It’s been more than two years since a disabled 16-year-old told police she’d been impregnated by a local 59-year-old businessman who also tried to adopt the girl. RCMP still have yet to obtain a DNA sample from the alleged abuser.
The girl became pregnant in late April 2018 when she was 16. She is now 19 years old. CBC News will identify her as Claire as she is the alleged victim of a sexual assault.
The baby was born in early 2019 and was adopted by a local family which also tries to care for and keep Claire busy.
The businessman will also not be identified as he not been charged. CBC News will call him Allen.
And, the small southern Alberta town community will also not be named in order to protect the identities of the involved parties.
Claire needs 24-hour supervision
Claire has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Her mother and father both suffer from addictions and her grandparents — grandfather since her grandmother’s death in 2018 — are her guardians.
According to a 2017 cognitive assessment at the Foothills Hospital, Claire requires 24-hour care and supervision, has “poor judgment and safety skills” and is in the 0.5 percentile for reasoning abilities.
CBC News was given hundreds of pages of documents — affidavits, emails, the cognitive assessment and others — filed as part of a court hearing which took place in Calgary in 2018 seeking a no-contact order between Claire and Allen.
Claire became pregnant in late April 2018. Several months later, she was taken to the Calgary and Area Child Advocacy Centre to speak with police and social workers. There, her grandfather says, she disclosed that Allen was the father.
Allen was already under the no-contact order. But when he found out Claire was pregnant, he filed a provincial court request to adopt her which was ultimately denied.
The system doesn’t protect children like Claire: grandfather
RCMP initiated an investigation. But even with Claire’s statement and the ongoing court battle to keep Allen away from the teen, the suspected father’s DNA sample has still not been collected by police, two-plus years later.
“I’m frustrated, angry and disappointed in the system that doesn’t protect a child like [Claire],” said her grandfather.
RCMP say there was recent activity in the case and the investigation remains active.
Commenting generally on cases in which DNA is crucial evidence, spokesperson Cpl. Tammy Keibel said that if a person of interest or suspect doesn’t want to provide a sample, a judge must sign a DNA warrant.
“This would require the information obtained in the investigation to support applying to the court for such an authorization,” said Keibel.
“Any request will be closely scrutinized by the judge/justice who reviews the request as everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.”
‘Nothing but excuses from RCMP’
But Claire’s grandfather says he was told a year ago by local RCMP that the investigation had been completed and was with the Crown’s office for charge approval.
A source with intimate knowledge of the situation says the Crown’s office never had contact with the file.
As well, one source with expertise in DNA collection says based on the circumstances described in this case, preparing a DNA warrant and its execution (taking a blood sample from Allen) shouldn’t take more than a few weeks.
“I’ve gotten warrants on way skinnier evidence than that,” said the source.
The source, who is not authorized to speak about this case, says the lab prioritizes crimes of violence and crimes against children, so the turnaround would likely be six to eight weeks.
“All I want them to do is get his DNA,” says Claire’s grandfather. “RCMP dropped the ball, they keep telling me stories … I get nothing but excuses from RCMP.”
Relationship began years ago
Claire’s relationship with Allen began when she was about 13 years old. He was a married man who owned two businesses in his small southern Alberta town.
Claire’s grandfather says the two were in near constant contact through iPad messaging. By age 14, Claire was sneaking away to Allen’s acreage and he would take her for drives. Sometimes she’d show up at Allen’s business after school.
According to the girl’s grandfather, Allen would leave a sign on his fence for Claire to let her know when he was home.
Some of the court documents used to support the no-contact order show the principal at Claire’s school recovered deleted messages between the two and forwarded them to the grandfather and his lawyer.
The pair were telling each other “I love you” and the two appeared to be constantly trying to arrange times to see each other.
Claire’s grandfather says he’s seen messages where Allen would tell the teen that he would take care of her.
Allen tried to get custody of Claire
Her grandfather says Claire is highly susceptible to influence. Her weakness is attention and love. When someone tells her they’ll look after her, she believes and trusts them immediately, he says.
The teen was determined to see Allen and would ignore her grandparents’ pleas to stay away from him. She would constantly sneak away to see him.
The grandparents also repeatedly asked Allen to stop spending time with Claire.
When Allen ignored the grandfather’s pleas to leave Claire alone, they went to court.
There, a judge initially granted a restraining order and then replaced that with a no-contact order with a police enforcement clause.
Even with a no-contact order in place, Allen turned around and made an application in provincial court to adopt Claire. He was ultimately unsuccessful.
‘I feel guilty’
But the pair continued to communicate, according to the recovered emails.
RCMP were called dozens of times to help enforce the no-contact order. Claire’s grandfather believes they became frustrated and fed up with him.
At one point in the months after Claire learned she was pregnant, Allen disappeared.
About a month ago, Claire’s grandfather got a call from RCMP. The grandfather says the officer told him they knew where Allen was living and wanted a DNA sample from Claire.
He says the man he suspects fathered his granddaughter’s baby now lives in B.C.
In the middle of the court proceedings, Claire’s grandmother died. The fight is now up to her grandfather, who is now 76 years old and is battling cancer.
He says he’s broke, having spent thousands of dollars on legal fees. And he’s very sick, dealing with chemotherapy treatments.
Claire’s grandfather teared up during a phone interview last week.
“Every time I look at [Claire] I feel guilty I didn’t protect her.”