RCMP return to community at centre of child abuse case
Investigation still underway at rural Manitoba Mennonite community
New details are emerging about a massive seizure of children from a Manitoba Mennonite community.
Court documents reveal at least 23 children were taken by child and family services officials following a series of assault charges laid against four adults.
The documents show the children range in age from less than a year-old to 17 years-old.
Three men and one woman were charged with assault and assault with a weapon, and court documents alleged a cattle prod and a strap were involved in the assaults. The assaults allegedly took place between July 2011 and January of this year.
On Thursday, RCMP cruiser cars could be seen parked near the community the children were seized from. RCMP would only say they are still conducting an active investrigation in the area.
CBC cannot report on the names of the people charged or where the events happened because a publication ban is in place to protect the identity of the children.
On Wednesday, CFS officials said they were working to secure "culturally sensitive" placements for the children.
CBC spoke with foster parents who say they were flown in from Ontario to care for the children temporarily. The foster parents, whose identities cannot be revealed, said many of the children do not speak English, and caregivers who could communicate with them were required.
CFS documents quote one 13-year-old boy from the community as saying he "does not want to return home."
Pastor Randy Fehr was aware of the community before the children were seized and said his heart goes out to the children and their families.
"It's really sad -- that's the best way to put it," said Fehr. "To hear about how the whole situation has been handled just tells you that it's also been hard for the families there."
Royden Loewen is a professor of Mennonite studies at the University of Winnipeg. He said the charges are surprising because Mennonite communities are typically non-violent.
"Their non-violent and pacifist teachings carry weight even when you are disciplining a child," said Lowen. "They use corporal punishment but always in a measured way."
The four accused are set to appear in a Dauphin court in September.
With files from the Canadian Press