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“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” - Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

“‘Tis strange – but true; for truth is always strange; Stranger than fiction.” - British poet Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron)

A lot of evidence concerning abuse and corruption connected with Children's Aid/Children Services/CPS and the various related government departments and non-government organizations (NGOs) has surfaced in both the U.S. and Canada - yet, over the years, nothing changed.

This indicated that there was a larger more powerful connection at play. It did not take long to find this bigger connection. However, in the early years, there were few people who would accept the reality of these larger global connections.

Most people do not want to believe that corruption and abuse against innocent families and children exists in Canada and the U.S.. They need to feel a sense of security in the society they live in, and that need is so great that most people will prefer to believe a lie rather than face the truth. They want to believe that such things only exist in third world countries !

Understanding that even the basics of the wickedness in Nova Scotia, Canada was hard for most people to accept, we originally limited the information we posted to local concerns. This way, at least, we hoped that we could begin educating Nova Scotians about the reality of abuse and corruption connected with Children's Aid/Children Services/CPS.

However, it broke our hearts to find testimonies from parent groups throughout North America and beyond who had worked years to inform the public and had attemped to change the system, as we had, with no success. They were frustrated and did not understand why, despite all the evidence that had come forward, nothing was done, nothing changed.

We felt they were owed an explanation, so, hopefully, now is the time for people to hear and accept the "Bigger Global Picture".

The powerful connections that are responsible for abusing our innocent families and children go to the highest levels that hides behind secrecy and secret organizations.
Countless people will hate the New World Order and will die protesting against it. When we attempt to evaluate its promise, we have to bear in mind the distress of a generation or so of malcontents, many of them quite gallant and graceful-looking people." ~ H. G. Wells (1939)

Finally alternate media, first hand testimonies from people coming out of these evil organizations, and countless politicians began now declaring openly the plan for a New World Order and a one world government. Because of this, it is hoped that people will accept the evidence we are now posting concerning this evil global connection. Please view topics under "Bigger Picture" , "Agenda 21" , "Democracy Destroyed" etc .

Because of the push to form a One World Government, we are all connected in our struggle. What is being done elsewhere is being, or will be, done to us because it is the same global power which is working towards the destruction of our families and our children worldwide - And the corruption in Children's Aid/Children Services/CPS is is just one of the instruments they use to achieve this goal.

Thus far there are at least 8 powers that are struggling for this one world domination: the Illuminati, Communism, the Vatican, the Masons, the Islam extremists (understand these Islam extremists are killing fellow Islamic people who do not agree with their extreme views) and India, China, and Russia. They all use and manipulate each other but, ultimately, each wants ultimate control.

In the Christian Bible, it is prophesied that an evil Anti-Christ will set up a one World government utilizing a one world religion where all the people of the world will eventually be forced to worship him alone. It is difficult, at this time, to determine, for certain, if this Anti-Christ raises up from any of the 8 powers mentioned above or elsewhere. Please link here if you are interested in learning more about the Anti- Christ.

Over the years, we have seen the voice of the people shut down: Newspapers, and Radio stations, that were willing to write and broadcast critical articles and interviews against Children Services/CPS and government folded. And radio/media personalities, who allowed people to speak out against Children Services/CPS and the government, lost their jobs or were heavily curtailed.

Both the US and Canada have passed laws to remove our right and freedoms, including free speech: the Patriot Act, numerous Executive Orders nullifying the US Constitution. The latest US government grab for power is the NSAA that would allow the US government to put any US citizen in indefinate detention without charges or a trial.

Oath Keepers (military police and sheriffs loyal to the US Constitution - ready to defend the people against enemies "foreign or domestic" ) and some congress people, senators and US States have also taken a stand. Even concerned individuals have gone to the courts to fight the NSAA.

We believe the internet, as we know it, soon will be limited. Eventually internet use will be removed completely from the hands of the people. The time is short. The time to get this information out is now. No one is immune from the abuse of Children Services /New World Order/Agenda 21 etc. The victims can be your family, your children, your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews etc.

You cannot move away from this threat - It is global !You must not put your head in the sand! - There is a global plan to destroy the family unit and physical, sexual and mental abuse is an essential part of Trauma-Based Mind Control, one of the many mind control programs used by this global system to destroy our children. They are also using the more insidious Neuro Linquistic Programing (NLP) to alter people's value system. But the current and planned use of Electronic, Psychotronic Mind Control which can be used on people in mass is the most alarming of all ! Please view the many topics on this site under the title MIND CONTROL.

They want our children to rebel against us. They want the new generation to view the "state" as their parent.

But worse than all this, they want to kill off most of the people on this planet, and all under the guise of environmentally saving the planet. We have been declared the enemy - They openly state that we, and our children must be sacrificed for the greater good.

If this sounds extreme to you then it is because you have not been paying attention to the world events that are unfolding before your very eyes. You have been lulled into ignorance and apathy. The expansion of sports and sports arenas, the addiction to various social networks, the focus on celebraties on so called "news" shows. This has all been designed to placate the masses and to get your focus off politics and the changes that are being done to you and your family. Your attention has also been diverted to worrying about the economy and an "enemy" that shifts and changes to suit the political manipulating whims of a small powerful elite. - and this spell has been caste over you "by design". The people in the highest realm of this global power call us "stupid sheep", and we are being lead to the slaughter !

You must wake up NOW! Time is VERY short ! I suggest you start with the several topics listed under "Agenda 21" :

1. AGENDA 21/ Sustainable Development Explained: North America - US - Canada - Nova Scotia (It is recommended that you read this 1st)

2. AGENDA 21/ SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Population Cut/ Cull (kill) Part 1
(They want to kill us, You should question, Vaccines, Fluoride, Water, GMOs, Chemtrails, Morgellons - GMO/Chemtrail desease.

3. AGENDA 21/ SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Population Cut/ Cull (kill) Part 2
(Morgellons, Meat, Aspartame, No home gardens, Planned vitamin, mineral and organic food ban, Smart meters, Cancer cures, Pollution free energy and cars, Abortion, After birth abortion, Denying medical care, Killing our own troops, Gun control)

4. AGENDA 21/ SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Pushback - People are waking up Part 1
(States, Governors, Sheriffs, )

5. AGENDA 21/ SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Pushback - People are waking up Part 2
(Militia, Military, Whistleblowers)

6. Agenda 21/Sustainable Development: The Bigger picture



If we do not WAKE UP, fight back, and win then you need to seriously prepare yourself and your family for, incarceration without trial, torture, persecution, and even death.

Did you know that Obama has declared Christians to be "potential domestic terrorists"? - Especially those who believe in the promised Second Coming of Jesus Christ, who, as it happens, according to the Bible, comes to put a stop to an evil one world government.

Maybe some of these Christians and Messianic Jews know something that is very important for these times and perhaps we should pay attention to what their holy books have to say about the "End Times" "End of the Age" etc. (the 3 1/2 to 7 years just before the return of Yeshua Ha Mashiach/ Jesus the Messiah or Anointed One.

For those who want to check this out, please LINK HERE (scroll down to topic list on the right) . Beautiful pictures, fab songs, great testimonies from ex- satanists, ex-witches, ex-illuminati, ex-islamists, Christ believing Jews, etc, archeological evidence for Biblical events and most important scriptures to help you, encourage you and guide you.

May you find the path to the Creator of the heaven and earth. He foresaw these days (view topics on the "End Times" in the link above) we are living in right now and He has instructed us clearly on what we must do and what we are NOT to do. ( "The Mark of the Beast" View all scriptures on this subject HERE Revelation 13: 11-17, 14: 9-11, 16: 2, 19:20, 20:4 . Acceptance of the mark is not a matter to be taken lightly. The Bible states that anyone who accepts the mark, that one must have to buy or sell, denies Christ in favor of a false god. This decision, once made, is irrevocable, and the consequences are everlasting. - ( LINK HERE to read in context with fab pictures and music)

Get yourselves educated. Get familiar with the law and the illegal and unconstituional actions of your government . Educate yourselves about the New World Order and Agenda 21. Get vocal with the government to protect your family and children. Get into the family court and bear witness to what is going on in the name of "justice".
Above written by - Reverend Niemoeller, a German Lutheran pastor who was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to the concentration camp Dachau in 1938.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children - Horrific Sexual and Physical Abuse

Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children - Horrific Sexual and Physical Abuse

The Colored Home

Tuesday November 29, 2011

Opened in 1921, for many years the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children was the only orphanage in the province that would accept black children.

In fact children from across the region were sent there.

While the Home is a symbol of refuge and community spirit for many people, it's also the target of controversy.

Several dozen people have come forward to say they were abused and neglected by former staff and residents.

The claims have been slowly making their way through the court system for almost a decade.

Our story this week comes from freelance reporter, Bethany Horne. Link here to hear interview:

History of the NSHCC - by Jacob Boon
Timeline created by groundhog593 in History

For embed code or to share this timeline link to

Unfinished Stories: The Colored Home,
Part 1
by Bethany Horne
November 30, 2011

The full story of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children has never been written. It is hard to know how to understand it. The home's existence is an accomplishment for Black Nova Scotians, and as an institution, the NSHCC has played a role in the lives of many people scattered across the Maritimes.

But there is something missing. Before getting this job for OpenFile, I was researching a CBC documentary about the Home. People I spoke to, who lived there as children, are still waiting for acknowledgement from anyone—the Home, the Province, the courts—that bad things happened at the Home in the past. Their lawyer is still pushing for a full investigation into alleged sexual and physical abuses. The Home itself is still struggling to leave behind a negative past and move forward with a new program, Akoma, which is unique in Canada.

And former residents are writing to their politicians to ask: what is Nova Scotia's lingering responsibility for the Dartmouth orphanage and the people who were abandoned there?

From 1921 well into the 1960s, the Home was the only place to send black children who were orphans or couldn't be cared for by their families. And it still exists.

For the documentary, I spoke with a man in Toronto, Garnet Smith, who lived at the Home in the 1940s. He remembers eating clover and garbage to stay full, and never learning how to read. And Kenneth Scott, whose mom grew up there. When she went back as an adult, she was told by a museum curator that she was making up her memories of a bad childhood. And Tony Smith, a Halifax musician and social worker, who took me to the gravesite of someone [a friend] he lost, [dead from a beating at the home] and told me his worst memory from childhood.

Thanks to all kinds of help and support from the Halifax CBC and specifically Maritime Magazine's producer Christina Hartnett, you can listen to the full audio doc, The Colored Home, on their website. [link in previous article posted directly above]

From the CBC blog:
While the Home is a symbol of refuge and community spirit for many people, it's also the target of controversy. Several dozen people have come forward to say they were abused and neglected by former staff and residents. The claims have been slowly making their way through the court system for almost a decade.
The documentary also introduces some recent changes to the Home, its new executive director, and looks at the the different legacies it has left Nova Scotia. But as Nova Scotians, the most important thing to remember is: the story isn't finished.

From the doc:
"All these allegations, very strong and very powerful allegations of systemic sexual abuse of the most horrific variety is well documented in the court record and no police department, no police agency, no government agency, nobody in the Department of Community Services, no welfare protection people—did anything, or are doing anything to investigate the case. And you have to ask yourself why."

