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