‘Is this justice?’ Victim demands after convicted Ottawa sex offender granted day parole

The decision noted that Sullivan appeared before the Parole Board of Canada as a first-time federal offender who « emotionally took responsibility for the offense » and « clarified the extent » of his historical offenses.

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Victims of convicted sex offender Donald Joseph Sullivan are outraged after the former scout leader and Canadian Forces officer was granted day parole after serving less than half of his six-year prison sentence for sex crimes against at less than ten children.

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Sullivan, now 71, was denied full parole on July 22 but was given six months of day parole in a community residential facility, according to the parole board of Canada’s release order. .

Sullivan was sentenced in September 2019 to five concurrent terms for acts of gross indecency committed against young boys while serving as a volunteer scout leader in the 1970s. He was given an additional one-year sentence for an assault sexual abuse he committed in the 1990s.

Between the date of his sentencing and his release in July, Sullivan served approximately two years and 10 months in prison for these crimes.

“Is this justice? one of his victims wrote in an email interview after Sullivan was granted day parole.

“In five months, he will be able to apply for full parole. Meanwhile, his victims continue to serve their life sentences,” the victim wrote. « He got away with it easily compared to the rest of us who are still going through addiction therapy or treatment. »

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Sullivan’s 2019 criminal trial heard testimony from numerous victims who told the court of the « twisted damage » Sullivan inflicted on them.

A judge nearly cried as he read some of the victim impact statements at the end of the trial, where crown prosecutors had asked for a 10-year jail sentence.

Ottawa police began investigating Sullivan’s historic sex crimes in June 2018 after victims reported abuse while he was a volunteer scout leader from 1972 to 1975.

Scouts Canada fired Sullivan in 1977 when police officers began visiting the families of children under his watch, telling them of allegations of sexual abuse against boys. He was not charged with any crime at the time.

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The parole board noted in its decision that Sullivan admitted to leaving a trail of more victims who did not result in criminal charges.

Sullivan was court-martialed in the 1980s after pleading guilty to gross indecency while serving at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, New Brunswick, where he rose to the rank of corporal.

According to court martial records, he met and cared for his victims, mostly children of fellow Canadian Forces members, as an « altar boy instructor » at the base chapel and as youth counselor in the nearby village of Gagetown.

Sullivan pleaded guilty to five counts of gross indecency, but, according to these records, successfully appealed his four-year sentence and was effectively pardoned and released in 1986 after serving a year.

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Almost 20 years passed before Sullivan was caught molesting a child in 2005.

He admitted to a psychiatrist in 2018 to sexually abusing 30 boys between the ages of eight and 12 between 1975 and 2005, from when Sullivan was a 24-year-old Boy Scout leader until he was charged in the first time. at 55 years old.

He served nine months in provincial jail in 2005 for the assault on a minor after being convicted of two counts of sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching.

Sullivan received treatment at the Royal Ottawa Hospital for eight years after his release in 2005, with « group cognitive behavioral therapy » and medication to curtail his sexual interests.

A psychiatric evaluation completed in January estimated Sullivan’s risk of recidivism « in the low to moderate range for future sexual offenses, » according to the parole board’s decision.

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He is prohibited from being in the presence of children under the age of 16 unless authorized in writing by his parole supervisor and accompanied by an adult who is fully aware of Sullivan’s criminal history.

His crimes involved « inappropriate activity with children (where Sullivan was) in a position of trust, » the board said, and Sullivan « admitted inappropriate attraction to children and received a corresponding diagnosis. »

The council took note of the « considerable long-term harm you have caused to the victims of your offence ».

The ruling noted that Sullivan appeared before the board as a first-time federal offender who « emotionally took responsibility for the offense » and « clarified the extent » of his historical offenses.

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« At no time did you minimize the liability or harm caused, » the board’s decision noted. « You take responsibility for your offences, disclosed the presence of additional victims and gave no indication of minimization. »

Sullivan was ordered to have no contact with his victims or their families as his crimes « inflicted significant emotional trauma and psychological harm on them and left them all struggling…

« You have offended and hurt a significant number of young victims and they continue to struggle with the long-term impact of your actions, » the board said in its ruling.

Sullivan’s behavior was « without issue or concern » during his 34-month stay in a federal penitentiary, the board’s decision said.

He’s made « positive gains » in prison programming, according to his host, and the board said Sullivan seems « unwavering in (his) desire to continue following prescribed treatment and medication. »



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