National Post, By Barbara Kay, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010
Last week Ontario announced it will begin impounding cars of fathers who fall behind in their child support payments. What, are mere licence suspensions not driving enough men to despair?
On Aug. 31 Paul Donovan, age 50, a reliable long-haul trucker, lay down beside train tracks near his home in London, Ont., and rolled himself into the path of an oncoming train. Most people would call it a suicide. Not his common-law partner, Brenda Higgins. Ms. Higgins holds Ontario's Family Responsibility Office (FRO) liable for his death, and will launch a lawsuit to that effect.
Paul's ex-wife works, owns a home and drives a new car. Neither she nor their children -- today adults of 18 and 21 -- are, or ever were, impoverished. Paul had been paying regular child support since 1996. But during the trucking industry's recent hard times, Paul was temporarily unemployed, and missed two support payments.
Although he was soon back at work, Paul's commercial licence was suspended by the FRO. They refused to reinstate it without payment of $1,500 Paul hadn't yet earned. Their irrational licence suspension ensured he couldn't earn it. Ms. Higgins' scant income is only sufficient to support her three children. According to Ms. Higgins in a telephone interview, several pleas to negotiate the amount and schedule of payments with the FRO by Paul, his MPP and an ombudsman were rebuffed. More..
Tags: Infanticide laws in Canada, Criminal Code of Canada, Mother who kill their children, killing newborn babies
Calgary Sun, by Mindelle Jacobs, September 25, 2010
For six decades, women who have killed their babies have typically benefited from reduced sentences under our infanticide law because of the belief their minds were disturbed from giving birth.
University of Alberta law professor Sanjeev Anand wonders why only mothers who kill their infants get a break.
Fathers and adoptive parents should have a shot at judicial compassion as well, he argues in a provocative article in the Alberta Law Review. More..
CBC News top story, September 2, 2010
Sexually explicit pictures of a prominent Manitoba judge must be returned to her husband, a judge ruled Thursday.
Justice Joan McKelvey of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench ruled that Alex Chapman must immediately return "all documents, emails and photographs" ever sent to him by Winnipeg lawyer Jack King.
McKelvey's ruling also compels Chapman to ask that any of the material held by someone else be returned. He is forbidden to distribute the material to anyone else.
The photos show King's wife, Justice Lori Douglas, associate chief justice of the family division of the Court of Queen's Bench, naked and in various forms of bondage, with sex toys and performing oral sex.
Another hearing will be held Sept. 9 for Chapman to have an opportunity to oppose the motion. Chapman told McKelvey he doesn't know if he can trust any lawyer in the city to handle his case, so he may be forced to retain counsel from another province.
"Right now, I am under a lot of psychological stress," Chapman said. "I will seek counsel because there are some very important points ... with respect to the public's interest in this matter."
On Wednesday, Chapman filed separate lawsuits against King, Douglas and the Winnipeg law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman, where King and Douglas were once partners.
In the statements of claim in the lawsuits, which are seeking $67 million in damages, Chapman claims he was harassed and suffered emotional distress when he was allegedly coaxed by King to have sex with Douglas in 2003. More..
CBC News, Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The B.C. government has suspended a controversial test called a penile plethysmograph, which it was using to assess young sex offenders to determine their risk of reoffending after treatment.
On Wednesday, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association demanded the government intervene after it learned of the tests.
Within hours, the government suspended the sex testing after the provincial advocate for children and youth announced she would conduct a review. More..
CBC News, Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Kenneth Klassen, 59, of Burnaby, B.C., was sentenced Wednesday to 11 years in prison for committing sex tourism with children and importing child pornography.
Klassen received 10 years for the sex-tourism charges and one year for importing pornography.
Prior to his sentencing in B.C. Superior Court in Vancouver, Klassen offered an apology. More..
National Post, Drew Halfnight, Friday, Jul. 16, 2010
Declaring his provinceâ€™s courts too lenient on child molesters, a P.E.I. judge decided he should single-handedly change the paradigm: He imposed an unusually harsh sentence on one man in hopes other judges would follow suit.
â€œIt appears to me that the established range of sentences imposed on P.E.I. for crimes such as those for which the accused has been convicted is too low,â€ Justice Gordon Campbell wrote in his decision. â€œOnce a range has developed, it becomes a self-perpetuating instrument.â€
Judge Campbell sentenced Alan Wade White to 2Â½ years in jail. He had assaulted a girl for about four years, starting when she was seven years old. More..
