Tell the BC Government & Ministry we will not tolerate predators working with children!
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Before you continue reading this petition, please note the following:
1.) TRIGGER WARNING - This post concerns a public sexual abuse case involving at-risk children under government care and youth councilors employed by both the BC Ministry of Child and Family Development in Nanaimo as well as the Government of Alberta.
This petition is being made public after months of research and consultation and it is the opinion of concerned private citizens and as human beings that this needs to be made public so more children are not potentially put at risk.
2.) Any names or information shared in this post were taken from traditional mainstream media outlets (630 CHED News in Edmonton, CKNW News in Vancouver and Global News). All information contained in this post has already been placed in the public domain by the media, therefore it is my hope that this will be allowed as it is public and it effects our community directly.
3.) This is a very uncomfortable topic to discuss, but it is something that we, as a community, must address as it is effecting our most vulnerable and at-risk children right here in our own backyard.
4.) As will be explained further in this post, a gag-order was signed between the victim (Sheina Criss aka "Miss S") and the Government of Alberta when the provincial government settled with her in court. It was not until the victim learned that the abuser had gained employment with the BC Ministry of Child and Family Development in Nanaimo, working directly with at-risk youth in our foster system, that she decided to speak out to the community, gag-order or not. That takes a lot of courage and should not be discounted. She understands the risks of speaking out and believes that speaking out about this is more important than a gag-order from a settlement.
5.) In regard to the taped audio recordings between the victim and the abuser that will be mentioned in this petition, I have personally listened to hours of these audio tapes and I can verify and vouch for what was said by the abuser. The abuser was not aware that he was being recorded during these conversations and he is pretty open and frank about what happened and what he had admitted to committing. We will not be sharing any personal details about what was said in the audio tapes as that will be up to the victim to decide what she wishes to make public.
6.) We will not be personally naming the abuser in this petition, however the mainstream media has named him and there will be a link to a news story from a reputable news agency in this post which names him.
7.) If you are a parent or have loved ones who are children (basically all of us), then you need to know about this. No child deserves this type of abuse.
I am posting this with the Sheina's permission and consent.
In the 1970's, Sheina Criss (aka Miss S) was a child who was in the Alberta Youth Development Centre in Edmonton. She claims that she was sexually abused by a youth councilor working for the government at the time.
40 years later, she decided to lay charges. Because the statute of limitations had expired in the case, she had to take this case to civil court where a judge made an unprecedented ruling that despite the statute of limitations expiring, she could still pursue this case through the court systems.
According to a December 10th, 2013 news article by CKNW News Vancouver (which has since been removed after a "server error" but is still online via one of their sister newsradio stations AM730 Newsradio Vancouver, link provided in comments section), because of Sheina's courage of bringing this abuse to the courts, SIX former youth councilors who worked at the Alberta Youth Development Centre in Edmonton were charged with "gross indecency" and FOUR additional former councilors were charged with "criminal negligence". Because these horrific cases of abuse happened in the 1970's, they had to go based off of 1970's law. If these had have been applied to our current laws, the charges would have been much worse.
With much courage and while she was building this case, Sheina had actually engaged in private conversations with the abuser and had recorded these conversations. There are hours of conversations. I have personally listened to much of these recordings and while I will not share details I can say that they are truly horrific and sick in how open and frank he is about what happened, especially as the conversation continued and his guard was let down a little bit. These audio recordings were vital in making her case to the judge which allowed her to proceed with charges.
At that point, the Government of Alberta decided to settle with Sheina in court. They settled, and a gag order was signed.
Fast forward to present day today.
Sheina now lives in Nanaimo and is a successful business owner and property owner in downtown Nanaimo. She is very much apart of our community and helps people each and every day through her work. While in Nanaimo, she learned that her abuser had also relocated to Nanaimo to take a job with the BC Ministry of Child and Family Development.
The abuser handles complaints of abuse or neglect from Vancouver Island children who are in the foster care system. He then decides which complaints are credible and warrant further investigation or which complaints are not credible. Think about that for a second...
When Sheina learned that this person was employed by the BC Ministry here in Nanaimo and was working directly with vulnerable and at-risk children right here in our community, gag-order or not, she decided that this needs to be made public and the community at large needs to know this.
We have discussed this with various members of the media (local, provincial and national) and while the majority of them wish to report on this and out the person, they do not wish to be held liable because of the gag-order that had been placed.
On top of that, several months ago there were many news stories available online from 2013 about the "Miss S Case", however once we started asking questions more directly and started making noise offline about this investigation, the majority of those media reports vanished off the internet. Luckily one newsradio station, AM730 Vancouver still has their story on the court case available online (with CKNW Newsroom Staff credited as the authors). The article has been linked above.
Sheina wants this person to be held accountable for their actions. She wants a proper day in court and she wants justice. She also wants the BC Ministry of Family and Child Development, as well as our new NDP government which oversees the Ministry, to be made aware of the type of person who is currently employed by them (at the taxpayers expense) where he has direct access and authority over at-risk children in the foster system. This cannot be acceptable.
We feel more strongly about this than anything else that is happening right now in our world and in our community. Something has to be done, action needs to be taken.
If the Alberta Government or the BC Ministry do not wish to be part of a solution and sweep something as important as this under the rug and away from the public, then the community must stand up in solidarity and let them know that we will not tolerate this.
Something has to be done about this and the community has the power to make something happen. We have a strong and influential voice when united, and this is something I believe is in the community's best interest to be made aware of and for something to be done about it.
What are we going to do about this? If I were a parent or if that were my child, I wouldn't know how to react but I would know that something much be done. So what should we do?
Thank you for your time and attention and please sign this petition showing your support for Sheina and to demand that the Province of British Columbia and the Ministry of Child and Family Development rectifies this great injustice immediately!
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