Sex offenders will need to notify authorities before leaving Canada -

Sex offenders will need to notify authorities before leaving Canada


RICHMOND, B.C. – Convicted sex offenders planning to travel outside the country will have to alert Canadian authorities before they leave and Canadian officials may, in turn, warn destination countries under proposed changes announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday.

Harper also promised a national, online database accessible to the public listing the names of high-risk child sex offenders, to replace a patchwork of existing databases.

“We do not understand why child predators do the heinous things they do and, in all frankness, we don’t particularly care to,” Harper said in Richmond, B.C., as dozens of Canada Border Services Agency officers stood behind him.

“What we do understand is that there are some terrible people out there, criminals of the worst kind, and that they must be dealt with.”

Harper said that the measures will be included in the Conservatives’ Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act to be introduced in Parliament this fall.

That legislation would require convicted sex offenders, parole and probation officers to notify police in advance of international travel plans, and authorize police to inform Canadian border guards who can — “where appropriate” — alert destination countries that a dangerous offender is coming their way.

“Just as we must protect Canadian children, we should do what we can to protect innocent kids beyond our borders,” Harper said.

The national registry would include the names of high-risk child sex offenders who have been the subject of local or provincial public notifications.

The proposed changes would also include measures to improve information sharing between police and border officials in order to track sex offenders.

Harper cited the case of Howard Cotterman, a registered American sex offender who had been returning to the U.S. after a vacation in Mexico in April 2007.

A forensic examination of Cotterman’s laptop revealed hundreds of images of Cotterman molesting a young girl and he was arrested.

“Cotterman was apprehended basically though information sharing,” Harper said. “However, if Cotterman were Canadian, under our current practices this might not have happened.

“Gaps in information collection and sharing, as well as gaps in enforcement, mean child predators can slip over our borders unmonitored. That is going to change.”

It’s unclear, however, how Canadian border officials would have missed a similar case.

According to reports, U.S. border agents found Cotterman’s name on a national database as a sex offender for a 1992 conviction for sexually assaulting a minor.

They retrieved from his car two laptop computers and three digital cameras, and undertook a forensic examination of the devices. After breaking the password protection on his laptop they found 378 images taken over several years, most of them showing Cotterman sexually assaulting a girl between 7 and 10 years old.

A district judge suppressed the evidence, finding it violated Cotterman’s protection against unreasonable search but a federal appeal court upheld the seizure and search.

Brian McConaghy, a former RCMP child predator investigator and founder of the charity Ratanak International, welcomed the changes.

McConaghy, whose charity rescues and offers rehabilitation for children exploited in Cambodia, said Canadian predators all too often find their victims in countries without the resources to combat their crimes.

“There’s not efficient policing, there’s not social services, there’s not supportive families so these predators go overseas to find the weakest link and the most vulnerable children,” he said after watching Harper announce the measures.

“Slowly but surely we’re whittling away at the various loopholes they can use to have freedom to move around.”

Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu and Victoria Police Chief Jamie Graham were also among the crowd at Monday’s announcement, along with Tom Stamatakis, president of the Canadian Police Association.

Stamatakis thanked the prime minister for the new measures and for previous amendments that, among other things, created minimum sentences for the assault of a child under 16 and made it illegal to use a computer to communicate with a child for the purpose of committing an offence.

“With these measures, the message to those who prey on children is clear: This future legislation will be part of a well-co-ordinated assault on their abilities to exploit our children, our most vulnerable members of society.”

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Sex offenders will need to notify authorities before leaving Canada

  1. This is all BS. They shouldn’t be allowed to have a passport anyways! But then again this is the country that gave Karla Homolka one and now she is living a new life with a young family somewhere in the Caribbean…

  2. Make them all wear an ankle bracelet that monitors their whereabouts 24/7. Too many of them get too travel abroad only to reoffend in Thailand, Cambodia, India, etc.

