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?