A mother herself, a woman named Angie (did not want to give last name) came out to show her support for a protest over the cancellation of a probation order against a known offender ordered to stay away from where children may be.
Angie was one of about 10 people who showed up at the steps outside the Vernon Courthouse Sunday, Sept. 27, protesting the cancellation of a probation order against Richard Allan Slobodian, born in 1962.
Slobodian had his probation order cancelled by B.C. Provincial Court Judge Mayland McKimm on Sept. 14, when he appeared at the Vernon courts for an application to vary sentence. The Crown opposed the cancellation, according to Dan McLaughlin, communications counsel for the B.C. Prosecution Service.
Slobodian’s charges date back to 2014, when Crown prosecutors imposed restrictions on the grounds that he was a danger to committing a sexual offence against a minor. Court records show Slobodian was placed on a court-ordered recognizance, or peace bond, which he subsequently breached at least a dozen times.
In June, Slobodian spent one night in jail and was fined $500 for failing to comply with a probation officer after allegedly taking photos near a Coldstream playground.f
“I’m here because it’s the right thing to do,” said Angie. “Even if I didn’t have kids I’d still be here. I want to show my support Has kids. Even if I didn’t I’d still be here. I want to show my support…We need to change the laws back. Change to much stricter penalties. People need to be afraid. It’s too easy for people to get away with things with crimes against children.”
Angie created a sign that read #dontbeagoof.
“I saw it on a Facebook page and it hit me hard,” she said. “I thought, ‘Just don’t do it.’ Too many people are comfortable. Even going to jail or protective custody, it’s like a paradise for pedophiles…They should be in the general population with everybody else. There shouldn’t be protection for that kind of people.”
The organizer of Sunday’s protest was Kaitlynn Hennessy, who has no children of her own but is an aunt to nieces and nephews. The decision to cancel the probation order triggered something inside her.
“I basically wanted to show support and show our community that pedophiles aren’t welcome here,” she said. “We don’t have a justice system at all. It’s pointed toward all the people doing bad things. There’s no support for victims or children.”
Hennessy had been hoping for a larger turnout Sunday. Many vehicles did honk their horns as a show of support passing the courthouse.