The list: Unravelling church secrets – The Fifth Estate

Posted By on November 19, 2019

[♪♪] [Man] The names and numbers of
Catholic priests that abuse children, you know, that’s
the kryptonite of the Catholic Church. They learn from the files
about the extent of cover up, the extent of sexual
abuse that had happened. If your abusers
name was on that list, imagine the relief that you
might feel that maybe I am not at fault, maybe it wasn’t me. [♪♪] Dear Monsignor Leo, we the
undersigned as representatives of various regions across Canada
respectfully request to address the Canadian Conference of
Catholic Bishops as they gather for their plenary
assembly in Cornwall, Ontario in September 2019,
on a matter of personal and universal importance. Clergy sexual abuse. Clergy Sexual abuse. Clergy sexual abuse. Enduring abuse at the hands
of a clergy member has caused us unnecessary harm throughout
the course of our lives, but it has also provided us with
critical insight that could be of great benefit to the church. We thank you for your
consideration on this urgent matter, as we await
your favourable response. Respectfully, Jemma Hickey. Jerry Boyle. Nancy Mayer. Evelyn Korkmass. Leona Huggins. Brenda Brunelle. [Gillian Findlay] They have
come from every region of the country. Each one a survivor. As children they were all
sexually abused by priests. Betrayed by the Catholic Church. -Hello.
-How are you? Good to see you. [Church bell rings] The men, the power
behind that church in Canada, no longer deny abuse happened. But what they have never
acknowledged is the extent. How many among them, past and
present, have preyed on those in their care? How far has the church
gone in protecting them? For decades, the answers have
been hidden away in church archives, including lists of
clergy the church accepts were credibly accused. Survivors want the
lists made public. I think that the church has an
ethical and moral responsibility to reveal those names. To shed light on
the legacy because, some of these men are still
esteemed within the communities in which they work. As, Father McCann was. This is McCann um on a trip,
I don’t know where we were.. [Gillian] Father John McCann was
Leona Huggin’s parish priest, growing up in Vancouver. [Leona] He had a guitar. He played the guitar
and he, I just remember, wow, that’s really cool, right? Like, you can be a priest
and you can still be funny. I absolutely believed that… umm… What did he do to you? Umm– like just,
just little things, like he would sit on the couch
and he’d put his hand on my leg and then he’d… and he’d… you know,
put his arm around me. And then he got me, my sister
and I to work at the rectory. And he would come in
at the end of the… the work and he would
just start massaging me. On my shoulders and– and
everything just was gradually more and more. How old were you at this time? [Sighs] I would say 14? In Australia, a high level royal
commission has revealed the scale of child sex
abuse by Catholic priests. Pope Benedict took an
unprecedented step today to address the child abuse scandal
that has engulfed the Irish Catholic church. [Reporter] This is the Catholic
Archbishop now reeling from the biggest church child abuse
scandal anywhere in Europe. [Gillian] All over the world,
even in the most Catholic of countries, deference to
the Church is evaporating. Ireland, Australia,
across Europe, Latin America, the Pacific, all
have faced abuse scandals in the Catholic Church or
its institutions. Big names
have been prosecuted. For their own sins… but
the role some have played in covering up abuse. And then there are those files. The stunning report today
involving the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania, a scathing grand
jury report accusing more than three hundred Catholic
priests of child sex abuse. Pennsylvania Attorney General
CBS For the first time we can begin to understand the
systematic cover up by church leaders that followed. [Gillian] In 2018, the
state of Pennsylvania forced diocese to turn
over their archives, and discovered how much church
officials knew about those three hundred priests, and their more than
one thousand victims. And what they did, they got
warrants from judges to march into the chancery offices
of the various dioceses, and take their files. There was no
discussion, there was no debate, we’re taking them,
get out of the way. [Gillian] Doyle
himself was a Catholic priest, but today he helps lead the
campaign to hold his church accountable. And what did they
learn from those files? They learned from those
files the protection, they found out the
methodology of dealing with it, shuffling these men from one
