Globe and Mail

Sex charges against nanny get thrown out of court

JANE GADD
COURTS REPORTER
The Globe and Mail
Friday, January 12, 2001

TORONTO -- A former nanny wept tears of joy yesterday when an Ontario Superior Court judge threw out sex charges that have cost her her livelihood and her only child.

Vilma Climaco, 34, blurted out thanks, then fell into the embrace of her lawyer as Mr. Justice Paul Rivard ruled that all of the evidence the Crown wanted to introduce was unreliable and inadmissible in a trial.

Ms. Climaco was accused of forcing four-year-old twin boys to perform sex acts on her while she was their babysitter in 1998.

The Children's Aid Society removed Ms. Climaco's three-year-old son from her care after the charges were laid.

He was later delivered into the care of his father, with whom Ms. Climaco has been fighting a bitter custody battle, and taken to live in California.

Cindy Wasser, one of the lawyers who acted for Ms. Climaco, told reporters her client is anxious to win her son back.

Ms. Climaco went on trial in September on six counts of sexual abuse, but the proceeding was quickly aborted when news coverage led to the emergence of a new witness: a 12-year-old boy who had once been caught sexually molesting the twins and who suddenly reported that Ms. Climaco had molested him too.

A second trial was in its preliminary stages when Judge Rivard issued his fatal blow to the prosecution.

Ruling on the admissibility of the statements of the twins and the 12-year-old, the judge said they were completely unreliable.

He noted that the older boy had admitted to police that he was lying and that it was entirely possible this boy had persuaded the younger children to fabricate their story.

"The boys were highly impressionable. [The older boy] could easily have influenced them into . . . a blur of reality and imagination."

The court heard that the father of the twins had once found his sons with their pants down in the presence of the 12-year-old, who admitted he was kissing their penises.

Copyright 2001 Globe Interactive, a division of Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc.