More allegations against Robert Riley Saunders have triggered an expansion of the investigation, including a coworker. (Facebook photo)

More allegations against second social worker accused of abusing the trust of Okanagan youth

Multiple notices of civil claim against Saunders were amended

  • Apr. 9, 2019 6:10 a.m.

Robert Riley Saunders isn’t the only social worker in the Ministry of Family and Children facing serious allegations of abusing the trust of youth in care.

In the last month, multiple notices of civil claim against Saunders were amended and one is highlighting new allegations against a ministry worker with whom he was closely associated.

In the case of an Okanagan-based First Nation youth who was in the care of the province, it’s alleged that Siobhan Stynes failed to care for the needs of a teen in her care. She was named in the claim when it was filed, but wording throughout the document has been changed significantly from when it was initially filed.

Stynes is referred to as a “team leader” with the ministry and she was also the direct supervisor of Saunders.

In the amended court document, the plaintiff claims that Stynes “was verbally and emotionally abusive” with the intent to undermine their confidence and self-esteem.

“In exercising parental control as delegates of the director, Stynes exercised ultimate control over the plaintiff’s life. Stynes had complete control over every aspect of the plaintiff’s life, including where the plaintiff would live, the plaintiff’s access to family members, the plaintiff’s access to services and financial assistance and the plaintiff’s connection to her cultural heritage,” reads the claim.

READ MORE: ROBERT RILEY SAUNDERS NOW FACING FOUR SUITS

The plaintiff alleges that complete trust and confidence was placed in Stynes and both Stynes and Saunders knew this. Despite that, they allegedly breached that trust and failed to act in good faith, causing the plaintiff to lose out on funds and benefits that would have helped.

One of the most serious issues to emerge from this document, however, is the harm the plaintiff faced.

She was exposed to a period of hunger, street homelessness and illicit drugs, such as methamphetamine, crack, cocaine and MDMA.

READ MORE: LAWSUITS FILED AGAINST FORMER KELOWNA SOCIAL WORKER

Then the allegations escalate in severity. On March 4, 2012, the plaintiff was the victim of a serious sexual assault that resulted in a police investigation.

“The defendant, Stynes and the plaintiff’s foster parents accused the plaintiff of falsifying the allegation for an excuse for using drugs, however, the plaintiff was not on drugs at the material time,” reads the claim.

“The defendant, arriving at her own conclusion in regards to the allegation, punished the plaintiff by removing extracurricular activities from the plaintiff causing isolation and depression.”

The claim goes on to say that Stynes instructed and caused the plaintiff to write a letter of apology to the perpetrator of the sexual assault. At the time when the instructions were given to the plaintiff to write the letter of apology to the perpetrator, no meaningful investigations were carried out.

“The defendant, Stynes, berated, demeaned, bullied and caused the plaintiff emotional harm,” reads the report.

The process of being asked to write the letter caused the plaintiff extra harm and they felt victimized by the entire process, as well as the attacker.

The claim also alleges that once Saunders and Tyne’s misconduct was detected the director failed to move expeditiously to review and restrain Saunders and Stynes and failed to advise the plaintiff and ameliorate her position in a timely fashion, which exacerbated and prolonged the harms caused.

The plaintiff is seeking damages, a restraining order as well as a return on costs.

A statement of response from the ministry has not been filed and none of the allegations have been proven in court.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaNewsKat
kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Truck fire knocked down on Highway 97

The blaze has been knocked down by fire crews

More showings of controversial movie Unplanned scheduled in West Kelowna

One of the additional shows sold out in three minutes at the Landmark Xtreme

Private viewing for Elijah-lain Beauregard to be held in Penticton

Afterwards, there will be a celebration of life next to the Okanagan Lake,

Single vehicle roll over in West Kelowna sends one to hospital

One person sent to hospital with non life-threatening injuries

Rockets’ Thomson signs entry-level contract with Ottawa Senators

The defenceman was taken 19th overall by Ottawa in June’s NHL Entry Draft

UPDATE: special council meeting set for Wednesday, Basran in talks with province

Opponents of McCurdy house says she won’t ‘relinquish possession’ of more than 14,000 names

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Most Read