14 May 2011
|13 per cent of untreated sexual offenders re-offend, but there is a far greater chance of a child being assaulted by someone they know than a stranger.
Of the 11 thousand registered sex offenders in the province, 516 live in Ottawa. But their names and locations remain confidential.
The Ontario Sexual Offenders Registry was set up ten years ago so the province can keep track of offenders, but the public doesn’t have access.
The issue came back into the news last week when CTV Ottawa reported that Father Jack McCann of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church said mass despite pleading guilty to sexual abuse in 1992.
The church said they had no idea of his past plea or jail time.
Sylvia MacEachern, a blogger who tracks sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, said the information would help parents.
“I think it’s a sad reflection on our society when the rights of a known child molester trump the rights over the innocence of a child and the rights of a parent to protect their child,” she said.
A 1998 study said about 13 per cent of sex offenders re-offend without treatment.
Dr. Brad Booth, a forensic psychiatrist, said the risk of re-offending increases when their history is made public because they lose support from the community.
“We’ve seen a lot of times that individuals will be found out a sexual offence and lose all of that (support),” he said.
Parent Amanda Graham said for other parents to remember there’s a far greater chance that a child will be abused by someone they know than by a complete stranger.
Another parent said we should trust when offenders are treated.
“Our society has said ‘well they’ve been rehabilitated enough then that’s OK,’ then I don’t know why I should be singling them out,” said Sacha Singh.
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Joanne Schnurr