Courier-Mail, Australia, by Matthew Fynes-Clinton, July 11, 2010
A CHILD custody trial was aborted when a Brisbane Family Court judge disqualified himself after being accused of holding secret talks with a case social worker.
The week-long trial â€“ which involved an allegation of sexual abuse against a young girl â€“ ended abruptly on April 28 following an application to Justice James Barry from the child's representatives for him to stand aside on the grounds of "apprehended bias".
Family Court Chief Justice Diana Bryant has summoned Justice Barry to a formal interview in Melbourne this week and alerted Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland to the issues.
Justice Bryant told The Courier-Mail that while she had no specific disciplinary powers, she would be spelling out to Justice Barry the "gravity of the situation for the Court and the serious inappropriateness of the conduct".
"Whilst not entirely agreeing with all that was asserted . . . to have been said between him and the (social worker), (Justice Barry) accepted that he had inappropriately discussed the contents of the family report with the (social worker)," Justice Bryant said. "The report was evidence in the proceedings."
Applying for the disqualification, barrister Jacoba Brasch â€“ counsel in the trial for the court-appointed Independent Children's Lawyer â€“ told Justice Barry that the social worker had informed her of the private talks which took place in the judge's chambers. More..
Toronto Sun, By MOIRA MACDONALD, June 29, 2010
Schoolâ€™s out but Corina Morrison, co-founder of the London Anti-Bullying Coalition (London ABC), is urging parents to do their homework in advance of fall trustee elections.
â€œWhat I want parents to do is educate themselves. I want them to be more aware of whatâ€™s going on out there in their school system â€¦ and I want parents to demand more of their trustees,â€ Morrison told me over the phone Monday.
Morrison often gives parents looking for help a crash course in School System 101 â€” who to talk to, how to talk to them, who their trustee is and how the trustee might help. More..
Comment / Editorial
Toronto Sun, June 21, 2010 ( Fathers' Day )
Yesterday was Father's Day, a B-list occasion when compared to Mother's Day, or even Valentine's Day.
This is no secret.
Yes, we're a day late and a penny shy.
But so what?
Fathers will understand this, especially if yesterday passed with little or no fanfare -- with only a card, perhaps, or some cheap cologne.
The good fathers, at least, will understand. More..
National Post, by Katherine Laidlaw, June 15, 2010
The father and stepmother of a 15-year-old Brampton girl were arrested and charged with second-degree murder Tuesday, Peel Police said.
Police responded to a call Saturday morning and found Tiffany Gayle, 15, dead in her home on Savita Road in Brampton. She died from blunt force injuries, police said.
â€œIn this incident, we waited for the post-mortem results [before making the arrests]. It indicated to us that the cause was blunt force trauma,â€ said Constable George Tudos.
Fedrick Gayle, 42 and Tiffanyâ€™s father, and Elizabeth Gayle, 43 and her stepmother, both of Brampton, are scheduled to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice tomorrow to be formally charged with second-degree murder. More..
Then Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario, by Petti Fong, Eastern Canada Bureau ( The print edition of the Toronto Star stated “Western Canada Bureau” ), April 30, 2010
VANCOUVERâ€” As early as the 12th century, some churches had â€œfoundling wheelsâ€ where mothers could place an unwanted baby in a cylinder from the outside, turn the repository to the inside, and ring a bell to alert those within of the infantâ€™s presence.
A downtown Vancouver hospital is becoming the first in North America to install a modern-day version of the wheel, with a baby hatch where desperate mothers can drop off their infants.
Under an angel sign near the hospital emergency entrance, St. Paulâ€™s Hospital has arranged for a baby drop repository where women can leave their babies in a bassinet. The repository is a built-in portal accessible from inside the hospital and from a protected area just outside of the entrance.
Once the door to the repository is opened, there is a 30-second delay before an alarm sounds, alerting hospital staff to the babyâ€™s presence, but giving the mother enough time to depart.
Dr. Geoffrey Cundiff, the head of obstetrics and gynecology at St. Paulâ€™s, said there are women who canâ€™t or donâ€™t pursue other available resources and believe they have no alternative but abandonment. More..
Investigation started in November, grew into global search with suspects in 20 countries, police say
Canadian Press - Brampton, Ontario, March 30, 2010
A Toronto-area child-pornography arrest has led to a sweeping investigation uncovering 73 suspects in 20 countries, police said Tuesday.
