April 22, 2010

Sex Offender Pardons

Getting a little punted around today in the Letters to the Editor for my Monday column on criminal reference checks and pardoned sex offenders.

Sorry, not going to back off this one. My mail tells me I'm not crazy, and at the very least, the rulings need to be clarified. Check out this article and this one, and then go here. The letter takes issue with me noting that pardons are handed out like tissues. Our prime minister admits that 99% of pardons requested are granted. That's not some kind of sure thing? Really?

Am I on a witchhunt? Hardly. Can people get through the screening process? Yes. And my mail after that column proves it. I heard from people were flabbergasted that they hadn't been required to provide criminal checks - of any kind - before being handed over to a class of kids in a sport that many of your kids participate in. No, not a school board extracurricular, but an independent discipline. I heard the same from two different areas of the province.

I heard a lot about the lack of checks on teachers who have been teaching for a long time - and in some cases, passed around from board to board as known abusers protected by the system. Sound familiar? I heard from victims of abuse. And yes, as the letter states, most abusers are within families. But do you really think they limit themselves to family members?

Parents should always be free to ask questions. And they should know exactly what to ask, because the optics of this law are not clear. And quite frankly, if someone like Graham James gets pardoned, I am not buying into the theory that pardons are hard to get and well deserved. He went on to coach young hockey players in Spain after admittedly abusing players here hundreds of times. This is a safe pardon system? This is a system that I'm not allowed to question?

Forget it. People who victimize children will go to any extreme to get close to kids. Sorry if I hurt your feelings by checking out who are before I hand my kid over to you to learn karate or piano.

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Anonymous buzzwhack said...

I'm one hundred percent with you on this issue. The sad fact is pedophiles actively seek to enter situations where exposure to children is frequent. They have a compulsion which they cannot control. Society must protect those who cannot protect themselves. The recidivism rate for pedophiles is very high. Without getting into the hows or whys of treatment and failure rate, I'll just state my belief from reading the literature on this illness. I believe in most pathological cases, it isn't curable, it might be managed or treated at best. This is why we need to protect kids.

April 22, 2010 1:58 PM  
Blogger OmemeeOzzie said...

Could not agree more. And, to add fuel to the fire, although recent press may make you think not, women are also pedophiles and predators, too. Does the name Homolka mean anything to anyone? There is, at this time, a group on Facebook asking people to join to protest this vile, despicable human being from being pardoned. Yes, you heard. There is a possibility that this thing may seek a pardon so she may lead a "normal" life.
Give. Me. A. Frickin'. Break. 61,000 members plus -- and counting. No Pardon For Karla Homolka.

April 22, 2010 3:52 PM  
Blogger OmemeeOzzie said...

Apologies; when I posted my comment earlier, the links to the Star in Lorraine's post were not functioning... mea culpa.

April 22, 2010 11:15 PM  
Blogger Chris Brown (not the felon) said...

We had a teacher at our school that had been passed from school to school like a steaming hunk of moose plop... not because of abuse issues but because he was lazy, inarticulate, a lousy teacher, and dressed like Elvis. After he hijacked the bus on the way back from a ski trip to drop him off at his car dealership I went to the principal and told him he could keep his teacher or my kids, but not both. Because my wife and I were so involved in the school... the teacher was gone the following year. Interestingly he has not taught since. Although I'd love to take responsibility for the whole thing I doubt that I can. But it was good to see that he wasn't just shifted to another unsuspecting school.

We have every right to know who is interacting with our children on a daily basis. And if we don't like who it is... we have the right to remove our child from that situation. Without penalty.

April 25, 2010 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree whole heartedly with you all but we have to remember that most of the people out there who might harm our children do not have a criminal record nor have they been pardoned for a crime. A criminal record check, even with a vulnerable sector seach, doesn't guarantee anything. We need to be involved with our children, their schools and their friends; keep them talking to us; and, teach them, as much as is possible, to trust their instincts about people.

April 26, 2010 1:22 AM  

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