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April 11, 2009 permalink
When Hamilton CAS needed six more foster kids they grabbed them from a home that had been under observation for a couple of months. Police arrested two parents and a grandma. CAS created a justification in a press release containing all of the standard horrible accusations. The Hamilton Spectator printed it uncritically but when the Toronto Sun checked with the family two days later, denials started to appear. Are there any homes that don't have a single dead mouse? Or a mouse dropping?
Kids found in basement black hole
Locked in urine-soaked and feces-smeared room, dead rats outside door
Susan Clairmont and Paul Morse
Two young Stoney Creek children have been rescued from a feces-smeared windowless basement room where they were kept locked up by their own parents and grandmother, Hamilton police say.
Two boys, 5 and 2, were found by patrol officers on April 2 when they went to the Stoney Creek Mountain home to check an unknown 911 call.
Investigators now think one of the little children made the call.
Police, who are required to check all unknown 911 calls, entered the home but at first found nothing out of the ordinary, said Detective Sergeant Chris Kiriakopoulos, of the Hamilton police victims of crime unit.
“When an officer came near the basement stairs, he heard a cry from downstairs,” he said.
Officers found a five-year-old boy near the bottom of the stairs “in a state of anxiety and fear,” then discovered a small room with a two-year-old boy inside.
“The room was filthy beyond words, and the officer who entered it said he almost couldn’t breathe from the stench.”
The windowless, pitch-black room had bunk beds and bedding that were soaked with urine, while feces was smeared on the walls.
“The room was very filthy and officers found dead rats outside the room.”
Kiriakopoulos said the room had a latch on the door frame that had been used to lock the children inside. “They had been confined inside the room for a periods of time.”
Child-abuse investigators executed a search warrant on the home the next day.
Six children from 2 to 13 lived in the home with parents and grandparents.
“It is a blended family,” Kiriakopoulos said.
All six children are now in foster care.
Children’s aid workers had routinely been checking on two children living with their grandparents on the main floor of the home, says Dominic Verticchio, executive director of the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton.
“But nobody knew the other children were living there,” he says.
The CAS had been involved with the children on the main floor for “a couple of months.”
Verticchio says four children in total were living in the basement, along with two adults.
The parents, a 35-year-old man and woman, 27, and a 60-year-old grandmother have been charged with forcible confinement.
The grandmother has also been charged with assault. All three have been released on a promise to appear in court on May 6.
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Source: Hamilton Spectator
Allegations in child-abuse house of horrors 'greatly exaggerated'
By BRETT CLARKSON, SUN MEDIA, Last Updated: 11th April 2009, 2:41am
STONEY CREEK -- A distraught older man opened the front door of an alleged child-abuse house of horrors yesterday but didn't say a word.
Instead, he held up a business card of Hamilton lawyer Norman F. Williams and turned his face away from the doorway.
Clad in a white undershirt, his eyes moist and reddened, the man repeatedly nodded "No" when asked to comment on the horrific allegations that resulted in two children's aid societies seizing six kids from the 3rd St. E. home he lives in.
The family is "devastated" and in a "deep depression" over the "greatly exaggerated" allegations, Williams said.
Police said a two-year-old boy was found locked in a windowless basement room with feces smeared on the walls and the stench of urine overpowering the air.
During that same April 2 search, the boy's five-year-old brother, who's believed by cops to have dialed 911, was also in the basement. A dead rat was found outside the room, according to police.
Ultimately, six children ranging in age from two to 13 were seized by Hamilton CAS and the Catholic CAS. At least one of the boys is deaf, neighbours said yesterday.
The 27-year-old mother of the two boys, the 35-year-old father of the other four who weren't in the basement at the time, and his mother, 60, have been charged with forcible confinement. The older woman is also charged with assault on one of the kids.
Williams, who confirmed he's representing the three accused, said the family members are greatly saddened by the situation.
And while some neighbours on the quiet country road yesterday expressed outrage, one woman who has known the family for 30 years said there's no way the allegations could be true.
"This woman is a hard-working family person," Netty Verboom, 46, said of the 60-year-old woman. "She is a hard-working mother."
But a 3rd St. resident who was driving by said the community is "disgusted."
The man, who would only identify himself as John, said he never saw the children.
"That's what surprises me, that there were so many kids living there and I've never saw any of them," he said.
All of the accused have been released on a promise to appear in a Hamilton court on May 6. None of them can be identified to protect the identities of the children.
Source: Toronto Sun
Addendum: A year and a half later there is a criminal conviction by a judge. It is hard to tell whether this is a genuine case of abuse, or the province criminalizing poverty. The accused are being punished without a name.
Trio guilty in basement abuse case
A grandmother, her son and his fiancee have been found guilty on all counts of child abuse charges after keeping two small brothers locked in a tiny, windowless, filthy basement room.
The boys, aged 2 and 5, lived “in conditions of unthinkable squalor, filth and putrification,” said Justice Bernd Zabel in handing down his decision this morning.
The three Stoney Creek adults, who cannot be named due to a publication ban protecting the children from being identified, are each guilty of two counts of confinement, abandonment and failing to provide the necessaries of life. The grandmother is also guilty of assault.
All three remain on bail, with no contact with the children, until they are sentenced in December.
Source: Hamilton Spectator