News

Daycare sex assault charges dropped

The husband of a woman who ran a Maple Ridge daycare is no longer facing charges for sexually assaulting a young girl.

A trial for Edgar Hernandez was set to begin Monday, but did not proceed as charges were stayed two months earlier.

Hernandez, 48, faced one count each of sexual interference and sexual assault in connection with an alleged offence that took place around Dec. 1, 2009.

Police allege Hernandez touched a young girl inappropriately at Dragonfly Daycare, operated out of his Maple Ridge home.

Neil MacKenzie, a spokesman for B.C.’s Criminal Justice branch, confirmed the charges were stayed Sept. 27 after a review of the file by a Crown prosecutor.

“The Crown’s charge assessment standard for continuing the prosecution was no longer met in the case,” he explained.

As part of the review, Crown took into account both the anticipated evidence of potential Crown and defence witnesses, as well as potential defence evidence.

“We concluded that Crown would not be able to prove that the accused was guilty of the alleged offences,” MacKenzie said.

Dragonfly Daycare was run by Hernandez’s wife, Flavia Hernandez-Santos, but is no longer in operation.

After Hernandez was charged with sexual assault, the Fraser Health Authority put a health and safety plan in place that banned him from being at the daycare during its hours of operation.

Hernandez violated the conditions and the daycare was forced to close last May.

Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma said the woman who operated the daycare voluntarily surrendered her license after that breach.

She hasn’t applied for a license since and is currently not registered as a daycare operator with Fraser Health.

If she wants to open another daycare, Hernandez-Santos will have to go through the same screening process as other applicants.

Juma said that screening process includes background checks and also investigates history if a person has operated a daycare centre before.

“It’s a very rigorous process,” she assured.

 

Stay of proceedings

The effect of a stay of proceedings has been described as putting a charge in a legal limbo. That is, the Crown may proceed on the same charge any time within 12 months by giving notice of recommencement to the clerk of the court.

If no such notice is given within one year, “the proceedings shall be deemed never to have been commenced”.

 

– with files from the BCCLA

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