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Edmonton City Police child abuse unit under investigation for alleged misconduct

Edmonton Sun

NEWS

Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Guilt before proof?

Family group files report alleging misconduct by city police child abuse unit

By DAN PALMER, EDMONTON SUN

City cops have mounted an internal investigation of their child abuse unit after receiving a complaint from a self-proclaimed family advocate.

Louise Malenfant of Parents Helping Parents sent the Edmonton Police Service a 12-page report outlining cases of alleged misconduct within the unit.

"My biggest concern is Edmontonians aren't receiving a fair investigation when there are allegations of child abuse," she said yesterday.

The 42-year-old compiled the report over a year after reviewing court documents and interviewing witnesses in three alleged child abuse cases.

She claims that in one case a cop allegedly told witnesses a man was guilty of molesting a child before the man was convicted of a crime, she said.

"They're basically becoming judge and jury, determining the guilt of the accused," she said.

"They're making up their minds before the investigation is completed."

In another instance, she said, a cop allegedly tried forcing a man accused of child abuse to be questioned by police without a lawyer present.

The cop allegedly tried getting the man to sign a document to waive his right to a lawyer on the way to the station after being arrested at his place of work, she said.

The man phoned his lawyer from the station, said Malenfant. The lawyer told the police to let the man go unless he was charged, she said. The man was then released.

Malenfant said this case shows Edmontonians' rights have been violated. "It's an abuse of police power," she said.

In another case, she claims police told the girlfriend of a man accused of child abuse that she could be charged with child endangerment if the man continued visiting her son.

"In other words, (the police) are threatening the witness," she said.

City police Supt. Mark Logar, who is responsible for the department's internal affairs section, confirmed the police have launched an investigation based on Malenfant's report.

"All complaints are taken very seriously," he said, adding the investigation will now determine if there's any merit to the allegations.

Logar said he wouldn't comment on the specific cases cited in the report, name the police unit involved, or name people mentioned in Malenfant's report for fear of tainting the investigation and violating the privacy law.

"Right now, I'm not prepared to name any members or any unit," he said.

Malenfant said her main reason for writing the report was to make sure the police are following due process.

She added she's pleased the police are taking her report seriously. "This is fantastic."

Edmonton Sun

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The report that got thing rolling

Follow-up article in the Edmonton Sun, Sept, 26, 2001: Cops will take report seriously

Follow-up Sep.27, 2001: Response thrills report's author

Report Rocks Edmonton Child Abuse Police — Editorial in Edmonton Sun, Sep. 30, 2001

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Posted 2001 09 25
Updates:
2001 09 27  (added link to follow-up article)
2001 10 02  (added link to editorial Report Rocks Edmonton Child Abuse Police in Edmonton Sun)


Parents Helping Parents

Louise Malenfant

malenfant.jpg (2818 bytes)

Family Advocate, Parents Helping Parents

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Louise Malenfant passed away in 2006.  She is being missed.

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