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Barrie Fails Children

October 7, 2006 permalink

On Wednesday, October 4, Frances Elaine Campione called Barrie police to report that her two children, three-year-old Sophia and one-year-old Serena, were dead. There is so far no definitive cause of death, but the mother has been charged with homicide.

Events of the last year and a half reported here and by Canada Court Watch have shown that the family law and child protection systems of Barrie are dysfunctional. In that time Children's Aid gave temporary custody of a surviving twin to a mother facing charges for causing the death of the other [She's not fit to be a mother, Toronto Sun 14 May 2006 ], and took Anne from her father by force, against the will of both. Confrontational judge Olah has ejected the press from her courtroom in Barrie, and barred them from entry in Collingwood. And the Barrie courthouse sicced the police on peaceful demonstrators bringing these abuses to public attention [ August 26 and August 29 ].

In the Campione tragedy, the parents were engaged in a contentious custody battle. At some point in the dispute, Children's Aid took the children from their paternal grandparents and gave them to their mother. Child protectors routinely claim the ability to foresee the future with their assessments. This case exposes those claims for the junk science that they are.

Social services is now engaged in damage control, directing attention to the father. The more than 100 news articles on the web are filling up with reports on his court records, and a warrant for his arrest has been issued because he elected to attend his daughters' funeral instead of court. The press ignores the fact that in this case at least, his anger toward his wife may have been justified, along with his frustration at a social service system that prevented him from protecting his own children.

The family court case file was in the judge's chambers when the story broke, and he has decided to retain it until at least October 16, so there is a partial blackout on further facts in the case. While social workers lack the ability to foresee future parental behavior, we can accurately foresee the recommendations that will ultimately come from this tragedy — more money and power for Children's Aid.



Deaths of slain girls a 'catastrophic failure of the system'

The case of a Barrie, Ont., mother accused in the slaying of her two young children is being called a "catastrophic failure of the system" by the father's family.

Three-year-old Sophia and one-year-old Serena were found dead Wednesday in the fourth-floor apartment where they lived with their 31-year-old mother Frances Elaine Campione.

Frances Campione
Frances Elaine Campione made her first court appearance Thursday, and was remanded into custody. (CBC)

Frances Campione has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Those who knew the family said Campione and her estranged husband, Leonardo Campione, had a strained relationship and were in the midst of a bitter divorce and custody battle.

Since they separated, Leonardo Campione has been living in Woodbridge, just north of Toronto, with his parents.

Father faced assault charges

Court documents show that he was charged with four counts of assault, one count of assault causing bodily harm and a single account of uttering threats. Police have indicated that some of the charges involve the wife. He has not been convicted of any of the charges.

A written statement released to the media Thursday by the father's family calls it a time of "great sorrow."

The family refused to speculate on the deaths of their "beloved angels," saying they don't want to interfere with the court process.

"We look forward to the public processes that will determine guilt and the inquest which will examine the catastrophic failure of the system and processes that should have protected the children it was meant to serve," the statement said.

Memorial grows at housing complex

Meanwhile, residents of the small city passed by the public housing complex in the northwest part of the city where the children lived and placed flowers on a growing memorial.

Campione memorial
A resident of the apartment building where three-year-old Sophia and her one-year-old sister Serena lived places flowers on a growing memorial for the girls. (CBC)

The double slaying has sent shockwaves through Barrie, a city that is an hour's drive north of Toronto that experiences few homicides. The children are the city's second and third homicide victims of the year.

Police have not yet revealed the cause of death of the two girls. Autopsy results are expected Friday.

The mother made her first appearance in court Thursday and was remanded in custody.

She will make her next appearance on Oct. 11 via video link from the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetaguishene where she is being held.

Source: CBC