‘Noah’s law’ tightening tracking of sex offenders tabled after murder of 16-month-old boy | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

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Conservative MP Gerald Soroka, right, and Conservative Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu participate in a news conference on the introduction of Noah’s Law, a bill that would improve the monitoring of registered sex offenders, in Ottawa, on June 6.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Serial sex offenders would be required by law to notify the police of a change of address and would face criminal charges for failing to report to a registration centre, under a Conservative bill meant to improve monitoring of people deemed at high risk of committing further sex crimes.

The bill, dubbed Noah’s Law, is dedicated to the memory of Noah McConnell, a 16-month-old boy who, with his mother, Mchale Busch, was abducted and killed in 2021 by a convicted sex offender who lived across the hall from them in their apartment block.

At a press conference in Parliament Tuesday, Cody McConnell, Noah’s father, made a heartfelt plea to MPs and Senators to back the bill to prevent anyone else in Canada suffering the tragedy that struck his family.

The private member’s bill, introduced this week in both the Senate and the Commons, proposes that the most high-risk sex offenders be required to register for 30 years, and imposes criminal penalties for those failing to register with the police.

“On September 16, 2021, my life was forever changed,” Mr. McConnell said. “On that day, my 16-month-old son shot a hockey puck for the first time. Within hours of that special moment our neighbour – a man we did not know who had lived next door to us for just two weeks – abducted my wife, my son, then assaulted and brutally murdered them both.”

His family was murdered by a 53-year-old registered sex offender deemed highly likely to reoffend.

Quebec Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, whose eldest daughter, Julie, was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a repeat offender, introduced the bill in the Senate. He told The Globe and Mail that Noah’s Law would equip the authorities with more tools to track high-risk sex offenders after they leave jail and move back to the community.

“What we change is there is going to be an obligation for a sex offender to inform police services when they change address. Right now it’s not an obligation. But we make it a crime if you don’t inform the police services that you move,” he said.

Noah and his mother were murdered in the Alberta riding of Conservative MP Gerald Soroka, who introduced the bill in the Commons. He told The Globe that high-risk sex offenders can move and that the police “don’t have a clue where they are.”

A person can be added to the National Sex Offender Registry for 10 years if the maximum prison sentence for their crime is two to five years. If they are given 10 to 14 years in prison, they have to remain on the registry for 20 years. Someone convicted of two sex offences or more remains on the registry for life.

However, last year the Supreme Court ruled that a 2011 change to the Criminal Code requiring sex offenders to automatically be added to the registry was unconstitutional, and that people added since 2011 should be able to apply to have their status changed.

The government brought in Bill S-12 to enforce the changes within the year, saying that if it fails to do so courts will not be able to order sexual offenders to register. That bill would also bring in fresh safeguards and could make more people register.

Private members bills, such as the one brought forward by the Conservatives, struggle to become law without government support. Diana Ebadi, a spokeswoman for Justice Minister David Lametti, said on Tuesday that the minister was planning to review Noah’s Law.

The minister’s “heartfelt condolences go to Cody McConnell, as he grieves the tragic loss of his fiancée and son,” she said. “He appreciates Cody and his loved ones coming to Ottawa this week, and their advocacy on this important matter. He looks forward to reviewing Noah’s Law as it makes it way through both chambers.”

“Recently, Minister Lametti introduced Bill S-12, the purpose of which is to make the criminal justice system one that puts the needs of victims at the forefront,” Ms. Ebadi added.

“It does so in three key ways: by automatically registering repeat, sexual offenders to the National Sex Offender Registry, by adding new offences such as non-consensual sharing of intimate images and sextortion as offences that may result in registration, and by empowering victims to have a choice when it comes to publication bans and receiving ongoing information about their case after sentencing.”

Mr. Lametti and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino pledged to their American counterparts earlier this year that Ottawa will share information on Canadians convicted of sexual offences against children when those offenders travel to the United States.

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