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How was BC sex offender able to be near children?: Kelowna MLA | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey


B.C.’s public safety minister says he has directed his staff to launch an investigation amid questions around how convicted sex offender Taylor Dueck, now accused of assaulting an 11-year-old girl in Kelowna last month, was able to be around children.

Mike Farnworth says he ordered the review “immediately” upon learning about the case.

“When this horrific event was brought to my attention on Thursday, it was clear to me that this was a situation that should not have happened. It’s a horrific situation,” he said in response to questions from reporters Wednesday.

Questions have been raised about who was monitoring Dueck in the community in early February when he was at a Kelowna equestrian centre for more than two hours, during which time the child was assaulted.

BCU MLA Renee Merrifield, who represents Kelowna-Mission, was among those to question the release, which was done without warning to the public.

“The release of convicted repeat sex offender Taylor Dueck into our community without warning is a complete violation of trust between this NDP government and those it is supposed to serve,” she said during Question Period Tuesday.

“At no point was anyone told about this predator’s criminal record, the condition that he have one-to-one supervision at all times and that he was not to be around children. While children were arriving for after-school lessons, this convicted child molester’s supervisor sat in the parking lot, in his vehicle, for two and a half hours. The result was an 11-year-old girl being cornered and sexually assaulted in the bathroom by this predator.”

In an interview with CityNews, Merrifield told CityNews the community should have been notified about Dueck’s release.

She explains Dueck’s supervisor “actually watched as children were walking past him to go to the farm. So it’s clearly a failure, but why wasn’t the public notified? Why wasn’t this farm owner notified? And when we’ve asked that question, the response back is, ‘Well, privacy laws.’ That’s not acceptable.”

Merrifield says there needs to be mechanisms in place to ensure this sort of thing doesn’t happen. She also can’t fathom how someone like Dueck, who is bound by conditions including not being around children, was able to be where he was.

RCMP says it applied to notify Kelowna public about Dueck’s release

In a statement, the Kelowna RCMP says it applied to notify the public that Dueck would be living in the city, but tells CityNews the threshold for that kind of notification wasn’t met.

“While we understand the commentary surrounding this case, there are multiple factors in the decision-making process for a (Public Interest Disclosure). I can confirm that a PID was sought prior to his release in Kelowna, however the threshold was not met in this case based on the totality of the circumstances,” the RCMP wrote.

Mounties deferred further questions about the matter to BC Corrections.

Meanwhile, Merrifield tells CityNews she learned Dueck was at the farm as part of “an arrangement between the social worker and the farm owner.”

“Having said that, at no point when the farm owner had asked about that particular individual and what sort of special needs he had — because that was the premise she was given — when that was asked, the response from the social worker was ‘he needs emotional support,’” she claimed.

“At no time was there ever disclosure that there was a criminal record, that there was supervisory necessity that they were not to be around children. If so, he would have never been anywhere near that farm.”

When it comes to Dueck specifically, Merrifield says there’s been a “cataclysmic spiral of failures throughout every agency that dealt with him.”

“Why there was not more discretion utilized, whether there was more diligence utilized — there are huge amounts of failures,” she said.

However, she says the “failure goes further back than just the supervisor,” pointing also to the organization that “put him there in the first place.” Even more, she says these “failures” are being witnessed within the system as a whole, not just in this one case.

Who was monitoring Dueck?

Farnworth was asked on Wednesday about reports that the person monitoring Dueck was an employee of an organization called Personal Lifestyle Support in the Okanagan, which was subcontracted by crown corporation Community Living B.C. He was also asked why such work would be contracted out.

He responded by saying the circumstances would be investigated, and that his ministry has been directed to get “all public agencies, all federal agencies, and all officials involved to get to the bottom of exactly what happened, to find out whether it was a systemic failure, whether it was the failure of an individual.”

“Quite frankly, it should not have happened and I want to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Farnworth added on Wednesday.

CityNews reached out to Personal Lifestyle Support, who referred questions to the RCMP.

CLBC says it’s reviewing its contract with Personal Lifestyle Support and it will be cooperating fully with the investigation.

Cris Leykauf with CLBC says the corporation doesn’t provide any services itself, but rather connects clients who have developmental and intellectual disabilities with service providers. She says there was little she could share with CityNews about how CLBC handles oversight for providers working with clients who have criminal histories or conditions.

Leykauf adds Personal Lifestyle Supports isn’t supervising any other clients who are bound by court-ordered conditions.

According to Parole Board of Canada documents, Dueck was denied day parole and full parole in October 2022. However, he finished his sentenced in June 2023, after which point he was out on a supervision order, bound by conditions.

“Please be advised that the enclosed decision was made during the offender’s previous federal sentence, as completed on June 23, 2023,” the board said in a statement Tuesday.

“The risk assessment that was conducted in order to make this decision was based on the offender’s behaviour at that time. As this offender is not currently serving a federal term of imprisonment, he is no longer under the authority of the Parole Board of Canada.”

In February 2020, police in Abbotsford notified the public that Dueck was being released from prison and would be residing in the city. Days later, the Mission RCMP also issued a notice, saying he would be living in that community instead.

He committed crimes less than two months after he was released from prison.

Dueck was taken into custody following the allegations of assault on Feb. 9. The RCMP says he is being held on three charges: invitation to sexual touching, sexual interference, and breach of probation.

A bail hearing was set for Wednesday morning, however, the judge reserved her decision in the matter, according to the BC Prosecution Service.

It says Dueck’s next appearance is set for March 8, to fix a date for the decision.





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