The prosecutor and the abusive priest saw each other the last time at a London jail just to talk.
Chatham-Kent Crown attorney Paul Bailey needed to know more about why Rev. Charles Sylvestre abused little girls.
Sylvestre agreed to meet him at the Elgin-Middlesex DetentionCentre shortly before he was shipped to Kingston to start his prisonsentence after he pleaded guilty in Chatham to indecently assaulting 47girls.
Bailey, who has come out in strong support of the Londondiocese's efforts to stop sexual abuse, told Sylvestre he "wasinterested in his views about how we can prevent this abuse fromhappening in the future."
He heard the ramblings of a pedophile who blamed his victims and accused them of being conspirators.
It was their fault, he told Bailey. "He minimized his owninvolvement, he blamed others and he lacked insight into thepsychological carnage he had caused."
Pedophilia is not "a mere moral fault" as the church treatedSylvestre's sexual deviancy, but a distinct psychological condition,Bailey said.
"If you handle a pedophile that way, all you are doing is serving up more children for destruction," he said yesterday.
Bailey described his conversation with Sylvestre at achurch-sponsored sexual abuse workshop and will be in London next week.He is working tirelessly with others -- including Bishop Ronald Fabbro-- to talk about prevention of clergy sexual abuse of minors.
In the wake of Sylvestre's death Monday, Bailey applaudedFabbro's efforts, but called on the Canadian Catholic Conference ofBishops to make a public show of support.
Though Fabbro has said some bishops have expressed their support of his efforts, Bailey said there needs to be a unified voice.
"Why not come out publicly and say that we support the verygoals Bishop Fabbro supports? We support openness, honesty andtransparency as he does.
"There is no reason that I can discern that they wouldn't bestanding shoulder to shoulder to him, reassuring the victims that as anorganization they are all committed to ensuring this never happensagain."
The conference has said Canadian bishops are autonomous.
Bailey said victims have "a real and pressing need" to hear from all the bishops.
Sylvestre's death does not mark a waning of momentum in the collective goal of stopping sexual abuse, Bailey said.
"We cannot allow this to happen again."
1952-1989: Rev. Charles Sylvestre serves as parish priest inRoman Catholic churches in London, Chatham, Pain Court, Sarnia andWindsor.
1989: The London diocese learns of allegations of sexual abuseagainst Sylvestre. He is sent for alcohol counselling, but is allowedto continue to preach.
1993: Another allegation surfaces and Sylvestre is forced to retire.
July 21, 2005: Sylvestre, 82, is arrested and charged with fivesexual assault counts against three girls between the ages of 10 and 13when he was a priest at St. Ursula's in Chatham.
August 2005: More complaints flood into police, some fromwomen in Sarnia dating back to the 1950s, after the original chargesare announced by Chatham police.
Nov. 14, 2005: Sylvestre, now 83, arrested in his Belle Riverhome after women complain of sexual harassment. He now faces 36 chargesof abuse, dating back to 1954.
January 2006: More charges are added, bringing to more than40 the total number since Sylvestre was charged with historical sexualabuse offences against more than 35 women between 1954 and 1985.
Aug. 3, 2006: Sylvestre pleads guilty to 47 counts of indecentassault against 47 sexual abuse victims. The charges are against girlsages nine to 14 dating back to 1952. Twenty-one women describe theabuse they suffered at the priest's hands during their childhood. Thatday, London Bishop Ronald Fabbro issues an apology "for the failure ofthe church to protect the victims and their families from (Father)Sylvestre."
Aug. 6, 2006: Fabbro apologizes again, this time at St.Ursula's parish, with some of Sylvestre's victims present, and vows tocampaign to have the convicted priest defrocked.
Sept. 22: The last 26 women are to read their victim-impactstatements, but the judge orders a halt to the trial to get apsychiatric assessment of the now 84-year-old retired priest to see ifhis trial can go forward.
Oct. 6: Sylvestre is sentenced to three years in prison aftera psychiatric assessment finds him fit -- he asks forgiveness from hisvictims before sentencing.
Dec. 20: The diocese reveals three Sarnia police reports from1962, when three girls reported abuse by Sylvestre. The report wasmisfiled and only found by the diocese more than 40 years after thefact.
Monday: Sylvestre, 84, dies in a Kingston prison hospital just three months into his three-year sentence.
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