18 October 2016
Ryan-Kessler-November-2015 By Ryan Kessler Reporter Global News
Denis Hall, a convicted sex offender, is running for one of the Saskatoon Catholic school board trustee positions in the upcoming civic election.
Denis Hall, a convicted sex offender, is no longer running for one of the Saskatoon Catholic school board trustee positions in the upcoming civic election.
Supplied / City of Saskatoon
Denis Hall remains a “legitimate candidate” for voters and could be elected in the upcoming Saskatoon civic election, despite dropping out of the race for a seat on the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS) board.
Hall announced the decision Monday after the public learned of his 1981 conviction on two charges of having sexual intercourse with girls aged 14 to 16.
The Local Government Election Act requires candidates to withdraw from the race within 24 hours of the end of the nomination period.
“Mr. Hall did not file by this time. Furthermore the ballots have been printed and voting has begun. He is a legitimate candidate,” said Saskatoon returning officer Catherine Folkersen in an email.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon and the school division voiced concerns over Hall, who received a pardon in 1994.
While the GSCS stated it has “no legal recourse and is bound by the legislation,” officials said steps have been taken in the past to prevent Hall and his youth sports program, YAS, from accessing students and facilities.
Hall ran unsuccessfully for the GSCS board in 2003.
With files from Dave Giles and The Canadian Press
Convicted sex offender Denis Hall withdraws from Saskatoon Catholic school board race
‘They misrepresent me and my ancient past,’ Hall says in email to CBC about media reports
CBC News Posted: Oct 18, 2016 5:33 AM CT Last Updated: Oct 18, 2016 1:22 PM CT
Denis Hall is taking his name off the ballot for Catholic school board trustee. (Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools’ election website).
Convicted sex offender Denis Hall is withdrawing his bid to become a trustee with the Saskatoon Catholic school board.
In 1981, Hall pleaded guilty to two charges of indecent assault, as well as two charges of having sex with females aged 14 to 16, according to court documents. He was pardoned in 1994, the documents say.
CBC News reported on his past and, less than 24 hours later, he pulled out of the race.
“The use of the terms ‘pedophile’ and ‘sexual assault’ by the mainstream media are completely and categorically false,” he said in an email to CBC News.
“They misrepresent me and my ancient past in the worst possible light, and render untenable my continuance as a candidate, as well as my ability to serve on the board should I have been elected.”
Church officials urged Hall to withdraw from the race to become a school trustee once his past became public.
Hall had met the legal requirements to qualify as a candidate, and there is nothing to stop convicted offenders from running for election as school trustees.
Denis Hall, convicted sex offender, drops from Catholic school board race
CTV News Saskatoon
Published Tuesday, October 18, 2016 1:12PM CST
Kevin Menz Kevin Menz, Web Journalist
Denis HallDenis R. Hall is seen here in this candidate photo from the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools website. (gscs.ca)
A man with past convictions for sexual offences says he’s dropping out of the race for a Catholic school board trustee position in Saskatoon — though his name will remain on the ballot.
Denis Hall issued a news release Monday night announcing his withdrawal and blamed media stories surrounding his candidacy for the decision.
“They misrepresent me and my ancient past in the worst possible light, and render untenable my continuance as a candidate, as well as my ability to serve on the Board should I have been elected,” his statement read.
His name will stay on the ballot — and he could still end up being elected — because now is too late for a candidate to withdraw, according to the election’s returning officer. The election is already underway with advance polls.
Hall was convicted of sexual offences in 1981. According to court documents, he pleaded guilty and was convicted of two charges relating to him having sex with girls between the ages of 14 and 16 and two charges of indecent assault on females.
He said in his statement the guilty plea was related to actions during his time as the coach of a girls’ basketball team sponsored by a Regina church in the 1970s.
He served one year in the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre following the conviction and received a pardon for the offences in 1994.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon issued a statement Monday, before Hall’s withdrawal, saying officials were concerned about Hall running and that his convictions would bar him from working with vulnerable people in the diocese.
“An important question to ask is whether Mr. Hall could enter into a relationship with others where the bonds of trust can be easily developed and sustained so that the good work of proclaiming the message of the gospel can easily and naturally take place,” the diocese’s acting administrator Father Kevin McGee said in a written statement.
“When I consider such questions in light of Denis Hall and his desire to serve as a Catholic trustee, I have reason for serious concern that Mr. Hall is not suited for this position,” he said, noting Hall met the legal qualifications to run as a candidate.
