FOULDS: What next — beyond outrage?
Beyond the expected outrage — what then?
Beyond the visceral desire of any right-thinking person to do immense harm to serial rapist Jack Froese, what recourse does his latest victim have?
It will become brutally evident during court proceedings that Froese has ruined the life of yet another innocent woman. Yes, I understand innocent until proven guilty, but let’s cut the charade and acknowledge what will soon become fact.
Canada does not have capital punishment and, yes, it is accepted the death penalty does not act as a deterrent, as is evident by the experience in U.S. states that do practise capital punishment.
And, it is accepted that decades in prison do not necessarily make for a rehabilitated inmate, whether he remains behind bars or is eventually released.
However, is there not room in Canada for a healthy dose of punishment and safety from the very criminal behind bars, to go along with our criminal-justice system’s desire to rehabilitate?
Because this is Canada, the focus once Froese is convicted will be on protecting him inside prison, on finding him the appropriate “programs” and “support” so he can finally discover why it is that he cannot stop.
Froese will be convicted and he will enjoy all the comforts of prison life, including counselling and therapy sessions and medical and dental care and a blanket and food and all of that good stuff the truly needy in the community can only dream of affording.
Meanwhile, the woman he is charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting on Nov. 23 — that poor, poor store clerk in North Kamloops who did absolutely nothing to deserve such a horrific fate — has had her life changed forever.
I have met rape victims. I have written their stories.
More than a few have suggested being killed by their attacker would almost be preferable to surviving and enduring the horror in memories and nightmares and panic attacks — again and again and again.
It will never, ever end for the victims.
Froese is an incurable rapist.
That much was obvious when he was released from federal prison and into Kamloops, with the local RCMP issuing a warning of this high-risk sexual offender coming to town.
That much should have been evident to anybody reading the macabre details of his rapist past.
That he should have never been released from prison is a given.
That we have to report serious crimes being committed by already-convicted rapists and killers again and again makes me sick.
It should make all of us sick. It should prompt mass outrage and immediate changes to legislation and sentencing guidelines.
But, it doesn’t.
Oh, we get the initial shock and anger, but that dissipates — until the next rapist or killer is released when he shouldn’t be and rapes or kills again.
It’s a sickening cycle.
So, what can be done?
How about the victim and her family filing a lawsuit against every person involved in the release of Froese?
Since Froese served the entirety of his laughable 42-month sentence for a previous knifepoint rape, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) and the Parole Board of Canada seem to have done all they could.
So, how about trying to sue the judge who created the embarrassingly lenient sentence (42 months for raping at knifepoint a 19-year-old hotel chambermaid? Forty-two months for a repeat sex offender?).
If that is not possible, if judges are beyond the reach of a victim and her family via legal means, how about a public apology and detailed explanation from that judge as to why a vicious rape committed by a man with a previous sexual-assault conviction was not worth serious time in jail?
It has been pointed out many sentences are based, in part, on sentences handed down for similar crimes previously. If so, we obviously have a serious problem with sentence lengths for serious crimes such as rape.
How about suing Froese’s family for agreeing to take him into their Valleyview home?
You are allowing your son, the serial rapist, into your home? Then you had better well be with him 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You had better be right there when he wakes up, when he takes a shower, when he leaves the house for any reason.
Filing a lawsuit would not set a precedent.
Consider the case of James Armbruster, another serial rapist whose horrible crime I covered in Abbotsford in the late 1990s.
Armbruster had 63 convictions, including one for raping his grandmother.
Despite this seemingly obvious treasure-trove of evidence that he may not be the best candidate for release, Armbruster was indeed released and sent to a halfway house adjacent to Matsqui Institution.
It was called the Sumas Community Correctional Centre and consisted of a number of small houses, from which inmates were free to come and go, as long as they signed in and out.
On Jan. 18, 1998, four days after he arrived from prison, Armbruster walked into town.
He wound up at a health-food store on Bevan Avenue, where he sexually assaulted a female clerk at knifepoint, threatening to “cut you up like you’ve never been cut before.”
Armbruster was eventually convicted, but not before costly court proceedings.
Conviction was not enough for his victim, who filed a lawsuit against the Correctional Service of Canada, arguing — rightly — that its decision to place Armbruster in that halfway house led to his attack on her.
On Jan. 8, 2001, the woman was awarded $215,000 by the CSC on the steps of the B.C. Supreme Court steps in New Westminster, just minutes before her civil suit against the CSC was to begin.
In the past 20 years, more than 20 such suits have been filed against the CSC and the parole board from victims and families scarred by inmates who should not have been let out.
Maybe it’s time to sue others responsible for allowing rapists to rape again.
It’s mind-boggling to think we have a justice system that deemed Froese could be released and not rape again — despite repeated concerns from the Parole Board of Canada that he was a high risk to offend again.
Anybody with a single-digit IQ could have foreseen what was to happen.
It is mind-boggling to think Froese was convicted of using drugs while in Kamloops, contrary to his court-ordered conditions, yet only received 46 days in jail and a $50 fine — this despite the fact the Parole Board of Canada states in his files: “It is evident from file information that you have difficulty controlling your anger and/or impulsive behaviour, particularly when under the influence of drugs,”
It is mind-boggling to think rape — such as the rape Froese committed on that maid in Saskatoon, during which he threatened to kill his victim — can possibly be punished with a 42-month stint in prison.
And, it is mind-boggling to think this will become yet another one of those “terrible” crimes, from which nothing whatsoever will change — except the life of a woman who did nothing to incur the wrath of a scumbag whose crimes were enabled by others in positions of great power.