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Rally held at Lethbridge courthouse to support critically-injured infant

WARNING: This article contains details that are disturbing.

Advocates and members of the community rallied in front of the Lethbridge courthouse Wednesday morning in support of the alleged victim in a local child abuse case.

This comes after Lethbridge police responded to a welfare call on Jan. 18 at a northside residence and found a six-week-old baby in medical distress with both parents in the home.

Investigators said the infant had been assaulted and sexually assaulted multiple times since birth.

The 52-year-old father and 31-year-old mother are both charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life, while the father faces additional charges of aggravated assault, sexual assault and sexual contact with a child.

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A publication ban forbids the release of any information that could identify the infant, including the parents’ names.

“Hearing about this story, it just really hit my heart,” said rally co-organizer and member of Dads on Guard Zak Gladue.

Gladue came from Edmonton to join around 20-30 people at the courthouse.

“I want to put a message to the survivors and victims out there: you’re not alone, you’ve got a community behind you that’s going to stand for you.”

On Wednesday, the court heard the mother has retained a lawyer, who asked for a bail hearing to be held at her next court appearance on Friday.

The father does not yet have legal representation and is also due back in court on Jan. 27.

Some rally attendees say as survivors of sexual abuse themselves, they feel connected to this case.

“We have groups from Edmonton, from Calgary, from Lethbridge, so a lot of people are coming in and having their voices heard with us,” explained Jack Shultz, who is a member of Dads on Guard and Communities Against Child Sexual Offenders.

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“I want to stand here and support her,” added attendee Kaydenze Jewers.

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Both accused remain in custody and the crown is opposing their release. The allegations against the parents have not been tested in court.

LPS updated the public on the child’s condition earlier this week, saying she is receiving the highest level of care at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary but remains in critical condition.

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