The Justice of Unfairness


Convivium, 1 February 2018

Accusations of sexual misconduct might lead to seemingly unfair consequences but justice must err on the side of victims, Father Raymond de Souza argues.

The lightning-speed fall of Patrick Brown has no particular lessons for similar cases, but it does raise questions about how to deal with allegations of sexual misconduct.

Twenty years after President Bill Clinton – with the essential assistance of his wife – steamrollered his victims with character assassination and legal maneuvering, the rules have changed. Now it is the alleged perpetrators who are complaining about being railroaded – not steamrollered, as that vehicle moves too slow – by a process that reaches a conclusion within days, if not hours.

Set aside, though, Patrick Brown and his friend, former MP Rick Dykstra. The latter, after being defeated in the 2015 federal election, was installed by Brown as president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.
Dykstra resigned days after Brown for also allegedly doing what Brown allegedly did. And it is those “allegedlys” that are giving some people pause. A few hours does not seem sufficient to arrive at a mature judgement about the facts, let alone the appropriate consequences of those facts.

But forget about Brown. He was not fired. In fact, he couldn’t be. He was accused, and among those who know him very well, who worked with him every day, not a single voice was raised in his defense.

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