  3. Harper argues that “Convicted sex offenders who want to
    travel outside the country will have to alert Canadian authorities before they
    leave and Canadian officials will, in turn, warn the destination countries if
    the legislation is passed.” Harper insists
    this will “keep our streets and communities safe for families.” In
    reality Harper’s proposed legislation has everything to do with politics and
    nothing to do with preventing crime. It will have very little effect on
    community safety and may actually make communities less safe.

    The basis of Harper’s argument is that those convicted of
    sexual offenses are a continuing threat against both Canadians and those living
    abroad. How true is this argument? Let’s take a look at what Harper has chosen
    not to tell Canadians:

    The Ontario sex offender registry has been operational for
    more than a decade. Although the registry enjoys a 98 percent compliance rate
    (one of the highest in the world), there is no evidence in demonstrating its
    effectiveness in reducing sexual crimes or helping investigators to solve them.
    It’s not a surprise then that politicians continue to ignore recommendations
    for the implementation of performance measures for the

    The registry has failed for the simple reason that most
    individuals who had offended sexually never reoffend; those that do reoffend do
    not reoffend sexually
    ( This statement is
    supported by the knowledge that the vast majority of those who have received
    pardons have never reoffend
    ( Unfortunately,
    neither of these facts could prevent Mr. Harper from eliminating pardons for
    those convicted of sexual offenses. Likely Mr. harper already knew that denying
    offenders reintegration into society, may increase recidivism rates- making
    society LESS safe


    And what about the ‘threat’ to those living abroad?

    Firstly, those on the registry currently, and have always
    had to, inform authorities prior to travelling; this is nothing new.

    Secondly, on April 15, 2011, Bill S-2 came into force. This
    legislation allows for “Travel Notifications of Offenders to Other Police
    Jurisdictions”. Once again, nothing new here.

    Thirdly, Since 2009 the Canadian Border Services Agency
    actively screens for those individuals on the registry. See Attachment: ‘CBSA
    Atlantic Standard Operating Procedures Child Pornography/Exploitation
    Seizures’. “Secondary Indicators- Database checks-ICES, FOSS, CPIC/NCIC, sex
    offender database,….”.

    Lastly, Canada’s sex tourism laws, enacted in 1997, ensure
    the country can prosecute a citizen who commits crimes overseas. According to
    the RCMP’s Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, the law
    has so far been used only five times. How many of these were on the registry?
    None that can be determined. Is it any wonder than that Mr. Harper’s only
    recourse was to provide the example of Howard Cotterman, a registered American
    sex offender who had been returning to the

    U.S. after a vacation in Mexico.

    Individuals on the sex offender registry are not the
    rampaging monsters Harper would like Canadians to believe they are (the very
    few individuals like that are unlikely to be put back into society and thus on
    a registry). In contrast, almost one third of all sex offences in Canada are
    committed by persons under 21 years of age. Not surprisingly, most sex crimes are
    the work of first-time offenders who will never reoffend. Do Canadians believe,
    as Harper does, that individuals such as these should not have the opportunity
    to pay their debt to society and to be reintegrated into the community? Do we
    truly believe that any measures the government decides to take against ‘sex
    offenders’, such as the following individuals, are justifiable (Harper’s recent
    legislative changes make their inclusion on the sex offender registry

    “Boy, 14, charged after video of sex with 15-year-old girl
    put online” “

    “15-year-old boy accused of using his mom’s iPod to harass
    and text child pornography material to an ex-girlfriend”

    An 18-year-old Guelph charged with child porn, after he
    allegedly post a “provocative” photo of his 17 year-old girlfriend as
    his BlackBerry profile picture. .

    “A 17-year-old
    boy from western Manitoba has been convicted of sexual assault for having
    consensual sex with a 13-year-old during a game of Truth or

    Prime Minister Steven Harper: “The fact is we don’t
    understand [those individuals who have offended sexually], and we don’t particularly
    care to.” Perhaps if the Prime Minster took some time to examine the empirical
    evidence, rather than exacerbating the sex-offender hysteria to advance his
    political agenda, his government may actually construct effective legislation
    that would prevent sexual offending and further reduce reoffending.

    -John Trenholm

    ontarioregistryandgps [dot] webs [dot]com