Can you turn a blind eye forever?

Written by: Dawn Fitzgerald

In light of some of the recent stories across the country, and within our own community, with regards to on the job misconduct, one has to question the accountability and transparency factors.

It would seem that tax funded agencies such as the schools, hospitals, police, and CAS have very little to no transparency or accountability.

It seems astonishing that agents for these particular agencies, which are funded strictly from our tax dollars, and which are set up to protect human life from death and abuse and work to foster the people, often actually work in the opposite effect.

It would seem these particular job positions work to shield and support these sinister and evil wrong doers from punishment in many cases that would surely be administered to any other citizen or profession. Including extreme criminal acts. I would like to say that the point has been made clear to me that ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law unless you work in one of these professions. But the fact is that those who are abusing power are not ignorant of the law, they are trained and paid to uphold the laws that they know they violate.

Abuse By A Few Reduces Confidence In Many

I’m not saying that everyone in these professions is a bad person, and many do try to do their jobs to the best of their ability with the real mandate their jobs entail in mind. But why should the taxpayer foot the bill for these people to be on leave from their jobs after committing such horrible acts? It’s insane. People need to start screaming louder for transparency and accountability without having to foot the bill, especially in today’s economy. How could this be justifiable to any tax paying citizen?

In our community alone it would seem just as noticeable as anywhere else.  In our particular community, sometimes even more so.

In 1999, George Fred Abdallah, who was a teacher with the Kent County Roman Catholic Separate School Board, was hit with allegations that included: failing to keep the standards of the profession; failing to comply with the Ontario College of Teachers Act and the Education Act or the regulations made under the Acts; contravening a law relevant to a member’s suitability to hold Certificates of Qualification and Registration; engaging in conduct that would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonorable or unprofessional; and engaging in conduct unbecoming a member.

Abdallah pleaded guilty to all the allegations except those charging that he engaged in conduct that would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonorable or unprofessional and that he engaged in conduct unbecoming a member.

The panel found that Abdallah had been convicted of sexual assault and unlawful confinement and that he was to serve a total of two years less a day in prison. The charges involved two adult women who had no connection with the school system.

The panel in its decision noted that the presiding judge in the criminal case: did not accept as true Abdallah’s account that he had done nothing against the complainants; and that the judge found that Abdallah showed no remorse. But Abdallah’s co-workers considered him a good teacher. He was also a volunteer in the community.

It is scary to think this man who is capable of such a crime was in a classroom teaching within our community. And what was his punishment after facing the Ontario College of Teachers on these matters?

Although Abdallah was found guilty of all charges, the only actions taken were to suspend his Certificate of Qualification until August 31, 2000. Reinstatement was contingent on the Registrar of the College receiving a report from a licensed psychiatrist indicating that Abdallah is not likely to re-offend and that he understands the importance of gender issues involved in his case. George Abdallah has fulfilled these conditions and been reinstated as a member in good standing. Again, back in a classroom, full of vulnerable children.

Not A Pretty Sight

Michael Bedard is an even uglier example. He was a Chatham Chiropractor who had complaints rolling in for over a decade before finally facing 37 sexual assault charges stemming from 13 complainants. While out on bail for these charges, this man was granted permission by the courts to take vacations in the Caribbean, where he could have easily disappeared, and was still allowed to practice as long as there was a third party present while seeing female clients.

Even more recently, we have had to pay for Officer Thomas Brown who was allowed to return to work after appealing his case, even though it was already deemed the first time that this guy was out of control. In a similar situation, a 12 year veteran of the police service, whom the police refused to name even in the beginning and who was previously charged with harassing her ex-husband,  is now back at it again. Only this time she arrived drunk. Even after being placed into a desk job after committing a domestic assault while handling domestic cases, she was charged with drinking and drving while attending the home of her ex husband that came with an investigation into an unwanted person report at the same address.

