'What rights do we have?' North Van residents frustrated by offender warning
NORTH VANCOUVER -- Residents of a North Shore housing complex are upset that the BC Corrections Service warned them about an offender living in their area who shouldn’t be around children, but won’t tell them what he’s done nor even his name.
People who weren’t home at the time got a letter on their door addressed to parents or guardians last week, reading, “Please be advised that North Shore Community Corrections attempted to speak with you today regarding a public safety matter.”
A representative went to speak with resident Rebecca Ciccione in person when she called back.
"They explained that there's a person of interest who's living in the complex,” she said. “They wouldn't share his name, they did show a photo of him and just said he couldn't be around kids 16 years of age or younger – so obviously that causes some concern for parents."
She said they showed her a photo of man who has lived in the complex since the summer and she’s seen many times. Corrections staff did not let her take a picture of the printed photo.
With rumours swirling through the Cedarbrook Village community in the wake of internet searches to find out what the man in the photo had done to prompt the warning, CTV News tried to verify his identity and criminal record.
The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General responded via email, saying, “Due to privacy laws, BC Corrections cannot comment on specific individuals under its supervision.”
The statement goes on to say, “BC Corrections has no authority to impose or enforce geographic or other residency conditions beyond those put in place by the courts” and that “in accordance with legislation and privacy requirements, BC Corrections may conduct a ‘consistent purpose notification’ to immediate neighbours of an offender who is living in the community under court-ordered conditions.”
Larson Elementary school is next to the townhome complex, but School District 44 officials tell CTV News they haven’t received any notification about an offender from RCMP or BC Corrections.
Ciccione says the lack of information has parents’ imaginations running wild as they work to figure out what they should do.
"It's frustrating,” she said. “What rights do we, as good citizens, have when we have children and are warned about this person?"
The full text of the letter left for parents who weren't home is embedded below.