Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Pair admits to drinking until passing out, neglecting young children in hotel room

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A northern Manitoba couple have admitted to drinking heavily, passing out and neglecting two young children while they were holed up inside a Winnipeg hotel room last summer.

The 23-year-old woman and 25-year-old man pleaded guilty to failing to provide adequate care under the Child and Family Services Act. They can’t be named under provisions of the Act.

Both received supervised probation which includes mandatory parenting classes. As well, CFS officials have since returned the two children — plus four others who weren’t with them at the time — to their full-time care.

Crown attorney Nancy Fazenda told court Thursday the family had been displaced by forest fires in St. Theresa Point and were relocated at the Canad Inns Hotel on Regent.

Cleaning staff responding to the sound of crying let themselves in and found a disturbing sight: both parents out cold, surrounded by empty liquor bottles and two children in dire need of assistance.

The five-month-old was in an overflowing diaper and suffering from an extreme rash. The 15-month-old was upset but otherwise in good health.

"I’m hoping this was a wake-up call for everybody," Fazenda told court at the father’s sentencing Thursday. He has no prior criminal record — a fact Judge Dale Schille called "remarkable" since he has spent all of his life living on a First Nations reserve filled with abuse, neglect and addiction.

Defence lawyer Brett Gladstone said his client went on a drinking binge after coming to Winnipeg but hasn’t touched alcohol in the 11 months since his arrest and subsequent release on bail after spending three nights in custody.

"Frankly, he really screwed up," said Gladstone. "But he is a loving husband and father."


Updated on Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 9:19 PM CDT: corrects typo.

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