High anxiety over an alleged child sex offender

By David F. Rooney

Parents in the Southside area are deeply concerned about a report that a man convicted of child sexual abuse has taken up residence on Eighth Street.

Many have called both Mount Begbie Elementary School and the local RCMP detachment to voice their anxieties.

“I’ll tell you what I’ve told everyone else: we can neither confirm nor deny that a convicted child sexual abuser is living in Revelstoke,” RCMP Cpl. Rod Wiebe said late Wednesday.

He said the RCMP would, if it was in the interests of the community, issue a warning about such a sexual predator if he was regarded as a serious risk to re-offend.

“To my knowledge we have never issued such a warning in my time in Revelstoke,”  said Wiebe, who added that he has fielded many telephone calls about this issue.

So, too, has Mount Begbie Principal Robert Wilson. While he was not available for comment, School District 19 Superintendent Anne Cooper said school staff “will certainly be more vigilant.”

“Rob called me right away (on Wednesday when parents started calling the school),” she said. “There is a dangerous-persons protocol that exists in our province and under that we would be notified if there was a person in our community who is at a high risk to re-offend.”

Under this protocol, the school district would be notified if it was determined that a sexual offender deemed to be at a high risk to reoffend was living in the  community. The determination that someone was at a “high risk to reoffend” would be based on psychiatric and prison reports, the nature of their original offence and their criminal history.

Cooper said parents should “find some security in the fact that no notification has been issued.”

She also agreed that calling someone a child sex offender is a broad brush as it encompasses everything from possession of images or videos to an actual sexual predator.

Both the province and the RCMP maintain sexual offender registries. Click here to learn more about the provincial registry. You can click here to find out more about the  RCMP’s National Sex Offender Registry. FYI, the offenders it maintains a registry of include those convicted of:

  • sexual interference;
  • invitation to sexual touching;
  • sexual exploitation;
  • incest;
  • bestiality;
  • child pornography (making, possession, distribution);
  • parent or guardian procuring sexual activity;
  • exposure;
  • sexual assault;
  • sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm;
  • aggravated sexual assault;
  • select offences where it can be proven that the offence was committed with the intent to commit an offence of a sexual nature; and
  • attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the above offences.

Sex offenders are required to re-register annually and every time they change address or legal name. In this province they must report to the B.C. Sex Offender Information Registration Centre or one of 115 local registration centres if they have been away from their main or secondary residence for more than 15 days. Failure to comply is punishable by two years of incarceration and or a $10,000 fine.

The public does not have access to the National Sex Offender Registry. It is a database that provides Canadian police services with important information that will improve their ability to investigate crimes of a sexual nature.