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Prosecution for Helping Child
November 20, 2009 permalink
An unnamed Winnipeg couple are charged for providing a home to an unnamed seventeen-year-old runaway girl who was a crown ward. They face a $50,000 fine and two years in jail. The relationship of the adults to the child is not given. The man is too young to be the girl's father, but the woman is old enough to be her mother.
Ordinarily we suggest strict compliance with unjust court orders, that being the best course to get the court to correct the injustice. The one exception is runaways. Failure to harbor a runaway could mean that you next see the child when identifying the body in the morgue. The Winnipeg couple have done the necessary thing, and deserve protection from the law, not persecution. Unfortunately, since they are anonymous, no on can offer assistance.
2 charged in sheltering of chronic runaway
Man, woman face possible prison term, hefty fine
Last Updated: Thursday, November 19, 2009 | 3:40 PM CT, CBC News
Charges that investigators call groundbreaking have been laid against two people who allegedly gave illegal shelter twice to an at-risk teenage runaway in foster care, Winnipeg police said Thursday.
Police believe the girl, 17, is considered at risk of being victimized or exploited by child predators.
She was first reported missing Nov. 12. That day, she was found at a North End home.
A 25-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman at the residence were arrested and charged with interfering with a child in the care of Manitoba's Child and Family Services Department, police said.
Police didn't identify the couple or elaborate on their relationship with the teenager.
The man and woman were released from custody on a promise to appear in court at a later date. When the girl was reported missing again Tuesday, police said she was found at the same home and the same two people were arrested again.
They were released after being told they'll face additional charges of interfering with the teenage girl.
Child in state care
The charges are not laid under the Criminal Code but under a section of Manitoba's Child and Family Services Act that prohibits the harbouring or detention of a child in state care.
The man and woman face a maximum $50,000 fine or up to two years in prison if convicted, according to the legislation.
Police said Thursday they believe this is the first time Winnipeg missing-persons investigators have laid such a charge.
Const. Jacqueline Chaput said the couple may not have been directly exploiting the girl, but police believe they were potentially putting her at risk of being exploited.
"By not assisting police in locating her and getting her the services that she absolutely needed, they were essentially contributing to the possibility of her being exploited by the predators that are out there," Chaput said.
Chaput said the move to lay the unique charges coincides with the unit's mandate to bring awareness to the issue of at-risk youth chronically running away or being exploited.
Addendum: Another news report confirmed that one of the adults in this home was related to the girl.