Nov 9, 2014

Mennonite fined $50K for abducting kid from child services

Sun News
November 7th, 2014
Dean Pritchard

WINNIPEG — A male member of an Old Order Mennonite community that was thrust into the spotlight after all of its children were seized by child welfare authorities amidst allegations of severe physical abuse was fined $50,000 Wednesday after admitting to helping hide one of the children for several months.

Neither the man or his southern Manitoba community can be identified by name.
The 31-year-old man pleaded guilty to assisting in removing a child from his community, knowing he was in care.

The fine, jointly recommended by the Crown and defence, is the maximum allowed for the Child and Family Services Act offence.
Additional charges of child abduction and obstruction of justice were stayed by the Crown.

The boy disappeared May 26, 2013, and wasn't located until late August.
Court heard the man helped hide the boy at a number of community homes before he was relocated to a home in Saskatchewan. He repeatedly told CFS and police he knew nothing of the boy’s whereabouts.

Crown attorney Nicole Roch said the man and other community members hid the boy and other children so they couldn't provide police statements regarding allegations of sexual and physical abuse.

Defence lawyer Ted Mariash argued the man was aware the boy was unhappy and "struggling" in his foster placement and only wanted to help him.
The boy "came to my client in an extreme state of need and my client acted accordingly," Mariash said.

More than a dozen adult community members were arrested and all of the community's children were taken into care last year after allegations surfaced that the children had been subjected to severe physical abuse, including being shocked with cattle prod.

Most of the residents have dealt with their charges by way of peace bonds. The community's former de-facto leader Enos Bauman remains before the court.
The boy remains in foster care "and has expressed significant concerns about returning to his community," Roch said.