Foster dad charged with sexual assault of 2 boys in his care over 5 years
Foster home was run by agency now under provincial review
A 66-year-old Winnipeg man has been charged with multiple sex crimes spanning more than five years against two boys he was fostering with his wife.
He was charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and assault. Police allege in court documents he showed the boys pornography, assaulted one of them with a hammer and uttered threats. The alleged abuse occurred between 2009 and 2015.
CBC News is not naming the man to protect the identity of the foster children.
"We are denying the charges absolutely and we are setting this down for trial. From our perspective, there is no basis at all for the charges," said Amado Claros, the foster father's lawyer.
B & L Resources for Children, Youth and Families, the for-profit foster care agency which is currently under review by the provincial government, hired the man and his wife to be foster parents.
The review came after a CBC News Investigation in which a secret recording revealed a manager from B & L admitting they did not act quickly enough after sex abuse allegations involving a minor arose in a different foster home.
Late Monday, the province announced it stopped new placements with B & L managed homes.
These criminal charges against the foster father are separate and unrelated incidents.
The children were under the care of Metis Child Family and Community Services. The agency hired B & L to recruit foster parents, supervise the foster home and write up monthly reports about the children.
"We are reviewing the matter and cannot comment at this time," said Metis CFS Authority CEO Billie Schibler in an emailed statement.
The managing director of B & L, Bruce Bertrand-Meadows, said provincial legislation and professional ethics prevent him from discussing any individual case.
He did confirm the foster parents have not been with B & L since the spring of 2016. The foster father was charged in July 2018.
"No allegations/concerns of the nature you indicated came to our attention prior to their departure from our organization," said Bertrand-Meadows in an emailed statement.
"All staff and foster parents go through background and criminal records check prior to being hired," said Bertrand-Meadows. "If they do not pass the checks, they do not get hired."
Bertrand-Meadows said when allegations arise, they are communicated quickly within the child and family services system and if there is a risk someone isn't keeping children safe, they are removed from B & L and the broader CFS system.
Province licenses B & L homes
Foster homes managed by B & L are licensed by Winnipeg CFS and a full licensing review is completed every year, according to the province.
B & L submits licensing documents which are reviewed by Winnipeg CFS officials.
The province says Winnipeg CFS staff who approve licences do not visit every home on an annual basis.
"Ultimately whoever is licensing these homes should be monitoring them. And not leaving it up to B & L Resources to be doing that. You can't have an entity monitoring its own activity," said Cora Morgan, First Nations family advocate for the Association of Manitoba Chiefs.
The province could not provide the total number of B & L managed foster homes that had their licenses cancelled or suspended, just the number licence revocations that were appealed.
A spokesperson for the province said it would take too much time to manually review the foster home files and count the license cancellations.
Three foster homes managed by B & L have appealed after their licenses were cancelled or suspended in the last five years, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Families.
The province would not say if this foster home was one of them. The spokesperson says names of foster parents who lose their licenses would not be provided in order to protect the confidentiality of the children in care.
The accused's next court date is Dec. 13.
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