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School counsellor who alerted authorities testifies in Calgary child abuse trial

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School counsellor who alerted authorities testifies in Calgary child abuse trial
WATCH ABOVE: Gary Bobrovitz has details on what the school counsellor and a teacher said in court Friday, before the defence challenged evidence from one of three siblings allegedly abused by their aunt and uncle who adopted them – Mar 31, 2017

WARNING: Graphic content. Discretion is advised.

A teacher and a school counsellor broke down on the stand Friday while testifying to the alleged abuse of three children who attended their school.

In fall 2006, the children and their birth parents were in a car accident. The kids were aged two, three and nine years at the time. Though the children survived, the Crown alleges they’ve been the victims of horrific abuse since they were adopted by their aunt and uncle in 2009 and relocated to Calgary.

The children soon came to refer to their aunt and uncle as “mom and dad.”

READ MORE: Aunt and uncle on trial for abuse of young children whose parents died in 2006 car crash

A publication ban is in place on the identities of those involved in the case to protect the identities of the children.

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The conversations between the teacher and school counsellor and the children happened in fall 2010 and early in 2011. It was the school counsellor who called authorities after she spoke with the eldest of the three children.

The counsellor testified the eldest girl told her that her adopted mother hit her on the knuckles of her hand with a large pencil, which broke the pencil.

READ MORE: Testimony continues in case of Calgary aunt and uncle accused of abusing adopted children

The counsellor said she was told the child’s adopted mother put her head in a sink full of water, forced her to hold her urine and would not allow her to go to bathroom.

The child further told the counsellor her adopted mother made her sister clean a dirty stove with her tongue and put dish soap in her sister’s mouth, making her swallow it.

READ MORE: ‘She told me I had to drink it’: Girl breaks down saying aunt forced her to drink vomit

The teacher said when she spoke to the youngest of the children, a boy, he had a visible mark below his eye that appeared to be a burn.

She noted the boy usually wore a long-sleeved shirt to school and told her his adopted father asked his wife to stop hitting the children and calm down.

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All three children were removed from the school in early 2011.

READ MORE: Girl denies she exaggerated allegations of abuse by aunt and uncle

The defence argued Friday that the middle child’s memories were failing her, after she didn’t know answers to, or didn’t remember many details about many of the questions asked.

Lawyers for the aunt and uncle also presented a booklet of photographs that included photos of the pair with the three children as well as other family members. The photos showed them doing activities activities like visiting the zoo and going on vacation, which the defence argued was inconsistent with abuse.

The testimony and cross-examination of the middle child is expected to continue on Monday.

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