Category: Child Abuse

Anglican Priest Convicted of Sexual Abuse in Ontario

by stemwebadmin

In case anyone is under the mistaken impression that sexual predators are a problem that is limited to the Catholic Church, Justice Stach of the Ontario Supreme Court recently released his decision convicting Anglican priest Ralph Rowe, who was charged with 56 counts of sexual abuse against more than 25 boys between 1975 and 1987.
Rowe was an Anglican priest, an organizer and leader of boy scout and choir groups, and a pilot in remote aboriginal communities in Northern Ontario. Rowe was convicted on charges of indecent assault and sexual assault including sexual fondling, digital penetration and anal rape.
The entire decision is reported at R. v. Rowe, [2007] O.J. No. 2971. You can read the decision here.

New Sexual Abuse Compensation Claim Decision from British Columbia

by stemwebadmin

The Supreme Court of British Columbia just released a decision assessing damages for W.B., a victim of sexual abuse by his adopted father J.B.
W.B. was sexually abused by foster siblings when he was 8 years old. When he was 10 he was placed for adoption in the B household where he engaged in sexual relations with his adoptive siblings. When his “adopted” father J.B. learned of the sexual contact, he began to sexually abuse W.B. for more than a year.
W.B. became addicted to drugs and alcohol, and was convicted of armed robbery. The psychologist who testified on W.B.’s behalf stated:
…this man suffered significant emotional, physical and sexual abuse as a child while in care. It has left a profound mark on him. It has limited his ability to form stable interpersonal relationships. It has limited his ability to form friendships. He is left in a situation where he has great difficulty trusting other individuals. He suffers from emotional instability with periods of depression and anxiety. This, in my opinion, is directly related to the abuse and neglect that he suffered as a child. He has strength of character to the extent that he has been able to establish himself in a career and also to be in a stable relationship and to function with a family despite the very real deficits that are present.
It is my opinion he is at risk for further emotional problems in the future. There is a relative emotional instability present that in a stable supportive environment he can deal with. However, should that environment change to any great extent, I believe he would be very vulnerable to developing a Major Depression, which would make it very difficult for him to function in society at the level he currently does. I believe he may benefit from counselling, but only to a limited extent. I believe he would have difficulty in trusting a counsellor and opening up and discussing the very real difficulties he has experience in life. He has in the past been able to discuss this to a certain extent with the psychologist he saw before and he may well be able to do so again in the future . . .
The court was concerned with distinguishing between the effects of the prior abuse and referred to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Blackwater v. Plint, [2005] 3 S.C.R. 3, 48 B.C.L.R. (4th) 1 where McLachlin C.J. stated:
Untangling the different sources of damage and loss may be nigh impossible. Yet the law requires that it be done, since at law a plaintiff is entitled only to be compensated for loss caused by the actionable wrong. It is the “essential purpose and most basic principle of tort law” that the plaintiff be placed in the position he or she would have been in had the tort not been committed…
J.B.’s non-pecuniary (emotional pain and suffering) damages were assessed at $60,000.00. The court also awarded him two years of lost income, $50,000.00 for the time he spent in jail.
The full decision is reported at W.B. v. J.B., [2007] B.C.J. No. 1564.

Do Children Lie About Sexual Abuse?

by stemwebadmin

This interesting article was written for teachers to assist them in investigating allegations of sexual abuse. While it contains some helpful information including a “validity checklist” to assess children’s statements, I thought the best advice in the entire article was contained in one sentence:
“…education staff are not in a position to investigate possible abuse, and child protection procedures should always be followed when a child discloses abuse.”
I have been representing victims of sexual abuse for almost two decades. I have found that in most cases, persons in authority who were charged with “investigating” the allegations, simply did not take the allegations seriously, or worse, ignored or covered up the allegations.
It bears repeating that sexual abuse is a serious crime and ANY allegation of abuse must, by statute, be reported to the appropriate authorities.

Sex Abuser Teacher had “Relationship” with Victim?

by stemwebadmin

Today I saw a story in the Arizona Republic by E. J. Montini commenting on the case of a 26 year (female) teacher charged with sexual abuse of one of her teenage students. The teacher was described by the prosecutor as having a “relationship” with the victim.
Here’s the full story: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/0506montini0506.html
As an attorney with a special interest in representing survivors of childhood sexual abuse I agree wholeheartedly that there is a double standard with punishment received by female sex abusers. One only has to look at the statement of the judge who sentenced 43 year old teacher Pamela Moore, who was convicted of sexually assaulting one of the 13 year old boys in her class:

“I really don’t see the harm that was done here, and certainly society doesn’t need to be worried. I do not believe she is a sexual predator. It’s just something between two people that clicked beyond the teacher-student relationship.”

Can you imagine the howls of outrage from the public if a judge said a male teacher (or a priest) wasn’t a sexual predator because he had “clicked” with a thirteen year old girl? Sexual abuse of a child is a crime and whether the abuser is male or female the trauma caused by the abuse can destroy a child’s life.

15 Ways to Protect your Child from Sexual Abuse

by stemwebadmin

Listen to your child and believe what they tell you. When your child tells you he or she doesn’t want to be with someone, pay attention!
Participate in your child’s activities and get to know your children’s friends and their parents.
Get to know the people where children gather in a community like Churches and sports facilities.
Never leave your child unattended, especially in the car.
Be open when your child asks questions about sex. Make sure the answers age appropriate. Be alert for any talk that shows premature sexual understanding.
Pay attention to changes in your child’s behavior or attitude.
Pay attention when someone shows what seems to be greater than normal interest in your child.
Make unannounced visits to your child’s babysitter, day care or school. Make certain they will release your child only to you or someone you officially designate.
Check to see if your child’s school includes sex-abuse prevention training.
Let your child express affection on their own terms. Do not insist that your child hug or kiss people.
Pay attention when an adult uses social occasions to focus on befriending your child or taking your child away for private time that seems out of the ordinary.
Do not allow your child to go alone on vacation, drive around or spend the night with anyone that has not proven to be trustworthy.
Do not assume that a person is trustworthy because of their position, title or because they work in a place where children gather.
Trust your instincts.
Pay attention!

Child Sexual Abuse in Canada

by stemwebadmin

Here’s a link to the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, a publication of the Public Health Agency of Canada:
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ncfv-cnivf/familyviolence/html/nfntsxagrsex_e.html
The article contains some frightening facts:

The most extensive study of child sexual abuse in Canada was conducted by the Committee on Sexual Offences Against Children and Youths. Its report indicates that, among adult Canadians, 53 percent of women and 31 percent of men were sexually abused when they were children.
Most offenders are not strangers to their victims. In most cases, they are well known to their victims.
Some offenders have abused more than 70 children before any of the victims disclosed the abuse. In cases in which one offender has abused a large number of victims, the abused children are more likely to be male.

The article contains good advice about abuse prevention, support services as well as recommended reading.

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