‘I had no idea’: Daycare operator speaks out against former partner charged with child sexual assault

Donna Prince speaks to CityNews about the anger and shock she feels after several child porn charges were laid against her now-former partner Robert Dale Prince, given the assaults alleged happened at her daycare. @_MorganModjeski reports.

By Morgan Modjeski

Donna Prince could hardly contain her emotions as she talked about the charges laid against her now former partner.

“I had no idea this was happening at all. He hid everything from me,” said Prince.

“Upset, betrayal, hurt, angry.”

Her 36-year-old former husband was charged with sexual assault and sexual interference last October in connection with the alleged assault of a child that police believe took place at an unlicensed home daycare on Aberdeen Avenue, in the city’s North End.

BACKGROUND: Man living at North End at-home daycare charged with sexual assault, possession of child pornography

Three months later, after being notified of child pornography posted to a popular social media website, the WPS Internet Child Exploitation Unit say they identified that same man as a suspect. The seizure and forensic analysis of his electronic device allegedly led to the discovery of more than 150 photos and videos of child sexual abuse.

Winnipeg police determined two of the children captured on the images had previously attended the at-home daycare where the man lived. One of the children was determined to be from the 2021 child abuse investigation.

The man was not an employee of the daycare, police say.

Donna Prince, who operated the daycare, claims her husband lied to her outright about whether or not he had evidence of the abuse on his phone, saying her trust has been smashed.

“If he would have said something is on my phone that should not be there, I would have turned him in right away,” she said. “I don’t harm children and I don’t want children in harm’s way. That’s not me. At all. If I had known any of this, I would not be with him, which is why I’m divorcing him.”

She says the man she thought she knew as her husband was a lie and the entire scenario has been devastating.

“You don’t truly know the person that you’re with. You truly don’t … This has wrecked me totally and completely.”

On Friday, Const. Dani Mckinnon told reporters both the affected families and relevant outside agencies have been notified. She stressed the work that goes into these investigations is immense, with the possibility of police tracking who may have viewed the images.

“Investigations completed by ICE are extremely complex and for obvious reasons I can’t give the details and the methods of how that works, but needless to say, there’s excellent, very advanced tracking capabilities.”

In Manitoba, unlicensed daycares are permitted to operate with a maximum of four children under the age 12, with no more than two of the children can be under the age of two.

Police are stressing for parents to know whether or not the daycare they’re sending their child to is licensed or unlicensed and to make sure to ask questions of the operators, such as finding out who has access to the home, what safety certifications are in place and if parents are allowed to check in on kids at the daycare.

“These are crimes of access and opportunity,” said Mckinnon. “The offenders in this type of situation, they don’t hide behind the proverbial bushes, they are amongst us, they are in the places, unfortunately, where some of our children may attend to. We’re not sending this release to scare anyone, we’re just saying please be aware. Do your checks and balances. It’s a good time to educate your children and educate yourself.”

The charges have not been proven in court.

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