Pedophile John Gallienne (seen above in a photo of a choir at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Ottawa – he’s back row left in the red robe) will automatically be stripped of his pardon if he is convicted of a new sex charge laid this week by Kingston Police. Gallienne, 65, is charged with indecent assault on a young boy in Kingston in the early 1980s, when he was the beloved organist and choirmaster at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral.
In the early 1990s, he was convicted of more than 20 sex crimes involving 15 young boys he preyed on for at least 15 years through his powerful position.
Gallienne was released from prison in 1994 after serving four years of a six-year prison term. He obtained a pardon from the National Parole Board, the Whig-Standard learned, though officials will not confirm it.
“We can’t talk about specific cases,” said Caroline Douglas, the director of communications in Ottawa for the National Parole Board.
Gallienne was required to wait at least five years after the end of his prison sentence to seek the pardon.
Yves Bellefeuille, director of pardons for the board, said if a person with a pardon is convicted of a new, serious crime, the pardon is revoked in a process started by the RCMP.
“The files are reactivated and then the RCMP informs the Parole Board and, of course, other partners that were part of that file are informed and everybody reactivates the file,” Bellefeuille said, in an interview Friday, his last day on the job before retirement.
He said that a conviction for a crime that took place before the pardon was granted is still considered a new conviction that automatically overrides the pardon.
“From the moment there is new court action that took place with a conviction, at that point the person will be losing their pardon because it’s a cessation,” he said.
It’s not known why Gallienne sought a pardon, though Canadians with criminal records for serious crimes are barred from travelling to the United States and some other countries.
Gallienne is active in the St. John’s Anglican Church congregation in Ottawa, where he lives, and where his criminal record is widely known. He is active in music programs there, in violation of a ban on such activity imposed by Anglican leaders in the Kingston region. The ban is not binding in Ottawa.
A pardon does not erase a criminal record.
In the case of someone convicted of a sex crime, the record is kept in a separate location but the name is flagged in the Canadian Police Information Centre, a database used by law enforcement.
Details of the conviction would be discovered during a check that takes place if the person applies to work with children, the disabled or other vulnerable people, according to the Parole Board.
Bellefeuille said the board has implemented more stringent investigation and decision-making processes since 2007 for sexual offenders seeking pardons.
“If the person lived in Ottawa, we will check again with the local police of Ottawa but also we will check, even though he never lived let’s say in Gatineau, we will check with Gatineau, so we kind of expanded our geographic search,” he said.
The board also is adding more automated links to law enforcement databases in addition to the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC).
“We can do a CPIC check, but there’s also other systems that exist that are managed by the RCMP and linked with the police and it’s those types of systems,” he said. “They are law enforcement or investigation systems.”
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has pledged to overhaul the pardon process to make it more difficult for sex offenders to get pardons.
The promise was made earlier this month in the face of public outrage over the revelation that former junior hockey Graham James, who was convicted of molesting young male players, received a pardon in 2007.
The government failed to follow through on a plan last year to make pardons more expensive.
The Parole Board sought to triple the price of pardon applications from $50 to $150.
The Conservative government did not move ahead with the proposed fee hike, although the Parole Board said it could not afford to continue processing applications for just $50 each.
“It’s something that has been a struggle because with inflation and all the rest … but at this time we are still at the $50 mark,” Douglas said.
Pardons also can be revoked if courts provide the board with new information about convictions, Bellefeuille said. If a person with a pardon is convicted of a minor crime, the RCMP notifies the Parole Board and it conducts an investigation. A board member decides whether the pardon should be revoked.
Last year, more than 700 pardons were revoked.
More than 400,000 people have received pardons since the program was created in 1970, with more than 15,000 revocations.
The number of pardon applications in Canada has skyrocketed.
The number of applications last year, roughly 35,700, is more than double the number filed five years ago. Last year, the board granted more than 30,300 pardons, including some from a backlog from the previous year.
Bellefeuille said activity by private firms that help broker pardons may explain the surge.
“There’s been a lot of marketing on their part and … we also have the baby boomers that have retired,” he said. “There’s more and more and they are probably looking at travelling to the U.S. and things like that.”
It’s estimated that nearly 4 million Canadians have a criminal record.
Gallienne was released on bail Thursday. His case is scheduled to he heard in court again April 27.