Police across Ontario were looking for a serial sex offender Monday after he slipped away from a correctional facility in Kingston on Sunday night.
David Maracle, 51, was convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old Brantford, Ont., girl at gunpoint in 1997. He was released in 2015, but because he was deemed a long-term offender, Maracle was sent to live at the Henry Traill Community Correctional Centre in Kingston for up to 10 years. Similar to a halfway house, the 40-bed centre is supervised by staff at all times and residents are only allowed to venture into town if they give a detailed itinerary and sign in and out.
Maracle didn’t sign out on Sunday night. By 8 p.m., staff at the facility realized he was missing and called police. The only way out of the centre is through the front door, which is watched by staff, though he could have opened a window, said Brian Wheeler, the area manager for Correctional Services Canada who oversees the Henry Traill facility.
“Why he walked away is not clear,” he said. “Hopefully over the next few days we’ll have a better idea.” The Ontario Provincial Police dispatched its Repeat Offenders Parole Enforcement Team (ROPE) to both Kingston and Brantford, where Maracle’s family lives. Kingston Police were also looking for him. As of 6 p.m. Monday, he was still at large.
In just over a year at Henry Traill, Maracle didn’t raise flags. While he wasn’t employed in Kingston, he was undergoing treatment and behaviour management programs in the community, Wheeler said.
The Parole Board of Canada, however, raised concerns that Maracle was still “fantasizing about minor females.” Before he went to the Henry Traill centre in 2015, the parole board put a number of conditions on his release, including a ban on being in the presence of girls under 16 years old or anywhere children are likely to congregate. “With your minimal and untested gains, and continued fantasies about young females, to release you without residency (at Henry Traill) would not be in the interest of the protection of society,” the parole board wrote.
Police in Kingston warned residents to “remain vigilant” on Monday, pointing to Maracle’s criminal history, which reportedly includes three sexual assault convictions. In 1997, he grabbed a 14-year-old girl as she was walking to school in Brantford, 40 kilometres west of Hamilton. He pressed a gun to her head and took her to three locations where he raped her repeatedly.
After he was convicted of the rape in 1999, a judge declared him a dangerous offender — meaning Maracle could be imprisoned indefinitely. However, an Ontario Court of Appeal judge found “serious errors” in the trial judge’s instructions to the jury and set aside the conviction. In a new trial in 2007, Maracle pleaded guilty to kidnapping, possession of a gun to commit forcible confinement, sexual assault causing bodily harm, according to the Hamilton Spectator.
In 2009, Maracle was sentenced to six years in prison. But the judge did not reapply the dangerous offender designation, choosing instead to deem him a long-term offender, which led to his residency at Henry Traill once his sentence was completed.
In an interview with the Spectator after the judge’s decision, the victim’s mother vowed that Maracle “will never walk in our community again.”
“I have lived and breathed it every minute of the day all these years,” she said.
Police urged the public not to approach Maracle. OPP investigators can be reached at 1-866-870-7673, or via anonymous tip at Crime Stoppers, 1-800-222-8477.
Published: January 23, 2017.
Published: January 23, 2017.