The Greater Saskatoon Catholic School board also commented prior to Hall’s departure, stating the division cannot prevent him from running because he is a qualified candidate.
“Mr. Hall qualifies as a candidate under the Local Government Elections Act, 2015. The school division has no legal recourse and is bound by the legislation,” a statement from the school division read.
“We are aware of Mr. Hall’s criminal convictions, and we have taken steps over the years to prevent him and his organization, YAS, from having access to students and our buildings. We will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of our students in the future.”
Hall ran for the same trustee position in 2003 but was unsuccessful.
— with files from CTV Saskatoon’s Angelina Irinici and Jennifer Jellicoe
Convicted sex offender Denis Hall running for Catholic school board
Church officials trying to convince candidate to withdraw from race
CBC News Saskatoon
Posted: Oct 17, 2016 8:20 AM CTLast Updated: Oct 17, 2016 9:10 PM CT
By Jason Warick, CBC News
Denis Hall, a convicted sex offender, is running for a seat on the Saskatoon Catholic school board.
Denis Hall, a convicted sex offender, is running for a seat on the Saskatoon Catholic school board. (Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools’ election website)
A candidate running for a seat on the Saskatoon Catholic school board is a convicted sex offender, CBC News has learned.
Church officials said they expressed concern around Denis Hall’s nomination and encouraged him to withdraw his name from the ballot, but they stopped short of taking further action.
“I must say Mr. Hall listened and received those comments and I did express and encourage him to withdraw … I’ll leave it to him to make a decision,” said Father Kevin McGee, acting administrator for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon. Bishop Don Bolen was installed as Archbishop of the Regina diocese Friday.
McGee noted he was surprised and dismayed when he heard Hall was running for a trustee position.
“I have reason for serious concern that Denis is not suited for this position,” McGee said. “Having said that, Mr. Hall has met the legal qualifications to run as a candidate. We trust in the electoral process and the wisdom of the electorate.”
In 1981, Hall pleaded guilty to two charges of indecent assault, as well as two charges of having sex with females aged 14 to 16, according to court documents. He was pardoned in 1994, according to the documents.
By law there’s nothing stopping convicted offenders from running for election as school trustees. The Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Board told CBC News the board became aware Hall was running after nominations closed.
The school board said it has no choice but to let Hall run, under Saskatchewan’s Local Government Elections Act.
GSCS also noted administrators have taken steps over the years to prevent Hall and his Young Athlete Sports camp from gaining access to GSCS students and buildings.
Fourteen years ago, then-Catholic Schools board chair Jerry Zimmer banned Hall and his sports group from setting foot in any Saskatoon Catholic school. For more than 40 years, Hall has run YAS Summer Basketball Camps in Regina and Saskatoon.
In his online campaign biography, Hall said five of his children graduated from Saskatoon Catholic schools.
Banned from entering Catholic schools in city
In 2002, Hall was banned from entering any Saskatoon Catholic schools.
While it’s unclear if Hall will withdraw from the race, he is still invited to participate in Tuesday’s all-candidates’ forum at E.D. Feehan High School, according to Derrick Kunz with the GSCS.
Kunz noted the forum for school board candidates was being held after school hours, and said there would be “limited access” to any students.
‘We’ve been working hard over the last 15 years to rebuild trust in the general community. So we are obliged to discern very carefully situations like this.’ -Blake Sittler
CBC News has been unable to contact Hall.
Blake Sittler, who oversees the church’s “safe environment” policy, also expressed his concern.
“We’ve been working hard over the last 15 years to rebuild trust in the general community. So we are obliged to discern very carefully situations like this,” Sittler said.
No power to ban
Sittler and McGee expressed their concern for Hall’s victims, but Sittler said they had no power to ban people like Hall from seeking election.
Diocese lawyer Dick Batten initially suggested a ban could be put in place, but then said any changes would likely have to be made by the provincial government.
There is a code of ethics for the province’s Catholic school trustees. It states trustees shall live in a way “that reflects the teachings of the Church.”
Ken Loehndorf, executive director of the Saskatchewan Association of Catholic School Divisions said the code is voluntary. He said individual divisions must set their own policy, and isn’t sure regulations are warranted.
According to a written statement issued Monday by Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, Hall qualifies as a candidate under provincial law and the division “has no legal recourse and is bound by the legislation.”
“We will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of our students in the future,” read the statement.