Canadian Police Criticized for Pedophile Witch Hunt

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday February 23, 2009

Ritualistic group molestation was one wild allegation that arose during an investigation into a suspected pedophilia ring in Cornwall, Ontario.

But this, and other stories, seem to have been fabrication, driven--at least in part--by homophobia.

In the city of Cornwall, Ontario, an investigation into a suspected pedophile ring resulted in accusations leveled at prominent members of the community.

Though pedophilia and homosexuality are understood by professionals to be two separate phenomena, gay men suspected to be part of the group led to new suspects: namely, gay men who were linked to them.

According to one estimate, up to 96% of pedophiles are heterosexual.

"Activities that in a less homophobic community would be seen as benign, in Cornwall became evidence of a pedophile ring," read a document by Citizens for Community Renewal, reported a Feb. 23 article published by the Canadian Press.

Continued the document, "For this equation of homosexuality with 'pedophilia' to occur in the 21st century and for people to reason that associated gay men were guilty by association is a reflection of the depth of the community's homophobia."

The document comes at the close of a probe that has cost $32 million and taken three years to conduct.

The groundwork for the later charges of conspiracy and sexual molestation was laid in earlier decades, the article said, when churches and private charities sought to handle any suggestion of improper conduct by adults by themselves.

That gave rise to a climate of suspicion, according to Citizens for Community Renewal, which stated, "These patterns of weakness in the institutional responses prior to 1992 fed the view that institutions were covering up sexual offenses by prominent people."

That was where one police official in particular, Constable Perry Dunlop, entered the picture, with what the article explained the Citizens for Community Renewal suggested was "a blind crusade," with the result that in the 1990s a total of 114 charges were brought against 15 individuals in Cornwall, though no evidence was uncovered to support the accusations.

Helen Daly, counsel for the Citizens for Community Renewal, said, "The local hero and his supporters then become the alternate constabulary, if you will," the article reported.

"They become the alternate people to whom one goes to report abuse."

But a "pedophile smear campaign" was the purported result, and the testimony it drew proved unreliable, with one witness claiming to have seen groups of men clad in robes molesting children as candles burned--only to admit later on that he had made it all up.

Said Daley, "Constable Dunlop lost his way.

"He lost his way, but no one individual, no matter how misguided or how committed to a misguided cause, should have caused this result."

Dunlop was at the head of a four-year investigation, called Project Truth, that embroiled the 15 accused men in Cornwall in allegations of pedophilia.

Dunlop himself served seven months in prison for contempt, after refusing to testify in the probe of that, and other, investigations.

An account of Dunlop's winning an award at the 2000 Annual International Ethics appeared at the Web site for the Institute of Law Enforcement Administration.

According to that article, Dunlop became involved in the investigation into the suspected pedophile ring in 1994, when he reportedly took action in the case of an alleged sexual abuser who was, the article said, permitted to pay the victim off rather than face charges.

Dunlop disobeyed instructions and took the story to the Children's Aid Society, which led, the article said, to Dunlop being disciplined.

The article said that Dunlop was exonerated twice but that he was subjected to harassment and eventually moved out of Cornwall.

A subsequent investigation--the one being probed--led to the accusations, and also alleged that a conspiracy between the church, the government, and the police to suppress word of the pedophilia ring was in effect.

The Canadian Press article said that the $32 million probe was not set up to look into the alleged crimes against children, but at how so many prominent members of the community, including members of the clergy, came to be so accused, despite a lack of evidence.

At blog site Cornwall, Truth or Denial an article re-posted from Canadian newspaper the Standard Freeholder said that Dunlop, after returning to his home in the town of Duncan, in British Columbia, after his seven month sentence, was presented with a "Golden Whistleblower Award."

The award was bestowed "for service to Canada in the pursuit of truth in government," the article said, and was given to Dunlop by the group Peace Order and Good Government.

The award was presented in Ottawa, but Dunlop was not at the presentation; instead, a friend, Sylvia MacEachern, accepted it for Dunlop and then read a statement written by Dunlop.

"The price for taking a stand, telling the truth and protecting our freedom of speech can come at an enormous cost. I am living proof of that," the statement read.

"The physical, psychological and emotional toll to me and my loved ones continues to hit home each and every day."

A Feb. 23 article at the Standard Freeholder reported on Dunlop's having been cross-examined during the 2004 trial of one of the fifteen men who faced allegations from Project Truth.

During that cross-examination, Dunlop was asked whether he was "anti-homosexual," the article said.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.