Police hunt T.O. pedophile
Prairie boys last seen with suspect
Repeat offender released last summer
Aug. 1, 2006. 06:08 AM
A convicted pedophile from Toronto is being hunted by police following the abduction of a 10-year-old Saskatchewan boy.
The RCMP issued a Canada-wide warrant yesterday for 35-year-old Peter Whitmore in the abduction of Zachary Miller of Whitewood, who hasn't been seen since Sunday. An Amber Alert was issued the same day.
"We believe the boy may come to harm," said RCMP Sergeant Tammy Patterson in Regina. "That's why we've issued the alert."
Patterson said RCMP were not aware Whitmore was in Saskatchewan until they began investigating Zachary's disappearance.
Police said Whitmore — notorious in Ontario for abducting and molesting children — is also believed to be travelling with 14-year-old Jordan Bruyere. He was last seen on July 22 in Brandon, Man., and is the subject of a missing persons report.
Whitmore's apparent involvement in the boys' disappearance is again raising questions about Canada's ability to deal with repeat sexual offenders who finish serving their time.
"When he was released in 2005 ... the experts at Correctional Services said he had a 100 per cent chance of re-offending," Steve Sullivan of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime said yesterday.
The centre has long sought revisions to the Criminal Code that would allow the courts to deem chronic pedophiles dangerous offenders — and jail them indefinitely — when their prison terms expire. As it stands, a dangerous offender application can only be made during sentencing and only for crimes that command prison terms of 10 years or more. None of Whitmore's crimes have merited such a sentence, but his criminal record is extensive.
In 1993, he was convicted of abduction and five sexual offences involving four young boys in Toronto and spent 16 months in custody. Nine days after his release, he took an 8-year-old girl from Guelph to Toronto, and was sentenced to more than 4 1/2 years in jail.
Less than a month after his November 2000 release, he was found in a downtown Toronto motel with a 13-year-old boy. He was sentenced to one year in jail.
In 2002, a Toronto judge sentenced him to three years' jail for probation violations because he fled to B.C. after being found in the company of a 5-year-old boy. The violations included the fact he was carrying a "rape kit" in his backpack that included latex gloves, pictures of young children, tubes of jelly lubricant, duct tape, a sleeping bag and plastic zipper ties that can be used as handcuffs.
Whitmore was released on June 16, 2005, after serving his entire three-year sentence and took up residence in Chilliwack, where an aunt lives.
His former lawyer, Daniel Brodsky, said Whitmore's modus operandi has always been to groom his targets over a period of time. He's never snatched somebody and run, he said.
Brodsky, who urged his former client to surrender immediately, had harsh words for police in Alberta, the province where Whitmore last had contact with authorities.
He claimed Whitmore moved to a town near Edmonton to serve out a peace bond that came with stringent conditions. When the peace bond ended in June, police didn't try and negotiate another, but allegedly ran Whitmore out of town, he said.
"Somebody dropped the ball and did the NIMBY thing," said Brodsky, adding that Whitmore desperately needs close supervision.
Critics of the way Canada's justice system deals with pedophiles and child exploitation say Whitmore's case illustrates the need for much tougher restrictions.
David Butt, a former crown attorney and now a spokesperson for Beyond Borders, an international group that works to end child exploitation, said the law has not kept up with expert understanding of why pedophiles are dangerous.
"These people are a constant danger," said Butt. "We need a criminal justice system that is much more robust in identifying these kinds of people so that proper long-term monitoring can be put in place."
As things stand now, he said, dangerous and long-term offender status is predicated on somebody committing a number of serious crimes.
"If we wait until that happens, effectively we are waiting until some child is seriously sexually assaulted or even killed," he said, urging the need for pro-active monitoring.
The debate raging in legal circles in Canada, which has convicted some 40,000 pedophiles over a 20-year period, including 4,000 considered high risk, also includes the question of whether they can even be treated effectively.
In a recent Star series, mental health experts said there is no evidence that any treatment, including chemical castration, is truly effective for high-risk pedophiles.
Some prosecutors say a pedophile shouldn't simply be allowed back into the community. That's when the long, complicated process of designating somebody as a dangerous offender begins.
Another problem is the awkward definition of long-term offender, which talks of the "reasonable possibility of eventual control of the risk in the community." It's a definition some forensic psychiatrists call unwieldy and problematic.
In Whitmore's case, after a long series of brushes with the law, Toronto Police tried and failed in 2001 to get a judge to make him wear an electronic bracelet as a tracking device.
When Whitmore left Alberta in June, it wasn't the first time he was "chased" out of town.
Six years ago, Whitmore was hounded out of a west Toronto neighbourhood after residents found out from police that he was living there.
After that came a startling appeal on national television.
"I want to take treatment," Whitmore told CTV's Canada AM.
"It's going to be very hard to take treatment if I'm moving from town to town."
with files from Canadian Press
Why is this happening? What the hell is wrong with the government and judicial system?
100 per cent chance of re-offending - Well we'll just let him out so he can prey on MORE innocent children. Lets give this bastard more rights than his victims.
This makes me so angry. I can't even put it into words.