We can only hope Const. Cindy Schlarbaum who did not learn her lesson the first time, will be served the same fate as Const. Brown. In 2010, out of 73 investigations of police officers, 28 of them being very serious, there were zero criminal charges laid and only 1 termination at the CKPS. 35 of these investigations were treated informally or resulted in counseling, with nine others had no action taken. Even with four SIU investigations that year alone.

It tends to make you question who the real criminals are and how effective these quiet punishments are. If the average citizen comes up on these same types of charges and situations, I find it hard to believe we would be granted the same kind of understanding that these individuals have obviously been granted. If we are not seen as equals before the law then the law is broken.

Are The CAS The Least Accountable Of Government Agencies?

CAS is an even more unchallenged agency within the community. It has no transparency and even less accountability. When trying to research numbers for this article, it became clear that not even the numbers of complaints are available to the public. This would lead anyone to believe that they have a lot to hide and that the situation is much worse than most people could believe.

If you Google CAS abuse, the accounts are endless. With recent investigations and quiet firings in our own community it does seem that they may be the most sinister and unaccountable of all government agencies. In fact, when searching for numbers any other agency would be more than happy to post or report, it was suggested to me that the only thing that could be done to find these numbers would be to write to the Ombudsman. Even if he had the numbers, it might only be the number of complaints, and be non-specific.  Even if these numbers were made public, they could not be confirmed.

As I said, the Ombudsman may not even have real numbers, but all of this is on top of the suffering of countless families who are too scared to complain out of the fear of reprisal from this entity that I could only compare to a large secret society or organized crime family. I’m pretty positive more children die in their care than deaths caused by either of these other two entities. Surely any civil society would spend enormous dollars and man hours to bring these people to justice, where we are literally being told by our government to turn a blind eye.

I am encouraging all comments from both sides of this community and urge all readers to contact their local MP and Ombudsman in favor of an increase of transparency and accountability. This helps us all decide, instead of being shut out of the process.

Demand The Ombudsman Investigate The MUSH Sector!

As per the request of concerned local citizens, humble, I post the following for your review and consideration:

FELLOW ONTARIANS! I can’t express the importance of this! We need Ombudsman oversight here in Ontario (the last and only province that is not presently being overseen) by a responsible government official! If we want change, we have to be part of that change! Please review and consider. There are millions of dollars of Ontarians tax paying dollars being misallocated, not to mention all the wrongful; overlooked deaths of over five hundred children in the past five years under the direct or indirect care of CAS! But this about way more than that! But that alone should be a just enough reason to demand oversight!!! Share and raise awareness of the corruption to your loved ones! THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to protect our loved ones and future generations!

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14 Responses to "Can you turn a blind eye forever?"

  1. Annonamous   February 2, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Wow the truth is in print…..wake up people you have no idea how unaccountable the mush sector is. Speak up, get loud and get mad…afterall this is your tax dollars and you have a right! This just skims some of the reasons there is a need for oversight, can you just imagine all the stuff you don’t know? Don’t wait until you or your family is effected by the unaccountable MUSH sector fight back NOW!

  2. Mary Najdzion-Gagnon   February 2, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Thank you so much for this article. You are right about ‘retaliation’!!! My son spoke with you about his infant getting violently abused while in foster care (dislocated elbow, broken arm,etc etc) and now his caseworker will not return his calls…7 of them! Finally his call was directed to Lori Aldon (director) and she told him to call caseworkers, supervisor’s supervisor!!!!! DA>>>>He left message with her too….. he is preparing complaint for the rediculous Family Review Board.

