Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Custodial grandfather with criminal record, history of child abuse still being "investigated" in death of 13-month-old boy; dad "furious," but why didn't mom have custody? (Niagara, Ontario, Canada)

We've posted on this case before.

But there is STILL no explanation as to why the UNNAMED GRANDFATHER, a man with a criminal record including a CONVICTION for abusing the baby's father when he was a baby, got custody.

And the mother continues to be basically erased and silenced. Dad is allowed to be "furious" in print, but why the mother was shut out this baby's life is totally unexplained.

Yet another case that screams of fathers rights corruption and deal making.


Father furious with FACS over son’s death

By Bill Sawchuk, St. Catharines Standard

Monday, August 24, 2015 8:26:57 EDT PM

As the police investigation continues into last month’s death of a 13-month-old boy in Thorold, the boy’s father remains furious with FACS Niagara.

He said family and children’s services placed the child in the custody of his grandfather and his spouse.

The grandfather had a previous conviction for abusing a baby.

An affidavit filed by family and children services and obtained by The Standard shows the society was aware of the grandfather’s conviction for assaulting the baby’s father as an infant in 1995.

“As far as I am concerned, I would rather have my eyes poked out with a hot poker than ever see a FACS worker again,” the baby’s 20-year-old father said. “I begged them not to put (the baby) there.”

Niagara EMS and police said they responded to a home in Thorold at 10:30 a.m. July 25 after a 911 call reported a child in medical distress.

The child was transported to St. Catharines hospital and airlifted to McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton that same day.

The grandfather was distraught and refused to enter the hospital, the affidavit said. At one point, he began walking back to Thorold from Hamilton before a family member picked him up, the affidavit said.

The baby was taken off life-support at 5:51 p.m. on July 26. The mother and father were with their son when he died.

“The worst part was when they decided to take him off life support, and I felt his last heartbeat with my own hand,” his father said.

The affidavit said the grandfather, who is in his late 30s, told police the child was knocked over by the family’s Labrador dog. The grandfather heard the child crying on the floor.

The grandfather told police the boy seemed fine but then went “limp and was making gagging noises,” the affidavit said.

The boy’s father isn’t buying the explanation.

“A dog couldn’t cause the kind of injuries (the boy) had,” he said.

The affidavit said the baby had sustained “extensive bleeding to the brain, including multiple layers of bleeding.”

A woman who answered the door at the home in Thorold after the boy’s death said she had no comment.

Further efforts to contact the grandfather and his spouse were unsuccessful.

Efforts to contact the mother by cellphone were unsuccessful.

The Standard isn’t using any names because of a publication ban on identifying children, their parents or family members that are the subject of a child protection proceeding in family court.

Another grandchild was in the care of the grandfather and his spouse. The 19-month-old girl was also placed there by family and children’s services.

In the affidavit, family and children’s services said the grandfather “was open and honest about his criminal history and was willing to complete the necessary documents for the society to complete the assessment.”

On July 27 after the death of the boy, doctors at McMaster said a skeletal exam revealed the girl might have “historical unexplained injuries.”

Further tests were ordered. A FACS worker told the grandfather and his spouse the same day the agency was apprehending the girl because of the suspicions injuries, the affidavit said.

Neither the grandfather nor his spouse asked where, or what, the injuries were, the affidavit said. Family and children’s services placed the girl with yet another family member.

Chris Steven, executive director of FACS Niagara, said after additional testing, the doctors determined the girl didn’t have any injuries.

“Some things were seen on the initial examinations,” Steven said. “But what they saw was subsequently determined to be normal variations in a child’s bone development and not injuries.”

Const. Dave Mander of the Niagara Regional Police said its investigation into the death of the boy is “open” and ongoing, but wouldn’t provide any details.

“The police haven’t told us too much,” the boy’s father said. “They have told us it is one of their top cases. I know the police are meeting with the coroner’s office and the staff from McMaster sometime in the next two weeks. That’s about all I know about the investigation.”

Steven said his agency is working closely with the police to determine what happened.

“For men and women that dedicate themselves to the care and protection of children, this is the worst it can be,” Steven said. “It’s heartbreaking. It was a tragic loss of a child, and it has had an impact on his family, those who cared for him and the community.

“If I were a member of the public, I would want to know what happened. How is this possible? We understand that, but while events are unfolding, we can’t say much about the investigation.”

Steven said any investigation and apprehension of a child requires the society to gather information, review it and weigh the current circumstances of the family being assessed.

“When we apprehend children, we have to be in court in a matter of days and place creditable information before the court to support any recommendations. It isn’t just our decision.

“It is not a question of taking a child from one vulnerable circumstance and putting them into another one and closing the case. There is a very comprehensive plan of support and supervision.

“If there is a (criminal) record, what impact does that record have under the current circumstances. Is there a continuing risk? Have there been any changes? We have to take into consideration if there are any other children in the home. How are they doing? Are they thriving? All that information is assessed and brought forward as part of a recommendation.

“It can appear (to the public) like this is a very cut-and-dried, simplistic error, but there is no typical case. It is very unpredictable and complicated at times.” Regional Coroner Dr. Jack Stanborough said he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the case or the cause of death.

“The matter is really in the hands of the police,” he said. “We can’t give a cause or manner of death until the police investigation is complete and criminal charges are considered or dealt with.” Stanborough said, in general, if the case is a homicide or criminally suspicious, the police have the lead and the coroner’s office works with the detectives.

“After the post-mortem is done, we often have to wait for the results of further tests,” Stanborough said. “The pathologist will often look at the tissue under the microscope. We will do other toxicology. Sometimes you have a fairly good idea of what happened and more testing is just a matter of being complete. “All of it takes time. Then we take our findings and the results of the police investigation — the evidence from the scene, the examination of the body, the past medical history, the toxicology — and wrap it up into a picture that makes sense.”