More than 800 serious events were found at Saskatchewan group homes for disabled

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The abuses were committed by a man named Ricky, who has since been sentenced to life in prison

More than 800 serious events were found at Saskatchewan group homes for disabled

Saskatchewan governments had substantiated more than 800 incidents of abuse and neglect at group homes for the intellectually disabled between 2013 and 2015, a report by the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan showed.

The systemic abuse in social care was the subject of an extensive inquest that resulted in three people being convicted in 2015 and a fourth in 2017.

The report comes amid a continuing controversy over the government’s alleged mishandling of child-abuse cases, including the acquittal of a teacher accused of repeatedly molesting a young girl over more than a decade.

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The common thread in all three cases is that social workers did not adequately address social and emotional needs, instead relying solely on basic needs of children, such as food and clothing.

The most recent report found 731 substantiated incidents of abuse or neglect, including 123 incidents of violence, 145 instances of intimidation and 18 instances of threatening behaviour.

In an admission that shocked many in the province, the report concluded that 7.7% of incidents committed by Ricky, the man at the centre of the inquest, were serious.

Ricky, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban, pleaded guilty in December to two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder stemming from a series of assaults in 2014.

A jury found two boys, Raymond Duerr and Ben Duerr, guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder in connection with the incident in which Ricky fatally stabbed Robert Abrahamson, 36, while he was sleeping in his bed. Ricky attacked his roommates before a neighbour called police. Ricky pleaded guilty to killing Benjamin and Raymond in 2014.

Ricky had previously pleaded guilty to the fatal stabbing of Theresa Steeves, 27, after they entered his single-wide trailer to see if he had told them what he wanted.

The report said Ricky also admitted to killing his 79-year-old housemate Irene Gropman, who was found in his kitchen.

All of the people involved had severe intellectual disabilities.

The survivors’ caregiver, Ronald Law, and Ricky’s caregiver, Maureen Clark, were also convicted. Both pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Law received a sentence of 30 years. His sentence was increased to 34 years due to other charges he faced.

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