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Queen’s University officials stress safety after report of indecent act – Kingston

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The topic of safety has come up on the Queen’s University campus in Kingston after a disturbing incident.

Kingston police are searching for a man who allegedly committed an indecent act in front of a woman last Saturday night.

The student government has increased its walk-home service. The Alma Mater Society runs the service and has done so for 30 years now. Matt Rowland, the head walk-home manager, says it’s there for whoever needs it.

“What we do is we try to get students from point A to point B. We try to make this campus more accessible by offering a confidential and anonymous service that students can request walks from a team of two.”


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Kingston police said a woman was walking alone around 8:30 p.m. Saturday night in front of Adelaide Hall at the corner of Stuart Street and University Avenue when a man stopped his vehicle near the woman and asked her for directions.

When the woman came up to the vehicle, police said she saw the man allegedly masturbating.

Police also said when the woman walked away, the man in the car followed her and asked her to come back.

“Kingston police are actively investigating this matter and hopefully, it will come to a resolution soon,” said Joel Keenleyside, Queen’s security operations manager.


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Keenleyside says despite the incident, university officials feel it is a safe place to be and hopes the university community feels the same.

The suspect is described as a Caucasian male with an average build who looked to be in his 30s. He has a beard and was seen driving a small white car that looked to be new.

— with files from Alexandra Mazur

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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Ontario’s child protection association names first Black CEO

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Ontario’s child protection system — a sector struggling to address anti-Black racism and the overrepresentation of African Canadian children in foster care and group homes — has appointed its first Black chief executive officer.

Nicole Bonnie, director of diversity and anti-oppression at the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, will take the helm of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) in January.

Her appointment to the association that represents the province’s 47 children’s aid societies comes in the wake of an ongoing Star investigation into kids in care and last summer’s uproar over the Toronto society’s decision to hire a CEO with seemingly no experience in child protection or previous work in the area of diversity.

Bonnie, who previously worked at the Peel Children’s Aid Society, is replacing Mary Ballantyne who is retiring.

Her appointment “is very welcome and exciting news for us,” said Caroline Newton of the OACAS.

Bonnie, who is out of the country, said in a statement to the Star she is “honoured” to lead the association.

“Child Welfare in Ontario is changing in fundamental ways,” she said. “We are listening to the families and communities we serve, and reimagining child welfare in a way that supports them to thrive.”

She said she wants “to help build a child welfare system based on the pillars of respect and empowerment, reconciliation, equity and belonging, and consistent and excellent services across the province.”

The appointment also comes as more than 300 Black children’s aid workers from across the province gather in Toronto this week to discuss the sector’s efforts to fight anti-Black racism and the challenges faced by front-line staff.

“Black people who work in child welfare are often seen by the community as traitors or as not standing up for Black people,” said Kike Ojo, manager of One Vision One Voice (OVOV), a provincially funded program of the OACAS.

“But it’s just not true. People who work on the inside are often fighting like hell to make things better for Black people,” said Ojo, whose initiative is sponsoring the two-day symposium.

Of the province’s 11,000 child welfare workers, about 1,000 — or 10 per cent — are Black, Ojo said.

She said she hopes the symposium, the first of its kind, will be the beginning of a formal network of Black child protection workers in Ontario who can support one another as they push for change from the inside.

“I want to shine a light on why there is so little progress and what it’s like for people on the inside who are change agents,” she said. “I am trying to create protections for them.”

Black workers who advocate for Black families are often criticized by their superiors as being “biased” or “unprofessional,” Ojo said.

“The pushback is incredible. It has cost many workers promotions because they are seen as disruptive,” she said.

“In 13 years of senior leadership in the sector, I have never heard that said of a white worker — that they are being biased or unprofessional in their dealings with a white family,” she said. “This is just one of the forms that anti-Black racism takes.”

Jean Samuel, the OACAS’s first director of diversity, equity and inclusion said Bonnie’s appointment will “give hope” to Black workers in the system.

“It really is going to help Black staff feel their voices can be accepted and embraced to help reimagine the work that we need to do,” said Samuel, who was at the symposium Wednesday.

“Nicole is the first Black CEO in our sector. She’s also a Black female,” Samuel said. “It shows there’s a future for child welfare that is going to look and feel a lot different than it has historically.”

This week’s meeting of Black staff follows a similar gathering of Black youth in care who met in Toronto last summer to share their experiences.

If provincial funding ends, Ojo said she hopes the sector will continue to support annual gatherings for both youth and staff.

The OVOV initiative was launched in January 2015 to address the overrepresentation of Black children in the care of children’s aid societies, a problem highlighted in a 2014 Star investigation and most recently by Ontario’s Human Rights Commission.

According to the latest statistics released by the Toronto society, 32 per cent of children admitted into care in 2017-18 were Black while they represent just 8 per cent of city residents under age 18.

A report by Ontario’s Human Rights Commission last spring found Black children were overrepresented in 30 per cent of CASs, an admission rate 2.2 times higher than their proportion in the child population.

The commission called on societies to improve data collection and increase efforts to address anti-Black racism within their internal policies and structures.

Laurie Monsebraaten is a Toronto-based reporter covering social justice. Follow her on Twitter: @lmonseb



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Police in Kingston looking for victims of alleged child predator – Kingston

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Investigators in Kingston believe there may be more victims in a child pornography investigation.

A 43-year-old Kingston man is facing several child pornography-related charges.

It stems from a Facebook message, sent to a young girl last month. Police said the accused commented on how cute her Facebook photo was. Police allege a few days later, the accused sent messages that were of a sexual nature. The victim contacted police.


