Yorkton Tribal Council defends handling of boy suspected in killing
10-year-old 'Derek' accused of killing Lee Bonneau, 6
The First Nations social services agency that was strongly criticized in a report about a six-year-old boy apparently killed by a 10-year-old says it didn't do anything wrong.
"If we did something wrong, I think we'd know about it," said Raymond Shingoose, the Yorkton Tribal Council's director of child and family services.
The disturbing case of a boy identified as "Derek", the suspected killer of the younger boy, was outlined in a special report — Two Tragedies: Holding Systems Accountable — released by the Children's Advocate this week.
Derek was a client of Yorkton Tribal Council Child and Family Services, had fetal alcohol syndrome, was a victim of abuse and had been involved in activities that brought the attention of the police. In one case, described in the report, he and another boy broke into a house where a pregnant dog and her unborn pups were killed.
On August 21, 2013, Lee Bonneau was killed on Kahkewistahaw First Nation, about 150 kilometres east of Regina, by blunt force trauma.
Police briefly took Derek into custody but could not charge him because he was under 12.
The boy who died, Lee Bonneau, was a foster child whose case by handled by the Ministry of Social Services.
Advocate Bob Pringle's report, released Wednesday, was critical of Social Services for failing to do more for the younger boy, but also had a harsh rebuke for Yorkton Tribal Council Child and Family Services --- referred to as "the Agency".
It said the Yorkton agency was slow to act on serious concerns that were raised by the police, teachers and others. Lee's death could have been prevented if people had acted sooner, it said.
"The Agency tasked with protecting Derek and supporting his family failed them in many ways," the report says. "Serious gaps in the provision of services and omission of critical steps culminated in an overall failure to provide him with necessary services to which he was entitled and to protect his safety and well-being."
Shingoose said the report contained some "inaccuracies" but also some recommendations that will be considered.
"I believe we did the best job that we possibly can," he said. "If the report says we can do more, then we're going to take a look at it."
The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) issued a statement Thursday expressing condolences to the families of the two boys and the communities they're from.
FSIN vice-chief Kimberly Jonathan also commended Yorkton Tribal Council and Social Services Minister June Draude "for extending their hand in partnership and in their taking of immediate steps to action in responding to this tragedy as well."
After Lee Bonneau was killed, Derek was apprehended by the Yorkton Tribal Council Child and Family Services. He was later transferred to a child resource home and remains there today under the care of social workers and medical staff.