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Former Belleville CAS worker found guilty of sexual assault, exploitation of 2 minors

Sandra Forcier, a former Belleville children's aid worker, was found guilty of one count of sexual assault and two counts of sexual exploitation involving two male youths Friday. Sandra Forcier / Facebook

Warning: This story contains content that may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised.

A former Belleville, Ont., children’s aid worker, Sandra Forcier, was found guilty in three of five charges laid against her in a youth sexual assault case.

Justice Patrick Hurley went over the testimonies given by both victims, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and others throughout the trial at length before he gave his verdict Friday.

In January 2019, Forcier, then 48, was charged with two counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual exploitation and one count of sexual interference, relating to two underage males.

Read more: Drugs, theft, alcohol and inappropriate relationships alleged at Children’s Aid group home

These charges stemmed from incidents that took place while she was a supervisor at a Highland Shores Children’s Aid group home in 2012 and 2013, and during one year after she left that position.

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Friday, Hurley came to the conclusion that Forcier was guilty of one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation in relation to one victim, who was not in her care while she was a supervisor at a Highland Shores Children’s Aid group home.

She was found guilty of another count of sexual exploitation in relation to a youth who she met as a ward of the group home.

Hurley presented a summary of testimony in court Friday that showed Forcier had a pattern of befriending young teens, either through her position with children’s aid, or through providing drugs to her young companions — like marijuana and MDMA — in addition to opportunities to use those drugs, like at her home.

The youth who met Forcier through her supervisory role at the group home said that the two of them had consensual sex at the group home, at her home, and various other locations.

Click to play video: 'Woman charged with sexual exploitation worked at Children’s Aid at time of alleged offences' Woman charged with sexual exploitation worked at Children’s Aid at time of alleged offences
Woman charged with sexual exploitation worked at Children’s Aid at time of alleged offences – Feb 1, 2019

He said that Forcier told him that she loved him and would leave her husband for him. He said he eventually left the group home and moved into her house, where he claims the sexual relationship continued, and only ended when she began a new relationship with the victim’s close friend.

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Forcier’s ex-husband testified that he found her naked in bed with that victim in their home, an incident the victim also remembered. Forcier denied being naked to police.

Her ex also said that other teenaged boys would come over to their home to smoke marijuana or do MDMA with Forcier, sometimes sleeping over in their basement.

The second victim claims that one time when sleeping in the basement, Forcier woke him by performing oral sex on him, something he says he did not want.

This victim claims that intercourse took place on two other occasions, both times with him not wanting them to take place, and always accompanied by MDMA, a substance he said he had become dependent on. He claims Forcier introduced him to the substance at the age of 15, and encouraged the habit until he became addicted to it.

Although this youth was not a ward of the state, he did have a tumultuous relationship with his parents and was eventually kicked out of his home.

Read more: Belleville woman charged with sexual exploitation worked at Children’s Aid at time of alleged offences

He says that at one point, Forcier brought MDMA to an apartment he was staying in and extorted sex from him, saying that he could only have the drugs if they had intercourse. The youth, still underage at the time, said his addiction forced him to consent to sex he did not want.

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Hurley found Friday that Forcier engaged in a pattern of conduct that targeted boys from broken homes, who were both emotionally and socially immature. He also found she manipulated these vulnerable youth by professing her love for them and exposing them to sexual acts and illicit and sometimes powerful drugs.

Back in 2019, following Forcier’s initial charges, Global News published an investigation into the group home she ran between 2012 and 2013.

For that investigation, Global News spoke to the mother of a then-15-year-old boy, referred to as Nick to protect his identity, who met Forcier during his time at the group home. The mother said Nick became enmeshed in a relationship with Forcier that included drug use, allegedly at the home and outside of it. The mother told Global News she was uncertain if anything sexual had taken place between her son and Forcier, but she knew the two had gotten close.

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Children’s Aid reacts after former executive director charged with negligence – Jun 12, 2019

Nick struggled with drug addiction and criminality before he died by suicide in June 2018.

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His parents said they made complaints against Forcier to Highland Shores.

What went on behind the scenes afterwards is still unclear, however, Forcier was put on leave in April 2013 and then left on her own accord in December 2013.

Just a month after Forcier went on leave, in May 2013, Highland Shores announced the closure of the group home.

New information from testimony provided in court over the last month by a former group home worker showed that in 2012, Highland Shores requested that a neighbouring children’s aid society investigate the home. The details of that investigation were not shared.

Click to play video: 'Drugs, theft, alcohol and inappropriate relationships alleged at Children’s Aid group home' Drugs, theft, alcohol and inappropriate relationships alleged at Children’s Aid group home
Drugs, theft, alcohol and inappropriate relationships alleged at Children’s Aid group home – May 30, 2019

One employee said one of the victims named in this case also made allegations of sexual assault against Forcier to him on two occasions, leading to a police investigation that eventually was dropped in early 2015.

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This employee also said that he reported the allegations to a supervisor at Highland Shores, but the notes from that allegation were kept apart from the victim’s file and were eventually lost.

The matter wouldn’t be taken back up again until 2018, when Det. Pat Kellar with the Belleville police began his investigation into the matters that were dealt with in court these past few weeks.

A date has yet to be set for sentencing, but Forcier is scheduled to appear in court again Dec. 3.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, help is available. See here for a list of resources on where to get help. If you are a child or youth in need of assistance, please contact the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868. 

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