    This is the kind of thing that happens if you speak up….next it will be shortening his supervised visits…..
    So glad you are on board to get information out to the public…much gratitude

  3. YVONNE CRAIG   February 2, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    In 2006, 83 children died
    In 2007, 90 children died
    In 2008, 105 children died
    In 2009, 120 children died
    In 2010, 105 children died
    Total: 503 children died – within the Province of Ontario alone – “In Care”
    Reported by Paediatric Death Review Committee and Office of the Chief Coroner

    In 2006, 36 soldiers died
    In 2007, 30 soldiers died
    In 2008, 32 soldiers died
    In 2009, 32 soldiers died
    In 2010, 33 soldiers died
    Total: 163 brave Canadian men & women died in Afghanistan within a war zone

    More children have died in FOSTER CARE than in war. Nearly 100 children die in care per year…the Ministry of Child & Youth Services has been “audited” in past for their “higher” than Provincial Avg. # of deaths of foster children. Our Provincial structure is such that even HIGHER than average # of apprehensions in a particular CAS (such as Windsor-Essex CAS in 2003) is met with a rapidly closed file after they DUMPED 25% of their case load. The most tragic result is the Provincial Auditor General placed VALUE FOR MONEY (VFM) as the #1 criteria whereas “standard of care” for children in foster homes or group facilities was a distant 2nd or 3rd. The links to these annual reports are available online via the individual ministry websites. All of these gross systemic failures are the least of the corruption & lawlessness which puts child protection in symbiosis with the law. Even during the Youth Leaving Care Hearings interview on the Agenda with Steve Paikin; Steve eventually got the OACAS director to admit to the “depraved” CAS/Ministry funding structure (rewards agencies a bigger pool of funding for large case volumes; CAS’s prolong cases to assure they’ll meet con-commitment budgetary requirements; prevent shortfalls). It’s truly a despicable system that’s terrorizing family construct & there’s no mechanism for parents other than litigation & even that has huge PITFALLS on account of legislative AMBIGUITY & Ontario Legal Aid flaws.

  4. margaret   February 2, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    CAS is a syndicated crime ring! social workers are inept at addressing social issues and finding solutions. lawyers take the long way to make more money, not address justice. judges sanction crime in the child protection industry. but mostly the public at large permits this by: using lawyers instead of self-representing, not audio or videoptaping in situations where there is zero transperency, and being intimidated by judges who walk all over us. Shame on police for allowing this with open arms and closed mouths…..but mostly disgraceful public by electing Dalton McGuinty who stops the ombudsman from having authority to investigate. We the people are we the wimps. Complaining gets you nowhere, educating yourself and practising law gets you everywhere. Replying on everyone else is known as enabling…enabling all this to continue. It can stop being a crime when we as a whole stop crying about it and take action against it. BE YOUR OWN LAWYER, ATTACK YOUR OWN JUDGE, AND MAKE YOUR OWN MEDIA!!! Long as no one does nothing, they themselves allow this to happen to their own children. and members of the public: do not give money to the Children’s Aid, find a foster kid (lots in our kids classes at school, really not harf to find) and buy them sports lessons, musical instruments, clothing, laptops or even ipods so they can talk to their mommies who were forcibly taken from them.

  5. Tina   February 3, 2012 at 12:09 am

    I had issues with chatham CAS, 4 years and going now. I was the victim in an abusive relationship and called police on my ex, who in turn informed CAS because i was pregnant. They took my son and placed him with my mom for 1 year because it was a potential risk to my baby if my ex (who was in jail for 2 years) was in contact with me. They told me repeadely i was a good parent, the concern is with my ex (still in jail). Finally after the year that Dr mcDermont (thier parent capacity assessor who uses the same “non transparent, needs counselling” template) suggested, my son came home where he belongs. There has not been any further concerns of issues from CAS, they continued to insist i was a good parent. My son is now turning 5, im still in court trying to get full custody, tho CAS did “release” me a year ago, they are requesting visits still. My ex just released from jail about a year ago is now trying for access and custody! (he has never even laid eyes on my son)
    Its frusterating that a society who is supposed to protect our children further victimize the victims and in turn put our babies at a much greater risk. Thank God my mom could care for my boy, i dont know how things may have been if he got sent to a foster home that had bad parents. I know some fosters are good, but most do it for money!!!!!
    One more comment….. Does it bother anyone else that CAS advertises for foster families under employment opportunities? Its not a cash cow!

