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‘Systemic failures’

There were 34 victims in a Cornwall child-molestation scandal, but evenafter a four-year, $53-million public inquiry no one knows if anorganized pedophile ring was operating in eastern Ontario.

There were 34 victims in a Cornwall child-molestation scandal, but even after a four-year, $53-million public inquiry no one knows if an organized pedophile ring was operating in eastern Ontario.

Commissioner G. Normand Glaude released his report yesterday, exposing “a combination of systemic failures, insensitivity to complaints, (and a) reluctance to act” on the part of church, school, police and justice officials.

That fuelled “speculation” — stoked by the media, and politicians making “inaccurate” statements — of a child molesters’ ring at large in the area for years.

“I heard evidence that suggested that there were cases of joint abuse, passing of alleged victims, and possibly passive knowledge of abuse. I am not making a pronouncement on whether a ring existed or not,” Glaude wrote in his 2,396-page report.

Glaude made 234 recommendations to various ministries, Cornwall police, Ontario Provincial Police, the local children’s aid society, the Catholic church diocese, and area school boards.

He urged the provincial government to put $5 million into “healing and reconciliation” services in the Cornwall area over the next five years, along with initiatives to train staff at institutions to better handle abuse allegations.

The probe was the most expensive in Ontario history, costing more than five times the inquiry into the Walkerton tainted water tragedy.

 
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