Why is Surrey a repository for monsters?
Not yet five months have passed since "high-risk" sex offender Raymond Lee Caissie was charged with the murder of 17-year-old Serena Vermeersch, and now another "high-risk" sex offender is heading our way?
Caissie, who’ll be back in court on Feb. 20, was released on bail into Surrey on June 14, 2013 after serving his sentence. You might recall at the time then-mayor Dianne Watts predicted he’d re-offend. She expressed outrage and dismay over his moving to Surrey. But as time wore on, Caissie was more or less forgotten by the public until last September, when Vermeersch’s body was found near some railway tracks.
Now, with her death still a fresh scar on Surrey’s psyche, the Ministry of Justice, Corrections Branch – an ironic title, that – sends out a public notification that convicted child molester James Conway has been released from prison and plans to live in Surrey.
Caissie had 12 court-ordered conditions to abide by. Conway has 27. Does that indicate Conway is considered a higher risk, or that the authorities have him on a shorter leash? Glass half full, at least the public was notified about Conway’s release.
At any rate, Watts’ successor, Mayor Linda Hepner, is furious he’s coming here, if not here already.
Deja vu? After Caissie’s arrest, federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay said the Conservative government would look at toughening up the system by locking up some convicts indefinitely – a provision already available through dangerous offender designation.
Maybe Conway will behave. And Caissie has yet to be tried. Still, one recalls two young Surrey women who fell victim to repeat offenders: Pamela Cameron, 16, and Melanie Carpenter, 23.
Vermeersch was last seen boarding a bus in Newton. Cameron was killed a few minutes after leaving Muffin Break at Semiahmoo shopping centre, where she did her homework, and Carpenter was abducted from the tanning salon where she worked in Fleetwood.
How many of Surrey’s daughters must be sacrificed to recidivists? How many "Take Back Surrey – Rally 4 Change" protests must he held, before the horror stops?
At the bottom of Conway’s public notification, in fine print, is the slogan "Protect Communities, Reduce Reoffending."
We shall see.