place to another was systemic throughout the entire state. [Gillian] In the year and
a half since Pennsylvania, at least seventeen other US
states have launched similar investigations. Some Catholic dioceses have
published their own lists of known perpetrators, voluntarily. The number of US priests now
deemed credibly accused by their own Church is more
than sixty eight hundred. Why isn’t that
happening in Canada? I was mystified for years. I knew this was
going on in Canada, it had to be. But why, you know, there’s
very little media attention, very little organization
of the victims. Throughout history every
time there’d be some sort of an explosion of sexual abuse
they’re the ones who took charge, they determined what
was going to happen to the perpetrators, those
days are gone. Now the victims are in charge. We are the ones that
are steering the bus. [Gillian] Enter Leona Huggins. in the aftermath of
Pennsylvania’s bombshell report, the Archbishop of her
diocese became the first church leader in Canada
to promise action. In a letter to parishioners,
Vancouver Archbishop Michael Miller agreed “bold steps” were
needed to hold abusive clergy “accountable for
their terrible crimes”, as well as correcting, what
he called “systemic flaws that contributed to
abuse or cover up”. Promising transparency, he
ordered ordered his diocese’s files opened and reviewed. [Leona] He had said in
the letter that he, if there were
survivors out there to call, that they had a number
to set up. So what did– what
did the arch bishop tell you he would do at
that point, what happened? He told me he was forming a
committee and he wanted me to be on that committee. And the committee would review
the files to look for missed steps. [Gillian] And why you?
Why was that important? Because he said he
needed, he said, you’ve got a lot
you could teach us. [Gillian] Indeed she could. One of the files in the
diocese’s archive was of Father John McCann. For 20 years, Leona told no one
of the sex McCann forced on her. But in the early 90’s,
she went to police. He pleaded guilty to crimes
involving Leona and another teenaged girl, and
was sentenced to ten months in jail. So you assume that this was the
end of his career as a priest– Yeah, Yeah– That he wouldn’t be
working with children again? Never again. And that you had done the right
thing and stopped a predator– Yes– Before he had a chance– -absolutely–
-to do any more damage? Absolutely. So I trusted that this
organization that holds themselves up is going to do the
right thing and ensure that he’s never in a position where he
can have access to children. ‘Cause that’s what
people should do. [Gillian] But that’s
not what happened. [Leona] Around Easter 2011,
I was Googling and a YouTube video of him saying a pro-life
mass in Ottawa showed up. And I was beside myself. I was just horrified. I was pacing up and down in my
kitchen and just going, what do I, like,
this is not okay. A priest cannot work in another
jurisdiction without permission from a Bishop. So, somebody gave him
permission to work in Ottawa. [Gillian] Sitting on the
committee to compile Vancouver’s list was not an easy
decision for Leona. She didn’t actually
get to see any files, not even McCann’s. Church lawyers
provided verbal summaries. Nevertheless, this July the
committee delivered its report, including names of
the credibly accused… along with the recommendation
that the archbishop share the names publicly. [Leona] Eventually I ended up
going in to meet him and said the same thing. We need the names. We need you to release survivors
from any confidentiality agreements and post the names. [Gillian] What did he tell you
that he was going to do? I believe he told me
at the end of this, we would… a list
would be published. You recall him telling you that? That– yes, yes. He said, you’re right,
that needs to happen. [Rob Talach] This is the
plutonium of scandal for the Catholic Church. The names and numbers of
Catholic Priests that abuse children, you know, that’s
the kryptonite of the Catholic Church, to ask them just to hang
it out on the internet isn’t gonna happen. [Gillian] Rob Talach, of London,
Ontario has taken the Catholic church to court more
than four hundred times. His nickname,
the “Priest Hunter”. I would like to see
the list of predators, the files on them. I’d like to see how many times
they were transferred from one area to another. [Gillian] One month before the
bishops conference in Cornwall Talach hosts a planning meeting
with those hoping to confront the bishops. Leona is on the
line from Vancouver. My research tells me we have
eighty seven active bishops and six thousand active
