Last week saw the latest chapter in the trial of a Conception Bay North woman convicted on numerous charges of child abuse (see related story on A1).
This one opened with testimony from a pair of social services workers before the prosecutor started reading a pair of victim impact statements from some of the nine children involved.
As Lisa Stead read the words aloud, there were tears from many in the gallery, along with the mother.
Their words were powerful as they struggled with the circumstances surrounding their separation from their siblings.
There was hurt, anger, sadness and regret at what their lives have become. There were vows to make it through this less-than desirable situation and come out on the other side stronger.
They were impressive words spoken from the lips of a child who may never know their siblings again.
When the two-hour long session had concluded, the Crown was looking for a maximum of 14 years, while the defense was looking for a lesser sentence of eight years.
As we await her sentencing on Sept. 9, perhaps it is time to close the book on the mother.
Perhaps we should look at helping the children. Perhaps we should look at focusing our energies on making sure they do not suffer any undue tormenting because of this.
One child wrote about being teased in school about the circumstances about their separation from the family.
It would serve us well to remember that we were always taught to show respect to others, to treat people as we would want to be treated.
Their childhoods were ripped from them and their innocence shattered.
We need to speak with our children. Tell them these children, as much as anyone, deserve to be loved. They deserve to have a welcoming environment in school.
They don't deserve to be reminded of what an abysmal situation they were placed in.
They won't soon forget being locked in their room at night or dangled over a bannister.
It won't leave them, perhaps with hours of therapy they will.
Do we really want to add to it?
They should know it is not their fault. They should know love.
Their foster parents will show them the love they desire, but that's only one part of their lives.
If they're being tortured at school concerning this plight, will their home life be any better?
They need our help.
We should give it to them.
— Nicholas Mercer is a reporter/photographer with The Compass. He lives in Bay Roberts and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org