Gays face fallout after
Cornwall paedophile witchhunt
/ Lives ruined and gay community vilified
CORNWALL — Hollywood scriptwriters would have
been hardpressed to come up with a more intriguing
plot: a paedophile ring with a membership list of
prominent citizens holding wild sex orgies in a
secluded cottage a few miles east of this quiet
community of 46,000.
The ring was said to include a Roman Catholic
bishop, priests, the Cornwall police chief, other
high-ranking police officers, a probation officer, a
Crown attorney and some of the community's leading
Vulnerable boys, some as young as 10 years old,
were, so the story went, lured to the den of
iniquity with gifts and money. The clan used them as
personal sex toys with rituals that included men
clad in white sheets lusting after their naked,
young prey who had candles inserted into their
The ring operated with impunity for years, thanks to
a membership that included people in positions of
At least that was the tale spun by Ron Leroux, a
part-time painter, to Cornwall police officer Perry
Dunlop in the early 1990s.
Leroux claimed to have witnessed the orgies
firsthand at the cottage as well as at other
locations, one being a motel in Fort Lauderdale,
where the clan was said to have spent winter
vacations, sometimes bringing young boys from
Cornwall with them.
Dunlop and wife Helen were carrying out an
unauthorized investigation of sexual abuse in
Cornwall and area. He pounced on Leroux's story.
The tale was not only the driving force behind a
four-year OPP investigation — dubbed Project Truth —
but prompted the Dalton McGuinty government to set
up the Cornwall Public Inquiry to investigate the
way institutions such as the Roman Catholic Church,
law enforcement agencies and the Children's Aid
Society, handled complaints of sexual abuse.
The clan story also harmed reputations and drove gay
probation officer Ken Seguin to commit suicide.
The OPP investigation, that included hundreds of
interviews by a four-man team, found no evidence of
But that only added fuel to rumours of a high-level
Dunlop's private investigation would get him in hot
water with his superiors. He would eventually resign
from the force and move to British Columbia, where
he still lives.
For almost 14 years this community lived under the
dark shadow cast by Leroux's account.
Leroux's affidavit, containing graphic details and
names, became the cornerstone of the controversial
website, Projecttruth.com operated by Dick Nadeau.
The website was short on fact and long on rumours
The website fed the paedophile-ring frenzy that
gripped the community.
Within weeks of the site being set up, it had 30,000
Copies of Leroux's statement were downloaded
hundreds of times and distributed in factories and
Soon, everybody was talking about the "paedophile
ring" as a fact and names were tossed around like
The witchhunt was in full gear.
One prominent businessman whose name was linked to
the alleged ring suffered a nervous breakdown and a
dozen years later still suffers the effects of the
website's false accusations.
The gay and lesbian community became particularly
vulnerable as the line between homosexuality and
paedophilia became blurred.
I can still remember a call from a member of the
citizens coalition, a group headed by Dunlop's
brother-in-law Carson Chisholm, calling me to
complain about the alleged cover-up and how my
newspaper (the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder) wasn't
doing enough to expose "these homos."
When it was pointed out to the caller that he was
lumping homosexuals and paedophiles together, his
remark spoke volumes.
"They're all queers. Instead of burying them they
should just chisel their heads and pound them into
Don Johnson, a former Crown attorney and now the
city's top criminal defence lawyer, agrees that the
line between gays and paedophiles has been blurred.
Johnson defended three persons charged by Project
Truth and won all three cases.
However, he points out that because of the hysteria
created by the paedophile clan tale, they'll never
be acquitted in the court of public opinion.
Johnson never bought into the paedophile ring story.
"I knew it was bogus right from the start. It was a
piece of fiction taken from a book," he said.
Unfortunately, a large chunk of the city's
population suspended disbelief and accepted the
story as gospel.
But then came the inquiry that was going to expose
all the lies and deceit by the people in power and
have clan members running for the proverbial hills.
Ron Leroux was going to get an opportunity to repeat
the story under oath.
And he did.
The conspiracy theorists had visions of prominent
Cornwall citizens being dragged off in handcuffs.
It was going to be their red-letter day.
Leroux's testimony was indeed shocking — but not
because it exposed a clan of paedophiles.
Instead, Leroux, under questioning by inquiry
counsel Peter Engelmann came clean.
The paedophile clan story was made up. A piece of
fiction, he said. In fact, many of the people he
named in his affidavit were his friends.
And why the clan story?
Leroux told the inquiry he had fallen victim to the
He said Dunlop had been pressuring him for a
clan-type story so he made one up.
Leroux even suggested that some of the statements
contained in the affidavit were added by Dunlop and
Dunlop's Newmarket lawyer, Charlie Bourgeois.
"I never read anything they put down," Leroux told
the inquiry. "I never took the time to read it. I
was on a hell of a merry-go-round for a few years
with them. Anything could have been written in
there. I wouldn't even say anything about it."
The tale came out of a book about an alleged
paedophile clan in the United States.
When asked by Engelmann for his definition of a
paedophile, Leroux blurted out "a queer."
Leroux also said his story about the group taking
young boys to Fort Lauderdale for sexual pleasure
was made up as well.
The shocking admission stunned the inquiry.
But it wasn't the first time the inquiry heard an
alleged victim recant his story.
On two previous occasions, alleged victims testified
that they wrongly named a Roman Catholic priest as
One said he didn't even know the priest, Father
"I was just told to put his name in the affidavit,"
Leroux's stunning admission wasn't expected by
lawyers representing the institutions linked to his
affidavit and they were eager to quiz him.
However, they never got a chance to
A psychiatrist ruled that Leroux was not mentally
fit to undergo cross-examination. He was excused by
inquiry commissioner Normand Glaude. Incredibly,
despite the shocking admission, Helen Dunlop still
believes in Leroux's original story.
"To this day, I still believe what he told us was
the truth," she told the inquiry. "Yes, he was
telling the truth."
Judging from Ms Dunlop's reaction, the black cloud
put over this community by the bogus paedophile clan
tale and the resulting witchhunt isn't going away