Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Teen receives jail time for beating worker

Victim seized liquor brought into group home

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BRANDON -- A troubled 16-year-old girl who took part in a "vicious" two-on-one attack that hospitalized a group-home worker -- whose car she then stole and crashed before assaulting a police officer -- has been sentenced to jail.

Crown attorney Kaley Tschetter said the beating happened shortly after a judge had given the girl a break. She'd been sentenced to probation for a previous assault, instead of custody, so she wouldn't lose her placement in the home.

"She essentially spit in the face of the justice system by doing what she did," Tschetter told court.

The girl's lawyer, Philip Sieklicki, said while the beating was "horrible," it was a result of the teen's troubled background.

The attack happened at one of several homes run in Brandon licensed through Dakota Ojibway Child and Family Services.

'She essentially spit in the face of the justice system by doing what she did'

-- Crown attorney Kaley Tschetter

The girl pleaded guilty July 29 to assault with a weapon, car theft, assaulting a police officer, refusing to provide a breath sample and breach of probation by failing to abstain from consuming alcohol.

Sieklicki said prior to the May 5 assault, his client (who was on probation and banned from drinking at the time), another girl who lived at the same home and a third person shared two bottles of rum.

Tschetter said the two girls, who can't be named, then returned to their group home drunk and with liquor the group-home worker, a 45-year-old woman, confiscated.

One girl then followed the worker into the living room and began to kick and punch her before the worker managed to pin her assailant in an attempt to end the assault.

The second girl, who also pleaded guilty, walked into the room, pulled the worker off the first girl and both continued to attack the worker.

The worker was hit in the head with a chair several times.

A third girl who lives at the home came to the victim's aid.

That girl sent text messages to another worker for help, stood between the armed girl and the victim, took the chair away and told the assailants police had been called.

The girl who wielded the chair grabbed the victim's car keys and was in the parked car revving its engine when police arrived.

She reversed the car into the home, then shifted into forward gear and drove across the yard into a tree with enough force to set off the car's airbags.

The worker was taken to hospital with aches and pains across her body and bruises around her eyes that were swollen shut. She was hospitalized for a few days.

Sieklicki said the attack on the worker was the result of an instinct to fight formed from memories of family members being beaten up by boyfriends and a childhood memory of her aunt being attacked by a gang member.

Diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, she was a victim of sexual abuse three times. She recently lost a friend to suicide and may have been groomed by family members for prostitution.

A CFS supervisor, who spoke on the girl's behalf in court and asked the sentence not to be too harsh, said the girl's outlook has improved since being placed in the group home.

Describing the beating as "vicious," Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta sentenced the girl to 10 months in jail, to be followed by five months supervision in the community and then one year of probation.

That's on top of 85 days she spent in custody before dealing with her charges.


-- Brandon Sun

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 11, 2014 A4

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