priests in ministry in Canada. So, if we were to use the
conservative number that’s used by other bishops, that tells
me we’ve got three hundred and seventy, four hundred, active
pedophiles in active ministry across this country. That’s a problem. [Gillian] Brenda Brunelle is a
driving force behind the group. As a teenager she was
groomed and abused by her parish priest, too. Father Fallona would eat my hair
and tell me how wonderful the colour of my red hair was. He often referred to my green
cat eyes that I had the most beautiful cat eyes. He would hang on to me, hug me
and tell me how much I loved this, how much he loved me. [Gillian] When she
sued decades later, the priest claimed he
didn’t know who she was. But the church settled
with her anyway, after she agreed to keep details
of the settlement secret. I think our public needs to
know in my case because he, the priest was never
criminally charged, he’s in a retirement
home now, and yet, he was found credibly accused. [Gillian] Which is why,
the list is so important, she says . To protect future victims, but
also to give solace to those abused in the past. There are still so many
people that blame themselves. If you had access to such a
list and you just looked, and if your abusers
name was on that list, imagine the relief
that you might feel, that maybe I’m not at fault. Maybe it wasn’t me. Maybe it wasn’t that Body on Tap
shampoo that I had in my hair. Maybe it wasn’t the green
eyes that Fallona thought was so great. You think the church at least
owes you and other victims that. They owe us that. They owe this community that. Make it accountable,
turn over the records, with any credibility turn ’em
over to the authorities for process. They all have the list, they all
know who is in their diocese. Tell me your thoughts about this
group and what it is that they are trying to do. Well they’re all very
inspirational people that have been through some hard times
very early in their life and I think, you know, it’s a
testament to their courage and resiliency that they’re
getting together to do this. There are lists of priests in
diocese of names of predators that no one is aware of. But let’s not fool ourselves,
they are up against the oldest and most wealthy
corporation on this planet. I mean the Catholic
Church is a formidable foe. I do not trust anything that
comes out of the mouth of a priest or the
pope in this matter. From your experience how big
do you think the problem is? How many victims
are we talking about? It’s a tough question and you
know it’s the other edge of that is how many
perpetrator priests are there, the one thing I can definitively
say is that it’s more than any other profession or religion. And that’s a problem. You know, I don’t just
sue for victims of clergy, I sue for victims of
scouts and counsellors and other denominations and religions and
the Catholics have this market cornered. [Gillian] After the
strategy meeting, Leona asks to speak
with Rob privately. Alright so you wanted
to chat, about… [Gillian] She’s starting
to worry that Vancouver’s archbishop may not reveal the
names on his list after all. The Archbishop has said that
if I served on this review committee that he had this
responsibility to… to name names, that that was important. I sat on the committee for nine
months and bit my tongue as I heard stories that I
think should be made public, in some way. I guess the question you
ultimately want to ask or explore is, if you decide that
you’re going to do something with this list independently
what are the repercussions, right? [Leona] Exactly. What are the repercussions? Nobody sees whistle
blowers as heroes. I also signed a non-disclosure
I agreed when I went on this to that, so I would be
breaking that piece. But at the heart of this and my
biggest concern is– and, I mean, I’m an early
primary teacher. Is for children, and
the safety of children. Can I betray the group? Does one, does one
outweigh the other? And like yeah, what an
awful position to put me in. Let’s see if we can see what
they’re saying inside group. [Gillian] When we come back… the showdown in Cornwall. This is private property and the
company does not allow anyone on the property. In here we’re not
allowed to film either? Correct. So we can’t bring our own
cameras into the briefing? No. No, I’m sorry. [♪♪] [♪♪] The abuse took place in 1963. My abuser was
father Alphonse Robert. We came to this place
which was the sunset motel. First of all, in that trip what
he started to do which a lot of these predators do, he
started talking about sex. Finally, after the oral sex had
finished and he was standing in the doorway naked , and