  6. Thomas Verburg   February 3, 2012 at 1:35 am

    An AMAZING article!! If the government ignores our cries; I will have lost all faith in the justice system in this country. I remain positive that this corruption will be exposed and made public! What does the CAS have to hide?? Be responsible, be accountable. I honestly cannot believe that this has been going on, while I was blind. MY EYES ARE WIDE OPEN NOW! Two rallies planned for this feb 2012, 13th (fight the cas) and the 21st ( both are helping by raising awareness and helping families with free legal information. Either can be joined on facebook, are quite helpful and informative for the average uninformed ontario citizen. HELP. RAISE. AWARENESS. If you want change, BE PART OF THE CHANGE! Become an activist, not a destractionist!

  7. Jesse Larabee   February 3, 2012 at 6:46 am

    Who is investigating the Northern Lights Programs group home? Children and youth were sexually abused in the Northern Lights Programs group home in Sudbury, Ontario. Recently a 14-year-old child died in the group home! We deserve justice! Please share this Facebook page with your friends and family and other Facebook groups.

    Facebook page:

  8. Stacy   February 3, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Not to mention the sexual abuse in the foster care and when reported said satutes of Limiations had past BS!!!!!!!!!!1

  9. ron   February 4, 2012 at 11:35 am

    do u remember when, as a child, ur only fear was the monster under ur bed!!! and when having a child was a blessing and a gift !!!! when, a police man, was kind, and helpful, when, all the information, u could ever want about anything in ur community , was at ur civic center !!! my how budget cuts have changed things in a manner that has not come at a lose of our peace of mind and belief that we are save from such situations !!!!

  10. Jen   February 4, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    There needs to be accountability and transparency in the MUSH sector. Groups have been protesting about this and in contact with MPP’s for years and haven’t stopped. Thousands of signatures sent to have Ombudsman given the oversight of the Mush sector. I hope they listen. There needs to be changes. Too much criminal activity at every level. Polices forces not just in Chatham but every where in Ontario need to clean house not protect their own ‘criminals’. CAS is abusing its power and not listening to Judges. They go over anyones head to steal a baby from its mother moments after birth, to walking in to a home and taking a child on ‘hearsay’. They don’t protect children they send them fates worse then what most have at home. Ontario has changed for the worse. Stand up and be counted and help to get the Ombudsman the power he needs.

  11. Darlene Burk   February 4, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Close your eyes, tune out the words, ignore the truth and what happens? NOTHING !!! Sit back roll your eyes, finger point across the sea and tisk in disgust and what happens? NOTHING!!! As long as we all sit back and pretend it’s not our problem…the problem will never get addressed. This is your problem, directly or indirectly one way or another..You keep complaining about government, but you don’t want to change your path…you keep complaining about your taxes, yet again you don’t want to change your path. Afraid? Afraid of what? You claim this is a free country full of why are you afraid to stand up and say “Hey this isn’t right?” I stood all day in a snow storm at a rally…a voice for the children and families that can not speak…the storm I endured was nothing in compare to the storm they live.If you can’t stand up for what is right…then it only means you are certain to fall for what is wrong. God Bless the children, for it is all of our responsibility to take GOOD care of them. <3

  12. survivorsofgroupghomes   May 20, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    My name is Jesse Larabee and I am a member of a new class action lawsuit.

  13. survivorsofgroupghomes   May 20, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    My name is Jesse Larabee and I am a member of a class action lawsuit. The suit claims the province failed to take all necessary steps to protect the rights of Crown wards to apply for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board or to file personal injury claims for children who were abused prior to or while in the care of the Province.I am hoping to receive financial compensation. I would like the compensation to be used exclusively on therapy and education.

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