MEDICINE HAT, AB — News that a convicted pedophile has a profile on a prisoner pen pal website has one of his victims feeling “disgusted” and is concerning to Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner MP Glen Motz.
Last week, Zach Miller, a victim of pedophile Peter Whitmore, called it disgusting when he found out Whitmore had a profile on Canadian Inmates Connect, a pen pal site for inmates. It allows people to write to prisoners who are seeking relationships or friendships. Prisoners pay to be listed on the website, and addresses for the prison where they’re serving their sentence is listed.
Whitmore is serving a life sentence in prison on charges of kidnapping and sexual assault, after kidnapping Miller, then 10, and 14-year-old Winnipeg boy in 2006. He abused the boys repeatedly in an abandoned barn in Saskatchewan, before being arrested following a police standoff.
Whitmore had previous convictions for offences involving pedophilia.
His profile says he is lonely, suffers from leukemia and is seeking friendship. While his entry lists his convictions of kidnapping and sexual assault, his biography doesn’t note he is a convicted pedophile.
Miller, who fought a court ban to allow his name to be revealed, says having Whitmore on the website is a public safety risk.
Motz, a former police officer in Medicine Hat who was involved with the Victims Assistance Unit, says he has concerns about the website, noting victims of crime can be forced to relive their trauma.
“His victim from year's back is re-victimized,” Motz said. “He's the one who has come forward, from what I understand, and is now saying ‘how is this possible?’ He's no doubt reliving this. We need to ensure that our justice system provides the same amount of care for the victims of our crimes as well.”
Motz is a member of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, and says a government’s main responsibility should be keeping people safe.
“As Conservatives, as most Canadians, we believe that those people who commit criminal actions, there’s consequences for those, and they need to be held accountable for those actions,” he said. “Unlike the current government, the Liberals, we don’t believe the policies should be so slanted for the criminals that the victims are ignored, and public safety is ignored.”
A disclaimer on the website states all information is provided by the inmate and is not verified by Canada Inmates Connect.
The site has caused controversy in recent years, as notable prisoners have been listed on the site, including Justin Bourque, who killed three Mounties in Moncton in 2014.
T-Jaye Heller, a Medicine Hat resident who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of a two-year-old child, is also listed on the website. The biological father of the child wants Heller’s profile taken off the site, and a petition asking for the site to remove the profile was launch in January.
-With Files from the Canadian Press.
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