17 victims identified following investigation into child abuse on Garden Hill First Nation
Published Thursday, May 23, 2019 7:35AM CST
Last Updated Thursday, May 23, 2019 6:24PM CST
The RCMP said 17 victims, between the ages of 3 and 15 at the time of the incidents, have been identified following an 11-month investigation into child sexual and physical abuse on Garden Hill First Nation.
Between December 2017 and June 2018, RCMP in Island Lake, Man., received three reports of child sexual assaults in Garden Hill First Nation.
The investigation determined that the suspect had access to a home that served as a foster home for a number of children. RCMP and Child and Family Services jointly investigated.
On Feb. 25, 2018 Paul Bruce Harper, 21, was arrested and charged with multiple offences. He was also charged with additional counts of sexual assault, sexual interference, aggravated assault and assault on three later dates.
Mounties said over 150 children came into contact with the suspect, who were either interviewed or medically assessed.
After an 11-month investigation, 17 children, both boys and girls, were identified as victims of sexual and/or physical abuse. The incidents occurred between 2011 and 2017.
A second suspect, who is a 20-year-old man, has been charged with a number of offences including sexual assault and sexual interference. He can’t be named as he’s being charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Foster mother, Lucy Harper, 66, has been charged with perjury, as well as failure to report a child in need of protection and failure to provide for a child in need of protection. She has been released on a recognizance with conditions and is no longer a foster parent.
RCMP recognize there could be more victims and urge them to speak with investigators who can be reached at 204-456-2290.
Mounties have also partnered with Klinic Community Health, who accepts reports from those 16 or older who have been sexually assaulted.
The investigation continues.