A former Children’s Aid worker from Belleville, Ont., won’t be sentenced for at least another week after defence and the Crown made their submissions during a sentencing hearing on Friday.
In October 2021, Sandra Forcier was convicted 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 whom she met as a ward of the group home.
The incidents Forcier is convicted of took place during 2012 and 2013 inside the group home and eventually at Forcier’s home.
The Crown attorney pointed to several other court cases in which the accused was convicted of similar offences to come up with his request for four and a half years for each of the two victims for a total of nine years. However, the defence is seeking a sentence in the range of five to six years.
The Crown also took into account that the 119 days already served in prison, for this and other unrelated offences, could be counted against her penitentiary term and would amount to a total of six months time served.
The Crown also did not submit any victim impact statements, but did note one of the victims, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, turned down their request because he says he was emotionally spent from the process of being a witness during the trial.
However, during the Friday sentencing hearing, it was made aware to the courts that Forcier has been battling mental health issues since 2014, a year after the offences she was convicted of. She’s even had a diagnosis of schizophrenia, although it’s one her lawyer says she disputes.
While it’s not been documented, her defence lawyer, Jason Easton, suggested she could have been battling mental health problems during the time of the incidents, as one of the victims pointed out that Forcier at one point believed she was being followed by the CIA. However, the victim said he believed that behaviour had more to do with drug use than mental health issues.
Forcier is currently receiving psychiatric treatment at Providence Continuing Care, and Judge Patrick Hurley is worried that his sentence, which he admits will certainly be a penitentiary sentence, would interfere with the care he says she obviously needs.
Forcier has been remanded into custody and will be back before the courts on Jan. 28 at 10 a.m.