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Protect the Guilty
Slander the Innocent
July 28, 2012 permalink
Ron Slatter, a foster parent in Ontario's scandal-plagued Prince Edward County, was accused earlier this year of sexual misconduct against his wards. The charges were withdrawn, but only after his name had been irrevocably smeared. The Wellington Times tells his story in detail.
Many opponents of social services believe that every criminal conviction of a social worker or foster parent is a step forward. But, as in the Slatter case, it could be a product of the child protection back-stabbing culture. Efforts to thwart conscientious insiders can be the real origin of the accusation.
Following the Times article is a remark by Curtis Kingston, an observer knowledgeable about Prince Edward County accused foster parents. He contrasts the public smear of the innocent Ron Slatter with the protection of another foster parent truly guilty of sexual offenses.
Foster family blame CAS for destroying their reputation
Ron Slatter is trying to get his good name back. He figures by now it is likely a lost cause. His name was featured prominently in news coverage when the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society filed a complaint against him earlier this year. That led to charges of sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation. Those charges were later withdrawn—for as the OPP reported, the actions, though inappropriate, didn’t amount to a criminal act.
Slatter denies he ever acted inappropriately with the children placed in his care by the CAS. He says he only learned when charges withdrawn that he had been accused of having told a dirty joke. He says it isn’t true—that it didn’t happen. But the damage is done—for his name and reputation are in tatters.
Yet he feels compelled to tell his story—even though he knows some people have already made up their minds and will always see him differently. He is coming forward, he says, as a warning to others who would consider challenging the way the local children’s aid society is run. Slatter believes the CAS pushed for charges against him as a form of “payback” for years of advocating for better treatment of foster families and children in their care. He says he is not alone—other families who have pushed for changes at the CAS have been forced to retreat or gotten out of foster care altogether.
BECOMING FOSTER PARENTS
With their own children grown and living on their own, Ron and Linda Slatter decided they wanted to provide a home to children whose lives were in disarray. After 20 years of experience in Boy Scouts Ron enjoyed working with children and passing along his life experiences.
Ron has worked in the County’s Public Works Department for 30 years but an injury forced him to retire early. In 2003 they took in their first child—an 11-year-old boy. The youngster seemed to find trouble everywhere he went.
“We spent a lot of time talking around the kitchen table,” recalls Slatter fondly.
Over the years the Slatters opened their home to more than 40 children, some staying as little as a month, others for five years. Ron says they had many successes as well as some disappointments. Some made great strides— others didn’t.
A SUCCESS STORY
One child came to them in 2005 an angry and confused young 14-year-old. After Kassy’s mom couldn’t manage her daughter any longer she was sent to live with her dad. That lasted only a few months. She landed in Ron and Linda’s home. Her grades were poor, her attitude worse.
Kassy was sent to the Slatters on a 30-day interim basis. But 30 days turned into five years. Kassy was eventually made a Crown ward and officially placed with the Slatters. Over the next few years her grades improved as did her outlook to life. She now considers it home.
“Ron and Linda really push school,” explained Kassy in an interview with the Times. “In Grade 11 and 12 I got honours. They don’t take credit for this but they are really proud that I was able to do this.”
Kassy says success in high school led to thoughts of higher education.
“I had no plans to go to college when I moved in there,” said Kassy. “But they pushed the education thing. And I lived there during my first year of college.”
Kassy is now 21 and has graduated with a college diploma in social service work.
She is shocked that the Slatters have been dragged through this scandal.
“Honestly they are the last people on the face of the earth who should be accused of something like that,” said Kassy. “They have a great reputation. I don’t know how an accusation like this could have gone this far. His name is mud now. They’ve done nothing but good—I don’t know how it got this far.”
Kassy, too, believes the Slatters have been targetted because Ron challenged the CAS and how it operated.
“I think they were covering their ass,” said Kassy. “I was interviewed by the CAS. I didn’t know what was going on. Nobody had warned me they were looking at Ron and Linda. I was completely shocked.
“But I could see what was going on—especially the CAS caseworker. Ron had gone against the CAS on a lot of things.”
A CHALLENGE TOO GREAT
Ron says they had less success with another young girl. On the last night of 2008, Ron took a call from the CAS—they were bringing 15-year-old girl to live with them. Theirs was one of only a few homes that would respond to such a call on New Year’s Eve.
Once in their home, the Slatters learned the child had been sexually assaulted prior to her arrival in their home and they were upset they hadn’t been informed about this beforehand— but they were getting used to being kept in the dark about the history of the children being sent to her home. Ron Slatter reported the girl’s sexual assault to the CAS caseworker but got an unsatisfactory response.
