How did it happen?

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A court date for Father Jose Silva today at the Hamilton Courthouse.  I don’t have the start time, but probably around 09:30 or 10:00 am. I hope that a few people can get there, both to support the complainant and to find out what happens. Please, as always give us a report on the outcome.  And, as always, keep the complainant in your prayers.  The same for those who are currently going through the Father Philip Jacobs preliminary hearing in Victoria, BC.  In the Jacobs case please also think of those who are trying to catch news on these proceedings from afar, both across the border and across the ocean.  It is a very painful process for so many.

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I have posted material related to Raymond Gareth Stanford, the former Catholic teacher and convicted molester who is currently employed at the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Centre (NLSC).

Note the centre’s website: http://www.nlsportscentre.ca/  Note the promo for the” Active Start – Promoting Healthy Active Kids” program for children up to age 6.

Note to the link to the Mission Statement, which reads in part (emphasis added):

Our Mission is to offer a high performance multi-sport training facility where administrators, coaches and athletes of all ages will have access to unparalleled expertise and a full range of comprehensive and integrated support services to supplement the use of high quality equipment, facilities and partnerships.

A convicted child molester has been working in this facility in the midst of children of all ages, …..for nearly two years!

I tried in vain to find out how this could possibly happen in this day and age .  And in St. John’s Newfoundland of all places.  St. John’s, a city which has been rocked to its very core with sex abuse scandals and cover-ups.

But, here it is.  It’s happening.  Right in the here and now, it’s happening.

Does the NLSC conduct Vulnerable Sector Checks when hiring?  I have been unable to get an answer to that.

If Vulnerable Sector Checks are not routinely conducted, why not?  Why would a facility such as this not want to take every possible step to ensure that every child and youth who frequents the centre is a safe as is humanly possible?

Why does the provincial government not insist that such checks are conducted at the NLSC?

Perhaps it does?  I just don’t know.

I do know that the Newfoundland Teachers Association requires such checks.  Every hire must have a Police check and Vulnerable Sector Check conducted.  My understanding from the lady with whom I spoke is that the association is not compelled to conduct such checks, but its members can not conceive not doing them.

As for Child Youth and Family Services, I spoke to a  Mabel Anderson who told me the checks are mandatory in the foster care program.  That division of the government however has no say in what happens at facilities such as NLSC.

It sounds as though no one is obliged to conduct a Vulnerable Sector Check, but I can not for the life me understand why a facility which is frequented by children and youth would not.

Why are Vulnerable Sector checks not mandatory?  Or, are they?

Anyway, in my attempt to try to sort out how Mr. Stanford, a convicted child molester,  is gainfully employed at a centre frequented by children and youth, I sent off two emails:

(1) 02 November 2011:  E-mail to Rod Snow, Facility Manager & High Performance Director, Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Centre

No response.

(2) November 2011: Tourism, Culture and Recreation: Government of  Newfoundland  and  Labrador responds to questions re Raymond Gareth Stanford

The exchange is, I believe, self-explanatory.  Two of my questions were answered, the remainder were forwarded to the Chair of the Board, Dr. Parfery

And the reply:

04 November 2011:  Dr. Patrick Parfrey, Chair of the Board of Directors, Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Centre (re Raymond Stanford)

I was, and still quite frankly am, floored!  Three points:

(a) Dr. Parfery has confidence “in all our staff members” and is “comfortable with the decisions made regarding their hiring”!

BUT, note that the doctor tells me that one of the first items on the agenda of the new board at the end of this month “will be to discuss the implementation of a policy for the hiring of new employees.”

Why discuss implementing a a hiring policy if all is well?  Granted, under the circumstances I think it’s a great idea to implement a new hiring policy.  Something is sorely amiss.  But I believe it needs to be done because there’s a problem, and I believe specifically that that problem is that a convicted child molester was hired and has been working at the NLSC for nearly two years .

Dr. Parfery and the board, on the other hand, have confidence in “all” the staff, and are “comfortable” with the hiring decisions.

