Psychic Information Began Child Abuse Investigation

A Canadian mother was recently subjected to a child abuse investigation on the grounds that a psychic informed a school district employee that a child was being abused.

The mother of an autistic girl says the public school board was “completely unprofessional” to formulate a theory that her daughter was being sexually abused based on a psychic’s perception.

Barrie resident Colleen Leduc wants an apology from the Simcoe County District School Board, which called in the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) to investigate.

According to the board, the case is still under investigation, although Leduc says it was closed.

[…]

The board stands by its decision, despite where the initial information came from. “It has not been board practice to use psychic readings,” Zaretsky said.

On May 30, Leduc picked Victoria up from school, where she’s enrolled in an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) class with several boys around the same age. When Leduc returned home, there was an urgent call asking her to return to the Livingstone Street East school.

Frightened, Leduc rushed back to the school. She and Victoria entered a room where they were met by the principal, the vice-principal and the teacher.

Leduc said they advised her that Victoria’s educational assistant (EA) had visited a psychic, who said a youngster whose name started with “V” was being sexually abused by a man between 23 and 26 years old. Leduc was also handed a list of recent behaviours exhibited by her daughter.

School principal Brian Tremain — who referred phone calls seeking comment to the board — advised Leduc that the CAS had been contacted.

Considering that a child abuse allegation can follow someone around for life even if they are vindicated, this is a particularly deplorable act. This is the twenty-first century! It should be a matter of shame and social stigma that somebody believes in psychic abilities and trusts a psychic enough to act on the “information” provided. The fact that some con artist’s word led to an investigation that might have separated a mother from her daughter is simply disgusting.

FILED UNDER: General,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. John425 says:

    “and in other news, The Children’s Aid Society has launched an investigation into an “educational assistant” who has perhaps committed witchcraft.”

  2. John Burgess says:

    Oh, Canada!

    What’s become of you?

  3. William d'Inger says:

    Maybe it’s one of those international agency deals, you know where they exchange investigators with Texas.

  4. Tlaloc says:

    This is the twenty-first century! It should be a matter of shame and social stigma that somebody believes in psychic abilities and trusts a psychic enough to act on the “information” provided.

    well let’s unpack this a bit. Someone comes to the school and says a kid is being abused. The school ignores the information based on the “kookiness” of the source. If said kid is in fact abused the school just brought themselves a big helping of liability in court.

    On the other hand notice the following: “Leduc was also handed a list of recent behaviours exhibited by her daughter.” So a “psychic” says a kid is getting abused, using apparently vague information. The school looks around and happens to find a student who apparently meets some criteria for abuse warning signs. There’s no way they can just ignore that.

    So really it is hard to find fault with the school district. They seem to have done the only thing they could do under the circumstances.

    In addition- I don’t care if the information came from Achmed Chalabi channeling the ghost of Curveball’s pet chiuahua. If somebody says a kid is getting abused someone needs to stop and take a look.

  5. John425 says:

    Tlaloc didn’t read the entire story…”Leduc said they advised her that Victoria’s educational assistant (EA) had visited a psychic, who said a youngster whose name started with “V” was being sexually abused by a man between 23 and 26 years old. Leduc was also handed a list of recent behaviours exhibited by her daughter.

    The “educational assistant” (EA) could have stopped by at a county fair “psychic” booth for Chrissake!

  6. Steve Plunk says:

    I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree with Tlaloc on a very important point. It does matter what the source of information is. Any accusation must come from a credible source or the system will become untrustworthy and eventually discarded. In the long run more abuse will go undetected because of a faulty system.

  7. capital L says:

    “Maybe it’s one of those international agency deals, you know where they exchange investigators with Texas.”

    Fine display of comment-Judo there. Take the momentum and flip it on it’s ass. Way to go. Because the fact that this actually just happened in Canada, not Texas, is more inconvenient that anything else.

  8. William d'Inger says:

    Fine display of comment-Judo there. Take the momentum and flip it on it’s ass. Way to go. Because the fact that this actually just happened in Canada, not Texas, is more inconvenient that anything else.

    Say what? I was comparing the lunacy of the official reaction in Canada in this case to the equally bizarre official reaction in the recent polygamous sect case in Texas. Maybe you don’t recognize sarcasm when you see it?

  9. capital L says:

    Wow I did totally fail to make the connection, and your comment makes a lot more sense now. Mea culpa.

    (Hmm, This message seems sarcastic, but I assure you it’s not.)