Surrey mayor ‘livid’ about release of high-risk sex offender
Published Tuesday, February 10, 2015 5:25PM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 10, 2015 7:38PM PST
Word that a high-risk sexual predator has been released into Surrey has the city’s mayor demanding better protection for residents.
Linda Hepner said she’s “livid” that James Conway, a 40-year-old convict known for targeting girls, is living in somewhere in her community.
“Quite frankly, it’s just not acceptable,” Hepner said. “It just baffles the mind. What is the matter with our system?”
Neither police nor the Ministry of Justice will say exactly where Conway is living, but authorities promise he is being closely monitored.
Conway is also subject to 27 court-ordered conditions, including that he not dress up like a firefighter, police officer, security guard, doctor, or wear any other uniform costumes.
That’s little comfort to some residents in the Newton area, who worry Conway could be their new neighbour.
“We have the probation office, the parole office, the majority of halfway houses. He’s probably going to be living in our neighbourhood,” said Doug Elford of the Newton Community Association.
The city is also still reeling from the September murder of Serena Vermeersch, a 17-year-old police believe was murdered by a man with a violent criminal history including rape.
“We’re quite outraged and very mad at the criminal justice system. It’s like it’s failed us again,” Elford said.
Hepner and the Newton Community Association want changes to federal laws to protect the community, and the Mayor said she plans to take her complaints to B.C.’s Justice Minister.
Conway was arrested for breaching his release conditions in April after Transit Police received a report that a man was looking down young girls’ shirts and using a teddy bear to try and talk to them.
More of his court-ordered conditions include that he not communicate with anyone under the age of 18, not possess alcohol or controlled substances in a public place, abide by a 10 p.m. curfew and keep away from parks, schools, public swimming areas and anywhere that underage kids could be.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Michele Brunoro