he said to me, referring to his erection, “it’s
a big one, isn’t it?”. This was a catholic priest
with an 11-year-old boy. I was petrified,
I was terrified. [Gillian] The
group of survivors, abused by Catholic priests,
have been planning this visit to Cornwall, Ontario for months. They want an audience with the
most powerful men of that church in Canada… the Council of Catholic bishops. Among their demands, the bishops open their archives
and make public the names of clergy they know have abused. [Church bell rings] [Gillian] The Council
refused to hear the survivors. But on the eve of the conference
a smaller group of bishops reaches out,
offering a meeting. [Leona] I’ve done some research
on these Bishops and what’s really important to
know is, first of all, Prendergast is one
of them. This is Prendergast
saying mass with my offender. Connect it. The other person that’s on the
list is Archbishop Miller from Vancouver. I have just finished being part
of a case review process with Vancouver. Miller has in his hands the
document that outlines what happened during the
case review process. It talks about the number of
cases that were looked at. He can release it. [Gillian] Despite
being a private meeting, someone decides to
record the conversation… [Gillian] That’s Leona
pleading with the other bishops to stand behind Miller
in releasing the names he has, from a committee
she’s been sitting on. [Gillian] And what
did they all say? He nodded and he
knew, he said yeah, I have it right here. I have it right here… and wouldn’t it have been
wonderful if those men could have stood in
that room and said, “Let’s do it. Let’s start, Let’s
open the door.” [Gillian] But open
doors do not come easily to the
council of Bishops. The next morning, the group
arrives at the conference venue still hoping they
might get another word. It’s raining so let’s see if
we can see what they’re saying inside, group. This is private property and the
company does not allow anyone on the property. [Brenda] We’ll put
the signs away. We’re just going
to go to my room. I have a room here. I know who you are. Okay can you tell me
what my room is, please? Okay, so they changed my room. How did that happen? It’s the holy spirit. So all of these people
are gonna go in your room? Yeah, we’re seven people. We’re just gonna visit,
watch the event on TV. Thank You, I’ll go
get my new room number. We were on the fourth floor
which happened to be the block where the bishops are staying
and so they moved us to the first floor. We’re not here to create
animosity or create grief… I want to– I want to treat
you with respect, and I would hope that I’d
receive that in return. You know clearly the reception
received this morning was complete disrespect, they
treated our group as though we’re the criminals that
we’ve abused children. We’re part of the solution. [Brenda] They had the police
here today. I had security at every entrance
of the building following us come in. And I was greeted
as though I was, like, some kind of criminal. My goodness, I’m a survivor of
sexual abuse from a 12-year-old child. I wanted them to
hear my message, the message of our group and
offer help to a solution to this problem that Canada has. [Gillian] For two months we also
tried to get an audience with the bishops, any bishop,
who would share the council’s thinking on clergy abuse. Collectively, they have policies
on how to handle abuse claims from minors going forward. But when it comes to
accountability for crimes of the past, it’s up to each individual
bishop to decide whether to name abusers or not. So, I’m sorry in here we’re
not allowed to film either? Correct. Yeah, correct. But the invitation says that
we’re welcome to record the media briefing. No. So we can’t bring our own
cameras into the briefing? No, No, I’m sorry, but
that was clear. It’s the same conditions
as this morning. Why, Why? It’s a media briefing. Why can’t we
bring our camera in? No, again, it’s the
same conditions. -There are no–
-But you’re not answering my question, why? There are no other
cameras allowed. Can I ask questions? Yes you’ll be able
to ask questions… I can ask any questions I like? When the briefing is done, you
address questions on the topics that were brought up
during the briefing. So you get to set the topics? We can’t ask questions on… The topics are those items that
were presented during today’s general sessions. That’s what the
briefing will be about. Alright well I’ll go see if I
can get my questions answered. [Gillian] Clergy sexual abuse
was not on that day’s agenda, but we asked anyway, relying
on the conference’s in-house camera. And if anyone else
