Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Are Children Safe at Local Catholic Elementary Schools?

Several months ago, a member of standing in the community, was charged with sex crimes involving a minor. The accused was a long-serving elementary school teacher in Port Hope, Cobourg and Grafton. The St Michael’s Catholic Church bulletin announced that the accused was the Grand Knight of the local Knights of Columbus. The accused was also part of a group that expressed their distaste of a homosexual serving in the church, an incident that brought in the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Several months have passed since the charges were laid, and not a word has been published in the local newspapers. Northumberland Today had no difficulty publishing a story involving a Catholic school teacher last June 5, 2008.

Dan Burnie, an Occasional Teacher, was charged today by Peterborough Lakefield Community Police Services with two counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference. The charges against Mr. Burnie relate to recent allegations by students at a Catholic school in Peterborough.

In the blogosphere and social networks, some local residents have expressed outrage that there has been zero information provided to the community about the case. There is an information ban on any details whatsoever concerning the victim, and that is as it should be. Acting on behalf of the community, the state has laid charges against an individual. That is all the community needs to know at this point in time.

It is all that is needed to serve the needs of justice, because the message to the community will serve to enlighten the community and that enlightenment could well bring forth other victims, who were too traumatized to be the first to step forward with their story. The perps of such crimes are more often than not to have done their deeds over a long time and left a trail of victims.

The social media has brought forth allegations that there have been other instances, and that these had been brought to the attention of school authorities. This, of course, begs the question of local school authorities, (1) what did they know, (2) when did they know and (3) what did they do about it?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jack Vollering Charged With Sex Crimes Against Minor

JACK VOLLERING, appeared before court Monday morning last for a pretrial hearing on two charges; sexual interference of a minor under the age of 14 and sexual assault. The judge at the pretrial hearing took Mr Vollering's lawyer into chambers for discussion; later, Mr Vollering was advised to consult with his lawyer and then return for a court appearance January 16. Mr Vollering is free on his own recognizance with a promise to appear.

Jack Vollering, 65, has been a Catholic elementary school teacher for many years, teaching in Grafton, Port Hope and Cobourg. His last teaching assignment was grade six at St Michael’s School, located next to St. Michael’s Church in Cobourg. News of the charges spread today (Dec 19) to radio stations in Cobourg and Peterborough and also into the social media where the discussion revolved around how the school responded to concerned parents when they brought his behavior to their attention.

This is the same church with 12 parishioners who had received an Ontario Human Rights Commission complaint in 2009 from St Anne’s Spa owner, Jim Corcoran.

The complaint charged that Jack Vollering and the 11 other parishioners threatened “to go public with their complaints if the Bishop did not remove the 2 gay servers from the altar. . . . In their letters the group has tried to establish that I am married to my same sex partner, that I am an active homosexual leading an openly homosexual lifestyle and they implied that I may be in a relationship with Father Hood. . . . this group of 12 parishioners have used their distaste towards homosexuality to limit my right to serve my church and deepen my faith by serving on the altar, and to pursue a vocation within the Catholic Church. They have also caused me embarrassment in my church community by circulating petitions to fellow parishioners containing accusations pertaining to my lifestyle.”

A year later the complaint was resolved in mediation.

A year later, one of the 12 parishioners is facing accusations pertaining to his lifestyle; sexual interference of a minor and sexual assault. Pumping irony?

Jack Vollering is a member in good standing with the local Knights of Columbus. The July 3, 2011 bulletin of St Michael’s Church announced that he was the Grand Knight. Other church bulletins indicate that Jack Vollering was a winner of the Respect Life Lottery Calendar and that he was the contact for tickets to the Clergy Appreciation Dinner at St Therese Parish in Courtice.

OPP officer, Angela Ward, is the contact point for any further victims in the community or anyone who has information to share. She can be reached at 905-372-5421, ext. 10805.