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Saskatoon child abuse trial: Accused says she hadn’t tied door with rope before | #childabuse | #children | #kids



Warning: This story contains details some readers may find disturbing.


A woman at the centre of a child abuse case took the stand in her own trial. She told court why her nephews were found in an empty room, locked shut with rope.


In Dec. 7, 2020, police were called to a home on Lenore Drive for reports of a child on the roof of a duplex.


After officers and neighbours helped the then-seven-year-old down, police found the boy’s four-year-old brother confined in an empty room.


A 37-year-old woman and her 29-year-old boyfriend have been charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, unlawful confinement and assault with a weapon.


They can’t be named because it would identify the children, who are protected under a court-ordered publication ban.


The day of the incident, the woman said everyone in the home was feeling sick. She said she walked to the pharmacy, about 20 minutes away, with her daughter, to buy medication.


“I tied the boys in the bedroom in a type of way where you just pull the string and it would come off,” she told a Saskatoon courtroom earlier this month.


The woman said it would take longer if she brought her nephews to the pharmacy, so she decided to leave them home.


Court heard the woman’s boyfriend was sleeping at the time she tied the door.


“Why didn’t you leave them in the living room or something?” defence lawyer Blaine Beaven asked his client.


“Because no one would be watching them down there … I just wanted them in one area,” she responded.


The rope was part of her camping supplies, the woman testified.


“Why tie the boys in the room?” Beaven asked.


“I take full responsibility for it because I do not know the reason why I actually did it,” she responded.


“Well, what was going through your mind? What were you thinking?” Beaven asked.


“I thought that I was not going to be gone long,” the accused answered.


Earlier in the trial, the older boy testified he crawled through the window because his brother vomited in the room and he wanted to get cleaning supplies.


The child said he was afraid how his aunt would react to the mess.


DIFFERING ACCOUNTS


While the woman testified it was her first time using rope to confine the children in their room, the boy’s testament in December disputed this.


He said his brother would defecate and urinate in an air vent because he was too scared to call out to their aunt.


The woman testified the boys’ room was empty for three weeks, as she worked to clean the boy’s feces smeared in the carpet and walls.


She testified during that time, the boys slept in her daughter’s room.


But the boy’s testimony differed. He said they would sleep on the floor, and that clothes weren’t allowed in the room because they could be used as blankets.


The boy testified his aunt would sometimes hit him and his brother with a hairbrush or metal broomstick.


While referencing images of the boys’ bodies, the aunt said she never hit, scratched or withheld food from the boys.


She said the marks on the kids’ bodies were caused from the pet cat, the boys scratching themselves or rough play.


In cross-examination, the Crown suggested that the marks were made by the accused’s nails.


Court heard the boys’ mother was battling addictions and the aunt became the boys’ guardian in 2017, three years before the incident.



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