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Girl in Batshaw foster home sexually abused 3 times by other children: court documents – Montreal

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WARNING: This story contains graphic details.

A “severely traumatized” girl was sexually abused three times by other children over a nine-month period while in the care of a Montreal youth protection agency, according to court documents.

In his ruling, Judge Jacques Nadeau said the girl’s rights “to evolving in a safe, protective and secure environment, and of being treated in a manner that respects her personal needs, dignity, integrity and autonomy have clearly been violated in the matter at hand.”

The case also underlines a high employee turnover rate and “inappropriate clinical methods” at the Batshaw Youth Centre and Family Centres, which acts as youth protection for Montreal’s anglophone community.

READ MORE: Family escapes domestic violence, denied youth protection services in English

The girl, who is now 11, was housed at a unit overseen by Batshaw for her own protection after living in a “chaotic environment” surrounded by drugs.

Court documents show that by the time she was six years old, she had experienced physical violence, sexual abuse and neglect before she was removed from her parents’ home in 2013. The girl is described as malnourished and at one point had cigarette bruises and bruises on her body, according to the documents.

“The process of stabilizing the child will require not months but years,” reads the court documents.

After spending time in foster homes and rehabilitation centres, the girl was eventually placed in a Batshaw group home meant for children between 10 and 14 years of age who require a “high level of structure.”

The girl was nine when she was moved in 2016 to the Dorval centre.

Three incidents in nine months

According to court documents, the girl was sexually abused in separate incidents by two boys also in Batshaw’s care between November 2016 and August 2017. The abuse included sexual touching and vaginal penetration.

The incidents took place in her bedroom, in the shared bathroom and during a game of hide-and-seek at the centre, which is described as a “second-line supervision unit which has the highest staffing contingent.”

READ MORE: Officials promising to finish Batshaw homes for at-risk youth in Beaconsfield by fall 2018

The director of Batshaw admitted that “there was a lack of appropriate supervision, as well as a lack of understanding of procedures and safety plans during all three incidents.”

While the girl’s social workers flagged the first two incidents to Batshaw management, the girl or the boys were not moved from the home. The court ruling shows the girl and the two boys were the only children living in the unit in July 2017 before the third incident occurred one month later.

WATCH BELOW: Virtual reality helps to treat victims of sexual assault






One social worker also said the living situation created “further boundary issues” for the girl since she shared meals and activities with one of the boys.

The same social worker said the girl “even told her that the reason that the boys were doing this to her was that the older girls would say no.”

The ruling, which was made public on Tuesday, does not name the social workers or management involved with the case.

Problems with retention, instructions

In his ruling, Nadeau refers “high level of staff turnover” and an “inappropriate clinical program” model used at the foster home as two sources at the centre of the abuse.

Aside from retention difficulties, he also cites a “significant number” of recall staff at the Batshaw centre.

READ MORE: Mother sues Batshaw after case worker impregnates her

Nadeau found “recall staff were clearly not as aware of all of the various considerations involving the children.” In the third incident of reported sexual abuse, the two recall staff said they hadn’t received any specific instructions about the children in their care.

The Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux (APTS), the union which represents Batshaw social workers and onsite staff, was not surprised by the judge’s findings.

READ MORE: Virtual reality helps to treat victims of sexual assault

Josée Asselin, a national representative for the union, said it is hard to work at the Dorval group home, which she described as a “harsh environment.”

“It’s not really a safe place to work,” she said. “You need to have special training to work there.”

She said the foster homes need a stable team to make sure there is not “a high turnover and to make sure that there is a safe workplace, free of violence.”

“They need to be well trained and that was not the case,” Asselin said. “They had some experienced people working there and some not.”

Global News reached out to the Montreal West Island Integrated University Health and Social Services Centre (CIUSSS), which oversees Batshaw Youth and Family Centres, but it did not return a request for comment.

READ MORE: For child abuse survivors, it can be tough to overcome trauma

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

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‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

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MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

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Anglais

Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

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Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

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Anglais

Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

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Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

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