Mayor Patrick Brown Asking that Convicted Sex Offender Not be Settled in Brampton
Brampton mayor Patrick Brown has written to Ontario's Attorney General and Minister of Community Safety asking that a convicted sex offender not be allowed to settle in Brampton.
Brown penned the latest letter after issuing a formal statement criticizing the recent decision to allow 36-year-old Madilyn Harks (formerly Matthew Harks) to live in the Main Street and Queen Street area in the city.
According to Peel police, Harks has been convicted of sexual assault against young females under the age of eight and is considered at heightened risk to reoffend. Police say Harks will be monitored closely and must abide by a slew of stringent conditions.
On March 23, Patrick Brown sent a letter signaling his disapproval to Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale.
"It is completely unacceptable that Matthew Harks (now Madilyn Harks), has been dumped by Correctional Service Canada in Brampton," Brown wrote to Goodale.
On March 25, Brown shared another letter he sent to Attorney General Caroline Mulroney and Minister Sylvia Jones.
"I am asking for your immediate assistance in our community's desire to reverse the decision by Correctional Service Canada to ‘dump’ Madilyn Harks (formerly Matthew Harks) in Downtown Brampton," Brown wrote.
“This is a pedophile with multiple convictions including three convictions of sexual assault against girls under the age of 8 and this monster has claimed to have victimized 60 girls. The fact that Ms. Harks is in a halfway house instead of jail is a clear example that our justice system is broken."
Brown reiterated that information received by police indicates that Harks could still pose a risk to the community. He also asked why Brampton was selected as her chosen residence, and further questioned the wisdom of placing her in an area close to parks and public attractions.
"Why is she being released in Brampton when she is from western Canada? Why is she being located near Main and Queen Street in Downtown Brampton? This neighbourhood includes Gage Park, the Rose Theatre, Ken Whillans Square, Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives which have a high number of children at these locations."
Both Peel police and the Peel District School Board issued community safety advisories about Harks.
Police say Harks is subject to a long term supervision order with numerous conditions. Harks is prohibited from attending public swimming areas, daycares, school grounds, playgrounds and community centres. She has also been barred from being in the presence of any children under the age of 14 unless accompanied by a responsible adult who has been approved by her parole supervisor.
Police are also warning residents not to endanger Harks in any way.
“This information is being issued to the public as a precautionary measure,” police said in a statement.
“Peel Regional Police strives to protect the public and values safety above all else. Members of the public are reminded that, although Madilyn Harks does present a safety risk to the public, she remains a Canadian citizen and her rights are guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As such, Peel Regional Police will act to protect these rights if they are infringed.”
Police are advising the public to use caution if they encounter Harks, adding that parents should be cognizant of their children’s activities and aware of the individuals with whom they are associating.
Brown is asking Mulroney and Jones to further communicate his concerns to the federal government.
"I hope you will also voice your concerns to Minister Goodale. Thank you for your immediate attention to this serious community safety issue in Brampton," Brown said.
In a statement regarding the issue, Goodale said that the vast majority of offenders do not reoffend after being released.
“We share the pain of the victims who continue to endure the trauma of these assaults. The number one priority of the criminal justice system is to protect the safety of the public. Ms. Harks’ sentence expired in 2010. She is subject to strict conditions imposed by the courts, the Parole Board and a halfway house.”
Goodale said that other precautions will be taken.
“A court imposed lifetime conditions and a Long Term Supervision Order--the toughest measure available to prevent high risk cases from re-offending through stringent conditions and supervision after their sentence has been served. That order is in place for the maximum length possible. She can be charged for violations and taken back into custody. Her halfway house can sanction any violations of their house rules. If her case management team feels her risk becomes unmanageable, appropriate steps will be taken to protect the public. Under the supervision of a Long Term Supervision Order, over 99% of sex offenders do not re-offend within six months.”
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