Meeting with Gerry Cutting, Champlain College
Friday, March 15th, 2002
I entered the administration building and was directed to the Director of Student Services office, Melanie Cutting (one time married to Gerry, now divorced). I gave Melanie my list of requests, she said a lot of it would be difficult to track down. I said I wasn’t expecting it today, but if they could round up what they could it would be helpful.
After a few minutes, she said who I really needed to see was Gerry Cutting. She dialed his office, said it was very doubtful that he would be in, but would try. As luck would have it, he was in. She said, “there’s someone in my office you should see”. Within a minute Gerry Cutting walked in.
Gerry Cutting was now the Director General of Champlain. In 1978 he was teaching Psychology, and working as a councilor, when he was promoted to the Director of Student Services in the Fall of 1978. His manner was very at ease and relaxed, and he immediately made all three of us feel very comfortable. He said, “well I imagine you have some questions, so why don’t we just go to it.”. I asked him what he recalled at that time. His first comment was that both Dr. Matson, the then Campus Director, and Leo Hamel, the Lennoxville investigator had been very “disturbed” by the whole disappearance.
Cutting continued that Hamel was getting frustrated because the private investigator my father hired was inhibiting Hamel’s investigation, and that several of the students had felt intimidated by Beullac. He said later when the body was found, that the Surete discovered more in two weeks of investigation then they had uncovered five months prior. He went on to say that Hamel had always believed that Theresa was never in Compton, that she was picked up hitchhiking from Lennoxville to Compton and that that is when she went missing (In my Father’s notes Hamel has a hard time dealing with Sharon Buzzee’s statement that she talked with Theresa in King’s Hall at 9:00 pm. It didn’t fit his theory, and I thought it was a case of mistaken identity.). Later, when the body was found, Hamel admitted he was wrong.
I asked Cutting who was Mr. Peacock? (Long silence.) Stewart Peacock was the Director of Residence at Compton. He was new in the fall of 1978. He had an apartment at King’s. Cutting described him as quite inept. He was a former Headmaster of an elementary school. He had had no experience dealing with teenagers. In December of 1978 he was dismissed, having worked there less than four months. Jeanne Eddisford assumed his responsibilities in January of 1979.
I asked Gerry Cutting what he thought might have happened. He started by telling me that not long after Theresa’s body was found, there were a series of five brutal shotgun murders in Compton. A Compton family, the Poulots, were eventually arrested. They were tired up in drugs and organized crime, and Cutting thought that Theresa might have been involved with that. I then replied, “but there were no shotgun wounds on Mr. Sister’s body.”. Cutting glanced at his watch.
Cutting continued. He knew both Hamel and Gauldreault quite well. They had gone to school together. I asked him again what he thought might have happened. He said everyone felt it had happened in residence and that there were accomplices. I asked him what Gauldreault thought had happened. He said that they had talked not long after she was found and that Gauldreault believed it was a murder, and it happened in residence. I said, “a murder done by someone outside the school, or by someone inside the school”. He said, inside, and that Gauldrealt had two strong suspects. I asked if Gauldreault had ever mentioned any names. Cutting said, “No, he would never do that, but one of the suspects was a teacher.” Cutting said that I had to understand that it was a much more liberal time back then. The line between teacher and student often blurred. Teacher often came out to Compton, and some of them, if he recalled, would even teach some of their classes out there.
Cutting went on to say that the Surete felt certain it was, “a murder, we’ll never solve”. He said there strategy at the time was to wait. Wait and someone will talk. They never applied any pressure. They never did any follow up. They just waited. And nothing happened.
Before I left, Cutting asked if I had talked to Jeanne Eddisford. I said I was not intending to. Both Cutting and Melanie Cutting said I should talk to her. She was living in Montreal, and they would get her number for me. I said, “At the time she said that there were no drugs on campus”. Both of them just laughed. They said she would have been privy to a lot of information that at the time she would have felt pressured not to disclose. They said she was under a lot of pressure because she was new to the school and so young. I asked Cutting if he thought Jeanne Eddisford would be willing to change her statement. He replied, “yes”.
I left Lennoxville and headed for Compton. I went back to Gillard. I went back to the spot she was found. The idea of murder had never been in my realm of possibility. The idea that a teacher may have been involved was also something quite different. Also, I remembered my brother had told me that in 1978, Bill Matson was having an affair with the Assistant Residence Director, Jeanne Eddisford.