Neglected and forgotten history: The Colored Home,
Part 2

by Jacob Boon
November 30, 2011

At the dawn of the Twentieth Century, there wasn’t much hope for orphaned black children in Nova Scotia. Denied by other groups homes due to the colour of their skin, most would end up in poor houses or living on the streets.

While Nova Scotia has always faced its fair share of racial problems, the province is also home to strong black communities, and leaders who set out to right the wrongs they saw in orphaned children.

Lawyer James Johnston—the first black Nova Scotian with a law degree—first proposed an institute for black children to the African United Baptist Association in 1908. By 1915, the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children (NSHCC) was incorporated, and fundraising began to pay for the building of the home on a farm in Westphal.

On June 6, 1921, the NSHCC officially opened with a parade of dignitaries and spectators. According to their own website, it was “the largest gathering of Blacks since the arrival of the Loyalists.”

Underfunded and Ignored

Sadly, from its very inception, the NSHCC was to be a story of an institution often underfunded and ignored by the government. The home’s first manager, James Ross Kinney, became a guiding force in seeking donations in the orphanage’s early years. He was a “lone hand in the raising of funds,” according to then-NSHCC-president Henry G. Bauld.

Kinney would travel far and wide, meeting friends and contacts and soliciting for any help in keeping the NSHCC afloat—activities that did not always meet the approval of other trustees. Provincial director of child welfare Earnest Blois expressed his disapproval of Kinney’s donation-seeking in Upper Canada via a 1936 letter to Henry Bauld.

“I feel that we would be not only placing the Home but the whole Province in a very unenviable position by making an appeal,” the letter reads. “In my judgment, this is no time to give Upper Canadians a chance to say we are beggars.”

Bauld wrote back, saying “no work of any consequence in this City or Province has ever failed to grasp every opportunity to seek funds widely beyond the Province.”

"Men of Wealth die," Bauld continues, "Community Chests are formed, large and generous contributions are given to EVERYTHING, but The Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children is never remembered to the extent that others are."

A more inspiring tale would perhaps here feature the institution, fighting to remain open, scraping by with what little they had. Humbly thankful, they would work bit by bit towards a brighter future. In reality, like any institution so radically malnourished, there were real consequences to the struggles the home faced.

”Poor Trash”

The first official report of the poor living conditions at the orphanage comes from a 1948 visit by Lillian Romkey, a social worker for the province. She notes the home was suspiciously clean upon her visit, so much so that “one wonders if the children just sit on the benches in the play room without moving.”

The children’s dinner for that visit consisted of a fish stew, mostly bones, potatoes and milk, while Romkey notes the staff had vegetable soup, fried halibut, carrots, sliced tamatoes, pickles, potatoes, fresh apple pie.”

"The small quantities of food kept in this refrigerator would only be sufficient for the staff, not for the 64 children," she writes.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of her report though, is Romkey’s observations about the home’s matron, Elizabeth Fowler.

"Mrs. Fowler seems to have no conception of the children's last names or to know very much about them," Romkey writes. "She says she cannot stand children talking.”

Fowler, in charge of the well-being and care of over 60 young children, apparently also spoke “despairingly” of those placed in the home, calling them all “poor trash.”

Misuse of Funds?

Aside from Romkey’s report on the home’s operations, 1948 was also the year concerns from various Children’s Aid societies throughout the province started arriving at the desk of the provincial director of Child Welfare, Dr. Fred MacKinnon.

MacKinnon would become a lifelong advocate for the poor in Nova Scotia. A public servant and political figure for more than 50 years, he would be influential in passing the Social Assistance Act of 1958, which essentially decriminalized poverty.

In the late ‘40s, however, MacKinnon was still starting out when a letter from Colchester County Children’s Aid’s Margaret Payne landed on his desk.

Payne had concerns about the family allowances her organization owed the NSHCC. At the time, children taken to the home received allowances from the counties they were wards of to be spent on clothing or toys. Colchester had amassed close to $600 for their children at the NSHCC, but were uncomfortable sending the money.

"We have corresponded with the Colored Home on several occasions asking for suggestions or vouchers for things the children need but have had no satisfactory reply," Payne writes. "The officials of the Colored Home have insisted we turn the money over to them."

Walter Wood, of Annapolis County Children's Aid, also wrote to MacKinnon with a similar story.

"Some time ago, Mr. Bauld demanded the Family Allowances paid over to them, but we refused to do this,” Wood writes.

"There is a large question in our minds as to what the money we hold in trust for these children has to do with the financing of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children."

Physical Abuse

“I feel that it is time that a thorough investigation was made as to what is going on there.”

That was the demand of A. P. Hunt of the Yarmouth County Children’s Aid Society after a young girl was brought to him from the NSHCC with stripes on her back and bruises on her legs.

In a series of 1950s Community Services Department documents obtained by the Chronicle Herald in the late 90s, Hunt and others write to MacKinnon with these and other charges.

Claims of children being dressed in rags are mentioned; even of one girl being sent out with a night dress made from an old flour bag. Former wards of the NSHCC mention being beaten with switches, and broomsticks. One girl was allegedly beaten by a staff member until “she cried for mercy.”

MacKinnon forwarded the allegations to
 James Ross Kinney Jr., now superintendent at the home after his father’s death, and proposed an investigation. Kinney denied any workers could have beat the children, but promised to look into the matter.

In the Herald’s 1998 article, Louise Surette writes that “In a final letter, Mr. Kinney wrote that the matter had been dealt with and strongly insisted ‘corporal punishment was not used at the home.’”

The RCMP were never contacted. Nor was a formal investigation ever carried out.

Insider Trading

Another scandal to rock the NSHCC came in 1966, when then deputy minister of Public Welfare MacKinnon became aware that the home’s superintendent was placing children into foster homes he himself owned.

The NSHCC would make cheques payable to the foster parents for accepting a child, which would be hand delivered to the family by superintendent Kinney, “only to have the cheques endorsed and turned over to him for the rent due.”

MacKinnon didn’t mince words in his reaction to this news. He writes, “This is a very serious matter and I am disturbed by it!”

Then director of Children’s Aid Alfred Kenney responded to MacKinnon, letting him know that the arrangement between Mr. Kinney and myself was made with both boards fully informed, and at least from our viewpoint, it was probably the best solution we could find at the time. At no time have I doubted Mr. Kinney’s integrity and sincerity.”

Another Visit

That same year, 1966, the coordinator of foster home services Rosemary Rippon visited the NSHCC to prepare a report on its operations. Rippon inspected the 75 children in the home’s care, the highest the orphanage had ever cared for, and concluded they were a different mix than the neglected children the home used to look after.

"Formerly the Institution catered mostly to the orphaned or neglected," she writes, "but the type of child being cared for now includes many more children who could be described as disturbed."

Her assessment concluded that the location was overcrowded, and only “superficial” medicals were offered to children during intake. At least one child had been admitted with an unnamed but highly infectious disease.

Out of the 16 employees, Rippon found no staff members trained in Child Care, and none has had any nursing experience.

"There is some dissatisfaction among the staff regarding the wages paid," she continues, "which are low and do not meet even the minimum wage scale."

The children, at least, seemed content. Rippon writes that those she saw appeared happy and healthy looking youngsters.”

The truth of what life was like in the home at the time is more difficult to determine.

The staff were under-trained, but with the extremely low wages offered by the province, there was little incentive to working at the NSHCC.

And while the children may have appeared “happy and healthy,” future statements from those children would paint a different picture—one of beatings, psychological torture, and rape that has led former residents to band together in a lengthy court battle against the NSHCC and the province.

The truth of what life was like in the home at the time is more difficult to determine. In part three of The Colored Home series, we look at a lost opportunity in the 1970s for the province to look at some of the damage and neglect alleged later by survivors.

"Paying for a stick to beat ourselves:" The Colored Home
Part 3
BY Jacob Boon
December 1, 2011

 The provincial government quashed a chance to examine the allegations of abuse and neglect in the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children in the early '70s, during what is alleged to be one of the highest periods of abuse.

In 1971, it was agreed that the Home would hire an individual to evaluate its operations and advise on its future. The province agreed to pay $1,500 to assist in the study. According to NSHCC documents, no single consultant could be hired, so in 1973 the firm of Rafuse, Dwyer and Marentette was obtained. That firm submitted a proposal for a more extensive study, looking into staff training, children's wellness, finances and operations, which would cost $4,000. A copy of the proposal is included below.

We can only speculate today what such a report at that time would have uncovered. But we don't have to guess as to how the province reacted to the firm's proposal.

“This is crazy,” J. A. MacKenzie, director of Research and Planning for Nova Scotia wrote of the proposed evaluation. “To fund this study is simply paying for a stick to beat ourselves.”

“Furthermore, if the Board of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children decide to proceed on their own, we should make it quite clear that Departmental files will not be made available to the study group. Otherwise, we are simply asking for another 'scourging at the public pillar'.”

Read MacKenzie's letter here:

NS Minister and staff balks at funding the study

The provincial director of Child Welfare, Dr. Fred MacKinnon, voiced his own hesitations in a letter to then Minister of Public Welfare, William Gillis.

“If we do not permit ourselves to get involved,” he writes, “we will then be in a position to defend ourselves if the Home goes ahead with the study and undertakes the usual muck-raking and mud-slinging which is characteristic of this kind of effort where Government is concerned.”

Minister Gillis was himself first informed of the consultant's request for extra funding by an inter-office memo from executive assistant Ricky MacDonald, a copy of which is also below. Notice the handwritten response at the bottom, addressed to Ricky but with no named author. In barely legible writing the author states he or she has “no objection to a survey of the Home if that were all it might be.”

“The whole affair is much more likely to be another witch hunt at the Department's expense,” the author continues. “It is open season for witch hunting.”

Minister Gillis finally responded to NSHCC president Reg Croft's continual requests to honour the commitment of $1,500 by stating the consultant firm was selected without the province's prior approval. Even though that detail was not part of the original agreement, the province still withheld all funds, and the proposed study was abandoned.

And with that, maybe the last and best chance to uncover what was happening at the home went up in smoke. A victim of a government willing to turn a blind eye so as not to hurt their careers.

It would be another 25 years before former residents stepped forward, offering a different picture of their time in the provincially funded orphanage—a picture of alleged beatings, psychological torture and rape, that led those residents to band together for a lengthy court battle against the NSHCC and the province.

No Justice: The Colored Home
part 4
By Jacob Boon
December 1, 2011

No one would believe her, “because she was a tomboy and ugly as well.”

Those were the words Tracey Lynn Dorrington says she was told to keep her from complaining when caregivers at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children raped her, according to her statement of claim filed with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

Dorrington is just one of many voices who have come forward in recent years to seek legal action, against both the NSHCC and the province, for what they claim was a systemic climate of physical, psychological and sexual abuse.

The decade-long legal war continues to this day, but it started in the late 1990s.

Tony Smith is well known in Halifax as a musician, and one of the founding members of Tony Smith & the Mellotones. In 1998, he also became the first former resident to speak out publicly about his time at the NSHCC.

