It was bewildering to get a phone call at CFN from a very upset Cornwall Ontario Mom. Laurie St. Pierre is a hard working mom of two with no criminal record.
According to her and her ex husband, court documents state that they currently have joint custody with Ms. St. Pierre having primary residence.
They currently are negotiating a deal to be submitted to the court which would give the children’s father primary residence, but custody would still be shared.
The story in the Freeholder, written by a friend of the husband, as published in print, originally stated that the father had custody which has since been corrected.
What upset Ms. St. Pierre the most was the fact that she was not consulted for the story. She stated that she would not have given permission to have her sons presence for the interview nor be named in the story. Subsequently she said that she’s received about half a dozen phone calls and more queries from friends and co-workers after getting blind sided by its publication.
She’s upset at the description of her children’s conditions stating that their oldest is attending regular classes and has improved dramatically once their father agreed for the children to go on medication as recommended by their doctor, and work done to assist the children.
She’s worried about her kids not being accepted or treated differently by other kids and their families; or possibly even teachers.
What was most upsetting to her was her treatment by Freeholder Managing Editor Hugo Rodrigues, himself, the former President of the Canadian Association of Journalism. ( The writer of the story did not respond to her email)
Contacted by CFN Mr. Rodrigues stated:
I spoke with Laurie St. Pierre yesterday and also exchanged emails with her. She brought a factual error regarding parental custody to our attention, which we corrected as soon as possible online, consistent with best practices for updating and correcting online content. In today’s print edition we also published a correction and apology for that error.
This is our standard practice when errors of fact are brought to our attention and verified.
There were no other factual errors in the story that we could identify based on our conversations yesterday with Ms. St. Pierre and Mr. Lauzon.
I had extended an invitation for Ms. St. Pierre to write a letter to the editor outlining her disagreement with the way information was presented in the article, which we would accept and consider for publication as we would any other similar submission that is critical of something we’ve published.
We have no other comment regarding this matter.
Hugo also responded with the correction which was much smaller than the story and not published on the front page.
Adam Lauzon shares custody of his two children with the boys’ mother. Incorrect information as to their custodial arrangement was published on Aug. 11, 2016 (“Father stresses over obtaining services,” Page A3). The Standard-Freeholder apologizes for this error.
The correction does not appear in the updated online and searchable version of the story.
Mr. Lauzon, speaking with CFN said he also felt that Ms Lapierre deserved an apology.
Here is a copy of her email (we have X’d out the children’s names) to Mr. Rodrigues:
I am XXXXX XXXXXXX mother. Your article that is published online and to be printed in tomorrows newspaper is full of untruths and i take high offence. I want it taken down immediately! You should honestly have your “journalists” check their facts prior to publishing such a story regarding a family! My boys DO NOT have severe mental disabilities nor is Mr Lauzon incapable of working due to being the sole provider for the children. I in fact have the boys 50% of the time and still maintain full time employment! Many of your facts and publishing my children’s names as well as their father also DIRECTLY impacts myself, my children and my family!
Ms. St. Pierre was also upset that Mr. Rodrigues offered her an opportunity to respond only via Letter to the Editor conditional to editor of the paper. She said that he told her that what she was saying was her opinion which led to her asking what fact checking he and his writer had actually done other than interview the children’s father?
Mr. Lauzon, currently on Ontario Works, did the interview with the venerable newspaper owned by Post Media, as he claims he needs more benefits as he cannot work due to amount of care needed for his children. However Ms St. Pierre worked full time and cared for her children previously when she stated she had full custody, albeit with some family support.
What do you think dear CFN viewers? Should the Freeholder have done their story without consulting the mom first? Should the Freeholder have pulled the story down as requested by Ms. St. Pierre? Should they have given her a front page retraction and apology? Should Hugo have given her a personal apology as he after all, is the managing editor?
Unlike the Standard Freeholder, you can post your comments below.
UPDATED 12:36 PM
Ms. St. Pierre sent in the following.
The treatment I received from Hugo, Peter and other staff at the Standard Freeholder is quite surprising. The small correction in print and 3 edits online came too late. All I’m asking is for an apology. This story has affected my personal life as well as my family’s. I am still receiving messages and phone calls regarding this story…. I hope when reporting on such personal issues in the future the editor and staff at the Freeholder interview all parties involved and check their “facts” more accurately.