May 23, 2019 10:22 am
Updated: May 25, 2019 2:36 pm

3 charged with sexual, physical abuse of 17 children at Garden Hill First Nation, may be 150 victims

WATCH: Supt. Michael Koppang of the RCMP shared details of a child sexual abuse investigation on Garden Hill First Nation in which two men, one who was a youth at the time, have been charged.

A A

The RCMP is looking into multiple cases of sexual and physical abuse of minors at Garden Hill First Nation in northeastern Manitoba.

Police said charges have been laid against two men and a foster parent in the case.

READ MORE: Manitoba teen sentenced in killing of 11-year-old Teresa Robinson

The investigation began in February 2018 when a man, now 21, was arrested and charged with multiple sexual offences, said RCMP.

From there, police found out he had access to a foster home in the community, and a joint investigation was launched with Child and Family Services, said Michael Koppang, who is in charge of major crime services for the Manitoba RCMP.

Story continues below

“These allegations were very serious, and as the investigation continued, we became increasingly concerned that there was a potential for more victims due to the number of children who were in the care of this foster home throughout the years,” he said.

The investigation showed more than 150 children may have had contact with the man.

READ MORE: 11-year-old boy killed after accidental shooting in Garden Hill First Nation, Man.

All the possible victims were either interviewed or medically assessed in Winnipeg.

“Following an extensive, 11-month investigation, a total of 17 children, both male and female, ranging from three to 15 years of age at the time of the incidents, were identified as victims of sexual and/or physical abuse. These offences occurred between 2011 and 2017,” said RCMP.

During the investigation, a 20-year-old man was also identified and arrested. The foster mother has also been charged.

Garden Hill First Nation

Wikipedia

The 20-year-old, who cannot be named as he is being charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, faces multiple counts of sexual assault, sexual interference, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and assault.

Paul Bruce Harper, 21, of Garden Hill First Nation, faces multiple counts of sexual assault, sexual interference, aggravated assault and assault.

Paul Bruce Harper, 21, of Garden Hill First Nation, faces multiple counts of sexual assault, sexual interference, aggravated assault and assault.

RCMP

READ MORE: For child abuse survivors, it can be tough to overcome trauma. Here are ways to cope

Lucy Harper, 66, faces perjury charges and two counts of failure to report a child in need of protection and failure to provide for a child in need of protection under the Child and Family Services Act.

“We recognize the possibility that there may be more children who have been victimized and are urging them to come forward and to speak with our investigators,” said Koppang.

“We recognize that calling the police is an extremely difficult step to take, but I want to assure anyone who is thinking of coming forward that our officers are professional and compassionate and will work with victims to explain every step of the process.”

RCMP investigators can be reached by calling the Island Lake Detachment at 204-456-2290.

WATCH: Charges laid in Manitoba child sexual abuse case. Joe Scarpelli reports

Resources

RCMP have partnered with Klinic Community Health to provide support for victims. Anyone who may have been victimized by the individuals charged in this case are encouraged to contact RCMP or Klinic. A list of crisis support contacts is available here.

National services are also available through Crisis Services Canada toll-free at 1-833-456-4566 any time, or text 45645.

Kids can text CONNECT to 686868 and reach a crisis responder at Kids Help Phone.

Talk4Healing is a fully confidential helpline for Indigenous women available in 14 languages. Call 1-855-554-HEAL.

Here’s more information about services for abused men.

Find your nearest Canadian Mental Health Association location or learn more about well-being supports across Canada here.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error

Comments

Comments closed.

Due to the sensitive and/or legal subject matter of some of the content on globalnews.ca, we reserve the ability to disable comments from time to time.

Please see our Commenting Policy for more.