Mother of Anthony Gough’s victim outraged he was granted parole
Anthony Gough was sentenced last year for assaulting a 17-year-old developmentally delayed girl
By Blair Rhodes, CBC News Posted: Nov 21, 2016 5:29 PM AT Last Updated: Nov 21, 2016 5:32 PM AT
A Nova Scotia woman is outraged that the man who sexually assaulted her daughter is being allowed out of prison after serving only one-fifth of his five-year sentence.
Anthony Gough was sentenced in 2015 for an assault on a 17-year-old developmentally delayed girl. He attacked her in the back of a bus as he was driving her home from a March Break camp she and other special needs children had been attending.
Earlier this month, the Parole Board of Canada decided to grant Gough day parole.
“It’s disgusting, I’m just beside myself,” the woman told CBC News. “We were just starting to get our lives back together.”
Her identity, like her daughter’s, is protected by a publication ban.
Saw news on Facebook
The woman says she only learned of Gough’s parole by reading about it on Facebook. She’s trying to shield her daughter from the news while trying to decide whether to tell her. She said the girl is just starting to feel safe again.
“It’s beyond unimaginable,” she said.
“He ruined my daughter for life. He stole something which can never be replaced. And he’s getting off with nothing.”
Sends the wrong message
The chair of the group Advocating Parents agrees. Brenda Hardiman says the decision to grant Gough day parole so early sends the wrong message.
“Some people have expressed, ‘Oh, is this because this individual has an intellectual disability and this offence was committed against that person?'” Hardiman asked.
“Would it be the same if that individual had of been a ‘normal teenage person?'”
Family didn’t know about hearing
Both the victim’s mother and Hardiman say there was a miscommunication when it came to alerting the family about Gough’s parole hearing. They say it needs to be addressed to avoid it happening again.
A spokesperson for the Parole Board of Canada said in cases like this, victims have to register ahead of time in order to have a chance to speak at a parole hearing. It does not appear that happened in this case.
The spokesperson would not speak specifically to what might have gone wrong in the Gough case. But she said victims and their families are usually given forms to fill out at sentencing that let’s the parole board know they wanted to be contacted in the future.
Day parole for 6 months
While he is out on day parole, Gough remains under the control of the board and Corrections Canada until the expiry of his sentence, which is not until September 2020. If he violates any of the terms of his release, he can be arrested and returned to prison.
His day parole is only for six months. At the end of that time, he will face another hearing. The board says the mother can register to appear at that hearing.
In the meantime, she’s afraid of what could happen with him in the community.
“I’m just terrified that we could be sitting in Tim Hortons one day and he could walk in and come over,” she said.
“Heaven help him if he does.”
The woman said she would move if she had the financial resources because Gough and his family know where she lives.