Sunday November 19, 2017
'I didn't tell anybody': Why a respected social worker hid her criminal past
more stories from this episode
- How a teen's apparent flashback of childhood abuse set off a debate over repressed memory
- Should we demolish or preserve remaining residential school buildings?
- Rewriting a family's history obscured by anti-Semitism
- Is erasing Lord Jeffrey Amherst's name a way to expose hidden history?
- 'I didn't tell anybody': Why a respected social worker hid her criminal past
- Prolific Wikipedia editor explains how our framing of history can make us more empathetic
- A teacher debunks historical myths to help his students get closer to the truth
- Full Episode
In the mid-1960s, near Huntsville, Ontario, 16-year-old Frances Cappe was caught in an RCMP sting. It was her day off from her job as a camp counsellor. She was meeting some friends near the camp when a number of officers, disguised as anglers, threw down their rods and busted the teens for having an ounce of pot. Frances was handcuffed, taken to jail, and ultimately convicted for possession.
The experience was traumatic. Her name was all over the news; her boyfriend left her, as did friends. And Frances was left with a criminal record.
So she just moved on. Frances went to a new city, a new school and started fresh, leaving this part of her history behind in a way that wouldn't be possible today by simply never disclosing.
Frances did well and launched a career as a social worker. Over the years, she has worked for various children's aid societies and was trusted in many positions of power, running group homes and the like. Given her own experiences, she was especially able to empathize with teens who were in trouble.
No one knew about her criminal past for decades, until the law changed and Frances was required to fill out a mandatory criminal record check at work. A few months after filling out the form, she was called into her boss's office.
"I was prepared for whatever and I looked at her and she said 'Our one question is, did you inhale?' So I exhaled, looked her in the eye and said 'Indeed I did! I did inhale!'...I think she handed me three new files and said get back to work."