Lawyer fired for calling CFS child ‘sexually mature’

“(His) statement…is in no way reflective of our practice, knowledge or belief.”

The courthouse in Kenora, Ont. (APTN file)

A northwestern Ontario child welfare agency is apologizing after its lawyer claimed a young teenage girl is a “sexually mature young woman” in a submission to the court.

The lawyer’s services have also been terminated, said the executive director of Kenora-Rainy River Districts Child and Family Services.

“I would like to apologize for the comments made by our lawyer, Mr. McCallum, in an affidavit that was filed with the court in July, 2018,” Bill Leonard said in a statement.

“The statement is appalling and intolerable, and I agree with comments reported regarding the abhorrent nature of this statement.”

The submission by lawyer Gary McCallum was part of a court case involving the agency, which is being sued by a woman alleging she was sexually abused by her foster father in the 1980s.

It was first reported by the Toronto Star on the weekend.

“A fourteen or fifteen (sic) girl is a sexually mature young woman, not a ‘child,’ as the term is conventionally understood,” McCallum told the court.

In Canada, anyone under the age of 16 is considered incapable of consenting to sexual activity.

Leonard said McCallum’s contract was terminated Monday.

“(His) statement…is in no way reflective of our practice, knowledge or belief,” he added in the statement.

The woman’s civil suit is scheduled for mediation in November, local media reported.

 

Online Producer / Ottawa

Before moving to become the APTN News social media producer, Mark was the executive producer for the news in eastern Canada. Before starting with APTN in 2009, Mark worked at CBC Radio and Television in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa.