Child advocate demands answers in Ken Estabrooks case
Published Wednesday, October 2, 2013 6:46PM ADT
It appears Kenneth Estabrooks may have continued his abuse as a city official long after allegations of child sex abuse were made against him and calls are growing for an explanation as to why.
More questions are likely to surface in the case after it was revealed the former Saint John police officer may have abused more than 260 children but New Brunswick’s child and youth advocate wants answers now.
“I would have rather they addressed it in 1999 when Mr. Estabrooks was charged,” says Norman Bosse.
Allegations against Estabrooks first surfaced in 1975 when he was a 22-year veteran of the Saint John Police Force.
Estabrooks resigned immediately when confronted with the allegations of two teenaged boys, and even admitted to abusing the boys, but no charges were laid and Estabrooks was quietly transferred to the city works department.
“One would think with that knowledge at that time, what did they do? Did they investigate? Did they prepare a report?” asks Bosse.
After new complainants came forward in 1997, another investigation began that ended with Estabrooks being convicted of indecent assault on four of his six accusers in 1999.
He was sentenced to six years in prison and died in 2005 after a battle with cancer.
A lawyer representing Estabrooks’ alleged victims in an upcoming class-action lawsuit says he too has questions about how the case was first handled.
“I’d like to see the police chief come out and give a full account of the investigation done in 1975 and provide an explanation for why Estabrooks wasn’t charged when they knew he confessed to abusing two children,” says John McKiggan. “Why didn’t they reach out and see how many other children were involved in this?”
On Monday, private investigators released new information that as many as 263 children may have been abused by Estabrooks. Some of those individuals have since passed away.
While an upcoming legal case may be persuading the police department to stay quiet, Bosse believes the information is essential now.
“You have to look at the public interest and say look, if there’s anything that can be disclosed as related to these offences, the Snook case as well, the protection of children and youth in this province, that is what concerns me the most,” says Bosse.
The Saint John Police Force did not respond to a request for an interview.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore