In the eyes of the community John Archibald Connolly was an upstanding citizen who for decades with his wife cared for many vulnerable foster children in his Guysborough County home.
But for at least four of those children, he was a prolific child molester.
The four women lived with their secrets for years.
And now they must live with news that Connolly is allowed to serve the remainder of his three-year sentence in his own home, under the supervision of a parole officer.
After serving one-third of his time, he was granted full parole on Feb. 4.
Connolly, a first-time offender in his mid-80s, was sentenced last June on charges of sexual intercourse with a girl under age 14, sexual intercourse with another girl under age 16 and three counts of indecent assault against a female.
“Given your age, medical difficulties, mobility issues and physical needs, day parole facilities were not amenable to providing you with residency,” the Parole Board of Canada wrote in a Feb. 5 decision.
Connolly, of Guysborough Intervale, was found guilty of the charges at trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in February 2013.
Connolly had initially planned to appeal his sentence and convictions. However, he has since abandoned his appeal and admitted to some of the crimes.
“Your version of the offences differs significantly from the official version and you denied all offences, except for touching one of the victim’s breasts, suggesting the other victims made up their stories for financial gain from the government,” the board wrote.
“File reports indicate that for years, and repeatedly, you sexually abused foster children taken into your home for care, yet continue to deny that abuse.”
Prison assessments showed Connolly’s risk to reoffend is in the low range. However, his case management team found he lacks insight and understanding into the harm caused to his victims.
“There is no indication that you have reoffended in the past 40 years, your risk for reoffending is low, community support is positive and local police authorities offered no specific opposition or opinion to the proposed release plan,” the decision said.
The first girl to be molested was in his home from 1956 to 1965. She was repeatedly raped until she was old enough to better fend for herself, court heard.
The next two victims were in the residence from the late 1960s until the mid-1970s. The fourth victim arrived at the home as a toddler and was there until 1980.
Connolly cannot have any contact with his victims or their families. He was also ordered not to be in the presence of any girls under the age of 18 unless accompanied by a responsible adult who knows his criminal history and has been pre-approved by his parole supervisor.
Connelly’s sentence ends June 26, 2016.
SHERRI BORDEN COLLEY STAFF REPORTER
February 7, 2014 – 4:26pm
February 7, 2014 – 6:09pm