Friday, July 19, 2024

Youth worker secretly recorded boys in detention centre shower, strip search area, police allege | CBC News

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Over the course of a year, a youth justice worker is alleged to have made secret recordings of boys via a hidden camera in the shower and strip search area of a detention centre in Ottawa, according to courthouse records.

The allegations are contained in a set of charges filed by Ottawa police with the court at the end of May.

Kevan Henshaw, 32, was first arrested and charged in January. At that time he was accused of sexually assaulting three boys, all under 14 years old, Ottawa police said.

On May 31, police announced a separate set of charges involving 14 different boys and men, for a total of 17 victims.

None of the allegations against Henshaw has been proven in court.

The camera was allegedly set up to record boys being held in custody at the William E. Hay Juvenile Detention Centre, which is run by the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa (YSB).

The residential facility houses boys ages 12 to 17 who have been charged with crimes.

Specifically, police allege the camera was used to record the “male shower and strip search area” of the detention centre, the charges state.

The recordings are alleged to have been made on at least eight different dates, from April 2022 to April 2023.

Worked with youths charged with crimes

Henshaw’s online work history lists him as a youth justice worker for the non-profit YSB, which runs programming at 20 locations across Ottawa.

He started in the role in March 2021 after working as a student for about eight months, his LinkedIn profile reads. 

Duties included case management for boys involved in the justice system, life skills development and implementation, crisis de-escalation and management, mental health support and more.

The William E. Hay Juvenile Detention Centre in Ottawa Ontario on June 10, 2024. Henshaw allegedly set up the camera to record boys in custody here. (Brian Morris/CBC)

The YSB did not respond to questions about Henshaw’s work history and current employment status in January.

In response to a request for comment about the hidden camera in its facility and the latest charges against Henshaw, YSB spokesperson Suzanne Fraser wrote in an email Friday that it’s “fully cooperating with the investigation” and won’t comment because the investigation is ongoing.

Ottawa’s English public and Catholic school boards, the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre and Make-A-Wish Canada confirmed Henshaw’s involvement with their organizations during the time frames listed on his work profile.

Films, photographs allegedly made

Henshaw is accused of sexually assaulting 13 of the 14 victims in his latest set of charges, and telecommunicating with four of them to facilitate sexual offences.

He is also charged with sexually touching 11 victims with part of his body or an object, directly or indirectly.

And Henshaw is also accused of inviting four victims to touch themselves sexually with part of their body or an object, directly or indirectly.

For two of the victims, Henshaw is alleged to have been in a position of trust or authority over them at the time.

Nine of them were under 16 years old at the time, according to courthouse records.

There are also four counts of making child pornography — films and photos — and five counts of possessing child pornography.

The initial police investigation into Henshaw began in November 2023, the same month the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board became aware of a complaint “in relation to his interaction with students,” according to a board spokesperson.

Henshaw had been working for the board on a casual basis, and the “employment relationship was then terminated,” the spokesperson wrote.

The Catholic school board, where he was also working casually, and other organizations were notified, and either removed him or placed him on leave that same month.

Investigators with the sexual assault and child abuse unit believe there could be other victims in Ottawa and Nova Scotia, where Henshaw has also worked with youth, police said in a media release announcing the latest charges.

Henshaw remains in jail and has no comment to make at this time, according to his defence lawyer Maggie McCann.

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