Published online in the Globe and Mail, May 19, 2012
The ornate downtown cathedral was preparing for the inauguration of Montreal’s new Archbishop, but the private investigators waiting outside weren’t there for the ceremony. They were waiting to serve court papers to the former leader of St. Catharines’ Roman Catholic church, a man who resigned and disappeared two years ago amid a growing sex-abuse scandal in his diocese.
The investigators had to time it perfectly. “Once he was on hallowed ground, we could not serve him,” said Rob Talach, one of the lawyers pursuing Bishop James Wingle in a civil lawsuit, explaining that in Quebec, no one can be served court documents on religious property or during a religious holiday.
Mr. Talach works for Ledroit Beckett Litigation Lawyers in London, Ont. The law firm hired the private investigators to help track down the bishop. Based on internet photos and public sources, they determined that he was either in Ottawa or Montreal. It wasn’t until they came across this photograph of Bishop Wingle walking in a religious procession in Montreal that they planned the stakeout.