1 min

Former cop refuses to testify at Cornwall inquiry

Gays faced fallout from paedophile panic

A former cop who started an investigation into an alleged paedophile ring in Cornwall, ON refused to testify at a government inquiry Jan 14.

In 1993, Perry Dunlop began an off-duty investigation of claims that an altar boy had been sexually abused by a Cornwall-area priest. He said his unauthorized investigation pointed to a paedophile ring that included businessmen, priests and members of the police force.

The Ontario Provincial Police launched their own investigation and in 1998, charged 15 with sexual crimes against youngsters.

But when the OPP investigation wrapped up in 2004, only one person among the 15 had been convicted. Some witnesses testified that their stories of sexual abuse were fabricated. Police concluded that there was no evidence that a paedophile ring operated in the city.

A public inquiry, launched in 2005, was mandated to examine what happened, how public institutions responded, and to work with residents of Cornwall to rebuild community. It is not mandated to find criminal liability.

Perry Dunlop told media this week that he was prepared to “go to jail” for refusing to testify at the inquiry. He says he is disillusioned with the judicial system that has “pummelled” him at previous trials on the case.

Hysteria surrounding the alleged paedophile ring gripped the city when the allegations were made public in the early 1990s. The gay community in Cornwall became vulnerable as the line between homosexuality and paedophilia became blurred.

Claude McIntosh, a reporter at the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder, recalls how he received a phone complaint that his paper wasn’t doing enough to expose “these homos”.

When McIntosh pointed out that the caller was lumping homosexuals and paedophiles together, the caller responded:

“They’re all queers. Instead of burying them they should just chisel their heads and pound them into the ground.”