Adoptive father charged with child abuse

Date: 2014-08-16

By: Mike McIntyre

It was supposed to be a safe haven for a newborn Manitoba girl.

But RCMP say the infant was subjected to physical abuse by one of her adoptive parents in a tragic case that has left her facing an uncertain future.

Police broke months of silence Friday, finally providing details about an ongoing criminal investigation that began last May in La Salle, a quiet community on the southern outskirts of Winnipeg.

A 39-year-old man has now been charged with aggravated assault and failure to provide the necessities of life. None of the allegations has been proven and he is presumed innocent.

The Free Press is not naming the man at this time to avoid identifying the child victim, who remains in hospital and is now under the care of Child and Family Services.

The man, along with his husband, adopted the aboriginal infant when she was just a few weeks old this past spring. Police became involved after the girl was taken to a Winnipeg hospital with what RCMP say were critical injuries "consistent with child abuse."

"The child's condition has stabilized, but the extent of the long-term damage is undetermined," RCMP said Friday. No other details were provided. Court documents show the alleged abuse occurred between April 11 and May 24.

The Free Press first visited the family home in late May, just a few days after the incident occurred. At the time, the accused's spouse answered the door but declined to comment.

Until Friday, RCMP refused to answer basic questions about the case, including whether it involved an injury to a child.

A justice source previously described the investigation as "complex" but offered no other information. A source confirmed Friday the probe involved examining detailed medical evidence both before, and after, the adoption.

Neighbours told the Free Press police were going around the area asking about the same-sex couple, including how they got along with each other.

Officers didn't say why they were there, but they reassured residents there was no threat to public safety.

The two men moved into the home about five years ago. Both commute daily to Winnipeg, where they work full-time jobs.

The accused has been released on a promise to appear in court Aug. 19 in Winnipeg. His release conditions include having no contact with his adoptive daughter or any other children under the age of 16.

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