has a question… [Gillian] I’m with The Fifth
Estate at the CBC, Archbishop, and groups
representing people who have suffered abuse at the hands
of clergy are calling on the conference to release the names
of credibly accused priests. They’ve been doing
this for some time. That has happened in
other jurisdictions, willingly or not. Why won’t the assembly of
Catholic Bishops make those names available? Well, I think first of all
we met with various groups on Sunday night. As you probably know, it was a
very cordial meeting and we’re going to keep our
conversation private, I think. One of the things that I raised,
there was that sometimes there’s a misapprehension about what the
Catholic Church actually is in Canada. Like we think of a church and
we think of a head office some place but that’s
not the reality, the reality is, is that, and
this may be news to some people but dioceses are all relatively
independent realities. Each one is a church. [Gillian] And yet we’ve not seen
any diocese in this country publicly release those names. You are the head of a diocese
you are the archbishop of Winnipeg. Have you compiled such a list
and will you make it public? I have not in
Winnipeg, no I haven’t. [Gillian] Why not? At this point it’s a question
of discerning what is the appropriate thing to do, in
light of privacy laws which vary from province to
province and so on. So that’s something that the
bishops of Manitoba have to discuss further. Thank you very much. I appreciate you
saying that several times, we’ve got the message and that’s
the kind of thing that will be discussed. [Gillian] If the bishops did
discuss releasing names of abusers, they didn’t tell
us, or the survivors. You’re disappointed. [Leona] I’m extremely
disappointed, and frustrated. Yeah. [Gillian] So what are
you going to do? Go back to the West Coast, spend
a lot of time reflecting… Um hope– I’m hopeful I still
hold out a little bit of hope that Archbishop Miller
will have been moved. [Gillian] And if he decides not
to make that document that he’s sitting on public,
what will you do? I don’t want to be the one
that makes this document public. It shouldn’t be
my responsibility. He was the one that sought
out the media and made a media statement about his
goal to be transparent. He started this one. [Gillian] It’s true, yeah. I didn’t ask. [Gillian] Archbishop Miller
declined our interview requests but we have learned
details about the case review he ordered. The Vancouver committee was
presented with 36 files, dating back
to the 1950’s… 26 involved the abuse of minors. In 7 cases the
victims were adults. There were 3 cases where priests
were found to have fathered children. [Gillian] Most of the
named clergy are now dead, but not all. At least one priest the
committee looked into still lives in proximity to students. As for the “systemic
flaws”, Archbishop Miller said “contributed to abuse or
coverup”, we learned some details. Of accused priests who
moved jurisdictions. Who went for treatment rather
than being referred to police, Of victims who were paid
money and then forced to sign confidentiality agreements. Perhaps one of the most
disturbing things we learned is how often church officials
appeared to know of credibly accused perpetrators and yet did
not share that information with the community at large. [♪♪] [Bob] It’s gonna be a long road
but we can do this together. We have to have this
for those who come after. How many other people are out
there suffering in silence as I did for the
number of years I did. This is a global crisis. And what we’ve seen
in other countries, we will see in Canada. You’re not alone, So I think there’s a lot
more truth to be told, to be found out. There are stories
that need to be told. Alright. You’re just
starting the journey, we’ll walk together, my friend. [Man] Thanks for having me. My pleasure. I love you. [Man] I love you too. So, having declined to
speak to us about their plans, the Vancouver archdiocese now
says it will release some of the case review committee’s
findings later this week. In a statement the Archdiocese
told us it takes any allegations of sexual abuse seriously. It said it was unaware of claims
that priests who committed offences were ever transferred
or that appropriate authorities were not notified. We also contacted the rest of
Canada’s sixty dioceses to ask if they had conducted reviews
and if so whether they would release names of their
credibly accused clergy. Of the sixty, only
fourteen responded. Five diocese said they had
done or were planning reviews. But none would commit to
making the names public. [♪♪]

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