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Head of daycare in Pierrefonds suspended after sexual touching incident

06/04/2015 05:33 EDT | Updated 06/04/2016 05:59 EDT
The head of a home daycare centre in Pierrefonds on Montreal's West Island has been suspended for one month after a 4-year-old girl was a victim of a sexual touching incident last fall.

The suspension comes about a month after the parents of the 4-year-old did an interview with Radio-Canada, denouncing the daycare director's lack of action.

The parents said their daughter was left in the basement alone when a 13-year-old boy, who was visiting the daycare, assaulted her.

The teen pleaded guilty in court.

At the time, the daycare's coordinating office decided that, under the law, although the assault was serious, the guardian of the child was not at fault.

Now, the daycare's board has overturned that decision.

Board officials said that the initial decision not to suspend the daycare's director was taken because it interpreted the law to the letter after consulting with the Ministry of the Family.

Flip flop

Now, the Ministry of the Family has reversed its position. It said that the teen's guilty plea should have been taken into consideration when the board was rendering its decision, and recommends that all daycare centre board members do the same.

When contacted by Radio-Canada, a ministry spokeswoman could not explain this about-face in the interpretation of its own law.

Under this new interpretation, the daycare's board concluded that the lack of supervision by the guardian led to a serious act that compromised the health and safety of the children.

Members of the daycare centre's board of directors said it was the ministry that asked them to review their decision in order to "calm the public."

An internal investigation conducted by government officials concluded that there was no error committed by the board in the way it initially processed the file.

"There are some regulations that make no sense," one member of the daycare's board of directors told Radio-Canada. "But we have an obligation to follow them, otherwise we risk facing legal charges."

The daycare's board of directors said it is willing to work with the Couillard government to tighten the rules surrounding child care.

Francine Charbonneau, Quebec's Minister of the Family, said she will follow this case and also look into the role of coordinating offices, which are formed partly of volunteers.

Suspension effective June 15

The head of the daycare will be suspended for one month, starting June 15.

The coordinating office said, when taking all mitigating factors into account, it felt a one-month suspension was justified.

Eleven parents whose children attend the daycare said they are pleased with the decision.

The union representing government subsidized home daycares denounced the suspension and said it will appeal it.

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