Court issues warrant for stonewalling inquiry witness

B.C. resident Perry Dunlop skipped Cornwall, Ont., abuse inquiry despite contempt conviction

Last Updated: Monday, January 28, 2008

An Ontario court issued a warrant Monday for the arrest of a former Cornwall, Ont., police officer who disobeyed a court order to testify at a public inquiry into sexual abuse allegations in Cornwall.

Perry Dunlop, who now lives in Duncan, B.C., refused to show up at the Cornwall inquiry on Jan. 14 despite the order issued by a divisional court in November, when he was found guilty of contempt of court.

The provincial inquiry is looking into the way sexual abuse allegations made in eastern Ontario over decades were handled by authorities.

Dunlop faces a second contempt of court charge for missing his January appearance at the inquiry.

However, a court in Toronto decided Monday not to rule on that charge until after Dunlop is arrested and appears before the court.

The warrant was issued after counsel for the Cornwall commission argued that Dunlop should not be sentenced in absentia.

The court has not yet determined whether Dunlop should be punished through jail time, a fine or an admonishment.

On Nov. 14, an Ontario divisional court found Dunlop guilty of the first contempt of court charge for refusing to testify at the Cornwall Public Inquiry in both September and October of last year.

The commission had subpoenaed Dunlop because he helped launch the police probe into sexual abuse allegations in Cornwall and was considered a key witness.

Dunlop disciplined for going to Children's Aid Society

His role in the investigation began in 1993, when he overheard two police sergeants talking about $32,000 that the Catholic Church paid a former altar boy in exchange for his agreement to drop a sexual abuse complaint against a priest and a probation officer.

Dunlop handed the complaint to the Children's Aid Society, which pursued the investigation, and Dunlop was later disciplined for his actions.

The complaint came amid rumours that a pedophile ring had been operating in the community, and eventually led to a four-year Ontario Provincial Police investigation called Project Truth, involving dozens of allegations of sexual abuse in incidents dating back to the 1950s.

That operation resulted in charges against 15 people, including some prominent members of the community, such as priests and probation officers.

However, police found no evidence of an organized pedophile ring and only a handful of men were convicted in Project Truth or other related investigations.