Timeline: A city’s shame and decades of abuse

The Saint John police force is asking for a $1.5-million budget increase for the 2015 year. .
The Saint John police force is asking for a $1.5-million budget increase for the 2015 year. . File/Global News

A New Brunswick police officer sexually abused at least 260 children over the course of nearly three decades dating back to the late 1950s, Canadian investigators said Monday.

1953 – Kenneth Estabrooks becomes a Saint John police officer at the age of 25. He remained on the force for 22 years.

1957 – 1960 – Estabrooks begins molesting “James”, the first known victim, for which he was found guilty in 1999. James was six or seven years old at the time. Estabrooks was also found guilty of molesting a young girl during this period.

1967 – Approximate date of “Ryan’s” first memories of being assaulted by Estabrooks, around the time he was 12 or 13. Estabrooks was never tried for the assaults recounted by Ryan, or a number of other victims from the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s.

1973-1978 – Estabrooks begins molesting a 13 year old boy, for which he was found guilty in 1999.

1974-1982 – Estabrooks assaults a boy over a number of years, starting when he was 10 years old, for which Estabrooks was found guilty in 1999.

October 28, 1975 – Saint John Police obtain a written confession from Kenneth Estabrooks, resulting from complaints made by two boys that Estbarooks had sexually assaulted them. Estabrooks confessed after police conducted an internal investigation. Estabrooks resigned from the police force, but was quietly transferred by Chief Eric Ferguson to a job in public works repairing tired on city vehicles. He was not charged.

1978 – Ferguson’s tenure as Police Chief ends.

1997 – “James” and five others come forward with allegations that Estabrooks sexually assaulted them.

October, 1998 – NB Police Commission starts preliminary investigation into complaint about slow progress of investigation; complainant alleges cover-up by Saint John police.

November 3, 1998 – Estabrooks charged with five counts of indecent assault on five males, one count on female. Incidents occurred between 1957 and 1982. Victims were between 5-17 years old. One additional charge was laid during trial.

September 7, 1999 – Estabrooks convicted of four charges, sentenced to six years in prison.

November 8, 1999 – Police Commission releases report from Discipline Committee. Says 1975 investigation was “unprofessional and allowed a serious sex offender to go unpunished.” However, it also finds no “conscious” attempt to cover up abuse allegations in 1975, and that no further action was warranted.

October 26, 2005 – Kenneth Estabrooks dies of cancer in Moncton, NB, after being released from prison.

September 23, 2006 – former Saint John Police (1974-1978) Chief Eric Ferguson dies in Oromocto, NB.

February, 2012 – New victim comes forward to City of Saint John with an allegation of sexual abuse against Kenneth Estabrooks.

August 22, 2012 – City of Saint John announces the hiring of former Toronto Police sex crimes investigator, now private investigator Dave Perry, to investigate the new abuse allegation and uncover the extent of Kenneth Estabrooks’ crimes.

November 8, 2012 – Dave Perry announces more than a dozen new victims have been uncovered. 16×9’s own investigation has since uncovered more than 40 victims in the case, and the city’s probe is expected to continue for several more months.

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