OPP has charged William Sweet, a resident of Picton, Ont., after allegations of wrongdoing during his work as the executive director of the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society between 2002 and 2010.
After investigating cases of children placed with foster parents who themselves were convicted of child abuse, this led the OPP to look into Sweet’s involvement as executive director of the child care organization.
The 67-year-old Picton resident was charged with 10 counts each of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and failure to provide the necessities of life. The accused appeared at the Ontario Court of Justice in Picton on May 2.
Sgt. Carolle Dionne, provincial media relations coordinator, says that although Sweet never fostered any children of his own, he is being charged because as she said, “he ought to have known better” than to place children with the foster parents who have since been convicted in child abuse cases.
For a period of eight years, nine foster children were placed with six foster parents who have since been convicted of sexual abuse against those children.
According to Dionne, Sweet’s investigation encompassed a review of those previous abuse investigations and convictions between 2013 and 2016. Police then conducted additional interviews, executed search warrants and seized evidence to put before the court for Sweet’s charges.
OPP officers are not commenting on specific details of the allegations as the matter is now before the courts.
Children’s Aid Society moves on
Mark Kartusch is the current executive director of the Highland Shores Children’s Aid Society. In 2012, after the Ministry of Children and Youth Services reviewed the Prince Edward County Children Services, Sweet left his post, and his branch dissolved. What came from that was an amalgamation of several children’s aid offices, an organization which Kartusch now heads.
He says that Sweet’s charges are bringing up bad memories, but that he hopes people will have faith in the workers.
“We didn’t have a lot of people coming forward to become foster parents,” said Kartusch, although he said that things have changed in the last few years.
He also emphasized that events like those that happened to the children placed out of the Prince Edward County children’s aid are highly unusual.
“Kids are safe in foster homes,” Kartusch emphasized.
He finished by saying that although there are employees from the now defunct Prince Edward Country chapter working within the Highland Shores organization, they were not involved in any criminal activity.
“The charges are isolated with Bill,” said Kartusch about Sweet.