When I was little, one of the first things my parents taught me was that there are some people you can trust when you need help; your parents, your teachers, and above all, the police. This message was reinforced by our schools and public safety announcements on television.
Unfortunately, for dozens of kids who grew up in the poor south end of Saint John, the local police officer was the last person in the world you could trust.
Global News has been conducting an investigation in to allegations of sexual abuse by former Saint John police officer Ken Estabrooks. Their investigative report “A City’s Shame: Relieving Childhood Sexual Abuse” airs Saturday night, September 28, 2013 on Global TV. You can read a preview of the report here.
Saint John police
Ken Estabrooks was a police officer employed by the City of Saint John in 1960s and 1970s. Inexplicably, in the mid 1970’s Estabrooks was transferred from the Saint John Police Department to the Saint John City Works Department. There was never any public explanation as to why a long-term police officer suddenly lost his job and was transferred into the anonymity of City Works.
In 1999, Estabrooks was charged and convicted with indecent assault and sentenced to six years in prison.
During the trial, one of Estabrooks’ former co-workers, Detective Herbert Robertson testified that in 1975 two children have filed complaints alleging that they have been sexually abused by Estabrooks. According to Robertson, the Police Chief at the time, Eric Ferguson ordered Robertson to investigate the allegations. Robertson testified that Estabrooks confessed to sexually abusing the children.
However, instead of being charged with sexual assault or being fired from his job with the City, Estabrooks was quietly transferred to the City Works Department where he continued to be employed until his conviction in 1999.
Survivors come forward
We have been contacted by survivors who allegedly were sexually abused by Ken Estabrooks when he was a police officer. The survivors describe how Estabrooks used to prey on the poor and vulnerable kids who grew up in the south end of Saint John. Many of the survivors describe horrifying acts of sexual abuse by Estabrooks.
Other survivors describe how the sexual abuse continued even after he was transferred into City Works.
After our investigation, I have become convinced of the legitimacy of these survivors’ claims.
Class action against Saint John
We have been retained to file a class action against the City of Saint John on behalf of all of the survivors who were sexually abused by Ken Estabrooks both when he was employed as a police officer and later on when he was employed with City Works.
I have been representing survivors of childhood abuse for more than twenty-five years, and every time I meet another survivor I am always forced to come to grips with the question of how responsible adults could allow this kind of horrible abuse to go on for years.
I would encourage everyone to watch the report on Global News on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 7 PM on 16×9.
If you have any information pertaining to Ken Estabrooks, or would like more information about the class action, you can contact me confidentially through our website or by calling toll free 1-866-974-8281.