Feb 26, 2009 10:45 AM
CORNWALL, Ont. – The Cornwall inquiry is hearing the amount of sexual abuse in the eastern Ontario city was no different than in any other Canadian community.
A lawyer for the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall is presenting closing submissions at the inquiry, which is examining institutional response decades ago to sex abuse allegations.
The community was gripped with rumours of a pedophile ring operated by high-profile local officials after scores of allegations against priests, probation officers and others emerged in the 1990s.
David Sherriff-Scott says the rate of sexual abuse in Cornwall is not out of the ordinary, but the public reaction made the situation different.
Sherriff-Scott says there was an "environment of ignorance" at the time, which extended to media coverage, and transformed rumours of a pedophile ring into public paranoia.
He also says then-police officer Perry Dunlop was largely responsible for those rumours.
Commentary by the ottawa mens centre
The fact that Cornwall is "no different" to "any other Canadian Community" is totally irrelevant to the Cornwall Inquiry. Religious organizations have their saints and their share of the others like "any other Canadian community. The closing arguments by the Diocese of Alexander-Cornwall sound rather self serving and irrelevant. Fact is, Perry Dunlop's refusal to testify is the most daming evidence of all that his allegations were fictitious stories that just sounded exactly what some wanted to hear. The Inquiry did its job and all those involved need to be commended for finally getting it done right.