JAMES COOPER: Sex offender living in city ‘frightening’
Brantford’s Lisa McDonald is mounting a campaign to spread news that a convicted pedophile is living at a federal halfway house in the city.
“I’ve contacted every major newspaper across Canada and the TV stations around here,” said McDonald, a mother and grandmother.
James Cooper, 78, a former Hamilton man convicted in 1993 of sexual assault, buggery, assault causing bodily harm, rape, indecent assault and gross indecency, moved to the city on Thursday.
The Salvation Army runs a federal halfway house in Brantford and has been identified by Hamilton’s CH TV as Cooper’s new home.
When The Expositor reached the facility at 187 Dalhousie St. last Friday, a receptionist said they could neither confirm nor deny his presence there and that she had been “instructed not to talk.”
“That frightens me,” McDonald of Cooper living downtown.
“This place is just a couple of blocks away from Harmony Square where children skate and play.”
News that Cooper is living in Brantford led Brant MP Phil McColeman to call for support of tougher legislation for those who abuse children.
“This repeat sex offender is being released into my community,” McColeman said Monday in the House of Commons.
“Our government promised to crack down on those who victimize children. We will also be bringing forward legislation to ensure that life sentences actually mean life sentences, behind bars, for the worst of the worst criminals.”
Cooper qualifies as the “worst of the worst,” said McColeman.
“When I read the parole board’s comment and conditions of release, they’re saying he’s not been rehabilitated during his period of incarceration and the likelihood of re-offending is high.
“That’s shocking and outrageous. It’s offensive.”
McColeman, who previously sat on the Public Safety Committee, said the Tories are pushing for sentencing that could be made on each count rather than global sentences or concurrent sentences.
“He could have been serving 180 years,” said McColeman, noting that there are six victims in Cooper’s case.
“But this was a statutory release. There was no power in the parole board hearing to keep him incarcerated.”
McDonald said the laws need to be changed so that high risk offenders are either rehabilitated in custody or kept there.
“I thank Phil McColeman on behalf of all Canadians for his stance. He’s getting a lot of support on his FaceBook page.”
Information from the Parole Board of Canada indicates that in “certain circumstances” the board can order that an offender remain in custody until the end of their sentence.
Cooper was arrested in 1987 after abusing six children over a period of 16 years.
At one point he escaped to England but was extradited in 1992 and finally convicted in 1993. During the trial, 64 charges were dropped.
“You used such items as a cattle prod, buggy whip, a cow halter, cat-o-nine tails, belts and sticks as weapons of physical abuse,” says the Parole Board of Canada decision obtained by The Expositor.
This month is not the first time Cooper has been living in public.
According to the parole board, Cooper was out of prison for four years, after being released to a halfway house in 2008. He eventually got an apartment but breached his parole conditions several times.
His release agreement was revoked in January 2012 because he hadn’t reported several incidents of inappropriate behaviour – including a sexual allegation – to police as required.
Cooper’s installation in Brantford has caused a wail of indignation on social media sites.
A petition to have him removed from the city has quickly amassed almost 1,800 signatures. The petition also calls on police to release his address.
An official from the department of public safety said Brantford police were notified of Cooper’s imminent arrival on Nov. 27 but it is not common for police to issue warnings to the public about sex offenders.
Old photos of Cooper are all that are available. At one time he was a heavy-set, dark-haired man with a moustache.
Media reports now characterize him as a paunchy, wheel-chair bound, grey-haired man with a white goatee and round glasses.
The parole board has him under a list of restrictions: he can have no contact with his victims or their families; he can’t be in the presence of girls under the age of 18 unless accompanied by an adult who knows his history; he must report all sexual relationships and all relationships with females to parole supervisor; he must report all relationships or friendships with women who have responsibility for children; he can not go into bars; he can not drink alcohol; and he must take medication and follow psychiatric treatment.
Cooper has been denied any overnight leave privileges unless the board meets again to decide otherwise.
In its decision, the board was clearly concerned about Cooper’s current girlfriend – a woman employed by and living with a friend where she cares for young children.
And they noted that, despite hours and hours of psychological counselling, Cooper returned to inappropriate behaviour as soon as he was back in the community on his previous release.
His risk for reoffending was judged as moderate in 2012 but it was noted that the risk might increase if Cooper becomes lonely, rejected or returns to using power and control in his relationships.
A psychological assessment in 2012 said that, despite Cooper’s advanced age, he was “still focused on sexually related matters.”
He is to continue taking anti-androgen medication which can diminish male libido.
The parole board decided that Cooper has to stay in a halfway house residence until 20 years of his 30-year sentence expires on Jan. 15, 2015.
*** Notorious pedophile James Cooper is living in Toronto after being released from prison again ***
** http://www.thespec.com/…/4897838-notorious-hamilton-pedophi… **
The 78-year-old Hamilton man, considered one of the worst sex offenders in Canadian history, has been on statutory release since Sept. 17. He was sentenced to 30 years in 1993 for raping, torturing and beating six children aged seven to 14.
At the time, it was the harshest penalty ever handed down to a child molester in Canada, but it was later reduced on appeal.
Cooper has been out of jail on statutory release numerous times previously. His last release, to a Brantford halfway house in December 2013, was revoked in May because the Parole Board of Canada found he was “engaging in behaviour which strongly suggests a return to predatory behaviour potentially against women and children.”
Despite past issues with his release, legislation makes it automatic for him to go back out into the community after serving two-thirds of his sentence.
However, Correctional Services Canada could have made a recommendation to the parole board that Cooper be detained