A former youth worker with Alberta Child and Family Services is on trial in Calgary, accused of having a years-long sexual relationship with a boy she met when he was 14 years old and living in a secure residential facility for troubled teens.
Beverly Allard, 65, faces a charge of sexual exploitation. Her trial got underway Monday before Court of King's Bench Justice Lisa Silver.
That charge, different from sexual assault, alleges Allard was in a position of trust or authority over the complainant.
In 1990, Allard was 31 years old when she met the boy, whose mother had relinquished care of him to Alberta's Child and Family Services (CFS).
Allard was assigned as the teen's case worker at the William Roper Hull facility, a locked residential setting in Calgary.
Allard went to police 24 years ago
The complainant's identity is protected by a publication ban. He is expected to testify Tuesday.
According to prosecutor Donna Spaner, Allard admitted to the sexual relationship in a lengthy statement to police in 1998, but "the file remained dormant" for 24 years before charges were laid in May 2022.
CBC News asked the Calgary Police Service why more than two decades passed before charges were laid, but CPS said in an email that it is unable to provide a statement or information because the case is before the courts.
The two began having sex in 1990, according to prosecutor Donna Spaner's opening statement.
It is not yet clear what Dale Knisely, Allard's lawyer, will put forward in her defence.
The relationship 'persisted'
On Monday, the trial got underway with the Crown's first witness, Judith Weston, who was a supervisor with CFS in the 1990s.
In the summer of 1991, "CFS workers became aware of the close relationship between Allard and [the teen]," Spaner said in her opening statement. "Despite being aware of the concerns, the relationship between them persisted."
In 1998, Allard and her lawyer, the same one representing her at trial, went to police in Edmonton — where she was living at the time — to "tell her story."
"At that time, Allard no longer wanted a relationship with [the complainant]," said Spaner.
Allard told a detective with Edmonton police's sex crimes unit about what Spaner described as the accused's "years-long sexual relationship with [the alleged victim] when he was a child in care."
At the time, the detective referred the file to the Calgary Police Service, according to the Crown.
Spaner told the judge that the complainant will testify about his "struggles in life" — the now 47-year-old is currently in jail and has been in and out of custody for years.