Rapist Rene Bourdon (inset) was considered so dangerous when he was sentenced in North Bay in 2003 for attacks on three women that a judge imposed one of the most restrictive legal leashes available to rein in a sex offender’s deviancy – short of a life sentence in prison. But as Bourdon’s case has progressed, it’s clear there’s a significant loophole in the law that he’s exploiting.
The problem rests with the long-term supervision order slapped on Bourdon for seven years. It gives authorities the power to keep tabs on Bourdon after his sentence has expired. Long-term supervision orders were created as an alternative to the onerous dangerous offender designations, which require a long and complex court process and can put a criminal behind bars for life. In theory, long-term supervision orders keep the community safe because they force the ex convict to live by strict conditions while he’s free and report to a parole supervisor. Ideally, it’s a safer way to reintegrate a dangerous offender. In many cases, like Bourdon’s, the criminal is required to live at a halfway house. But Bourdon has found, perhaps unwittingly, a way to run out his seven-year supervision order without having to abide by any conditions. He keeps breaking the rules of his order, and ends up being tossed behind bars, to await decisions of the National Parole Board and the courts. While he’s behind bars, where he poses no risk to the community, his long-term supervision order continues to expire.
It’s happening again right now.
Bourdon appeared before two members of the National Parole Board April 7 because he was caught, for the fifth time, breaking his conditions. This time, it’s believed he was on the Internet with a laptop computer, perhaps surfing porn or trolling for women, as he’s done in the past. Bourdon was living at a halfway house in Hamilton when he was caught with the laptop. His release was suspended and he’s now behind bars at Bath Institution, a medium-security federal prison just west of Kingston, Ont. While he sits there, posing no risk to the public, his long-term supervision order is still ticking away. The clock on that seven-year term doesn’t stop until Bourdon is convicted of a new offence and begins serving the sentence. But he can amass significant time behind bars, waiting for the process to grind on. It happened once already, in 2006, when Bourdon was caught consorting with two teenage girls, aged 15 and 16, while he was living at a halfway house in Kingston. In that case, the same thing happened. He was scooped off the street, thrown back behind bars and eventually convicted of violating his supervision order. While Bourdon waited for a judge to pronounce sentence, more than 20 months ticked off his supervision order – 20 months when he posed no risk to the community.
It’s likely Bourdon, described by his parole officer as a chronic liar, will shave another significant chunk of time off his supervision order this time around again and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. When he’s finally released again, there’ll be little time left to keep tabs on him as he slips back into society, and the intent of his long-term supervision order will have been circumvented.
» Read 31 pages of Bourdon’s internal parole records in this other post