READ MORE:
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On Tuesday, 43-year-old Robert John Burns was arrested after police and the Internet Child and Exploitation Unit or ICE executed a search warrant at a home in the region.

Burns is facing several child pornography-related charges including making and possessing child pornography and attempting to meet with a person under 16 years of age to commit a sexual offence.

Police are concerned that Burns may have had access or contact with other children as well.

Anyone with information regarding the accused having contact with a child is asked to contact Det. Paul Robb at 613-549-4660 ext. 6383.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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Rape victim worries man using sexsomnia defence will be found not criminally responsible

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Seven years after she was raped by a stranger, an Ottawa-area woman is still seeking closure and waiting in trepidation for what justice could mete out.

Her attacker, Ryan Hartman, 38, was found guilty of sexual assault in 2012 and sentenced to 14 months in jail. He appealed and lost.

He appealed again. This time he admitted to the crime, but presented evidence that he was suffering from sexsomnia and argued that he was sleeping when he raped the woman.

The Ontario Court of Appeal granted him a new trial, which began in April 2017.

On Monday, a Brockville judge will decide if the original conviction should stand or if Hartman is not criminally responsible because of a sleep disorder.

Since being raped in 2011, the 30-year-old woman, whose identity is protected by a court order, has gone through two trials and two appeals. She says the delay has plunged her into depression and anxiety, and she’s battled alcohol and drug abuse, endured toxic relationships and wrestled with suicidal thoughts.

She says she is afraid of breaking down if Hartman is found not criminally responsible.

« How will I move on? How will I get past it? » she said. « If he was found NCR, I don’t know how I will continue with my life. »

House party

Before she was sexually assaulted in 2011, the woman was two months away from graduating from a community justice program at Algonquin College.

On a February evening during reading week, she and her boyfriend were invited to a house party in Spencerville, Ont.

Having drunk too much, the couple decided to sleep off the booze before they drove home and crashed on an air mattress. The victim set her watch alarm for 6:30 a.m., wrapped her arms around her boyfriend and dozed off.

Just a few minutes before her alarm beeped, she says that she felt a strong pain in her buttocks. Her jeans were pulled down and her belt was loose and someone was penetrating her anally. Her boyfriend remained asleep.

The victim says she was in shock.

« The next thing I knew, I woke up in pain and I put my hand behind me to feel where the pain was coming from, and that’s when I realized that I was being assaulted. »

An Ottawa-area woman who was sexually assaulted in 2011 fears her attacker will be found not criminally responsible for his actions because of a sleep disorder. 1:21

Prior to the attack, she had only had one interaction with Hartman at the party when she had asked him for a cigarette.

She says Hartman said nothing as he got off the mattress and walked out of the house. As the couple drove away from the home, she saw Hartman sitting at a picnic table in the garage looking « wide awake. »

« He does not have sexsomnia … and he sexually assaulted me. He is criminally responsible. »

Sexsomnia ‘not easily faked’

Deep sleep as a criminal defence has only been used 13 times in Canada in sexual assault cases, said Blair Crew, a University of Ottawa professor who teaches sexual assault law.

Crew said a 2003 Toronto case set the precedent for the sexsomnia defence. In that case, Jan Luedecke was accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a party. He was found not criminally responsible.

Crew said that since the Luedecke decision, sexsomnia has resulted in an NCR ruling five times.

Crew worries sexsomnia cases may embolden potential offenders to think they can assault someone and claim the mental disorder to cast off responsibility. But in reality, he said, proving sexsomnia is difficult, because it requires a lot of medical evidence.

« Most people who rely on this defence can demonstrate a history of sleepwalking before. Often there is a family history. And the Supreme Court has been very clear that expert testimony will be required, » Crew said. 

« These are situations that are not easily faked. »

If Hartman is found not criminally responsible, he will be treated as a mentally ill patient, and if his mental health improves, he could be discharged completely.

University of Ottawa law professor Blair Crew worries sexsomnia cases may embolden potential offenders to think they can assault someone and claim the mental disorder to cast off responsibility. (Jean Delisle/ CBC)

‘Watching the clock’

Monday’s ruling will be the fourth time the victim has come face to face with Hartman. She plans to arrive in the courtroom early as she gets anxious when things run late. The stress makes her flash back to her rape.

« If I had set my alarm an hour earlier or even 15 minutes earlier, the assault may never have happened. So I live my life counting minutes, watching the clock. »

She currently works as an office administrator, but before the assault, she hoped to become a parole officer. She once dreamed of rehabilitating offenders, but now she doubts if she can listen to their stories with sympathy.

She says she’s acutely aware that she’s not the woman she was meant to be.

Her voice cracks, then steadies as she breathes in and pulls up her sleeve to reveal a tattoo on her wrist: Survivor.

« I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor. »

The woman got this tattoo, which reads ‘survivor,’ prior to her attacker’s second trial. (Jean Delisle/ CBC)

Where to get help:

Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566 (phone), 45645 (text), crisisservicescanada.ca (chat).

In Quebec (French): Association québécoise de prévention du suicide: 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553).

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 (phone), live chat counselling at www.kidshelpphone.ca.

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: Find a 24-hour crisis centre.


If you’re worried someone you know may be at risk of suicide, you should talk to them about it, says the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. Here are some warning signs:

  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Purposelessness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Feeling trapped.
  • Hopelessness and helplessness.
  • Withdrawal.
  • Anger.
  • Recklessness.
  • Mood changes.



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