The investigation began last November with the arrest of a 29-year-old man in Brampton, Ont., on child-pornography and sexual-assault charges, police said.
That probe went global, culminating in police gathering evidence against the 73 suspects.
This kind of offence knows no bounds in the Internet age, police said. More..
Canada's largest daily newspaper
Stephen Watkins' two sons were abducted by his estranged wife. Police believe they are in Poland. Watkins had custody, and tried to prevent the abduction. Completely consumed with the search for his boys, Watkins marks the one-year-anniversary of their disappearance this weekend.
The Toronto Star, by Katie Daubs, Staff Reporter, March 8, 2010
The Polish lessons didn't bother Stephen Watkins. Sure, they made him a little uneasy, but he couldn't object to his children learning their mother's native language.
When they didn't show up for school one day last March, it was painfully clear the lessons weren't cultural enrichment.
Watkins' nightmare, the culmination of a toxic separation and years-long custody battle, became real. His estranged wife Edyta had taken Christopher, then 4, and Alex, then 7, out of the country on her court-ordered weekend access.
Police confirmed the boys had crossed into New York state with their grandfather and mother on March 8 and later boarded a flight to Germany.
One year later, Stephen Watkins' life is on hold. Birthdays, holidays and anniversaries pass without news.
Those close to the investigation say the mother of his children was a force to be reckoned with, a woman no system could stop.
Her name is Edyta Watkins. Her whereabouts are unknown, although York Regional Police believe she is in Poland, the place of her birth. More..
The Edmonton Journal, By Sarah Sacheli, Canwest News Service, January 29, 2010
WINDSOR, Ont. -- She gave him life and was the only parent he ever knew. In the way she snapped photos of him sleeping and playing happily, she was like any other adoring mother. But she also committed unspeakable acts to his little body, turning him into a human sex toy in her pornographic broadcasts.
The set of facts involving the Windsor-area mother who sexually abused her two-year-old son horrified both those involved in the case and those whoâ€™d only heard about it.
â€œSociety expects the mother of a toddler would do everything in her power to make sure her child is protected from harm,â€ said the judge who on Friday handed the 24-year-old woman a 3 1/2-year prison sentence.
He called her crimes â€œappallingâ€ and â€œabhorrent.â€
While female sexual abusers are rare in the court system, those who deal with child sexual abuse know the woman is not unique. She may be the first Ontario woman to be jailed for making child pornography featuring her own offspring, but sheâ€™s not the first mother to sexually abuse a child.
A national study released in 2005 shows that biological mothers were the perpetrators of sexual abuse in 5% of the substantiated cases investigated by child welfare authorities.
The instance is probably higher, since researchers are certain that many cases of child sexual abuse never come to light. â€œA lot of people have difficulty believing women are capable of sexually abusing children,â€ said social worker Angela Hovey, whose doctoral thesis deals with a topic related to this theme. More..
The Telegraph Journal, Maritimes Canada, Letter to the Editor, published January 19,2010
Charles W. Moore uses an unpublished, and hence unverifiable, study to express approval of spanking and "the strap" as used 50 years ago during his school days. His approval is based on "thousands of years of parenting," the American College of Pediatricians, and Section 43 of our Criminal Code.
For "thousands of years" children were treated as the property of parents with few rights of their own. Beatings and floggings in the name of discipline were the order of the day. This historical legacy was only seriously challenged in the last century and is hardly a sound basis for current policy. More..
Auditor General of Ontario
80% of Telephone calls don't get answered
Payers and recipients do not have direct access to their assigned enforcement services officer
"There is only limited access to enforcement staff because many calls to the Office do not get through or are terminated before they can be answered."
"The Office is reviewing and working on only about 20% to 25% of its total cases in any given year."
"At the end of our audit in April 2010, there were approximately 91,000 bring-forward notes outstanding, each of which is supposed to trigger specific action on a case within one month. The status of almost one-third of the outstanding bring-forward notes was â€œopen,â€ indicating either that the notes had been read but not acted upon, or that they had not been read at all, meaning that the underlying nature and urgency of the issues that led to these notes in the first place was not known. In addition, many of the notes were between one and two years old."
"For ongoing cases, the Office took almost four months from the time the case went into arrears before taking its first enforcement action. For newly registered cases that went straight into arrears, the delay was seven months from the time the court order was issued."