REPORT OF EVELYN KORKMAZ.
ST. ANNE’S RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SURVIVOR.
MEMBER OF FORT ALBANY FIRST NATION.
MEMBER OF CREE NATION.
DATED: November 17,2020.
COMMENTS REGARDING VATICAN REPORT ABOUT
CARDINAL THEODORE McCARRICK.
- Cardinal Theodore McCarrick comparisons to St. Anne’s residential school:
On February 11, 2020, I reviewed the Vatican report released on February 10, 2020 about Cardinal Theodore McCormick. This report took two years to investigate and produce. As a survivor of St. Anne’s Indian Residential School in Canada, I noticed similarities with the investigation findings of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s report and with the findings at St. Anne’s residential school investigation, formerly located in Fort Albany on the west coast of James Bay. St. Anne’s was operated by the Diocese of Moosonee, Oblates of Mary Immaculate and Grey Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.
- Dismissal of Allegations of Abuse without investigations:
- In the report dated November 10, 2020 about Cardinal Theodore McCormick, Pope John Paul II decided to elevate Cardinal McCarrick after being warned of his sexual misconduct but dismissing all allegations as rumours.
- For St. Anne’s residential school, in the early 60’s, a letter was sent addressed to the Vatican, from St. Anne’s survivors reporting details of horrific, widespread clergy sexual abuse and cover up, which likely was (or should have been) brought to the attention of the Pope. The Vatican did not even respond to the allegations of Father Laguerrier’s sexual misconduct, abuse of power, and cover up of fellow clergy, was ignored. Father Laguerrier continued to rise up in the church ranks to Bishop in the early 70’s, despite these allegations against him and his fellow clergy.
- Veil of Secrecy by Church allowed Clergy sexual abusers to ruin more lives:
- Cardinal Theodore McCormick’s denial of sexual allegations were accepted without full inquiry and the inquiry by the Church was kept under a veil of secrecy.
- At St. Anne’s residential school, in 1967 a group of 10 school boys together told Bishop Laguerrier that sexual abuse was happening in the school, including by Father Lavoie, to which he responded “it is the fatherly way” but nothing further was done. Father Lavoie remained a Priest in Fort Albany into the 1990’s and he was a serial sexual abuser of children. For over 20 years, additional sexual abuse of children could have been avoided, plus the resulting human suffering from being sexually abused by one’s own Priest and being powerless to stop such evil conduct.
- Church fails to involve police in crimes against children and Church Officials directed to not cooperate with Police investigations of sexual abuse of children
- Sexual abuse of children is a crime. The Church did not report the allegations of sexual abuse by Cardinal McCormick to the police.
- St. Anne’s residential school, after a conference in 1992 that was attended by the then Bishop, over 30 Indigenous survivors gave their testimonies in private to a panel of five people, led by a Justice of the Peace. That led to an investigation into child abuse at St. Anne’s by the Ontario Provincial Police from 1992 to 1996. During that investigation, Bishop Laguerrier lied and told the police officers that he had never received any complaints about sexual or physical abuse of children at St. Anne’s. The Bishop was also being investigated for impregnating one of the school girls at St. Anne’s, and that the fetus was aborted late into the pregnancy by other church officials and the remains of the fetus were cremated in the furnace at the school. The Bishop died suddenly in 1995, before criminal charges were laid by the Ontario Crown attorney. The police also confirmed in other statements that church officials were directed to not cooperate in the investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police.
- Church moving around clergy and officials accused of sexual abuse, to other unsuspecting/uninformed communities.
- The Diocese of Moosonee staffed two Indian residential schools and many day schools in the James Bay region, on both the Ontario and Quebec sides of James Bay. The area is remote, without roads. Until the 1960’s there were no airports or flights to the region. When allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct arose against church officials, the Bishop would simply move the accused official to another school, resulting in more sexual abuse of children in other communities.
The Vatican has decades or centuries of history, of receiving credible accusations of clergy being child sex offenders, throughout its institutions around the world. The Vatican has chosen to not investigate or to conduct its own secret investigations. The church has in its possession thousands of documents of evidences of clergy child sex abuse, and the resulting cover up. Despite international pleas to the Vatican and to the UN from survivors of clergy sexual abuse, who live around the world, for accountably and justices, our pleas have been ignored and have fallen on deaf ears.
The Church must stand firm that there is to be zero tolerance by the church for crimes such as sexual abuse committed against children by Clergy and church officials. Pope Francis has moral, ethical and biblical duties, to be our leader and to take steps to ensure the protection of children against crimes such as sexual abuse by clergy and church officials. Protection against evil is part of the Lord’s Prayer, and the clergy are God’s representatives on Earth.
The Government of Canada forced Indigenous children like myself to attend Indian Residential schools under federal law, 65% of which were run by the Catholic Church. The Government of Canada has itself promised to reconcile with the Indigenous peoples of Canada in the Settlement Agreement in 2006. Part of the Agreement established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which held hearings across the country and established a Final Report with 94 Calls to Action for the loss of our cultures, languages, traditions and spiritual beliefs.
I will call upon the Government of Canada to:
- enact laws to protect children to ensure enforcement of their human rights.
- implement laws to investigate, report and release documents about clergy who have been credibly accused, from Catholic Dioceses across Canada.
- To criminally charge and prosecute clergy, and if convicted, to add their names to the national sex offenders list maintained in Canada.
The Catholic Church needs to learn from past mistakes and evil committed by people who are given access to children due to their appointment and status in the church, to ensure it does not happen again. Or, when such crimes against children are committed by persons who are officials of the church, the manner in which these crimes are handled by the Catholic Church must completely change. The Church needs to keep a steady policy that will not protect any clergy or church officials who engage in sexual abuse of children, and the Church must teach clergy and church officials that it is evil and they will not be protected if they commit such crimes. That new policy could eventually eliminate the crimes against children, and eliminate the liability to the church itself.
Evelyn (Edwards) Korkmaz
Fort Albany First Nation Member
St. Anne’s IRS Survivor
Founding member of Ending Clergy Abuse
Founding member of Advocates for Clergy Trauma Survivors of Canada
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org.