Justice Denied For Newfoundland Children
Dated: April 8, 2005
By Martha Jette
It has been nearly 50 years since 12 children in one Newfoundland family suffered horrid abuses at the hands of their own mother and her many paramours. However, justice has never been meted out on the perpetrators and you might well ask, why?
“The reason is simple,” said eldest son, Byron Prior. “When local politicians, high profile area businessmen, the Salvation Army and even a chief justice are involved, our case is destined to never see the light of day.”
Despite six visits with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police over the years, including more than 50 hours of testimony and a list of countless witnesses, absolutely nothing has been done in the defense of Mr. Prior and his siblings to this day.
“When people of this caliber are involved, your case will go nowhere,” said Mr. Prior.
This distressing tale began in the 1960s in the small town of Grand Bank, which at the time had a population of approximately 4,000. Mr. Prior said his mother Harriet was a woman of many faces. At Salvation Army Sunday services, she was an upstanding, pious woman of faith. To her neighbors, she was the woman struggling to survive with so many unruly children. To the police, she was simply struggling to control her difficult sons and daughters. To her doctors, she was whatever she wanted to be at the time and on cue.
However, Mr. Prior said that to her own children, she was a walking nightmare – a cursing, drinking, pill swallowing, partying woman, who thought nothing of mentally, emotionally, verbally, physically or sexually abusing them. And if that weren’t enough, he said she allowed a long string of lovers to do the same. Why?
“For a few measly dollars, so she could continue carry on with the raucous lifestyle she loved,” he said.
As the oldest sibling Mr. Prior was the first to be abused in every way possible by his mother. However, for him, it was even more painful to watch his brothers and sisters be molested, raped, beaten and more.
“I not only had to live through my own abuse, but watch as the rest of my sisters and brothers were abused and raped.”
On April 3, 2006, Mr. Prior flew from Newfoundland to Ottawa in a last-ditch attempt to seek justice and hopefully, some closure for what was done to him and his siblings. For a week, he will walk the streets and went door-to-door handing out fliers to make the public aware of their suffering and the fact that the Canadian judicial system has completely disregarded them. The following week, he begins a picket on Parliament Hill.
Before he left, he said this trip would sap him of just about everything he has left, but it was something he felt he must do. Prime Minister Steven Harper has publicly claimed that he plans to tighten up the judicial system in Canada to ensure that justice prevails. Now, Mr. Prior hopes the prime minister will prove it, by finally allowing justice to be done in his case. Whether that will actually happen is yet to be seen.
In the meantime, his plight and that of his siblings has been picked up by Hamilton author and editor, Martha Jette, who has written a book that relates the story of abuse suffered so long ago by the then, innocent children.
“This is a horrid tale and was just heart-wrenching to write,” said Ms. Jette, “but this story needs to be told. No children should ever suffer what these little ones endured.”
Ms. Jette said her book entitled Playing With The Devil is currently in the hands of Saga Books of Calgary, Alberta and should be available soon.
“My hope is that these children, who are now all adults still hurting from what was done to them will finally find some closure, she said.”
As far as the book goes, Ms. Jette said it would be rated “R” as there are graphically described scenes of abuse toward the children.
“This had to be the hardest thing I’ve ever written during my years as a writer and journalist,” she said. “If you have a weak stomach or are overly sensitive, you might not want to read it.”
Today, the Prior children all suffer from various forms of psychological problems, from fear of intimacy and being totally reclusive to outright anger. For Mr. Prior, it has been an uphill battle with his mind and emotions. Because he is married with a son, he has tried to maintain a balanced lifestyle. However, his attempts to find justice for himself and his siblings has caused him and his family to be ostracized by most neighbors, institutions and businesses around his current home of Conception Bay, which is very near Grand Bank.
“It’s really difficult,” said Mr. Prior. “I can’t get a job and even when we go to the supermarket, we get strange looks.”
However, Mr. Prior said he would not give up until he takes his last breath.
“What was done to us can’t be swept under the rug like it didn’t happen.”
For more information on Byron Prior and his family, please visit: http://maxpages.com/sexualabuse.
For more information on author and editor Martha Jette, please visit: