Former B.C. social worker facing more allegations

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Former B.C. social worker facing more allegations – Nov 22, 2018

Kelowna RCMP says it is investigating allegations that a former B.C. social worker took money from teens in his care.

“The Kelowna RCMP can confirm that it has an ongoing investigation involving allegations of fraud being committed against children that were under the care of a social worker,” Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said in a news release.

The investigation is ongoing and criminal charges have been laid against the former social worker.

Yet the disclosure of the investigation comes after two civil lawsuits, one in Kelowna and another in Vancovuer, were filed earlier this month against Robert Riley Saunders.

READ MORE: B.C. social worker accused of stealing from kids in ministry care

Now, three more young people have come forward to file civil suits.

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All three were filed by First Nations teenage girls who were under the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development, with Saunders as their social worker.

The allegations against Saunders are very similar to the first two civil claims filed earlier this month.

The civil claims allege he persuaded youth to set up joint bank accounts with Saunders. Government benefits for the teens were deposited in those accounts, and the teens alleged he took money from them.

The plaintiffs claim that Saunders’ actions left them vulnerable to hunger, homelessness, exposure to drugs and in one case sexual assault.

Along with Saunders, the claims name as defendants the ministry, the Director of Child Welfare, a financial institution and Saunders’ team leader.

Attempts to contact Saunders after the first two claims were filed were unsuccessful.  He removed his profile from social media sites.

Since the first civil claims were filed, the ministry has come forward with a list of steps it’s taken to prevent this type of abuse from ever happening in the future.

READ MORE: Ministry responds to allegations that social worker stole from kids in government care

B.C.’s representative of children and youth is advocating on behalf of 14 teens who have dealt with Saunders.

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None of the allegations contained in the lawsuits have been proven in court.

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