As a boy, Smith says, he watched his best friend, Anthony Langford, severely beaten by other residents at the home. Taken to the hospital, Langford died a few days later. According to Langford's mother, who also spoke to the Herald in 1998, no investigation into the death was done, even though "she tried for years to find out what happened [to her son] but staff wouldn't tell her."

Thirty years went by before Smith was able to speak out about the events he witnessed as a boy, and he did so via a letter to the Justice Department requesting an official examination of Langford's death and other abuses at the NSHCC. At this point, RCMP looked into it and said the boy died during an unrelated surgery. They decided not to investigate. Smith says the surgery story doesn't make any sense. You can hear him tell the story in his own words here.

Journalist Bethany Horne has spoken to the RCMP numerous times during research for her documentary, The Colored Home, looking to follow up on what Cpl. Devri Warnell told the Chronicle Herald in 1998:

"We have received a phone call in regards to the Home for Colored Children ... At this point, an investigator hasn't been assigned nor has exactly where an investigation will take place from been determined. It is very premature at this point to say what will take place and it is hard to say when this will begin. It is tricky because the matter is years old, so whether it is this week or next week, we can't really say."

Her confirmation request has gone unanswered, as have recent attempts to get RCMP comment on the issue.

Soon after Smith came forward, other voices joined him in speaking about their time at the home, and seeking justice.

Sixty former residents spoke out with tales of abuse during their time at the NSHCC. Out of that number, 15 individual lawsuits were filed against the home and the province. Three of those suits belonged to the Dorrington sisters.

Tracey Lynn, and her sisters Krista Lee and Lizette Denise, were all placed in the NSHCC at different times. Tracey first entered the home in 1972, a year before the government of Nova Scotia would deny funding to an evaluation of the home's operations and staff.

In her statement of claim, Dorrington claims to have been assaulted multiple times from the age of 15 until she left the home at 18. She says she was groped, “slammed” against walls, and beaten if she didn't comply with forced sexual encounters.

NSHCC executive director Veronica Marsman declined to comment on the cases for this article.

Other former residents have filed equally terrifying stories. They tell of young girls woken up at night to find strange hands fondling them. They describe staff members arranging fights between children for their amusement. Allowances were withheld until sexual favours were given, they say. Some even remember seeing a small boy beaten and left on the floor in a puddle of his blood.

Messages left for Catherine Lunn and Terry Potter, the province's legal counsel at the Department of Justice, seeking comment on these allegations and the ongoing court cases went unanswered. None of the allegations of what happened at the NSHCC has been proven in court, nor have any criminal charges ever been filed. For lawyer Ray Wagner, who is representing the former residents, that's part of the problem.

"I don't understand why there has been no investigation, a real investigation into what took place at the home," he says.

"A lot of children ran away from the home, and [the RCMP] returned them. They didn't ask them why they ran away. There's a whole host of opportunities where they could have done something."

Without any official investigations, all the former residents have are their own statements of claim. But the large gap between when the alleged abuse occurred and when the victims came forward to file legal action has led to some of the NSHCC lawsuits being dismissed.

Under Nova Scotia discoverability law, victims of sexual abuse, even children, have only six years to proceed with legal action from the time they recognize what was done to them was harmful. That's why a judge ruled Tony Smith's suit was statute barred and dismissed his case. Wagner appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, but was denied.

"We've been bogged down 10 years, 11 years," says Wagner. "And all it's got us is a trip to the Supreme Court of Canada, a couple of trips to the Court of Appeal, and persistent litigation."

A decade later, only the Dorrington sisters have individual lawsuits before the courts. Though with such a complicated case, with more than 100 witnesses to be called, a trial date likely won't be set until 2015.

The long, frustrating wait is just one of the reasons Ray Wagner moved forward earlier this year with a class action lawsuit on behalf of all potential former residents of the NSHCC who suffered abuse.

"We've chosen to move this case for the larger group of people who really can't come forward, because of the circumstances of their abuse,” says Wagner.

Potentially, more than 200 former residents could be part of the class action.

Before it gets to trial, though, Wagner will be looking for the courts to recognize the collected cases as a class action suit, and will meet with a judge next week for a case management meeting.

It's a war of attrition. But after 40 years of living with their memories, and a decade of legal battles, it's a war everyone seems willing to fight.

Looking Forward: The Colored Home
part 5
By Jacob Boon

December 2, 2011

The Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children turned 90 this year. This same year, a class action lawsuit collecting the cases of former residents alleging a history of child abuse within its walls was filed with Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court.

This class action motion comes after more than ten years of legal wrangling, and sets the stage for many more years of it to come. The legal limbo has satisfied no one. Alleged victims are frustrated that a judge hasn’t heard their cases and police haven’t investigated their claims. Conversely, the Home is tired of fielding questions about their past, and eager to move on with their new programs. But there’s no trial date on the horizon.

Less than a month ago, the province declined a proposed settlement, submitted by lawyer Ray Wagner, on behalf of his clients. A response by Department of Justice counsel Catherine Lunn states “The Province remains in its position that it is not willing to negotiate any compensation for settlement in respect to these claims, based on a position of no liability.”

Wagner finds that line of defence, “baffling,” as he feels the province is directly responsible for any potential abuse that occurred in the Dartmouth orphanage.

"Had the Home had the resources to hire competent, properly trained individuals, with proper oversight, this never would have happened,” he says.

“There may have been an isolated incident from time to time, but that would have been dealt with. Instead, it became systemic. Where it got to a degree where workers were abusing children, children were abusing other children, friends of workers or families of workers were coming in and abusing children..."

Messages left for counsels Catherine Lunn and Terry Potter at the department of justice were not returned, but NSHCC representative John Kulik did share his thoughts on the struggles that arise from long-ago accusations.

When you try to litigate the past, every claim is more than 25 years old," says Kulik. "It's very difficult to defend."

A partner at McInnis Cooper, Kulik and fellow firm member Jane O'Neill have been representing the NSHCC during their legal battles. While he did not want to comment specifically regarding ongoing litigation, he did say that tracking down witnesses and workers from the period of alleged abuse is one of the more challenging aspects to the case.

"The people at the Home at the time are all long retired, and many are dead," says Kulik.

Entropy is an inevitable frustration felt by both sides.

“We're losing people all the time,” says Wagner. “We've lost a bunch of class members due to death. Unfortunately in civil law these cases often die or expire because of that.”

To try and speed up the litigation process, and hopefully reach a settlement, Wagner has been instructing claimants and other members of the public to write their MLAs demanding to know why there has been no investigation into the NSHCC, and why a settlement has not been reached.

"I don't think the political people have made choices in this, and I think now they have an opportunity to make a choice," says Wagner. "We'll see how they respond."

The executive director for the NSHCC, Veronica Marsman, declined to comment on litigation and other matters for this series. However, this summer she spoke with reporter Bethany Horne and addressed the legal challenges facing the Home.

"We're aware it's there," she said of the lawsuits. "We just don't stick our head in the sand and say it's gone. But our focus and our energies have to be spent on establishing a five star facility for the current residents.” She is referring to the Akoma Family Centre.

Marsman, herself a former resident, also spoke with Horne about the history of the NSHCC and what it's done for her own life.

"There are residents out there who've come back over the years and said, 'Thank you. If it wasn't for the Home, I don't know where I'd be,'” said Marsman.

“I can even speak in terms of myself, personally. I was a former resident at the old Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children ... and I thank God daily for the existence of the Nova Scotia Home because I don't know where I would be if it were not for the Home."

And for all the accusations, the Home does have strong supporters. Though the NSHCC receives $1.4 million in provincial funding annually, a large chunk of their finances are paid for by charitable donations from former residents and community members.

Those donations can come from one-time events (like the $90 a plate gala reception the NSHCC held at the Dartmouth Ramada back in June) but the most visible fund-raising effort the Home puts on is their annual “Broadcast for Funds.”

The telethon began in 1931, on Nova Scotia’s first radio station, CHNS. The broadcasts featured a choir consisting of the children in the home “singing for supper” as one former resident calls it. The class action Statement of Claim alleges residents’ participation in the choir was compulsory, and part of the NSHCC positive image public relations campaign.

Today, the telethon is televised. It airs every holiday season on Eastlink. The 2010 broadcast featured performances by Marko Simmonds, and the Nova Scotia Mass Choir, and received $35,000 in donations.

"That's really our signature kind of fund-raising piece," says NSHCC board member Sylvia Parris.

Parris, an education officer and consultant with the Department of Education, was unable to comment on pending legal matters, but did say the current court cases in front of the Home haven't yet had a noticeable effect on donations.

"I would say, no to that," she says. "In so far as where we are, as far as targets for fundraising, we wouldn't really be even having a good look at that until after our telethon."

The next “Broadcast for Funds,” the 80th in the NSHCC's history, will air Dec. 11. Money raised will go to the Home, but Parris says it won't be used to pay any of the NSHCC's more than $43,000 a year legal costs.

"That's an operations thing," says Parris. "We would have an allocation from (the Department of Community Services) for legal costs related to operations. That would be a standard amount, but I couldn't make a comment as to what was allocated towards (the lawsuits)."

Forty thousand a year, even over a decade, may end up being a small amount compared to what the NSHCC and the province could conceivably be looking at in terms of a settlement amount. Ray Wagner offers no exact figure for damages sought, but has stated in the past that some claims could by worth up to $1 million.

If that's the case, a potential NSHCC settlement could rank with other class action cases in this province that saw hefty payments made to victims of institutional abuse. The province spent over $50 million on the notorious settlement for the Shelburne School for Boys. And the federal government reached a $4 billion agreement for First Nations victims of the Residential Schools. The legacy of abuse by the Diocese of Antigonish was also finally acknowledged, with a historic $13 million settlement for victims in 2009 (which, today it was reported, has already distributed $8.5 million to victims by selling off church assets and taking on loans).

The Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children may end up as part of that list; another institutional body that victimized and abused children. But that won't be the totality of its history. As Veronica Marsman pointed out to Bethany Horne, there are voices speaking out about the Home on both sides.

“There's negative, I'm sure as well as positive,” she said. “There's a lot of folks out there who speak very positively of the Home. It's part of our history, so you can't just erase history.”

Even though they're on opposite sides of these court cases, Marsman's views are shared in many ways by Ray Wagner.

"The Home made a real effort to try to provide for themselves and for their community,” he says. “There's a lot of very great people that worked in that home, and had a great vision.”

For Wagner, the NSHCC is not just a symbol for the strength of Nova Scotia's black culture, but also in how the province has failed that culture time and again.

"The Black community has suffered hugely in this province and continues to do so," he says. "Systemic racism exists in this province and is well-known, to a point of which the courts have actually taken judicial notice of it."

Wagner believes the province, the community, and the Home, will only be reconciled once an acknowledgement of past crimes comes to light.

Until then, the former residents will keep on fighting.

"We've had people say on their dying wishes, 'Don't give up. Keep going,'" says Wagner.

"All they want is recognition of the fact that what was done to them was wrong."

The discussion doesn't have to end here. Ray Wagner's court documents regarding the Colored Home are all available on his website.