“I got upset,” said Slatter. “I said I would take the girl to the police myself.”
The next morning he got a call from the OPP. They concluded she had been sexually assaulted a month before she came to live with the Slatters.
Ron believes some CAS caseworkers lack the experience and training to do their job as effectively as they should. He says too the CAS also focuses too much on balancing their books each year.
“We spent months trying to get help for this girl,” said Slatter. “She began to see a psychologist but after three sessions we were told it was too expensive.
“Her family doctor wanted her to undergo a 72-hour evaluation because of some self destructive behaviours,” said Slatter. “But the CAS said the issues weren’t serious enough and wouldn’t pay for the girl’s examination.”
When the challenges continued, the Slatters asked for the girl to be moved. The girl went to live in a group home in Belleville.
Ron Slatter has since learned that it was this girl who accused him of telling her a “dirty” joke. Slatter denies it ever happened.
THE SMART ONES
He believes CAS administrators grew weary of butting heads with him in his role on the executive of the Foster Families Association.
He says a week before the police called to say they were going to arrest him, he was called into the CAS offices and fired as a foster parent. Slatter says the reason offered by the CAS staffer was that he hadn’t advised them that his daughter and children had been visiting for the weekend.
“This was deemed a change in our home,” said Slatter. “It was clear to me this was payback for what we’d done with the Foster Family Association.”
For years he and the association pushed the CAS to expand the list of reimbursable expenses borne by foster parents.
“We are among the lowest paid foster parents in the province,” says Slatter. “The caseworkers too are among the lowest paid in the province. This is one of the only Children’s Aid Societies that runs a surplus each year. Why is that?”
Ron feels he is paying the price for speaking out. He has been advised it will cost him as much as $1 million to sue the CAS for the damage they have done to his name and reputation.
“Others just got out,” said Slatter. “They quit. They are the smart ones.”
The executive director of the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society did not respond to an invitation to comment on the allegations in this story.
Source: Wellington Times
I really do feel for Ron Slatter as I do 100% believe his story not just from what he has said but from having inside knowledge on the case and I feel that this man deserves justice for what the CAS did to him.
I am also extremely angry at the simple fact that the CAS was perfectly willing to ruin this mans name by not attempting to get any publication ban but the horrible excuse for a man that actually did commit horrendous sex crimes against children and was convicted for them is still under a publication ban and I cannot tell people his name and not only that but the convicted man is even allowed to live here just about 5 minutes from my house at his home in Belleville until his sentencing is over with.
Ronald Slatter is an innocent man that had his name destroyed because he was wanting to speak out against the CA$ while at the same time the CA$ was and still is trying their best to keep the guilty mans name from the public! How is this in the best interest of the children!
Source: Facebook, Curtis Kingston
Addendum: CAS has responded to the story that Slatter was falsely accused. They claim that the county prosecutor, not CAS, is responsible, and that Slatter must be guilty of something becuase he agreed to a peace bond. But dozens of other cases have shown that it is common for CAS and prosecutors to bully a victim into concessions.
CAS says it was compelled to act upon allegations
The Children’s Aid Society of Prince Edward County has responded to story in last week’s Times, in which a former foster parent said the CAS had trumped up charges against him as “payback” for advocating for better treatment for foster families and the children in their care.
Elaine Philip, the incoming chair of the CAS board, said it is the police and the Crown Attorney who make the decision to lay charges—not the CAS.
“The notion that the charges were part of a vendetta is totally without basis in fact and quite absurd,” said Philip.
She said the CAS is compelled to respond to allegations made by youth in its care. “The investigation was initiated by the allegation made by the individual. We have to follow the law too.”
Ron Slatter was charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation. The allegations were made by a youth that once resided in the Slatter home.
“The OPP conducts their own separate parallel investigation whenever allegations are made,” said Philip. “When it comes to criminal charges, that is the sole domain of the police and the crown attorney.”
But Slatter says in this case the CAS were keenly invested in his arrest and in charges being laid against him. He believes he was targeted by the CAS because he spoke up for foster families and pushed for improved funding for the children under CAS care.
“They were the ones who notified the police. Their child protection officer was at the police station when I was questioned by police,” said Slatter. “She was in the next room I was in, listening and watching through the window from the next room. They are just trying to distance themselves from this,” said Slatter.
Philip further contends that Slatter is not the innocent victim he claims to be.
“He agreed to enter into a peace bond that required that he not be in the presence of children that are not his own grandchildren—that is not something you enter into if your 100 per cent innocent,” Philip told the Times.
Slatter says he only agreed to the condition at the last minute—just as charges were being withdrawn. He says he would have gone to trial had he fully understood what he was agreeing to.
Source: Wellington Times