A 27-year-old woman has filed a civil suit against the B.C. government for emotional, physical and sexual abuse she alleges occurred while she was in foster care in Smithers.
In a claim filed at B.C. Supreme Court in Penticton on Oct. 7, the woman named the Ministry of Children and Family Development and Director of Child Welfare as defendants, claiming she was sexually assaulted repeatedly by her foster parent.
“The plaintiff was age 12 and entirely at the mercy of the foster parent,” court documents obtained by the Interior News read.
The foster parent is not named in the lawsuit.
The woman claims she reported the assaults to social workers, but that the workers did not undertake any meaningful investigation nor take any steps to protect the girl.
“The plaintiff was admitted to the Children’s Hospital for psychological assessment where the foster parent was observed touching the plaintiff inappropriately,” the claim continues. “The plaintiff was shamed and disbelieved by the defendants and the delegated social workers.”
The woman says she has suffered emotional distress, humiliation, shame and embarrassment, psychological and emotional trauma from the alleged incidents.
The woman is being represented by Penticton lawyer Michael Patterson, who has filed similar claims against the province in the past.
The suit is seeking an undisclosed sum including aggravated and punitive damages and to cover loss of past and future earnings. The claim is calling on the defendants to provide “financial, safety, health, therapeutic and educational support” to the woman.
The RCMP were not able to confirm nor deny whether any criminal charges were ever laid related to the case.
Neither defendant has filed a response to the claim. None of the allegations have been proven in court.