Saint John doubles money for sex abuse investigation

The city of Saint John has set aside an additional $100,000 to investigate sexual abuse complaints springing from the Ken Estabrooks case.

Council adds extra $100K to probe complaints against Ken Estabrooks

Saint John council has doubled the amount of money available to investigate sexual abuse cases arising from the Ken Estabrooks case.

Councillors voted on Monday night to authorize an additional $100,000 for the use of a private company looking into allegations of abuse following the Estabrooks case.

Estabrooks was a former sergeant and works department employee who was convicted and jailed in the late 1990s of abusing children decades earlier, while he was a police officer. He died in 2005.

Council initially authorized $100,000 last August to hire the Toronto company, Investigative Solutions, to look into at least one other historical complaint. Last November, the city revealed there were 12 new alleged victims.

Mayor Mel Norton would not say if that number has since grown, only saying that council is "optimistic the investigation will conclude later this year."

"There's still work to be done," said Norton.

"The city is committed to ensuring that we don't do this in a half-measure — that we don't cut any corners."

Found guilty in 1999

Estabrooks was found guilty in September 1999 of indecent assault against four children, dating back to the 1950s. The abuse included fondling and oral sex.

In 1975, Estabrooks had admitted to sexually abusing children, but he wasn't charged or fired.

Instead, he was transferred out of the police department into the city works department, where he was in charge of tire maintenance for city vehicles until he retired.

In November, David Perry, a private investigator and head of Investigative Solutions, said every person who recently came forward all told him they did try to tell an adult.

"In many cases, they were rebuffed, they were scolded," Perry said.

"And they were told never to speak about that person in that light again, because they were never believed."

Norton will not discuss compensation for victims at this time.

The city will be providing unlimited counseling to alleged victims through the city’s employee assistance program.