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January 23, 2008

City Cops Drove Probationers to Ken Seguin's Place: Van Diepen

by Elisabeth Johns, Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

Some city cops used to drop probationers off at the home of a probation officer who would later be accused of sexual abuse, a recently retired probation officer maintained during his cross-examination at the Cornwall Public Inquiry Tuesday.

During Jos van Diepen's testimony, he briefly mentioned that he remembered hearing his colleague Ken Seguin tell him members of the Cornwall police used to drop probationers off at his home sometime in the 1970s.

Peter Manderville, a lawyer for the city police, asked van Diepen if he could recall anything more about this practice - like who the cops were that would drop probationers off at Seguin's home.

The probation officer said it was a well-known fact in the Cornwall probation office, and that Seguin would have talked about it before his suicide in 1993. Seguin was never charged with any abuse, but was accused of sexually abusing probationers in his charge.

"When I had those conversations with the police officers, it would have been post-Seguin's death and it would have been in context that we were both sort of hoodwinked here," van Diepen said.

Manderville pointed out that none of the other employees that worked at the Cornwall probation and parole office when Seguin worked there mentioned this during their testimony. He also said the city police denies such a practice ever existed.

"Given that no one else has spoken of this practice, is it possible you're mistaken?" Manderville asked.

"Absolutely not, sir," he replied, adding those other than him were aware of the practice.

During cross-examination, Dallas Lee, a lawyer for The Victims Group, also pointed out what he believed were a number of fabrications in van Diepen's testimony. van Diepen has often been accused of knowing about abuse allegations involving Seguin and not doing anything about them - an accusation he denies.

"You have a habit of manipulating the truth and fabricating your stories to make yourself look better, would you agree with me on that?" Lee asked.

"Absolutely not, sir," van Diepen said, adding that he was the only probation officer who gave detailed information to police.

He then admitted if police were to ask him to give a statement about what he knew of allegations of abuse, he would not because of the effect the inquiry process has had on him.

Sue Lariviere, another probation officer who worked with Seguin, briefly began to testify Tuesday.

Her evidence will continue today.

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