  The Children Nobody Cared About
Herald News
February 15, 2012  By EVA HOARE Staff Reporter
At least 63 Residents were Abused at N.S. Home for Colored Children, former Executive Director Believes
Jane Earle, a former child-care worker, was executive director of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children for 10 months in 1980. (TIM KROCHAK / Staff)

They were the government’s children.

And the Halifax-area woman who heard their stories of horrific sexual and physical abuse is coming forward to help former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children who are leading a class action against the home and the province.

"These were the children who nobody else would speak for," Jane Earle, former executive director of the home, told The Chronicle Herald on Tuesday.

"They were all alone," victims of "predators," said Earle, who wants to lend her voice to at least 63 former residents who she believes were abused up until the late 1990s.

"This one guy in particular certainly did it all," said Earle, who said she personally knows of about seven people — then young female and male teenagers — who were sexually abused by former staff and a volunteer at the home in Dartmouth.

The former child-care worker, who served in the executive post for 10 months in 1980, said she’s filing an affidavit Friday as part of a mammoth lawsuit led by Wagners law firm.

The proposed class action, which will go to court for certification this fall, has been launched by Aubrey Pelley and Deanna Smith, said Mike Dull, who represents the claimants.

Earle said she was sickened to learn of the abuse after leaving her post, first from one of the foster children she and her husband, former MP Gordon Earle, looked after, and then from another young woman whose story came to her through a worker at the home.

Earle said she met with the second woman for three hours, had no doubts she had been abused, and promised she would go to the board on the woman’s behalf. All the woman wanted was to speak with board members because she didn’t want to tarnish the home’s reputation, Earle said.

"It was pretty horrific sexual abuse. It turned my stomach."

Earle and her husband met with the board about that case in 1996.

"The board refused to meet with her."

Wagners law firm filed 63 individual lawsuits in 2003-04. Earle hoped the cases would prompt investigations but nothing happened, she said.

By the late 2000s, when no acknowledgement of the abuse had come from the government, she decided to act.

"Frankly, I couldn’t wait any longer. Nothing was happening. The province knew all that and let it continue . . . because they were black.

"These were the government’s children. They were legally the government’s children, and the government not only let them down but now they will not settle."

Earle said she was approached years ago by a lawyer for either the province or the home and someone from another government agency, and she told them the abuse was real. No one took any action, she said.

The children are now adults who "struggle" in every way, said Earle, who speaks often with several victims.

"They feel shame, the whole nine yards, and it never stops."

She said the home’s per diemmoney paid for the care of each child — was "appalling," the workers had little or no skills, and physical abuse was a fact of life.

Earle has a long history with child welfare in Canada, including serving as director of Manitoba’s Foster Family Association, where she was responsible for about 2,400 foster homes. When she became executive director at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, she said she ordered the physical abuse halted.

"When I went there, I said, ‘No more physical,’ " said Earle, who said she had no idea of sexual abuses at the home.

The per diem for "white children" placed in similar homes was at times almost triple that for a black child.

"It was $3.50 a day per (black) child . . . up until 1976."

By the time Earle left her post, it had risen to about $27 per day, but the payment for children in at least one other provincial home was $55.

The government knew but did nothing, she said.

"These were children that nobody cared about."


Horror Stories

Tony Smith says he'll never forget what happened to him at the Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children.

THEY WERE BEATEN, raped, groped and robbed of their meagre allowances, and the girls were given birth control pills by their abusersstaff at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.

Some said they ate the pigs’ food because they were so hungry.

Others said they were forced to perform sexual acts upon each other for the gratification of some staff members.

One after the other, their sad stories are told in multiple affidavits filed Friday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court as the alleged childhood victims, now adults, seek justice for decades of abuse.

If residents wanted a drive from (a staffer) to certain locations, it was understood that you would have to perform sexual favours on him,” states an affidavit sworn by Deanna Smith, one of the two lead claimants in a proposed class action lawsuit against the home and the province.

Wagners, a Halifax law firm, will go to court this fall seeking certification.

“There were many occasions when I had to perform sexual favours on (the staffer) in exchange for drives,” Smith’s affidavit says. “In my case, every evening, he entered my bedroom, he would sit on my bed. He would then proceed to lean over and slide his hand down the sheets.

“He would ask if I wanted to ‘touch his.’ I would say no, or else stay silent. This never stopped him.”

None of the allegations in the affidavits have been proven in court, and none of the people named as abusers could be reached for comment for this story.

The same man forced residents to perform in “sex shows,” Smith alleges in the court papers.

“At the instruction of (the same staffer) and other staff, and while they watched, young residents would engage in fondling, oral sex and sexual intercourse with each other. I was forced to have sex with numerous young boys while (he) and other staff looked on. I was forced to have sex with young girls.”

Smith further alleges that a mentally handicapped young resident she calls “David” was regularly instructed to sexually assault other residents.

“Staff members would routinely administer the birth control pills to the girls,” Tracey Dorrington-Skinner wrote in her affidavit.

Dorrington-Skinner, who lived at the home in 1972, said the same staffer named in Smith’s affidavit forced her up against a wall and sexually assaulted her.

“He forced me to perform oral sex on him and he raped me,” Dorrington-Skinner’s affidavit states.

Another woman alleges that as a young girl at the home, another staffer sexually assaulted her more than 50 times.

Others said they were beaten and forced to sleep in urine-soaked sheets, while still others said they were hosed down with water outside on freezing cold days.

Garnet Smith said a staffer the children called “Mrs. Jefferson” sexually assaulted him in the 1940s. She would demand that the boy residents provide her with sexual favours “before they were allowed to pass and go into the dormitory.”

Smith added: “Because I was so hungry, I would eat the pigs’ food.”

Star-Ann Smith, who was 13 when she lived at the home in about 1975, said girls started drawing straws to see whose turn it would be to perform sexual acts on the staffer who gave them drives. She said even when she didn’t get the short straw, she still had to service him at times.

Smith also tells of a room away from the others where the badly beaten would stay.

All the residents knew that there was a room on the third floor of the home where the severely beaten were taken until they healed,” she said in her affidavit.

She recalls another male staff member, whom she didn’t name, sexually assaulting her eight-year-old brother “down the hall.”

“I have never discussed this with my brother,” she wrote.

All eight former residents whose affidavits were filed Friday said they never saw a caseworker at the home and police never laid charges, even though they were called once after a beating.

Likely at least 63 former residents will ask the court next fall to certify their class action.

Several former staffers, both men and women, are accused of physical and sexual abuse in the various affidavits.

Claimant Tony Smith, whose story of beatings at the home while he lived there for three years starting in 1965 unleashed a torrent of similar tales of abuse, said Friday he’ll never forget what happened there.

“I vowed ..... that someday I was going to tell my story,” Smith said Friday. He first talked about his experiences at the home in the late 1990s.

The founder of the popular band Tony Smith and the Mellotones said he was traumatized when other kids beat fellow resident Tony Langford, who later died in hospital.

“I told staff what happened. They told me I better stop lying,” Smith said.

“The atmosphere was ‘the strong survive.’ The staff used to get us to fight one another for their amusement.”

Smith said the RCMP told him he’d have to find more alleged victims to come forward if a proper investigation was to be launched.

Jane Earle, executive director at the home for 10 months in 1980, also filed her affidavit Friday, stating racism was behind the provincial government’s failure to act on the allegations of abuse.

“I was advised by Gus Wedderburn, the chair of the board of the NSHCC, that at a meeting with the education committee ..... the deputy minister of child welfare, Dr. F.R. MacKinnon, told him that the only reason for the low per diem rates at the NSHCC was prejudice,” Earle stated in the court papers.

Earle said she was “appalled” at the lack of investigation into the “horrendous” allegations and felt she had to step forward.

In a letter to the home this year advising its board members that she was helping the class action, Earle lamented the troubling lack of funding and the inaction.

“I expected the legal system would deal with the allegations of abuse,” she said. “Unfortunately, over a decade later, that has not been the case. I am absolutely appalled at the amount of time that has passed since the first complainant went to the police and I approached the board of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.

“We believe the lack of action by the Department of Community Services in conducting an investigation into the allegations of abuse against children who were ultimately their responsibility is unconscionable.”

Smith said Friday he is grateful for Earle’s contribution to the effort.

“I truly appreciate Ms. Earle coming forward,” he said.

Mike Dull, the Halifax lawyer who launched the lawsuit with fellow lawyer Ray Wagner on behalf of the claimants, said in his affidavit filed Friday that he had no knowledge of any action taken against the alleged abuse.

“In my review of the documents provided by the Nova Scotia Archives, I can see no record or mention of any followup taken by the NSHCC or province to investigate the ‘several other complaints about the children being abused and ill-treated at the Nova Scotia Colored Home.’ ”


N.S. ducked probe of home despite outcry of abuse
The Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children in Cherry Brook is shown here. Documents have surfaced that allege children were mistreated at the home but that government bureaucrats refused to look into the issue.

For decades, government bureaucrats resisted scrutiny of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, fearing it would spark a "witch hunt," government documents show.

This when allegations of physical abuse and other ill treatment were surfacing at the financially troubled Dartmouth home, where at times more than 70 orphaned or neglected children stayed.

"I would have no objections to a survey of the Home if that were all it might be," says a handwritten note on an interdepartmental memo to Bill Gillis, minister of public welfare, dated March 8, 1973.

"However, that is not what it will likely be. The whole affair is much more likely to be another witch hunt at the department’s expense. It is open season for witch hunting," the note states.

The author of the note isn’t clear. The typewritten portion above was written by an executive assistant named Rickey MacDonald and was also sent to F.R. MacKinnon, then deputy minister of child welfare.

The subject line — Grant to the Home for Colored Children — is responding to a request from the late John Savage, then a director on the home’s board, for an extra $1,500 to pay for a consulting firm to evaluate the facility on a number of fronts, including staff competency.

The handwritten portion has the heading "RickyM."

The Public Welfare Department, the typewritten portion said, had provided an initial $1,500 for the effort.

These and a slew of other documents, accessed through the Freedom of Information Act by Wagners Law Firm in Halifax, will be used as part of a proposed class action that former home residents hope will be certified this fall.

Led by former residents Aubrey Pelley and Deanna Smith, the suit is expected to recount alleged physical and sexual abuse by some staff and a volunteer against some residents.

The documents show bureaucrats were dead against any such study of the facility, fearing it would lead to "muckraking and mudslinging," said one memo.

They also consistently refused to provide the home with more money, despite several reports of its being underfunded.

"I recommend that the department not share in any way in the costs of the study being proposed by the consultants," states a March 19, 1973, memo from D.H. Johnson, administrator of Family and Child Welfare.

A private and confidential letter from another government administrator, J.A. MacKenzie, director of research and planning, tells MacKinnon that what’s proposed is "crazy."

"For example, phase one (of the evaluation) states as its purpose ‘to clarify existing known problems and to identify unknown and/or unforeseen problems being presently experienced by the Home,’ " MacKenzie wrote.

"Are the consultants saying, if the staff is not aware of any problems, they will create some for them. This is crazy. . . . In short, to fund this study is simply paying for a stick to beat ourselves."

If the home’s board pursued a study on their own, MacKenzie said, "we should make it quite clear that departmental files will not be made available to the study group. Otherwise, we are simply asking for another "scourging at the public pillar."