So, if everyone is comfortable, why the decision to implement a hiring policy?

And, more to the point, what, if anything will be done at the meeting to ensure that children and youth are not wilfully placed at risk by keeping Stanford on staff?  Will there be a discussion regarding his removal?  There should be.

(b) Dr. Parfery advises me  that employees “do not work on-on-one with children in programming or supervisory roles.”‘

That sounds like a bit of legalese to me.

Are the employees around children?  That’s all I am concerned about. Never mind if they work one-one, or ten-on-one.  Never mind if they are or are not in supervisory roles.  Are they around children?  Can they look at the children?  Can they talk to the children?  Can they walk down a hall with a child?  Can they be in a bathroom at the same time as a child? Can they be in the shower room when children are there?  Can they strike up a friendship with a child?  Can they wink at child?  Can they give a child a pat on the bottom?  Can they tickle a child?

(c) Look at that last paragraph:

“Young people are under the supervision of coaches from various provincial sports organizations while they are within our facility.  Provincial sports organizations are responsible for their own policies and procedures regarding the selection of coaches, managers, and staff for their respective teams ans athletes.”

Does Dr. Parfery really believe that the NLSC is free to staff the facility with paedophiles and child molesters?

Does he not feel some obligation to ensure that children who frequent the centre do not, for example, encounter a child molester employee in the washroom?

Is it not reasonable to surmise that in this day and age coaches would assume that child molesters are not employed by the NLSC?  Does he expect a coach to accompany every child to the washroom – just in case?  Does he expect a coach to know that he/she should be on the look-out for ‘grooming’ because the NLSC is known to hire convicted molesters?

If members of the board are comfortable having Stanford on staff, would they be equally comfortable posting notices prominently around the premises advising all those who enter the facility that the NLSC has a convicted molester, Mr Raymond Gareth Stanford, on staff?  Do coaches and parents not have the right to that information?  Do other adults who care about the safety and well-being of children not have a right to decide if they are comfortable  having a convicted molester on the premises? If the board won’t do the right thing and get rid of this man, then at least let others decide for themselves if they are or are not comfortable with the situation.

What of the children and young adults?  Would they be comfortable knowing that there is convicted molester working away somewhere in the facility?  Would it not be fair to those who are vulnerable to at least post a host of pictures of Stanford right alongside the host of notices?  Let them know what he looks like.  Let them decide if they are comfortable with the situation.

This whole situation is troubling beyond words.

How did it happen?

Did someone pull strings?  Did someone turn a blind eye?

How did it happen?

You people of St. John’s and all Newfoundland and Labrador need to make your voices heard on this.  Contact the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation,  Sport Newfoundland and Labrador, the Swilers Rugby Club, and whoever you can get hold of with the City of  St. John’s.

I don’t have time right now to look up contact phone numbers.  Please, anyone who can do so, post them as a comment along with contact information for any other persons or groups who will fight to ensure that convicted molesters can not work in facilities frequented by children and youth.  Mr. Stanford must go.  Let him find gainful employment elsewhere.  (I tried to find out if Standford’s teaching license has been revoked.  The Newfoundland and Labrador Teacher’s Assocuiation does not release that information.)

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I added a little more information to the Raymond Gareth (Gary) Stanford page.  Check to see.

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A page has been added for Link to Brother Harold Thorne.  Thorne and Stanford coached a soccer team together one summer.  It gives me chills.

A media article says that Thorne was a caretaker at Mount Cashel, and another that when he was charged he was teaching at junior high school in St. John’s.  It doesn’t make sense to me.  Was he perhaps teaching somewhere in St. John’s during the day as many Christian Brothers did and then had janitorial duties back at the orphanage?  Can anyone help me on that?

More chills when I learned that Stanford returned to teach at  St. John Bosco school around 1986,  and who was pastor at St. John Bosco Church but Father John Corrigan?!

On that note I am calling it a day

Enough for now,

Sylvia

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