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Batshaw Protest

August 28, 2013 permalink

Wendall Zanth staged a one-man protest outside Batshaw Youth and Family Services Centre in Montreal on August 12. Local copy of video (mp4).



Mon, Aug 12: A young man staged a protest outside Batshaw Youth and Family Services Centre in Westmount on Monday, blocking the entrance to the building for several hours.

Source: Global News

Addendum: Zanth continues his protest into September. Here is a local copy (mp4) of the video.



Former foster child speaks out about alleged sexual abuse

MONTREAL – A 35-year-old Montreal man who claims he was sexually assaulted while in the care of Batshaw Youth Protection Services is desperately searching for justice. The alleged abuse took place close to two decades ago, but no criminal charges have been laid and the person in question has not lost his job.

“They call it youth protection, but they only protect themselves, they don’t protect children,” said Wendall Zanth, while handing out flyers in front of his former group home, Hawkins House in NDG.

The former foster child stood near the group home’s doostep and handed out dozens of flyers before police were called to the scene. Officers informed Zanth of his rights and told him he could only distribute on the sidewalk, not in the street.

Hawkins House brings back some dark memories for Zanth, since he says it’s the first place he was molested by his counsellor.

“It’s a group shelter for small children up to 13-years-old and I used to live here when I was eight-years-old,” said Zanth while standing near the doorstep.

“This is where I lived when I was first assaulted by him.”

Zanth turned to police for the first time last year, after what he calls several failed attempts to file complaints with Batshaw.

“I’ve gone through the complaints process and they refuse to take any complaints that I try to submit to them and there’s always an excuse, like you can’t file it by email,” deplored Zanth, who worries his alleged abuser may still be working at Batshaw. One police officer apparently told him the man in question had been suspended, and was no longer allowed to work with children. But Batshaw administrators refuse to discuss specific cases.

“If the client is not satisfied with our answer he can appeal to the public protector that’s the provincial ombudsman,” said Rosemay St-Fort, Batshaw’s Assistant Complaints Commissioner.

Montreal police conducted an investigation following Zanth’s complaint, but no criminal charges were ever laid due to a lack of evidence.

Most medical records and files at Batshaw are destroyed after five years, or when the child in their care turns 18 years of age.

“You have to understand that there are rules regulating the keeping of files so we cannot keep files forever,” said St-Fort.

Zanth is hoping others will come forward with similar stories.

“It’s made me very angry for the past year and I’m trying to ventilate my anger and not get myself arrested,” said Zanth, who is on a mission to warn as many people as possible.

Batshaw won’t confirm whether or not the person in question still works for them but according to Zanth, one police officer told him the alleged abuser was temporarily suspended.

“I could stop feeling so angry if at a minimum he’s not working with children,” insisted Zanth who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He’s currently on disability, can’t keep a job and has trouble sleeping at night.

“It did affect me, I guess it would affect my ability to have personal relationships and stuff like that. I guess it made me feel ashamed of myself all my life even thoughit wasn’t my fault,” said Zanth.

Police have warned Wendall Zanth that he could be sued for defamation by distributing and posting pictures of his alleged abuser. But it’s well worth the risk in his opinion and since he can’t afford to launch a civil law suit, it may be the only way to finally face his former counsellor in court.

Source: Global News