the signed release does in fact rule out both civil and criminal action."

February 1994 The Ontario Provincial Police launch their investigation into the allegations regarding Fr. MacDonald.

March 1, 1994 The local Children's Aid Society addressed a letter to Father Charles MacDonald advising that after a "thorough investigation and careful consideration of all available information, the Society has concluded there is sufficient information to support a finding that you sexually molested David Silmser when he was a child".

That decision to prosecute Fr. MacDonald leads to a heated argument between Chief Claude Shaver and  Richard AbellSeveral days later, Abell is accosted on the street by two or three men and is severely beaten. The CAS then dropped its investigation as a result. Abell's life had been threatened.

May 14, 1994  Const. Perry Dunlop is charged by the Cornwall Police Services Board with Discreditable Conduct and two counts of Breach of Confidence related to his disclosure of the David Silmser statement to the Children’s Aid Society.

Spring 1994 Dunlop goes on stress leave. Despite a strong base of community support, the Dunlops have been vilified, ostracized, ridiculed and scorned, often by clergy, fellow Catholics and most disturbing, his own police colleagues and his Union. It is during this period of time that dozens upon dozens of victims seek out Perry and more often than not gave him their statements related to their sexual abuse. Finally, the victims had someone they could trust and openly talked with him and Helen, Perry's wife.

Silmser sued the Cornwall police for breach of trust when his statement was released to the media. He reached an out of court settlement. He also sued Dunlop when he was led to believe that Perry was the bad guy. He later dropped the charges.Then there were the death threats, directed at him and his wife, Helen. Most despicable were the death threats against their three daughters.

A woman was formally charged after leaving a message on their answering machine, threatening to kill their eldest daughter. then all of six years old. The woman entered a plea of guilty and received a sentence of one year's probation.

She was tried, convicted and sentenced and loose on the street before the Dunlops learned from a neighbour that her case had gone to court. No chance for them to make a victim impact statement or to beg the court to impose a restraining order to keep the woman away from their home and the kids' schools. They began to live in fear as they then realized that they had zero protection.

September 23,1994 A Board of Enquiry is convened and meets in Ottawa. It dismisses all charges against Dunlop. At the urging of Colin McKinnon, the Board's lawyer who prepared the charges, appeals the verdict through the Ontario Court of Appeals. On January 31, 1995, the charges against Perry are again dismissed, this time with costs.

December 24,1994: Media attention causes the Ontario Provincial Police investigation to end and in a Christmas Eve news conference, the OPP declares that, "No stone has been left unturned" in their investigation. There is no evidence of a pedophile ring and there are no grounds to charge Fr. MacDonald.

February 7, 1995  Malcolm MacDonald is charged with obstruction of justice.

June 8, 1995 Fr. MacDonald and the Diocese sue David Silmser claiming that Silmser falsely and maliciously accused him of sexual assault. They also claim that the allegations against him were made "with no other purpose but to obtain financial gain".

October 12, 1995 In an Ottawa courtroom, Malcolm pleads guilty to obstructing justice and receives an absolute discharge.

November 29,1995  The Diocese and Fr. MacDonald sue their lawyers for 1.8 million dollars. Named in the claim are Malcolm Macdonald, Leduc and Adams.

December 13,1995 Fr. MacDonald says his accusers are money-hungry liars looking to pin their problems on somebody else. In a prepared statement given to the CBC Fifth Estate which aired December 12th, MacDonald writes: '' The allegations against me are the work of people looking for a scapegoat for their own problems and to feed an insatiable appetite for money. These allegations are fabricated and libelous, fueled by a media against which one is unable to defend himself. I emphatically state that I am not guilty of these allegations against me''. The statement is read on camera by Ellen Proulx, MacDonald's former secretary. She appears on the program with seven other female parishioners who support him and believe in his innocence.

He drops the lawsuit against Silmser when more men come forward to accuse him. A civil action by Wayne Riley and John MacDonald, altar boys who complained to the Cornwall police but never had their complaints investigated. David Silmser joins the action but he and John MacDonald decide to pursue their case with another lawyer due to the amount of time that it took to get Fr. MacDonald into court.

In the Winter of 1997, Riley and his lawyer Bryce Joffrey witness Fr. MacDonald plead guilty to the sexual abuse charges. Wayne receives a modest monetary settlement. All is kept hush,hush due to several non-disclosure clauses

1995: A local group that included Carson Chisolm, Perry's brother-in-law and Ron Leroux, carries out its own investigation. They check allegations that the ring transported victims to Florida for sex parties. In Fort Lauderdale, on what is known as "the pedophile strip" motel registration slips which appeared to be authentic establish that well-placed members of the Cornwall community had registered in a motel where complainants alleged the sex abuse took place.

1996-97: The citizens' group assembles four boxes of evidence - affidavits from alleged victims, witness statements, and a damning sworn affidavit by one of the alleged perpetrators, Ron Leroux.

How could the Ottawa Police and the OPP who investigated the Cornwall Police give the Cornwall Police a clean bill of health and that there were, after a year-long investigation by the OPP (as stated in their 1994 Christmas Eve press release,) no grounds to charge Fr. MacDonald.

1997: A former Fort Lauderdale police detective, upon learning that a vacationing golfer, Garry Guzzo, is a Canadian MPP and former judge, asks for a formal meeting. The detective says years and years of registration slips exist at a pedophile strip motel - he remembers having seen several slips for patrons from Cornwall, Ont. He had been investigating whether the registration records were kept for possible extortion of the motel's clients, but was mysteriously ordered off the investigation by his superiors.

1997: Guzzo learns of the Cornwall citizens group's investigations and offers assistance. He learns of and subsequently serves the four boxes of evidence on the attorney general's department on April 7. Soon afterwards it is learned that the OPP has returned to Cornwall and opened the "Project Truth" investigation. The Project Truth mandate has three parts: 1) to look into historical sex abuse claims and arrest those perpetrators. The OPP began to run media ads to bring victims forward 2) investigate the Crown Attorney, Murray MacDonald and 3) investigate the Cornwall police.

1998: After "Project Truth" results in several charges against prominent individuals, the citizens's group claims other alleged perpetrators have not been charged and some complainants have not been questioned. The lead OPP investigator expresses surprise when shown copies of the evidence, signs a letter stating he has never seen the material before.

1999: Guzzo is told by an official in the attorney general's department that the evidence served on the department in 1997 was never sent to OPP headquarters, instead it was forwarded to a "third party."

TO BE CONTINUED