Calgary

Husband of dayhome operator found guilty of assaulting 2 children

The husband of a Calgary dayhome operator has been convicted of assaulting two children, including a six-year-old boy who told police being beaten "made my heart so sad."

Child victim says beatings by Byron Langager 'made my heart so sad'

Byron Langager, 37, a father of three and husband of a dayhome operator, was found guilty of two counts of assault on children who were five years old and 19 months old at the time. (Facebook)

The husband of a Calgary dayhome operator has been convicted of assaulting two children, including a six-year-old boy who told police being beaten "made my heart so sad."

Byron Langager, 37, a father of three, was found guilty of two counts of assault Thursday by provincial court Judge Catherine Skene.

The details of the crimes come from Skene's lengthy written decision following a trial in July. 

The two child victims were five years old and 19 months old at the time of the assaults. Their identities are protected by a publication ban. 

Skene identifies them throughout her decision as A, 5, and T, 19 months. Langager assaulted A in the summer of 2018 and T on March 11, 2019. 

Little Arc Angels Dayhome (the duplex on the right) was run by Byron Langager's wife. Langager has now been convicted of assaulting two boys who attended the care facility. (Google Street View )

Langager was arrested on July 15, 2019, and charged with assault.

He has sporadic employment as an electrician but often helped his wife in the dayhome.

One afternoon in the summer of 2018, A's grandmother picked up the boy and his sister from Little Arc Angels Dayhome in southeast Calgary. 

She testified that he immediately ran out of the home and his usual cheerful demeanour changed. He was quiet, uptight, clingy and hard to make smile.

The grandmother took the kids swimming and noticed "red, angry marks" on A's back. The marks were in a row. He refused to answer questions about how he got the marks.

After swimming, the marks had turned to dark blue and purple bruises, which seemed to be "very, very tender."

Parents learn of Langager's arrest

Around that time, A began refusing to go to the dayhome. His personality changed, according to his parents. A began having anger issues and slept with his parents. 

A's father also noticed bruises on his son — from the middle of his legs all the way up to his spine.

Bruises in the shape of fingerprints were noted by both parents.

A left the dayhome in August 2018.

In late March or early April of 2019, a friend of A's father called and told him Langager had been arrested. It was at that point that A's father decided to question his son about the bruises.

'He was scared'

A told his parents that Langager, whom the boy called Byron, had hit him.

"He said that he used to take him into the basement and hit him there," the mother said in her testimony. 

"He said that he was scared and then he cried."

A told his father he didn't say anything when it happened because "he didn't want to get in trouble." 

The parents also questioned A's sister, who had also been at the dayhome. She said she just got put in timeouts, that it was just A who was "in trouble with Byron."

'He smacked me so hard'

The family took the boy to the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre, where Det. Amy Spence got the same version of events.

"He been so mean," the boy said on a videotaped interview.

"I got a lot of owies on my knees from him … he smacked me so hard, I got a lot of owies."

"It made my heart so sad."

Langager was arrested on July 15, 2019, and charged with assault.

Abuse of T

On March 11, 2019, T's father picked up the toddler from the Little Arc Angels Dayhome. He was early and Langager, rather than his wife, did the handover with T.

T's father testified that Langager seemed caught off guard and surprised to see him early.  He was stuttering and nervous, according to the father.

"Byron showed me some red markings behind T's ear and a mark on — along the right side of his chest," explained the father.

Concerned, T's dad suggested he might take his son to a walk-in clinic. Langager advised the father not to go, saying children bruised easily. 

T's father ignored the advice and took his son to a clinic. There, the doctor said the marks were burst blood vessels. 

Child abuse expert testifies

Later that day, T's mother took him to the children's hospital where they said the marks were petechiae, caused by blood leaking through tiny blood vessels, capillaries, at the surface of the skin.

A child abuse expert doctor who treated T at the hospital said she was concerned the injury was inflicted. 

Dr. Jennifer D'Mello was also worried about the pattern of the injury, which covered T's forehead, face, ears, neck and chest.

"It was almost like you could draw a line where about that line he had tons and tons of petechiae," said D'Mello in her testimony.

"I think the pressure was applied … circumferentially, so went around his body in that line above which the petechiae reflects that he had increased pressure to the blood vessels."

Langager's testimony 'vague' and evasive'

Langager testified in his own defence suggesting that T had been injured when he tried to save the boy, who he said had choked on a banana. It was a story Langager never told Dr. D'Mello or the child's father when the injuries were brought up.

In his explanation of A's injuries, Langager said he had put A in a restraint, "just like a hug" during a temper tantrum. 

Judge Skene found Langager's testimony was "conveniently vague," evasive and riddled with inconsistencies. 

"He was not a credible witness," said the judge. "Neither was Mr. Langager a reliable witness."

"I find that Mr. Langager did assault both children," wrote Skene.

Defence lawyer Tyson Dahlem declined to comment as the case is still before the courts. 

Prosecutor Vicki Faulkner said a date for sentencing will be set next week but likely won't take place until early 2021 because a pre-sentence report must still be completed. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is a justice affairs reporter. She has been covering courts, crime and stories of police accountability in southern Alberta for more than a decade. Send Meghan a story tip at meghan.grant@cbc.ca or follow her on Twitter.

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