Ex-youth worker handed 2-year sentence for sexual exploitation of 14-year-old in 1990

Beverly Allard, a former youth worker with Alberta Child and Family Services, was convicted of sexual exploitation for having a years-long sexual relationship with a boy she met when he was 14. (Indigenous Congress of Alberta Association/Facebook - image credit)

A former youth worker with Alberta Child and Family Services has been handed a two-year sentence for sexual exploitation.

Beverly Allard, 65, had a years-long sexual relationship with a teenage boy starting in 1990.

During the trial, court heard that Allard was 31-years-old when she began having sex with the then-14-year-old boy who CBC News is identifying as A.B. to comply with a publication ban on the victim's identity.

On Wednesday, Court of King's Bench Justice Lisa Silver addressed Allard directly, accepting that the now-65-year old is "sincerely remorseful" and "is not the person she was 35 years ago."

"Ms. Allard, part of taking responsibility is accepting the consequences of our actions," said the judge.

"The sentence I am imposing will not be an easy one for you. I am sending you to jail. But I know your strength of character and desire to do good will carry you through the punishment you must serve because of your actions."

First met

Allard and A.B. met when the boy was living in a secure residential facility for troubled teens after his mother relinquished care of him to Alberta Child and Family Services.

At the time, Allard was the boy's caseworker.

One night in 1990, A.B. broke out of Hull Homes and showed up at Allard's house, where the two had sex for the first time.

A.B., who is now 47 years old, testified during the trial, telling the court he developed a crush on Allard because she paid him extra attention and he was "just happy to have that closeness."

'More than poor judgment'

The victim has been in and out of jail for almost his entire life.

"There is no doubt the sexual exploitation happened at a low point in Ms. Allard's life," said Silver on Wednesday.

"Her marriage was broken, her self-image and confidence were lacking. The relationship was more than poor judgment, it was wrong, and it was hurtful to [A.B.]"

Many of the details of the relationship between Allard and A.B. come from a 26-page handwritten statement Allard provided to police in 1998. At the time, she told a detective that A.B. was threatening her with violence and with disclosing their relationship to authorities.

'What I did was wrong'

She said she'd had enough and wanted to disclose her story to police.

"I know that what I did was wrong," she wrote.

The Edmonton police detective who took Allard's statement referred the case to Calgary police, but the file sat dormant for 24 years.

In her sentence, Silver said she was taking into account the fact that Allard went to police decades ago and accepted responsibility.

"I also accept Ms. Allard has otherwise led an exemplary life and is no risk to re-offend," said Silver.