A judge recently ruled that a family accused of ritual abuse had been the victim of “malicious prosecution” but that hasn’t stopped representatives of the Saskatchewan government from saying it did nothing wrong and has nothing to apologize for.
The case against 12 members of the Klassen family began in 1987 when three foster children — a boy and his twin sisters — made accusations of incredibly bizarre ritual sexual abuse against their foster parents which soon led to allegations against twelve family members.
The children’s accusations were filled with bizarre ritual abuse, including claims that they were forced to eat eye balls, drink blood, participate in orgies, and watch while infants were skinned alive.
Police in Saskatoon called it the “scandal of the century” but few charges were actually lodged against anyone and by 1993 all charges in the cases were stayed. The children later came forward to repudiate the stories. The boy had been removed shortly before making the allegations after he had been found abusing his sisters. He maintained he made up the stories in order to be reunited with his sisters whom he then convinced to go along with the fiction.
On December 30 a judge ruled that Crown Prosecutor Matthew Miazga, Saskatoon Police Superintendent Brian Dueck, and child therapist Carol Bunko-Ruys were guilty of malicious prosecution. Shortly afterward, Saskatoon police chief Russell Sabo publicly apologized to the Klassen’s and promised an investigation into what went wrong in the investigation of the case.
The judgment in this case vindicates the plaintiffs for the criminal charges they faced. Based on the information contained in the judgment, as the chief of police of the Saskatoon police service, my sympathy goes to each and every person that was wrongfully charged and I extend my apologies to them for any part that the Saskatoon police service played in this case.
But Saskatchewan Justice Minister Frank Quennell was having none of it, telling Canoe.Com,
It is our position that Crown prosecutors did not commit a wrong and there is no reason they would be required to apologize in that circumstance.
Quennell is probably afraid of the millions of dollars that Saskatchewan is going to have to pay out to the Klassen’s and perhaps even the twin sisters. They are also suing Saskatchewan, arguing that police social workers and others did nothing to protect them from the abuse they were subjected to by their brother.
Twins hail malicious prosecution victory. CBC News, December 31, 2003.
NDP Must Take Responsibility for Klassen Family Tragedy and Negotiate Payment Immediately. Press Release, SKCaucus.Com, January 8, 2004.
Sask. government won’t apologize in abuse case. Canoe.CaTim Cook, January 8, 2004
Saskatchewan offers Klassen no apology. Darren Yourk, Globe and Mail, January 8, 2004.
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