Child molester granted parole

Paul Leroux seen exiting the Meadow Lake Courthouse during his preliminary hearing.

Paul Leroux seen exiting the Meadow Lake Courthouse during his preliminary hearing in 2012.

by Phil Ambroziak

The early release of a B.C. man sentenced to three years in prison for sex crimes came as no surprise to a Waterhen Lake First Nation resident who claims to have been among the individual’s victims several decades ago.

Sid Fiddler said he was upset to hear news of 74-year-old Paul Leroux being granted full parole in late December – only one year into the three-year sentence handed down to him after being convicted of eight charges of indecent assault and two charges of gross indecency dating back to the 1960s. Back then, Leroux worked as a dormitory supervisor at the Beauval Indian Residential School. Fiddler was a student at the school at the time.

“He was there for about seven of the eight years I was there,” Fiddler said.
Although he wasn’t one of the victims to file charges in the case that eventually led to the guilty verdict, Fiddler did admit he was directly impacted by Leroux’s actions, noting in a previous interview he was the victim of sexual fondling. He also said the fact Leroux is now a free man is a poor reflection of the courts.

“The justice system has been very compassionate to him, I think, because of his age and because he was a public servant for many years,” Fiddler said. “They showed compassion for him in spite of the horrific damage he has caused to so many people. But, I wasn’t surprised. When he was sent to jail a year ago, I assumed he’d be given full parole.”

Fiddler went on to say he believes there’s a double standard when it comes to aboriginal people compared to non-aboriginal people.

Although he wouldn’t comment on Fiddler’s opinion, Michel Piche – the Crown prosecutor in the Leroux case – said several factors are taken into account before parole is granted.

“That’s something that’s really up to the National Parole Board,” Piche said. “Leroux still has an appeal pending with regard to the initial charges while the Crown is appealing his sentence. Both of those appeals will be heard in Regina Feb. 18.”

Meanwhile, Fiddler stressed the importance of Leroux’s victims to be able to move beyond the past and to no longer allow the actions of one man to cast a dark cloud over the rest of their lives.

“Obviously this type of news is upsetting to a lot of us, but we need to move on instead of being embittered and angry about it,” he said.

The November 2013 conviction was rendered following several weeks of testimony in Battleford court. Prior to this, Leroux was committed to stand trial in the spring of 2012 following a preliminary hearing in Meadow Lake.

He was previously convicted of child molestation at a residential school in the Northwest Territories and served 10-years in prison for that crime.

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