Problems at the home appear to go back as far as 1921, the documents show, when a matron named Sadie Steen notified the province that a child who might have tuberculosis was a resident.

"I have in my care now, one Harry Carter, whose condition is not good; he was examined by Dr. Simpson, and he says that he has small glands which he thinks surely are tubercular. While they are small, the germ is there and can be carried from one to the other by the air alone," she said in a handwritten letter.

Steen was later informed by a bureaucrat that the province was a "better judge of what was required than anyone else."

A provincial official did say, however, that the boy would be cared for medically.

In the late 1940s, another aid worker told the provincial director of child welfare that staff at the home ate roast chicken, while the children basically had broth. Just over 10 years later, a young child told her foster parents, a minister and his wife, that she’d been beaten. While the worker allegedly responsible was ultimately fired, the home’s board president was not happy about the termination.

"Dr. Cummings (president) was quite disturbed that Mrs. (name redacted) had been fired," another note states.

The aid worker had also noted the girl’s clothes were threadbare. "She was sent out from the Home looking like a tramp. . . . She practically had no underwear." It was also noted there were likely several other complaints of children being abused.

In 1954, the Yarmouth County Children’s Aid Society recommended a full investigation into the allegations.

"As I have received several other complaints about the children being abused and ill-treated at the Nova Scotia Colored Home, I feel it is time that a thorough investigation was made as to just what is going on there," A.P. Hunt wrote to the provincial director of child welfare.

In yet another memo in 1959, a home director was told that while his request for more funding was "very sympathetically" considered by the provincial minister in charge, no money was coming.

"This does not for a moment mean they (requests) are not important, and certainly in the case of the Nova Scotia Colored Home, the inability of the Government to meet your request last year was no indication (of) its lack of interest in the world of the Colored Home," MacKinnon wrote.

This week, Jane Earle, an executive director at the home for 10 months in 1980, told this newspaper she is helping with the class action attempt.

Earle said she strongly believes there was rampant abuse of the residents, and can’t understand why there’s never been a police investigation or any other probe into the allegations.

In an interview Tuesday with The Chronicle Herald, Earle said she believes the home would never have been so badly neglected by the province if the children weren’t black. Per diems for each child were up to three times more for white children or residents of some other homes, she said.

Halifax lawyers Mike Dull and Ray Wagner will go to court this fall to try to have the class action certified.


Class action gives voice to ex-residents

Why didn’t these children matter?

Was it because they were black?

Horrifying affidavits filed in court Friday allege a long history of abuse at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children. Nearly a decade after lawsuits filed in court have failed to yield results, 63 former residents joined together to apply for a class action against the home and the provincial government.

Wagners, a Halifax law firm, will represent the group in court this fall in an effort to have the action certified.

Jane Earle, a former social worker who was executive director at the home for 10 months in 1980, has little doubt about why complaints and concerns raised about the treatment of the children at the hands of some staff members were not dealt with by various government officials.

She said she hoped previous lawsuits would spark some government effort to address past injustices at the home, but she was disappointed. She has also filed an affidavit in support of the class action.

"Frankly, I couldn’t wait any longer," Earle told Chronicle Herald reporter Eva Hoare. "Nothing was happening. The province knew all that and let it continue . . . because they were black."

Tony Smith is well known in the Halifax area as the talented former head vocalist and founder of Tony Smith and the Mellotones. He went public in 1998 with allegations of abuse over three years when he lived in the home during the 1960s. He made complaints to the RCMP that failed to produce any charges and then followed up with an individual lawsuit.

He said he had previously asked the Justice and Community Services departments to look into his complaints, without success.

In 1999, he made a public appeal for others who were abused to come forward. Smith said at the time the RCMP had told him they needed more information to warrant further investigation.

The allegations that have been brought forward, filed in court last week, are sickening. The stories of sexual assault, beatings, poor conditions, lack of adequate food and medical care are deeply disturbing. They span decades.

Yet the government did nothing to follow up or investigate. Indeed, as Earle said, the government treated the children at the Westphal home differently even as late as the 1970s.

The per diem the province paid to homes where white children were placed was as much as triple the amount provided to the Home for Colored Children, said Earle.

When she left in 1980, it had risen to $27 per children from a meagre $3.50 in 1976, she said. But the higher 1980 rate was still less than half the $55 per child that was paid to at least one other provincial home at the time, she said.

Lack of awareness, education, cultural differences and social evolution are among the excuses often given for past racism.

But even these pathetically insufficient explanations do not begin to shed light on why proper investigations were not carried out when complaints were made.

It appears that at the very least, the people responsible for ensuring the welfare and safety of these former residents of the home let them down.

Now the matter is headed to the courts for determination.

Whatever the outcome, the complainants will finally be provided with an opportunity that should have occurred a long time ago: a chance to be heard.


Harriet Madeline Johnson: One of 'Georgie's girls'

The Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children was supposed to be a safe and caring place for orphaned and needy children. Some allege it was a place of rape, abuse and neglect.

October 15, 2012 By EVA HOARE Staff Reporter

EDITOR'S NOTE: The stories in our investigative series contain graphic details of alleged sexual and physical abuse as well as language that may offend some readers.

Harriet Johnson says she was barely nine years old the first time Georgie Williams raped her.

About five years later [14 yrs old], she would be selling herself for him on the streets of Halifax, she says.

Like many others, Johnson, 43, claims she was abused by Williams after she was taken to live at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children outside Dartmouth. But her charge —that Williams led her into a life of prostitution when she escaped the orphanage, a life as one of “Georgie’s girls” working out of a flat in Mulgrave Park — adds a twist to the story of the home.

“Georgie Williams started referring to me as his number one bitch,” she states in a sworn court affidavit.

“Didn’t really feel good being called number one bitch,” she explained in an interview. “But at the time what I was doing felt a hell of a lot better than being at the home.”

Johnson’s allegations against Williams, a former home employee, are contained in a 16-page affidavit filed this summer in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. They include an account of the alleged rape by Williams, after Johnson arrived at the home in 1977 or 1978.

“We were in a white car with a white leather interior,” Johnson states in the affidavit. “He drove us around the entirety of Graham Creighton Junior High School.”

Williams, the affidavit states, pinned Johnson down on the back seat and raped her from behind.

“I screamed and screamed. I begged and yelled at the top of my lungs for him to stop.”

In an interview with The Chronicle Herald in Montreal this summer, Johnson recounted her alleged abuse at the hands of Williams and other home staffers, and how, she claims, she ended up as a teenage prostitute with a street name and a stroll.

“His name is Georgie Williams,” Johnson said in a voice tinged with anger, naming her alleged rapist and pimp.

A striking woman with amber eyes, Johnson met with a reporter and a photographer in her fiance’s apartment. At one point, she brought out old photographs: a picture of her grandfather. One of her as a young teen. A student ID.

From the ages of 14 to 16, Johnson alleges, she prostituted herself for Williams, who found her, she says, in Halifax after she ran away from the orphanage.

“I am not proud of this. But Georgie Williams, he knew I ran away to Halifax. Georgie had given me an ultimatum. Either he could take me back to the home, or I could work prostitution for him,” she said.

Johnson, one of dozens of former residents suing the home and the province in a class action suit or individually, made the same charge in court documents (directly below).
Harriet Johnson Affidavit

“I told Georgie Williams that I did not want to return to the Home,” she states in her affidavit.

“He told me that I did not have to return if I did not want to. He said that I had a choice: return to the abusive environment of the Home or make money on my own. He told me that if I had sex with people, I would not have to return. ... He said that no one would have to know. I was too young to know at that time that he was soliciting me into prostitution.”

None of her allegations have been proven in court [yet].

The home, which opened in 1921, is run by a private board, but funded largely by the province. In the early years, most of the children were black, but that changed in the 1960s when needy white children were accepted.

This newspaper has made numerous attempts to speak to Williams, who has not worked at the home since 1983. He has not replied to phone calls or a letter delivered to his split-level home in East Preston.

Police records do not show any convictions for Williams on prostitution-related charges.

As a prostitute, Johnson said she took “Candice” as her street name in an attempt to emulate actress Candice Bergen, star of the TV show Murphy Brown.

Johnson said her life couldn’t have been more different from that of Bergen’s, turning tricks in an area in front of Scotia Square on Barrington Street, across from a strip club. Veteran police sources attest to the existence of the stroll and the strip club, long since shut down.

“It was by Scotia Square mall. That was my corner as he would put it, my corner,” Johnson said of her stroll. “So that’s where he had me and it was frightening.”


I was supposed to be residing at the Home but instead was virtually imprisoned by Georgie Williams. - Harriet Johnson

At Mulgrave Park, a public housing project in the north end, Johnson said she lived in a flat with other of “Georgie’s girls.”

Two former prostitutes, who say they worked the same streets that Johnson names, recognized her from a photograph. One recalled one of Johnson’s street names.

Another girl on the stroll went by the name of Rose or Rosie, another source said. This newspaper has not been able to locate her.

Dicky Carvery seemed to run the place, Johnson said, referring to Carvery in her affidavit as living at the apartment. Several men seemed to frequent the unit.

Court records show “Dicky” was a nickname for Clarence Dwitt Carvery, who is now dead. A man with that name had convictions in 1992 for aggravated assault and pointing a firearm, documents show. In 1995, he was convicted of assault.

He died in May 2003 at the age 57, according to his obituary.

Dicky Carvery would call Georgie every night to report how much money we brought in,” Johnson’s affidavit states. Williams would visit two or three times a week and take all the earnings.

Aside from Johnson, there were three other girls from the orphanage who worked as prostitutes, she said. “We were all in our teens but different ages.”

Robert Borden, a former home resident, who claims he was physically and sexually abused at the orphanage, said he remembers seeing Williams and Carvery together often.

“Him and Dicky were good friends,” he said in an interview.

And he remembers Williams making visits to Mulgrave Park.

“We were driving; me, Georgie, (and another home resident), and he had to stop at Mulgrave Park.”

Twenty minutes later, Williams came out of an apartment at the complex, said Borden, who believes he was about 17 or 18 at the time.

Georgie always had rolls of money on him,” said Borden, who said Williams told him the cash was not his.

In an interview conducted at the Halifax offices of Wagners Law, the firm leading the proposed class action lawsuit against the home and the provincial government, Borden said Johnson once told him, in the home’s smoking room: “He (Williams) says I can make lots of money.”

“I told her, I said ‘I hope you’re not going to think about working on the streets.’ ”

Borden said one resident, who was under Williams’s “control,” ended up working the streets.

“He would tell the girls, ‘I need this, I need that,’ ” Borden said.

If they did what he wanted, there might be a privilege doled out, such as staying up late or receiving an extra dessert, said Borden, who is one of the claimants in the class action suit, which is scheduled for a certification hearing on June 10, 2013.

After two years of prostitution, Johnson said she left the trade for good. And she left alone.

“None of the girls left. They thought the life ... was a very good life. ... As far as I know, I’m the only one who really broke away.”

Johnson admitted that she once had empathy for her alleged pimp.

