Northern Pride (Meadow Lake. Saskatchewan)
The early release of a B.C. man sentenced to three years in prison for sex crimes came as no surprise to a Waterhen Lake First Nation resident who claims to have been among the individual’s victims several decades ago.
Sid Fiddler said he was upset to hear news of 74-year-old Paul Leroux being granted full parole in late December – only one year into the three-year sentence handed down to him after being convicted of eight charges of indecent assault and two charges of gross indecency dating back to the 1960s. Back then, Leroux worked as a dormitory supervisor at the Beauval Indian Residential School. Fiddler was a student at the school at the time.
“He was there for about seven of the eight years I was there,” Fiddler said.
Although he wasn’t one of the victims to file charges in the case that eventually led to the guilty verdict, Fiddler did admit he was directly impacted by Leroux’s actions, noting in a previous interview he was the victim of sexual fondling. He also said the fact Leroux is now a free man is a poor reflection of the courts.
“The justice system has been very compassionate to him, I think, because of his age and because he was a public servant for many years,” Fiddler said. “They showed compassion for him in spite of the horrific damage he has caused to so many people. But, I wasn’t surprised. When he was sent to jail a year ago, I assumed he’d be given full parole.”
Fiddler went on to say he believes there’s a double standard when it comes to aboriginal people compared to non-aboriginal people.
Although he wouldn’t comment on Fiddler’s opinion, Michel Piche – the Crown prosecutor in the Leroux case – said several factors are taken into account before parole is granted.
“That’s something that’s really up to the National Parole Board,” Piche said. “Leroux still has an appeal pending with regard to the initial charges while the Crown is appealing his sentence. Both of those appeals will be heard in Regina Feb. 18.”
Meanwhile, Fiddler stressed the importance of Leroux’s victims to be able to move beyond the past and to no longer allow the actions of one man to cast a dark cloud over the rest of their lives.
“Obviously this type of news is upsetting to a lot of us, but we need to move on instead of being embittered and angry about it,” he said.
The November 2013 conviction was rendered following several weeks of testimony in Battleford court. Prior to this, Leroux was committed to stand trial in the spring of 2012 following a preliminary hearing in Meadow Lake.
He was previously convicted of child molestation at a residential school in the Northwest Territories and served 10-years in prison for that crime.
Leroux released on full parole
Saskatoon Star Phoenix
09 January 2015
Photograph by: Gord Waldner , The StarPhoenix
One year after beginning his sentence for molesting eight boys at a residential school in the 1960s, Paul Mary Leroux has been released on full parole.
Leroux, 74, was sentenced on Dec. 12, 2013, to three years in prison after being convicted at trial in Battleford Court of Queen’s Bench of indecent assault and gross indecency for acts that would be classified today as major sexual assaults.
On Dec. 30, 2014, the Parole Board of Canada granted Leroux full parole.
The parole board documents don’t detail where Leroux will live on parole, but his release plan includes living with his longtime partner; they lived together in B.C. prior to Leroux’s conviction.
Leroux first applied for parole in September, but while he was granted day parole, the parole board adjourned his application for full parole to a later date.
Leroux was a dormitory supervisor at the Beauval Indian Residential School in the 1960s when he sexually assaulted the eight victims, who were young boys at the time. After working at Beauval, Leroux moved to another residential school in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, where he abused 14 boys between 1967 and 1979.
He was convicted in 1998 of the Inuvik crimes and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Leroux has admitted his sexually inappropriate behaviour at the Inuvik residential school, according to the parole board, but he continues to deny his guilt regarding the Beauval crimes. His appeal on those charges is pending.
The parole board noted Leroux’s risk of reoffending is low, given the programming he completed while serving his first sentence and the absence of further charges after 1979.
“In addition, you are considerably older and do not have regular access to the victim pool that you had when you last offended,” the parole board said.
The parole board imposed three conditions on Leroux’s parole: Not be around any children under 18 unless accompanied by an adult who knows Leroux’s criminal history; not be at places where children are likely to congregate, such as schools and swimming pools; and not access pornography.