|A Manitoba judge says Child and Family Services failed to follow proper |
protocol in placing a teenage boy with a man who has a lengthy record
of violent crime and substance abuse. (Bert Savard/CBC)
In a written decision released Wednesday, Associate Chief Judge Murray Thompson called for a comprehensive investigation into the CFS role in a child sex predator case.
A 33-year-old man was sentenced to 13 years in prison for a series of attacks on four boys. He can't be named to protect the identity of his victims.
One of his targets was a boy put in his care in 2011. The boy's mother said she was having problems with him at home and thought the accused could help mentor her son. CFS sanctioned the placement. Judge Thompson wrote in his decision:
"It was clear that no criminal record check was performed before the agency agreed to the mother's request to place her teenage son with him. A simple background check would have revealed that the accused had a three-page criminal record, spanning 15 years for violent offences including robbery, had just been released from jail, had a history of substance abuse and was not a suitable candidate to parent this child."
Accused 'astonished' by trust placed in him
Thompson went on to write:
"The Court was informed that when police officers raised concerns with the agency about inappropriate living arrangements between this teenage boy and the accused, CFS promised to follow up with those child protection concerns but failed to do so."
"Even the accused expressed astonishment at the blind trust placed in him by CFS. His probation officer wrote, 'According to the accused, a Child and Family Services worker came to his place and he stated 'I didn't know how the hell it happened' that the victim was placed in my care'.
Judge Thompson urged the Child Advocate and other authorities to fully investigate and put measures in place to ensure CFS does not place vulnerable children with clearly inappropriate caregivers.
The accused admitted to abusing his foster son, his nephew and two young sons of his former girlfriend. The abuse happened over 13 years. The victims were as young as three. The man also recorded videos of the sexual abuse. The case only came to light when the mother of the foster son found letters detailing sex acts between the teen and the accused.
Victim afraid of the dark
In a victim impact statement, the mother of one of the boys wrote:
"He is far behind in his education, very afraid of the dark and night time, has horrible nightmares, sleepwalks and is a very angry and aggressive child with very few friends. He is terrified of being photographed. He even refuses to participate in family pictures, losing valuable memories because of his fear."
"It is incomprehensible how someone could find gratification in such sexual abuse of children," Thompson said in sentencing the man to 13 years in prison, rejecting the man's bid for a more lenient sentence.
Case under investigation
The province said the southern CFS authorities and the Children's Advocate are investigating. Files will be reviewed and workers will be interviewed, said Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross.
"I think that the circumstances surrounding this case are extremely disappointing. I was very saddened to hear what had happened. And I also believe there are no excuses at all," Irvin-Ross said.
"We understand people's concerns and apprehensions and frustrations with what's happening in child welfare. But I also want to acknowledge that there are positive things that are happening as well. And that we are making significant changes to provide better support to families."