A few years ago, Johnson said she even sent Williams an email, after lawsuits claiming abuse started surfacing, naming Williams as a key abuser. She showed this newspaper a 2009 email in which she said she wished she could “hug” him.

“Georgie has a smooth way,” said Johnson. “He could talk a snake out of his skin.”

She said it has taken her years to come to terms with the shame she felt about what she did, and that’s why she, like others, supported and took phone calls from Williams for years.

Johnson said she has just begun realizing that what happened at the home and on the streets was not “normal.”

“"No matter where you went, (pimps) were always there. It was almost like the boys and girls club for prostitution." - Former resident of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children

Jane Earle, a former executive director at the home in 1980, has filed her own affidavit in support of the class action lawsuit.

Earle didn’t start hearing allegations of sexual abuse until after she left the home, she said. But during her months as director, Earle became uneasy about some things she saw.

“I recall at an initial staff meeting ... one staff member named Georgie Williams asked me, ‘If it is alright for a male to go into a female’s room,’ ” she wrote in her affidavit.

“I advised that yes, it was OK, provided that the male knocks first and is given permission to enter.

“This answer provided him with obvious satisfaction. Upon being given permission, he smirked in a manner that made my skin crawl,” Earle wrote.

Six former residents interviewed by this newspaper remember other home staff members besides Williams telling girls they could have a different life on the outside.

One remembers a staffer telling a girl: “Do you know how much a pretty face like yours could do? Do you really want to live here? Like you can have so much more. Do you really want to live here? ”

Even when the girls weren’t directly targeted, they were surrounded by pimps no matter where they went in the facility’s neighbourhood, said the residents, who asked that their names not be used. Some pimps even came onto the property.

“They’d play basketball; they’d come for picnics if they wanted to,” said a former resident. “Anywhere that they would go, they’d have to pass us. No matter where you went, they were always there. It was almost like the boys and girls club for prostitution.”

Down the road, it was the same story at a gas station.

“They were always there. It’s always the same group. It just seemed like it was part of your day, just like breakfast was.”

In an interview, Earle said of the pimps: “They knew who the vulnerable kids were on the Dartmouth side of the harbour.”

A source also told this newspaper that a pimp worked at the home for about three weeks in the early 1980s before a senior staffer terminated him.

All of the former residents interviewed believe some workers at the home knew what was going on: that girls were being recruited out of the home or at the nearby station or basketball court.

Johnson says that although she was a ward of the province, child-care workers did not check up on her as they should have.

“I was supposed to be residing at the Home but instead was virtually imprisoned by Georgie Williams,” her affidavit states.

A Community Services welfare report on Johnson, provided to this newspaper, states that workers did have some idea as to Johnson’s activities. They suspected she was involved in the trade during the approximate time frame she says she was selling sex for money.

“Harriet... (it) was felt she was prostituting and shoplifting,” states the report, dated Nov. 17, 1988, filed by the Children’s Aid Society of Pictou. While dated 1988, the report was reporting on many years in Johnson’s life, starting in 1977.

It also states that during that approximate time, she had been in and out of foster homes and had stayed at one of her aunt’s places.

Johnson’s case is one of 38 being investigated by police after complaints of sexual and physical abuse at the home were made. In an interview, RCMP Supt. Brian Brennan would not confirm that prostitution-related charges are among the complaints.

Johnson said she’s gained strength from her fiance, her 16-year-old son, and her lawyer. And she’s seeking retribution.

“He (Williams) took something from me that I’m never going to get back. He took a child’s innocence.”

Her first shot at reclaiming her innocence came when she broke away from prostitution. A circus showed up in Halifax, setting up close to Johnson’s stroll. She made friends with some of the workers and decided to leave the business.

“I saw my chance and I took it.”

Johnson’s life remained unstable for many years, she said, lurching from times of happiness to periods of uncertainty. The merry-go-around recently came to an abrupt halt when her teenage son, sickened by calls from Williams asking for her help – demanded she do something.

She listened.

“My name is Harriet Madeline Johnson,” she said in a defiant voice.

“I am at a point in my life where I’m happy. I have a sense of freedom, (I’m) a little bit lighter because I don’t have to carry this heavy burden I carried inside me any longer. I love myself now, I love myself ... I can breathe and it feels really good. For the first time in my life, it feels damn good to be able to breathe.”

Theresa Allison: Raped and pregnant, she alleges, Home locked her away

Herald News
October 17, 2012 - 6:01am By EVA HOARE, with SELENA ROSS Staff Reporters
She'd been shuffled through more than 10 foster homes by the time she was three.

At 10, she was placed in the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.

And by the time she was 14, Theresa Allison was pregnant, after being raped, she alleges, by a fellow resident at the home.

By then, new mother Allison says she had learned to accept her fate: raped a few times weekly by another home resident, she alleges, and sev­eral times a month by caretaker Fred­die Sparks and others.

For her, it was an existence with a beginning she barely remembered, and one that seemingly had no end.

“I think it was a way of life, but there was nothing I could do. In the old home, there was a bunch of girls being mistreated and beat up and all that," she says, referring to the sexu­al assaults she and other residents allege they endured at the Home for Colored Children.

“That was just the way, I guess, the home was back then."

Now, 43, sitting in her mobile home outside Truro, she me­thodically places jigsaw puzzle piec­es together to create an image of a garden scene.

“I had a baby in there," she says matter-of-factly. “I knew that if you had sex you could get pregnant. I knew that."

Her claim filed against the home and the Nova Scotia government states she had a baby in 1980 as a “result of the sexual abuse" by an older boy at the home.

They locked me in a room most of the pregnancy because the people from the public couldn’t see me because I was pregnant. So I had to stay in there. I was allowed out for breakfast, lunch and supper, but I had to stay in that room until I had the baby."

And when the baby came in March 1980, a boy, Allison was “forced" to give him up, her affidavit states.

When she returned to the home from the hospital, she says she again had to stay in the room where she’d spent the months before the delivery. “When they found out I was preg­nant they ridiculed me like it was my fault," she says, her voice clipped.

“I told them that’s what happens when people are having sex with you, and you guys are not doing nothing about it. And then, now, all of a sudden, you guys are surprised that somebody turned up pregnant? Like really, was it a surprise, really?"

When she was back on her feet, she says, the sexual assaults against her continued. The assaults and descriptions are outlined in her state­ment of claim.

“Yes, I still had sex. I don’t know how they stopped it because I didn’t get pregnant again."

Early on, Allison says she learned that complaining and going to her superiors didn’t help.

She said she even took a home worker downstairs to the pantry, to show her where she said Sparks lured her with the promise of food and then raped her.

“That’s what Mr. Sparks used to do," she says of the caretaker, who’s now dead and therefore unable to respond to her allegations.

“Get me down there (pantry) be­cause he knew I was hungry and that’s where they kept everything, down in the pantry and that’s when he went and did his business and I was sittin’ there eating."

She complained to staff member Sheila States . . . about the abuse by Freddie Sparks and nothing was done about it," the court papers allege.

In one case, Allison says in court papers,Sheila States caught staff member Fred Sparks in the plaintiff’s room" in the new home, where residents had moved.

States, Allison alleges in the court documents, “threatened" to call her a “liar" if Allison reported the abuse.

States could not be reached by this newspaper. A message sent to her through her sister was not answered.

Allison says she went to another worker at the home to report the abuse, with the same outcome.

“I took her down where the offices was and there was a room off the office and I told her what they were doing to me."

“I thought something would (hap­pen). Nothing got done so," said Allison, her voice trailing off.

It was a familiar scenario, she says, played out dozens of times. Physical beatings, sexual attacks, heapings of psychological abuse, all at the hands of staffers and some residents, Allis­on’s court claim states.

None of these allegations have been proven in court [yet].

“I knew it wasn’t normal and that was not supposed to go on in a group home, but how could I stop it? I couldn’t stop it."

She says ironically, that after learn­ing she’d be leaving an abusive foster home, she told her foster parents that she was going to a “better place now . . . so I don’t need to be here.

“But then when I got to the home, it was worse than it was where I came from."

Within a few weeks of her arrival, Allison was sexually assaulted by an older male resident.

“(He) told me to go upstairs and take my clothes off and I did. And we had sex and I had to run down to the bathroom because I was bleeding and I had to get all that cleaned up before anybody knew," Allison said, recounting her first sexual experi­ence.

By 18, Allison had already run away at least once, but was success­ful at staying away after she and a few other girls hitchhiked to Halifax.

When a home worker found the group, Allison was told she wasn’t wanted back at the home because she had reached legal age.

“The last time I ran away (they) . . . left me on the street."

Allison said she “slept in parks" and grabbed food from food banks where she could.

“I ate when I could and that wasn’t too much."

After learning about social assist­ance, she tried to get an apartment, but couldn’t. A year-long stint of sleeping at the then Barrington Street YWCA was followed by a second pregnancy. After staying with the father of her child’s family, Allison had the baby and left.

Finally, she got welfare and found a place.

Now, she’s going back to school to get her Grade 12. She has had anoth­er child, a second boy. Both the little girl before, and this boy, she kept; determined they wouldn’t lead the same life she did.

She’s since found the son taken from her when she was a teen.

Allison first stepped forward years ago as one of the original 62 former residents who sued the home and the province about 15 years ago.

Last March, she showed up at the Bible Hill RCMP detachment to file a formal criminal complaint about the alleged physical and sexual abuse she says she suffered.

Hers is one of 38 such cases filed across the country by former residents of the home, alleging phys­ical and sexual abuse at the home over a period spanning at least three decades.

“I don’t really know if it was the time, just somehow in life, some­where through this life, they have to pay for what they did," she says, as she sinks, one by one, jigsaw pieces into the puzzle.

They (have to) stand up and rec­ognize what they done to people. They did a lot of things to a lot of people, a lot of bad things, and some­how in their life they have to actually say that they did that."

Back then, she just wanted to survive.

Today, she seeks justice.

Outside her home, it’s teeming rain, her door is open and her small vegetable garden is drinking in the moisture.

“You’re lucky that I went there by myself because I had nobody else standing behind me, and you’re just lucky that you got away with what you got away with," she says, re­ferring to her sole trip to the Colored Home all those years ago.

“Today, not a chance, not a chance."

SPECIAL REPORT: Nowhere to turn

Herald News
October 17, 2012 
By EVA HOARE and SELENA ROSS Staff Reporters

EDITOR'S NOTE: The stories in our investigative series contain graphic details of alleged sexual and physical abuse as well as language that may offend some readers.

Major incident report

HER CRIES and sobs echoed throughout the home.

The girl came running in, Georgie Williams behind her.

The 14-year-old resident of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children allegedly had been violently raped by the home worker on June 6, 1983, according to papers filed recently in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

Williams had driven her to a doctor’s appointment, show the records, never before made public.

By the time she returned, the teenager needed 18 stitches as a result of the alleged rape, “nine on the outside and nine on the inside,” wrote Halifax lawyer Mike Dull in an affidavit filed in support of one of several claimants in a proposed class action lawsuit against the home and the provincial government.

That June night is one of the best-documented instances of alleged abuse at the home, out of hundreds of accusations spanning more than 50 years.

The incident ended Williams’ longtime job there.

But instead of facing charges, he left quietly, raising questions about the chain of accountability at the home.

