child abuse

PTSD or Child Torture?

childrenI would like to begin this piece by explaining that this case is disturbing and heart wrenching.

On Feb 12, 2013 an eleven-year-old boy left his family home in search of water after escaping nightmarish conditions. The eleven-year-old boy had been shackled in his basement by his father with only a slop bucket; the boy was naked. He was approximately 50 pounds and had been imprisoned by his father for about a month before his escape.

The court viewed 45 minutes of video showing the father yelling at the boy to repent his actions and ask Jesus for forgiveness for his sins including kissing a girl’s hand in a tree house. He yelled at the boy to stop lying. The boy hopelessly pleads in the video that he can change and would stop picking at the padlocks on his chains. The boy was limited to 2 pita breads with peanut butter a day. The father tortured the boy by beating him, burning his genitals and keeping him chained at all times. All while the rest of the family including the boy’s step- mother continued their lives as normal upstairs. The father and step-mother have been charged with: aggravated assault, forcible confinement and failure to provide necessities of life.

prison The couple are currently out in the community on bail but are forbidden from communicating during their bail. Meanwhile relatives are appalled and in shock after hearing what took place as they were unaware of the torture. The father is a former RCMP Mountie who has argued that he is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). His defense is that he did not have the mental capacity to make informed decisions let alone understand right from wrong. The father served in the counter terrorism sector of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The father admitted to torturing the boy and believing that the devil lived in him but when multiple videos of the father torturing the boy recorded on the father’s phone were shown before the court, the father argued he didn’t recognize himself and hated himself after watching the videos. If it can be proven that the father did not have the mental capacity to carry out these horrendous acts, then he will not be criminally convicted.

Why will he not be convicted?

A criminal act in Canada requires mens rea (guilty mind) and actus reus (guilty act). Both factors must be evident in order to convict someone of a criminal act. In accordance to Canadian law, if a person lacks the mens rea, they did not commit the crime with an intent; therefore, they are not responsible for their actions. The patient will likely be admitted into a medical facility to assist in the rehabilitation process.

Views

Some individuals are arguing that the father is hiding behind PTSD and show be held accountable for his actions. Others are arguing that the system failed as the boy had gone to a neighbour’s house at an earlier point and asked for food because he was being punished at home which resulted in a call to the police but no charge was made. Another group of individuals are stressing concern for the former Mountie and the child’s wellbeing.

The child continues to protect his father by arguing that his father was doing the right thing and knows what is best for the child because he is in the RCMP.

What are your views? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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Daycare Gone Wrong: Toddler Fight Club

As schedules become increasingly busier many parents are looking to place their children in daycares. Daycares are meant to be safe spaces for children to learn and interact with other children while parents are at work. Unfortunately, some daycares fail to satisfy the required standards, such is the case of a New Jersey daycare.

Two employees at Lightbridge Academy daycare in New Jersey decided to run a toddler “Fight Club”. The daycare employees had approximately a dozen children aged four to six striking and tackling each other. Erica Kenny, who was one of the supervisors, made a Snapchat video of the children rumbling and shared it with her followers. Kenny was heard encouraging the children to fight each other while reciting Fight Club dialogues in her Snapchat video. Fortunately, the video was recorded by a viewer and shared with the authorities. To make matters worse, Erica Kenny is a teacher’s aide and Chanese White is a teacher.

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The two employees Kenny, 22, and White, 28 were criminally charged for their behaviour. Both employees were charged with fourth degree child abuse. Kenny was further charged with third-degree endangering the welfare of a child. Both employees were fired. The daycare continues to insist this was an isolated event.

Parents were outraged to learn what had occurred in the daycare. One parent went as far as to state her son had returned from the daycare with a broken finger and she now questions if it was a result of the toddler wrestling ring.

That’s the U.S what about Ontario?

Updated Child Care Laws in Ontario

Ontario is trying to tackle the shortcomings of the existing childcare legislation by updating legal standards set out in the the Daycare Nurseries Act (DNA). As of August 31, 2015, under the new rules of the Child Care and Early Years Ac t (CCEYA), the only requirement for an unlicensed daycare is that there must be less than five children under the age of 6 (not including the daycare owners own children) being supervised at one time. This limitation applies regardless of the number of adults in the home.

In August of 2016, the government would like to make an amendment that requires unlicensed providers to count their children under the age of 6 and can only take care of two children under the age of two. In August of 2017, the legislation aims to “include children who are 10, 11 and 12 years old in the total care of children they care for”. Noncompliance may result in administrative penalties and convictions that may include fines.

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Points of Discussion:

1. What are your thoughts regarding Ontario’s proposed updates?

2. Do you feel the decision against the employees was just? How would you do it differently?

If you are a parent or know someone who has child in a daycare, please share this piece and help educate others about the law.