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Protection Gone Wrong
July 19, 2013 permalink
Niagara resident Shawn Michael Dunn was convicted last year of sexual offenses. Well-meaning community members distributed flyers warning of his presence, but cited the wrong address. The innocent residents at that address now fear for their safety. A comment by Vern Beck is below.
Vernon Beck This news report only shows the importance of advocates doing their research first before they act. The wrong action can do more harm than good to the movement for accountability.
Also, advocates should always remember that our efforts as citizens are about making the CAS and the court system accountable and transparent. Personal attacks on private individuals is more about a personal agenda and is not a very good demonstration of promoting accountability in Ontario for the benefit of all children and families.
Hopefully, those with that organization in St. Catherines will rethink their strategy and get back to focusing on making the system accountable. Their hearts may be in the right place but they have to remain focused on the goal of accountability.
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
Pedophile poster points to wrong address
ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - A family is living in fear of retribution after their home was targeted in a poster campaign inaccurately claiming a sex offender is living there.
"It's scary," said the Bolton Ave. homeowner, who didn't want her name used.
"It's literally just blossomed into this huge, huge thing that isn't even true."
But one of the men who handed out flyers warning residents Shawn Michael Dunn is living in the house stands by them.
"If we had to do this whole thing again, we wouldn't hesitate doing it," said the resident, who said he distributed the flyers with members of the Ontario Coalition for Accountability.
Two to 300 hundred of the flyers, titled "Attention Residents, For your protection," were distributed last Thursday on the woman's street and two blocks of surrounding areas, posted to telephone poles and at the nearby public pool.
They state Dunn is living at a Bolton Ave. address -- an address that belongs to a friend, not him.
"I think it's terrible. They're picking on people that don't deserve it," Dunn told QMI Agency, adding he's worried about his friends and family who have been threatened since his release from jail earlier this month.
"If anybody is angry, they should be angry with me, not my friends or family or people who know me."
Dunn said people don't know his whole story and he understands their fears.
"I know I did things wrong, but now I can look forward, do my best," he said. "I was found guilty and I've got to do my best to look past that and get my life in order."
Dunn, 44, was found guilty in March 2012 of two counts of sexual assault, assault by choking and sexual interference. The case involved allegations by two women, now in their 30s, who had separate sexual relationships with Dunn in the 1980s.
He was then convicted in May 2012 of sexual exploitation, sexual interference and two counts of sexual assault related to incidents in 2006 and 2010 involving two girls ages 10 and 14.
He was sentenced in Nov. 5 to 54 months in custody minus pre-sentence custody time served.
"There was never any intention of him going to Bolton Ave.," said Det. Const. Steve Canton, in charge of the Niagara Regional Police sex-offender registry.
Canton said he's prohibited by provincial law from disclosing information about the whereabouts of people on the sex-offender registry. But, he said, police were aware Dunn was getting out and knew where he was going, and had no issue with the location.
"His location is well known. It is a safe location, the public is safe," he said.
Police do occasionally release information about sex offenders if they are deemed a high risk to re-offend, which Dunn was not.
In this case, Canton said, a friend of Dunn's is being taunted because of misinformation.
The man who handed out the flyers, who spoke on anonymity for fear he'll be in trouble with police, said he and three others acted on a tip Dunn was seen at the residence.
He said if there's a convicted sex-offender in the neighbourhood, parents should be aware.
"We're not going to tolerate him in our community. We don't want him here," he said. "We're going to make it uncomfortable for him to stay."
The woman living in the house since December 2009 said she's afraid -- not of her friend Dunn, but of the people targeting her house. Her address has been shared dozens of times on Facebook, at the local pool and with neighbours. People won't speak to her. Her children ages 12, 15 and 22 are scared they'll be followed.
"My children are afraid. I'm afraid," she said. "He doesn't live here."
Source: Toronto Sun