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Child-Care Worker Kills

June 6, 2012 permalink

The Stan Wadlow Clubhouse’s after-school recreation care program in East York is described by the City of Toronto as “safe, affordable child care for children ages six to 12”. Christopher Husbands was employed there for about six months until May 18. On June 2 Mr Husbands fired a gun in Toronto's Eaton Centre killing 24-year-old Ahmed Hassan and injuring seven others, including a 13-year-old boy who was shot in the head.



Eaton Centre shooting suspect worked at city-run after-school program

Christopher Husbands
Christopher Husbands arrives in court in Toronto on Monday.
CP/Chris Young

The man charged in Saturday’s shooting at the Eaton Centre was until recently a part-time city employee who worked with children in an after-school care program, a city official has confirmed.

Christopher Husbands, 23, worked at Stan Wadlow Clubhouse’s after-school recreation care program in East York up until two weeks before a man opened fire on a crowded Eaton Centre food court, killing one and injuring seven others, including a 13-year-old boy who was shot in the head.

Husbands, who turned himself in to police on Monday, worked for the centre’s after-school program — described by the City of Toronto as “safe, affordable child care for children ages six to 12” — for about six months until May 18.

At the time of the shooting, Husbands was out on $4,000 bail and under house arrest for an outstanding 2010 sex assault charge.

Hours after his son’s arrest on Monday, Burchell Husbands told the Star that his son began having brushes with the law in his mid-teens. The 23-year-old has faced numerous charges since moving out of his family’s Regent Park home on his 18th birthday, his father said.

City spokeswoman Jackie DeSouza refused to say whether the city was aware of Husbands’s criminal history when he was hired last November or why his employment ended on May 18, but “it’s obviously very troubling to all of us,” she said.

DeSouza said there are no legislated requirements within the city’s parks and recreation department that job applicants submit criminal reference checks before they begin work. Instead, city policy requires that applicants begin obtaining a police reference check when they begin their employment and results can take “up to three months,” she said.

After learning that a former childcare employee had been arrested in connection with the Eaton Centre shooting, DeSouza said the city plans to investigate and “do a comprehensive policy review.”

The City of Toronto also sent a memo to Stan Wadlow Clubhouse staff and parents on Tuesday, notifying them that a city review found no indication that child safety had been compromised.

Parents, children and staff at the centre have been offered access to counselling and support services, DeSouza said.

Source: Metro News

Stan Wadlow Clubhouse

Stan Wadlow Clubhouse offers a wide range of social, educational and support services to older adults in the community Monday to Friday 9:00am-3:00 pm. The After-school Recreational Care program runs ten months of the year from school dismissal until 6:00 pm. Permits can be booked for this facility to host social events. Offering arts programs for all ages such as watercolours, drawing & sketching, pottery, woodcarving, violin, piano, guitar, and drumming. Preschool programs include indoor soccer and pottery. Fitness programs offered are Tai Chi, Yoga, and Fitness. Summer day camp designed to give children a fun-filled, action-packed, safe summer.


Addendum: More detail on Husbands.



Accused mall shooter worked with kids

Suspected shooter worked with kids

TORONTO – Two weeks before he allegedly opened fire in the Eaton Centre, killing one and wounding six others, Christopher Husbands was a part-time City of Toronto employee working with kids in an after-school program.

Husbands — now facing one charge of first-degree murder and six charges of attempted murder in the wake of Saturday's shooting at the busy Toronto mall — had the city job working with youth despite being under house arrest for a 2010 sexual assault charge still before the courts and a 2008 drug conviction, QMI Agency has learned.

Husbands, 23, worked for the city from November 2011 to May 18, 2012, according to city officials.

Despite his criminal background, Husbands worked at the Stan Wadlow Clubhouse in East York in the after-school recreation care program, which offers a variety of activities including sports, outdoor play, special events, creative activities and homework help.

City spokesman Wynna Brown wouldn't say why Husbands' employment ended, whether he submitted a criminal record check or if the city was aware of his criminal history when he was hired.

She said as soon as Husbands' name became public as the alleged Eaton Centre shooter, the city notified parents.

"This situation is deeply troubling to us all," Brown stated in an e-mail. "We are offering staff, participants and their families access to counselling and support services."

Parents at the clubhouse were horrified by the news Husbands had been working in their kids' after-school program.

"We were shocked, totally shocked," said Ken Medwid who has four children in program. "They should have let me know about the sexual assault (charge). I have an 11-year-old daughter going there."

A letter handed out to parents Tuesday didn't explain why Husbands' employment ended or mention his sexual assault charge.

Medwid's wife, Julie Demers, was also stunned by the news and angry to learn someone out on bail and under house arrest was watching her daughter and her eight-year-old triplet sons.

"We recognized his name when we heard it in the news but we didn't put the two together," she said.

The kids had nicknamed Husbands "Chrissy."

When the couple told their daughter about Husbands' arrest, she said: “But he was such a nice man."

Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti, chair of the city's community development and recreation committee, was "furious" to learn Husbands had been working with kids in a city program.

"I'd hate to see how many others have been hired that have criminal records," Mammoliti said. "They're supposed to be taking care of our children."

Mammoliti said he'll be demanding staff do background checks on any employee working with kids who has yet to provide one.

"If I get any staff member refusing to change the policy, I'll ask for them to be dismissed," he said.

The city's parks and recreation division has a policy that requires staff working with vulnerable populations, including children, to obtain a police reference check.

When hired, staff have to sign a declaration form and apply to Toronto Police for a check. Police provide the results directly to the employee and can take up to three months to produce the document. If the reference check isn't provided to the city, the employee is terminated.

But Mammoliti said the city shouldn't let someone start on the job before the check is provided.

"Those parents need to know those children are fine with the city," he said.


Addendum: A survivor of this incident, Jessica Ghawi, a 24-year-old sports writer who used the pen name Jessica Redfield, was the first person named as killed in the shooting in Aurora Colorado on July 19, 2012 by James Eagan Holmes.