Home » World » ‘I Was Bullied By My Own Social Worker,’ Says Defrauded Youth In Sentencing | Globalnews.ca

‘I Was Bullied By My Own Social Worker,’ Says Defrauded Youth In Sentencing | Globalnews.ca

‘I Was Bullied By My Own Social Worker,’ Says Defrauded Youth In Sentencing | Globalnews.ca

Advocates for Indigenous children gathered on the Kelowna, B.C., courthouse steps on Thursday, begging for justice for the victims of a former Kelowna social worker.

Inside, court heard how the actions of Robert Riley Saunders forever changed the futures of the children that he was supposed to care for.

Saunders embezzled more than $460,000 from the government and foster children, who were mostly Indigenous.

Read more:

White Collar Crime: How did a B.C. social worker embezzle $460K from the government?

Through victim impact statements, court heard heartbreaking stories of the empty promises Saunders made to youth in his care.

Some former youth in care said Saunders started out by treating them with kindness and compassion but that it soon turned to neglect and bullying.

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Court heard that as Saunders himself lived a lavish lifestyle, he robbed his victims of their youth.

The teens did not know that Saunders was opening joint bank accounts and then cashing cheques in their name, stealing money that was meant to help them live a better life.

Victims said they will always wonder what their lives might have been like had they been given the support they needed and deserved.

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“I was bullied by my own social worker,” one victim told court through a written statement.

They also said the trust they had in the system that was supposed to protect them has been destroyed.

Meanwhile, social workers who took on the teens’ cases after Saunders’ fraud was discovered told court of their struggles in helping the youth, whom they call wonderful, beautiful souls, as they tried to right Saunders’ wrongs.

They also talked of how Saunders’ crimes have negatively impacted the social worker profession in the community as trust has been…

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