Avalon questions release of alleged sexual offender

Picture of the Halifax Provincial Court on Spring Garden Rd., Halifax, N.S.

Avalon Sexual Assault Centre is worried that the Nova Scotia justice system is endangering public safety by releasing serial sexual offenders into the community. Yesterday, David James Leblanc was charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement, a year after he was released on other sexual assault charges.

“Children are vulnerable members of society and deserve to be protected from sexual predators,” says Avalon Sexual Assault Centre Executive Director Irene Smith. “Nova Scotians should question why the justice system decided to release Leblanc.”

Yesterday, Leblanc and Wayne Alan Cunningham were charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement of a youth in Upper Chelsea, N.S..  According to CBC News, Leblanc was charged with making and distributing child pornography, sexual assault and sexual interference in January 2011. Despite the gravity of these charges, Leblanc was released into the community and told that he wasn’t allowed to interact with minors. Obviously, Leblanc did not heed these conditions.

“Society expects that the courts assess whether a perpetrator will reoffend,” says Smith. “By releasing Leblanc, it suggests that the courts don’t think sexualized violence is a serious issue.”

In Avalon’s 29 year history, we have seen systematic barriers to charging and prosecuting perpetrators of sexualized violence. This is reflective of society’s unwillingness to talk about sexualized violence.

We hope the victim in the Upper Chelsea case gets the support and healing he needs and that the media respects his right to privacy.

(Photo by CTD 2005 via Creative Commons license)

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