A convicted child sex offender is living under parole conditions in Princeton, in close proximity to an elementary school.
After a weeks-long investigation, The Spotlight confirmed that Andrew Mullaly, 38 and formerly of Chilliwack, has resided here for several months.
His placement in the community, which was not initially reported to police, is raising concerns with community leaders.
Mullaly lives in a home less than 100 metres from the John Allison Elementary playground.
Mullaly pleaded guilty in provincial court in April 2019, to charges related to sexual assault and possession of child pornography. He was arrested after a young victim came forward.
Crown stayed a related charge of extortion.
Mullaly was sentenced to 18 months in jail, followed by three years of probation with strict conditions.
As part of the plea agreement, Crown proceeded summarily rather than by indictment, which meant the conviction to which he pleaded is substantially less serious than if it were to be heard in BC Supreme Court.
After serving six months of his sentence, Mullaly was granted parole, allowing him to serve the balance of his sentence in the community.
The parole board’s decision, obtained by The Spotlight, redacts the address of where the offender must reside.
At the time the Spotlight learned the offender was living in the community, the local RCMP detachment had not been notified of his presence here.
Sgt. Rob Hughes spoke with a parole officer from Kelowna on Sept. 10.
In that meeting, he told the Spotlight he expressed his concerns with the nature of the previous offences, and also with the proximity of the school playground to Mullaly’s residence.
However, Hughes stressed Mullaly is not doing anything wrong.
“He is operating within the confines of the law.”
Speaking to The Spotlight, Central Okanagan-Nicola-Similkameen MP Dan Albas shared concerns about the situation.
While Mullaly’s conditions don’t specify how far he must keep from children, Albas argued it is not possible to live so close to a school, and not be in the presence of children.
After reading the parole board decision, Albas said it looks like “mistakes were made.”
He promised to take questions to the minister responsible.
“I will be closely following this …ultimately we, as Canadians, with our justice system, need to do a better job.”
Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne said events unfolded in an unacceptable fashion.
“I am deeply concerned that this had to come forward because of a newspaper investigation, instead of the justice system … this is a grievous breakdown in the system.”
Coyne said he is very disturbed by the offender’s proximity to the elementary school, and hopes authorities will review the situation.
“The parole conditions, in my opinion, are lacking when it comes to public safety.”
Corrections Services Canada (CSC) is responsible for supervising offenders on parole.
Lucinda Fraser, media relations advisor for CSC, responded in writing to The Spotlight’s request for information regarding the process.
“Before an offender is returned to the community, CSC undertakes a comprehensive period of pre-release planning to ensure offender risk is manageable. A community supervision plan outlines the measures required for the safe return of offenders to the community. If there is any indication that an offender’s risk in the community cannot be effectively managed, a warrant of suspension, apprehension and recommitment can be issued. Public safety is paramount when reviewing the progress of offenders and their requests for conditional release,” the statement read.
Conditions of Mullay’s parole include abstaining from drugs and alcohol, and reporting intimate relationships.
They also state Mullaly must “… Not to be in the presence of any female children under the age of 16 unless you are accompanied by a responsible adult who knows your criminal history and has previously been approved in writing, by your parole supervisor.”
According to a family member, and a local witness, Mullaly lives with his wife and two young children.
The parole board decision, dated Nov. 14, 2019, reads in part:
“Between 2013 and 2018 you sexually assaulted [redacted] on approximately 20 separate occasions. The assaults began when she was 11 years old. You pled guilty to the charges and have taken full responsibility for your actions. You have no other criminal offences or charges, and therefore no criminal record…
“…You have family members, your parents and your wife, who are supportive of you. A community assessment completed on them says that they are supportive of your release and will hold you accountable. They have spoken highly of the changes that you have made in your life such as attending sex offender support groups, and abstaining from alcohol, drugs, and pornography. A psychological assessment completed for your trial found you to be a low risk of future sexual reoffending if you obtained treatment for sexual addiction, and maintained your abstinence from problematic sexual behaviour.”
When Mullaly initially pleaded guilty, the Crown and defence presented a joint submission to the court for a one-year prison sentence followed by 18 months parole.
Provincial court judge Judge Andrea Ormiston sentenced him to 18 months jail followed by three years probation, the maximum allowed under the charge conviction.
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