Wednesday, November 01, 2006

American Sex Offender to Serve 'Sentence' in Canada

If this guy is 'not a threat' why did the US say he could not return except for probabation appointments??? If they think he's safe they can keep him!!!


Prosecutor wants probation served in U.S.
Politicians, media blasted for over-reaction to penalty
Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
Published: Wednesday, November 01, 2006


TORONTO -- An American prosecutor says that he regrets the political firestorm caused by his decision to allow a teacher convicted of a sex offence in Buffalo, N.Y., to serve probation in Canada.
Frank Clark said he was astounded that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other politicians had exacerbated a furor ignited by faulty media reports, and he now feels obliged to try to douse the flames.
"Obviously, there are members of Parliament who have used this for their own particular purpose," Clark said from Buffalo.
"This happened to be a pretty good target to shoot at and they shot at it, and there's nothing I could do about it other than try to correct the misperception that was created."
To do that, Clark will ask the sentencing court, likely at a hearing on Nov. 8, to force Malcolm Watson, 35, to serve his three-year probation in Erie County, N.Y., instead of Ontario.
A former teacher at an all-girls seminary, Watson had pleaded guilty last week in Buffalo to a low-level sex offence involving a 15-year-old student with whom he was having a consensual relationship.
As part of a plea bargain designed to spare the girl from testifying against him, the U.S. court agreed to allow him to return home to his wife and three sons in St. Catharines, Ont., to serve his probation.
An American citizen, Watson has permanent resident status in Canada and has lived in Ontario with his family for four years.
On Friday, Harper said he was "outraged" by the sentence, and wanted Watson deported.
Premier Dalton McGuinty also warned against Ontario becoming a "dumping ground" for American sex offenders.
Clark said that was a total overreaction to an offence that was "not serious."
"It really was not quite the mortal sin it was portrayed to be," he said.
"[But] I have everybody screaming, so I figure I have to do something."
Watson's Canadian lawyer, Stephen Green, called it "outrageous" that Clark was bowing to political pressure.
An investigation revealed that Watson has had no similar relationships or prior criminal background and there's nothing to indicate he's dangerous, Clark said.
That view was shared by an immigration adjudicator in Niagara Falls, Ont., who on Friday ordered Clark released pending a hearing on whether he should be deemed inadmissible to Canada.
Clark said initial media reports "perverted" the facts.
© The Vancouver Province 2006

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