Mom wants apology after psychic's abuse claim
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Wednesday, June 18, 2008 11:05AM EDT
An Ontario mother is demanding an apology from her local school board after the Children's Aid Society began an investigation into sexual abuse allegations formulated from an educational assistant's visit to a psychic.
Colleen Leduc, from Barrie, Ont., told CTV's Canada AM she was called back to her 11-year-old autistic daughter's school and told they had something urgent to tell her.
She said she was told that her daughter Victoria's teaching assistant had been to a psychic recently. "And the psychic asked her if she worked with a little girl by the name of 'V'."
Leduc alleges that when the assistant said yes, the psychic then told the assistant: "'Well, you need to know she's being sexually abused by a man between the ages of 23 and 26.'"
Leduc said she was shocked by the information, and that her daughter had not even been around anyone of that age.
Officials at Terry Fox Elementary School then gave Leduc a list of behaviours exhibited by her daughter, which taken together with the report from the psychic, formed a theory of abuse.
"You have to keep in mind she has autism, and she's in pre-pubescence so she's developing, and she has no inhibitions," Leduc says, "so she's exhibiting behaviours that may be construed as sexual in nature in a social environment."
Under the Child and Family Services Act, anyone who works with children and has reasonable grounds to suspect a youngster is being harmed must report it immediately - and the CAS is obligated to follow up.
The CAS was contacted and officials visited Leduc's home, but immediately closed the file.
Mary Ballantyne, executive director of the Simcoe County Children's Aid Society, told CTV's Canada AM that while she can't comment on the case directly, calls from the community can come under very different circumstances.
"Sometimes there is one piece of information that is very compelling, that would have us need to react immediately, but other times there are combinations of pieces, and it would be unusual to just take something coming from a psychic and proceeding with just that information."
Leduc is upset that the school board continues to claim that the case is not closed even though she has signed a consent form to disclose that information to the board, and has pulled her daughter out of the school.
Ballantyne says "In order to sometimes put the final pieces on the closing of a case, there are some final administrative things that need to be completed, so perhaps the miscommunication is around that piece."
Lindy Zaretsky, superintendent at the Simcoe County District School Board says, "It has not been board practice to use psychic reading as part of our evidence."
The board plans to research and review practices and processes in its schools.