Thursday, 9 February 2012

What is happening about the Hanoski civil action? Not much to this point in time.

Justice not seen is justice not done.

The alleged sexual abuse story heats up in a flurry of speculation, innuendo and perhaps even libel.

by Tom Thorne


Continuing my coverage of this case...
I presume that when the Quinte News Radio website publishes a comment from a certain "mike" on 21 January 2012 they can back up what he says. Mike alleges that Father Paul Hamilton and Father Michael Reed both sexually abused him when he was an alter boy at Holy Rosary. If this is not true then it is clearly libelous.
If what "mike" alleges proves to be true under oath, then the Joe Hanoski charges may have some traction.  Will this "mike" be  subpoenaed  as a witness or will he remain as an anonymous "mike" and never come forward?  Will he become yet another silent innuendo?  And so the story builds in this small Eastern Ontario town with over 51 comments appearing on the website of these local broadcasters. 
Another website styled Sylvia's Site covers the trials of alleged miscreant priests in some detail. This site, however, also contains unsubstantiated rumor about Father Paul Hamilton's alleged misuse of Holy Rosary parish funds. This rumor was denied two Sundays ago by the current Holy Rosary pastor Father John Hibbard.
Suffice it to say that Father Hibbard made it very clear that after the usual financial audits of the parish when he took over eight years ago, and after Father Paul Hamilton was placed on administrative leave, nothing was found to be wrong with the parish finances. 
Hopefully this rumor is now set to rest. It is clear that Sylvia's Site in this instance is potentially spreading innuendo if not a libel. I contacted the site yesterday asking for a comment about their sources and to this point have not received a reply.
The other website that is very pro Hanoski is one operated by a Will Samuel, a friend of plaintiff Joe Hanoski and his wife. It is very supportive of Joe Hanoski but it is in no way anything more than an opinionated view of the alleged events. There is no substantiated facts on this website that would help us get any insights about what really happened.
So that leaves us still in a limbo state. The Archdiocese of Kingston has retained a stoney silence as they have done for over eight years. Again unsubstantiated rumor has it that the Archdiocese says that they are not responsible for any outcomes of a civil trial. 
This rumor makes absolutely no sense because they are named in Hanoski's  Statement of Claim. Of course the Archdiocese is involved in any civil action launched against any of their priests while they held an office of trust in a parish operated by the Archdiocese.
And what are the other media in  Belleville doing to get at this story? Well to this point the daily newspaper has done nothing. There is a silence from the Intelligencer. They have not followed up on the Quinte News radio story.
Another aspect of this story also needs an airing. There is interesting outcome in civil law for not hearing civil cases for members of "self governing organizations". The Catholic Church and its archdioceses fall under this heading and in particular a case involving Father Brian Hart was lost on appeal when Hart attempted to launch a civil action against The Archdiocese of Kingston.
Hart lost his appeal because he was subject to processes under Canon Law. Priests and nuns are not employees in the sense that they are subject to secular civil employment law. They are subject to their own Canon Law processes. However, they are subject to criminal law.
That may account for why Father Paul Hamilton has been only subject to Canon law but those accused of alleged sexual indiscretions are by the same token reported to the police by an Archdiocese for possible civil or criminal action. That just happened in the Archdiocese of Kingston with the reported case of Father Rene Labelle eight days ago covered by the Kingston Whig Standard and CKWS TV news.
Yesterday I emailed Archbishop Brendan O'Brian in search of clarification of where the Archdiocese of Kingston stands on the civil action brought against Father Paul Hamilton and Father Michael Reed.
There seems to be two standards at work here. The  Archdiocese reported Father Labelle to the police for their potential action according to the Whig Standard and CKWS stories. Why then has Father Hamilton's case taken so long and  was it reported to the police when it happened almost eight years ago?  And if it was reported to the police back then what evidence was there?  Time to get some answers. If this civil case goes to a settlement hearing the parties will probably agree to maintain silence forever.
© Copyright 2012, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved


  1. An email we received: I think it offers some balance:

    With all the problems the Catholic church is having, it's refreshing to read something in it's favour.

    Excerpts of an article written by non-Catholic Sam Miller - a prominent Cleveland Jewish businessman:

    "Why would newspapers carry on a vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States , namely the Catholic Church?

    Do you know - the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday at the cost to that Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. The graduates go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%.

    The Church has 230 colleges and universities in the U.S. with an enrolment of 700,000 students.

    The Catholic Church has a non-profit hospital system of 637 hospitals, which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people - not just Catholics - in the United States today.

    But the press is vindictive and trying to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country They have blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage.

    Let me give you some figures that Catholics should know and remember. For example, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact in a study by the United Methodist Church , 41.8% of clergy women reported unwanted sexual behavior; 17% of laywomen have been sexually harassed.

    Meanwhile, 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia. 10% of the Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia. This is not a Catholic problem.

    A study of American priests showed that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.

    The Catholic Church is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by a small number of wayward priests that have probably been totally weeded out by now.

    Walk with your shoulders high and you head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non-governmental agency in the United States ....

    Then remember what Jeremiah said: 'Stand by the roads, and look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls'. Be proud to speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions.

    Be proud that you're a Catholic."

    Please pass this on to every Catholic on your e-mail list.

  2. The Intelligencer, the daily newspaper in Belleviile published a letter in its Saturday, 11 February 2012 edition. The letter is from a new Catholic who points out that neither the Church nor the majority of the priesthood should be tarred by these stories of misconduct by a few. It's a long letter adn you can read it for yourself on the Inteeligener website.

  3. I am aware of this case quite intimately. Father Reed was not involved in the sexual abuse directly. He never touched anyone inappropriately. His involvement in the case is due to the fact that he knew about the abuse and counselled the victims to stay, not give up.