A major incident report signed by home staff shows that they, home board members and a social worker from outside the orphanage found the girl’s story to be “authentic.”

Dull said a few such reports have turned up in research done by Wagners Law firm into abuse at the home, and appeared to be at least initially instigated by managers at the orphanage.

Williams left his job, but later went on to drive a bus for the East Preston Day Care Centre until last year.

He has been named in numerous affidavits by former home residents who claim they were abused at the orphanage on the outskirts of Dartmouth.

Williams has not responded to requests for a comment from this newspaper. Attempts have been made to contact him by telephone and through a letter left at his East Preston home.

“The Board of Directors endorsed the Executive Director’s suspension of Georgie Williams and further suggested that he be dismissed outright,” states the Major Incident Report, obtained from the Children’s Aid Society of Halifax and filed in conjunction with another claimant’s affidavit.

“It was also discussed, perhaps, the police should be notified. This idea was ‘shelved’ pending further investigation,” the report states.

That entry was notated on June 24, 1983, just over two weeks after the alleged rape.

The name of the alleged victim has been redacted in the court records and the incident report. She has not joined a class action suit against the home and the province, but she did report the sexual assault to police this past spring. Her case is one of 38 under investigation by RCMP.

The home, which has existed since 1921, is run by a volunteer board of directors, but receives funding from the Nova Scotia government as well as private donations.

Thousands of children stayed in the home in its first 50 years, but the population later declined. The home, which started on farmland in Westphal, moved in 1978 to two new buildings on Highway 7.

The woman, now in her forties, does not want to speak to media about the alleged attack.

Williams had taken her to the empty building in Dartmouth that had once housed the orphanage before it moved to its current location on Highway 107, wrote the author of the incident report, who refers to himself as “Mr. Jackson” although his signature is blacked out.

The home’s director through the 1980s was Wilfred Jackson.

The girl “was able to tell what the inside of the Old Home looked like,” the author wrote.

She “reported that George had gone to Turner’s to get gas. Gas receipt checked out.”

But amid a painstaking timeline of meetings, phone calls and verifications about the alleged rape, there’s a gap in the incident report.

The 14-year-old’s social worker, Nena Nauss, was called to the home on June 24, the report notes.

Over the next few days, Nauss met with Veronica Marsman, now the executive director of the home. She also “spoke with (the girl) to verify her story. She found it to be authentic,” the records state.

The report reveals that Nauss informed her own supervisor, Harold Beals, about the incident. Like the board, his reaction was to notify police.

“He thought that a police report should be taken and that (the girl) must be represented by legal counsel on any future meetings,” says the report.

Beals, who was employed by the Nova Scotia Community Services Department, said he would talk to “tougher authorities.”

Then comes the gap.

On June 28, “Nauss scheduled to meet police” and told staff that she has been asked to contact police.

On June 29, she notified Sherleen Bernard, home supervisor, that “no charges will be laid against Georgie, if he is suspended from work.”

It’s unclear if the RCMP declined to investigate or if the meeting never happened—and if not, whose decision that was.

A search of criminal records shows no evidence of charges being laid against Williams in connection with this incident.

Williams resigned the following day, saying he’d planned to leave after his planned vacation anyway. “George felt that he was not guilty, but that the evidence against him was overwhelming,” the report said.

Earlier this year, after former residents accused the RCMP of ignoring complaints about the home, the RCMP said they would conduct an internal review. This month, they said they had finished the review, and said: “Prior to now, there is no record of any complaints or criminal investigations.”

Nauss, recently reached at her Cole Harbour home, declined to comment on the incident or explain who made the decision not to press charges. She said she did not want to speak about a matter before the courts.

Beals, her then supervisor, looked over the report and couldn’t explain what had happened. He couldn’t remember the incident, but he said the report appeared to show that Nauss, whom he described as “very good, conscientious worker,” had followed protocol in removing the girl from the home.

However, he said the lack of police involvement was strange and that he couldn’t “imagine” the police not taking action.

“‘Scheduled to meet police ’” he said, reading from the document. “It doesn’t say she did.”

“Something happened in there.”

Wilfred Jackson, Veronica Marsman and the other staff members named in the document would not comment about specific allegations.

Marsman referred questions to the home’s solicitor who said he would not comment on specific allegations.

“I hope I helped while I was there, but I have nothing to say,” said Jackson.

In July, 1983, the young charge, after being taunted by other residents, was placed in another home for youth.

While the incident’s reports were buried in Children’s Aid Society documents, it is still foremost in the minds of former residents of the home who witnessed its aftermath.

Former resident Robert Borden says he remembers that the police were never called that night.

“She got out of the car as soon as he (Williams) pulled in,” Borden said in a recent interview with this newspaper.

“She was crying; she ran into the home, into her building, and I asked Georgie what was going on. And he (said) that she was upset about a boyfriend and he had to go talk to her, he said, ‘but sometimes you can’t talk to people.’ ”

“I asked Georgie, ‘why this late?’ and I asked him why were the windows (of the car) all fogged up. I don’t think there was an answer. I think he said he had parked the car. I said ‘Are you sure she’s all right?’ ”

“He said, ‘Yeah, she’s fine.’ ”

Now, nearly 30 years later, Borden is still upset that he didn’t do more to help the girl.

“He just told me that he was just trying to talk to her. He told me he took her up by the old home.

“He was so calm about it,” Borden said. “He was sweating. I asked him why he was sweating.”

Borden, who lived at the home intermittently from the time he was two until he was 20, is now part of a proposed class action suit against the home and the province, filed by Wagners.

Borden confirmed he has been questioned this year by the RCMP about that night.

“I felt real guilty because I felt I should have looked into it further, but I didn’t I should have dug a little more you know, because I was one of the older kids,” he said.

“There’s a lot of things that a lot of people should have did, you know.”

Another former resident, who asked not to be named in relation to this incident, said she, too, is haunted that she didn’t help one of her roommates.

“She came home and she was emotionally torn and crying and crying,” remembers the woman in a recent interview with this newspaper.

“She needed somebody. I said, ‘Be quiet, don’t tell anybody.’”

The woman said she will not feel good until she has answers about that night.

“You know what it’s like to have this held inside of you, knowing that nothing was ever going to come out?’” she asks, sobbing in an interview over the telephone.

“The truth has to come out.”

Where the Home’s staff are now

Herald News
October 17, 2012 - 4:01am By SELENA ROSS Staff Reporter
In Wednesday’s edition, October 17, 2012, Herbie Desmond was identi­fied as a former Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission worker who now works at the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp.

The reference to Desmond was made as part of The Chronicle Herald’s investiga­tion into abuse allegations at the Nova Scotia Home For Colored Children.

Herbie/Herbert Thomas Desmond, the man accused of abuse at the home, worked at the Human Rights Commission but does not work for the liquor corporation.

Herbert (Herbie) Caywood Desmond, however, is a long-standing liquor corpora­tion employee and has no connection to the home or the subject matter of the series.

The Chronicle Herald sincerely regrets the error and apologizes to Herbert Caywood Desmond for any upset or embarrassment.

The old Home for Colored Children.

For many who were once children at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, the home is in the past, something they’ve described endlessly to friends and lawyers, and ultimately, left in the hands of the justice system.

Not so for some of the home’s former staff who are named in court documents and who are just beginning to suffer public fallout.

Georgie Williams and Herbie/Herbert Desmond, both alleged to have sexually assaulted children at the home, have left longtime jobs within the past 18 months after their names showed up in media reports.


Desmond is alleged to have beaten and raped young boys and girls, including a severely handicapped boy.

“He literally slammed the Plaintiff against the wall.  He then forced her to perform oral sex on him,” one court document alleges about a former resident.

Desmond went on to work at the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. He’s listed as a Human Rights Officer in an old government directory, a job in which he would have been responsible for investigating human rights complaints.

Reached at his Cole Harbour home, Desmond said all allegations against him relating to the home “are untrue and unfounded.”

Around 2001 or 2002, some time after Desmond was hired at the commission, a private investigator got in touch with Jane Earle, former director at the Home for Colored Children, she said in an interview.

The investigator said he was acting for the [HR] commission and wanted to hear what she knew of the allegations. She told him about the claims of rape and other abuse and stressed that she didn’t think Desmond should be representing the commission, she said.

Desmond kept his job until this April, when he quietly went on an extended leave. He plans to retire Oct. 31, said the commission’s current chief executive, David Shannon.

“I think everyone feels that it’s best for his benefit and for the commission’s benefit” for him to leave, said Shannon, though he said he couldn’t comment on the allegations.

“I personally am very conscious and concerned if there’s allegations that a person has breached the Criminal Code or there’s any other misconduct that might breach the Human Rights Act,” said Shannon, speaking about the general hiring process, which also now includes an intensive vetting process.

“That’s what we do under my watch.”

Shannon said he had been through records for the past decade and saw no mention of a special investigation into Desmond’s past.

Former lieutenant-governor Mayann Francis was head of the commission 10 years ago. She wouldn’t say whether she hired the investigator or whether she knew of the allegations Desmond was facing.

“(He) was personnel, and I really don’t want to get into that right now,” she said. “It was a long time ago and I’m not interested in talking about it.”

Like many former staffers, Desmond spent his post-Colored Home life deeply involved in the community while taking on responsibilities for the province.

None of the former staffers face criminal charges, and none has gone on record to give their own version of what happened at the home.

But now, with a criminal investigation underway and lawsuits launched, both the community and the province face questions about the decades-old allegations, all before the courts have come to their own conclusions.


Another name often mentioned in court documents is Georgie Williams.

Williams drove a bus at the East Preston Day Care for more than a decade, spending daily unsupervised time with small children. He did not respond to requests for comment.

Though one of the province’s own lawyers drew attention to Williams’ whereabouts in 2010, the Department of Community Services declined to investigate, according to correspondence between government officials and lawyer Ray Wagner.

Earle said she met with daycare management around 1999 and told them about the allegations against Williams.

He continued to work there until 2011, when local media printed his name in stories about alleged abuse.

The man “worked with us, we took our action and he’s no longer employed with us, and we’re not about to discuss his business,” a director of the daycare’s board, Brenda Brooks, said at the time.

Many other former staffers from the Home for Colored Children went on to positions of leadership, or to take on responsibilities for the province.


Sherleen (Sherry) Bernard is alleged to have delivered severe beatings to children and covered up sexual abuse, as well as lying to the RCMP when they came after one of those beatings, according to affidavits.

She now works for the provincial Justice Department, where she is listed in a past directory as a probation officer. She has declined comment on the allegations against her.

“I can tell you that all probation officers are required, as part of the hiring process, to have a criminal records and child abuse registry check,” said department spokeswoman Tara Walsh, who said she couldn’t comment on specific employees.

Many allegedly abusive staffers went on to make a career of working with children, and to win acclaim for that work.


Former Home for Colored Children resident Harriet Johnson alleges in an affidavit that Clinton Thomas slammed her face against a car, slicing open her eyelid. Other residents allege in affidavits that Thomas beat them, and one woman wrote that he sexually abused her while she slept.

