Should Sex Offenders in the Community Be Public?

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CTV Ottawa

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

2 Responses to Should Sex Offenders in the Community Be Public?

  1. Sylvia says:

    I had forgotten to post this way back when it ran.

    Look at the numbers. 11,000 registered sex offenders living in Ontario alone.

    516 registered offenders in Ottawa!

    In most instances neither we, the general public, nor parents, nor children, know who they are. We don’t know where they live.

    Dr. Bradford Booth seems to think this is as it should be because offenders are presumably more apt or at greater risk to re-offend when we know where they are. I disagree. Either in or out of the Church, I just don’t believe children should be wilfully placed at risk, ever.

    Thoughts?

  2. Leona says:

    Hi Sylvia,

    This is the first time I’ve seen this article. I mustn’t have noticed it when you first posted it in July. I believe the community should be informed, and most definitely the offender should not be put back in a position of power and authority where they are in contact with children. To read that parents had said McCann was visiting their children’s school and their children loved him is appalling to me. That parishioners wrote into the newspaper to say that Jack McCann was the last honest priest they knew!!!
    From the above ariticle, “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.
    Is McCann rehabilitated when his good friends still think that he was wrongly convicted because there was a female judge at sentencing so he was advised to plead guilty? To me this isn’t the demeanour of a reformed sex offender, and he still presents a danger to others.

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