March 28, 2006

Church fights authority of sex inquiry

Toronto Star

Mar. 28, 2006. 07:00 PM

CORNWALL, Ont. — A public inquiry probing how public institutions responded to historical allegations of child sexual abuse does not have the authority to issue recommendations to the Catholic Church, a lawyer for the local diocese said Tuesday.

The Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese doesn’t want to be considered a “public institution” as is spelled out in the terms of reference established for the inquiry last year by the Ontario government, said lawyer David Sherriff-Scott.

Considering the diocese a public institution just because it provides services to the poor and downtrodden would be unfair and would distract the inquiry from its true mandate, Sherriff-Scott told Commissioner Normand Glaude.

“If I interpreted every charitable organization that held itself out in the public domain as providing services on behalf of the public — Big Brothers, Big Sisters, athletic organizations, health charities — every one of them would be, on that argument, a public institution,” he argued.

Posted by kshaw at March 28, 2006 10:26 PM