Thomas was listed as a member at large of the Preston Area Boys and Girls Club in April 2012, and is still a counsellor at the Home for Colored Children.

When reached at his East Preston house, he declined to comment on the allegations.

Thomas won a Community Mentoring Award from Big Brothers Big Sisters Greater Halifax in 2009. It’s a community-nominated award to award achievement, said Big Brothers Big Sisters spokeswoman Carol Goddard, who noted Thomas had “no involvement with kids in our program.”

“You wouldn’t be running that kind of thing through police checks,” she said.

Some of the affidavits are part of a class action suit that is scheduled for a certification hearing next June. Some are contained in individual civil suits against the home.

The tight-knit African-Nova Scotian community has long been deeply proud of the Home for Colored Children, an accomplishment of its own leaders in the early 20th century, when there was no other option for needy black children.

But the fact that the community is small, or that the alleged abusers are well-known, doesn’t change the duty to pay close attention and treat allegations with respect, said Leslie Oliver, president of the Black Cultural Center.

“In many things, we have a responsibility to look back, but we always look back,” he said. “We go with the courts and the investigations.”

It’s no different than any child abuse allegations levelled at different institutions in Nova Scotia over the past years, said Oliver, also a professor at Acadia University.

Allegations are allegations and they are serious and need to be taken seriously.”


Those in charge looked the other way, former residents say

The story of the 'Colored Home' isn't just one of alleged abuse, it's one of systemic racism
Herald News
October 18, 2012  By SELENA ROSS Staff Reporter

A children’s choir from the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children in Westphal sings in a radio and television fundraising appeal for the home in this 1972 photograph.

WHEN TONY SMITH thinks about his 3 1/2 years at the “Colored Home,” one person lingers in his mind.

It isn’t the woman who undressed in one of the common rooms and made him go through the motions of intercourse with her, he alleges, when he was no more than eight.

It isn’t one of the many staff members who, according to court documents filed by Smith, forced him to fight other little boys in one of the common rooms for the adults’ entertainment.

The person he can’t forget is the social worker with a red Volkswagen Beetle who visited him at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children soon after he arrived, at age five, in a cop car.

She stopped coming, but for the rest of his childhood, he wondered one thing.

“Why aren’t these people coming to see me?”

The story of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, which cared for wards of the province with government funding, is also the story of the higher-ups: those who brought children to the orphanage, who denied the home funding and who, residents allege, ignored signs of abuse.

It is also a story, many say, of systemic racism.

On July 8, 1921, in the year the province’s only black orphanage opened, a nurse wrote to one of her superiors with news that one little boy appeared to be sick with tuberculosis.

“I have in my care now, one (Harry Carter) whose condition is not good,” matron Sadie Steen wrote in her letter. “The germ is there and can be carried from one to the other by the air alone.”

The Superintendent of Neglected and Delinquent Children responded that unless the youngster was destined for hospital, there was no other place to put “it.”

The province released those documents and hundreds more after lawyer Ray Wagner filed a Freedom of Information request. Wagner is representing former residents of the home in their class action against the province and the home.

Smith, who is represented by the same firm, has filed a separate lawsuit against the Children’s Aid Society of Halifax, the home and the province.

The children who lived in the home were wards of the province, but funding was so meagre that the home’s board was driven to launch an annual fundraiser 10 years after it opened.

By the 1960s, half of all funding came from non-government sources, according to a plea to the community sent out by then-president M. Cumming. It wasn’t enough to keep their “heads above water,” he wrote.

“There is some dissatisfaction among the staff regarding the wages paid, which are low and do not meet even the minimum Wage Scale,” wrote Rosemary Rippon, the director of the Lunenburg County Children’s Aid Society, in a 1966 report on the home.

The province paid the home $3.50 per day per child around then, though the home insisted it cost at least $9 per day to care for each child.

A handwritten note from the home to the minister of social services addresses bringing up per-diem rates “to fall in line with other applicable rates for 1973.” The rates listed are around three times higher than the $3.50 the home was getting at the time: $9 per child per day at institutions and $10.90 per day at “multifunctional models” and provincial group homes.

In 1980, social worker Jane Earle became executive director of the home, working for free. Funding at the Colored Home had risen to $27.88 per child per diem, she said in an interview. But kids at other group homes got $55.

When you don’t have enough money to run an organization, you cut in two ways,” said Earle, who supports former residents alleging abuse. “You cut staff. The other is that you hire less-qualified people.”

Poorly paid workers walked off the job in 1979. But they came back quickly.

The staff who stayed at the home, often for decades, were apathetic or worse, according to former residents who describe trying to reach out for help.

“I told (a home worker) about what Georgie Williams was doing to me,” alleges Deanna Smith in her affidavit. “I later realized that (she) was very close with Georgie Williams. They were relatives or good friends.”

Smith recounts in her affidavit seeing Williams and another staffer take away pages from her roommate’s diary, which detailed near-daily sexual abuse.

Stacey Beals, who lived there from 1972 to 1976, said that when he left the home at around age 11, he didn’t know how to read or tell time. He had stopped going to school — one of the few places where people from the outside world had seen him.

“I believe now that there was a level of collusion amongst the Home’s staff,” some of whom were his own relatives, he wrote in his affidavit.

“The staff were all from the surrounding Black community. Most had little education. For most staff members, working at the Home was their first job.

“I believe that there was a code of silence among staff; no one wanted to get anybody in trouble for fear that they would lose their job or be looked down upon in the surrounding Black community.”

Nine former staff members reached for this series refused to comment on the claims of abuse, and a tenth, Herbie Thomas Desmond, denied all allegations.

Veronica Marsman, who still works as a director at the home after starting there in the 1980s, refused to discuss funding at the home or any abuse allegations, as the matters are before the courts. She referred questions to her lawyer, who also would not comment on those issues. A certification hearing for the class action suit is scheduled for next June.

After the Second World War, social workers discovered that children did better in foster homes, and most big institutions shrank.

[BUT] Not the Colored Home. In 1966, 75 children lived there, up from 64 in 1948.

“In view of the low economic status of the Black family, the acquiring of appropriate foster homes was difficult,” according to a Mr. Hall, who wrote a report for the Department of Public Welfare on five child care institutions. A Home for Colored Children board member referred to the Hall report in a 1971 document.

In other words, there were few black foster families available, and the next best option for black orphans was considered the Colored Home.

“We didn’t like the idea of placing black children in white homes. It was never considered to be an environment that they should be exposed to,” said Harold Beals, a longtime supervisor at the Department of Community Services, in an interview.

“The thinking was a black child would be more comfortable in a home with black people, people of their own race.”

In a way, the home had been a last resort from the start, despite the community’s excitement when it opened. Before 1921, homeless black children were placed in poor houses with old, sick and mentally ill adults, according to the 1971 report by Rev. W.P. Oliver.

Black children, as long as they were in foster homes or other group homes, got the funding other children got in those situations, said Earle. [BUT] Once they were placed in the Colored Home, their per-diem funding was slashed, she believes.

Tony Smith’s story shows how racial segregation among the province’s wards was applied.

A very light-skinned Catholic boy with a white mother and black father, Smith had spent his first years with both black and white families.

He was sent to the Home for Colored Children at age five, then moved quickly to Veith House, with white children, in the north end of Halifax.

Then, after a couple of weeks, he was moved back. He was told there had been a mix-up about his race.

“When I went back to the home, I don’t know exactly who told me, but they said that the reason that you’re back here is because you’re black,” he said.

“I didn’t know what black was.”

He remembers conditions at Veith House being much better than at the Home for Colored Children, where Children’s Aid workers noted in his file that he was an “extremely sad child.”

“I thought it was nice. I didn’t get any beatings there.”

Dozens of former residents say they never saw social workers after they arrived at the home. During Jane Earle’s 10 months there in 1980, not a single social worker visited, she said in her affidavit.

Smith was one of the first former residents to spoke to The Chronicle Herald, in 1998, about his alleged abuse. A few months later, he went to the RCMP, he said.

No charges have ever been laid, and Mounties only launched a widespread investigation this year.

Nova Scotia RCMP announced last winter that it was looking into accusations that previous complaints about the home were ignored.

This month they came back with an answer.

“We have conducted an extensive review of existing RCMP records and have determined that prior to now, there is no record of any complaints or criminal investigations in regard to the alleged sexual and/or physical abuse of residents residing at the Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children,” wrote RCMP spokesman Alain Leblanc in an email.

Smith, a meticulous record-keeper, laughed at that in disbelief, emailing names, phone numbers and case numbers he took down in 1999.

“If there was no case, why would I have that number?” he said. “I got that information from the RCMP.”

Two RCMP officers have told The Chronicle Herald that they received complaints about the Home for Colored Children. In 1998, Cpl. Devri Warnell said officers were looking into a complaint, and Const. Peter Marshall said, in 2003, that there had been an investigation, with no charges laid.

Smith has asked the Mounties to track down specific records with information from his own files but has gotten no answer, he said. If necessary, he plans to make a formal complaint.

“I’m not finished with them.”

When it comes to provincial government, it’s too late to get answers about many of the documents from the archives. [?]

In 1972, not long before Georgie Williams, Herbie Thomas Desmond and other alleged abusers were hired, the home’s board asked for help paying for a report to evaluate its facility.

That help was denied after a back and forth among three top officials who worried about a “witch hunt.”

One was Fred R. MacKinnon, Deputy Minister of Public Works, whose signature appears many times in the archives, usually to deny funding.

“If we allow ourselves to get involved with the home,”  he wrote in 1972, “we will be purchasing an escalating responsibility from which we cannot extract ourselves.”

Like most officials named in the documents, MacKinnon has since died. He was named to the Order of Canada. A scholarship at Dalhousie is named for him.

Facing a lawsuit over the actions of a government long past doesn’t mean automatically defending them, said Justice Minister Ross Landry.

“Any time anyone feels they’ve been abused, or have been abused, we as a society needs to have a sensitivity and an awareness to hear and to listen,” said Landry, speaking hypothetically.

To former residents, it wasn’t just sexual or physical abuse, they say. Growing up in the home meant feeling that their lives were worthless.

“It’s like they had no respect for the kids in the home and they didn't really care what happened,” said Robert Borden, who spent 18 years at the home,

“I don’t blame the community, because you know what? A lot of the community didn’t know. But the government should have somebody checking that place out.

“To me, race made us less important to deal with. This was a place where they just put all these black people — hopefully they can all get along.”

Earle, who has become a crusader for the home’s former children, can’t forget how one elderly man put it.

“He told me very clearly, ‘I learned man’s inhumanity to man when I was at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.’

In Wednesday’s edition, Herbie Desmond was identi­fied as a former Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission worker who now works at the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp.

The reference to Desmond was made as part of The Chronicle Herald’s investiga­tion into abuse allegations at the Nova Scotia Home For Colored Children.

Herbie Thomas Desmond, the man accused of abuse at the home, worked at the Human Rights Commission but does not work for the liquor corporation.

Herbert (Herbie) Caywood Desmond, however, is a long-standing liquor corpora­tion employee and has no connection to the home or the subject matter of the series.

The Chronicle Herald sincerely regrets the error and apologizes to Herbert Caywood Desmond for any upset or embarrassment.