Brampton, Ont., residents are “livid” over a decision by the federal government to move a woman with multiple convictions for sexual assaults against small girls to their city, Mayor Patrick Brown said.
Peel Regional Police issued a community safety advisory on Friday about Madilyn Harks, formerly Matthew Harks, alerting residents that she now resides in the Brampton area.
We are very alarmed why the federal government would dump a convicted pedophile into the City of Brampton– Mayor Patrick Brown
Harks, 36, was convicted three times for sexual assaults against girls under the age of eight, police said, adding that the young victims have included neighbours and a fellow member of a church congregation.
“We’re very alarmed why the federal government would dump a convicted pedophile into the City of Brampton despite the fact this is a high risk offender from western Canada,” Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown told CBC News on Saturday.
“The fact that [Harks] would just be dumped in Brampton has our community livid. We’re talking about a pedophile with multiple convictions including three convictions of sexual assault against girls under the age of eight, and this monster has claimed to victimize 60 girls.”
Harks is subject to a Long Term Supervision Order with numerous conditions, including not to attend public swimming areas, daycares, school grounds, playgrounds or community centres.
Harks is also prohibited from being in the presence of children under the age of 14, unless accompanied by a responsible adult who has been approved by her parole supervisor, police said.
“Harks is at an elevated risk to re-offend,” police said, adding they will work with Correctional Service of Canada to monitor her activities within the community.
Public Safety Minister must explain
Brown said Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale owes the people of Brampton an explanation, and he has written to him to ask that he provides one.
“The fact that [Harks] is in a halfway house with four hours of unsupervised time in our downtown is an illustration of how the justice system is broken,” Brown told CBC News.
“It’s unacceptable and … we want an explanation how a person with no ties to Brampton, from the other side of the country, would simply be dropped in here. We happen to be the youngest community in Canada with a disproportionate amount of children. It’s completely unacceptable.”
Brown’s letter was also sent to several Brampton-area MPs, and the chair of the Parole Board of Canada, Jennifer Oades.
“We hope that the minister will find a more appropriate location for this individual, away from young people and children in our downtown,” Brown said.
“This person committed horrific acts in a different part of the country. The notion that [Harks] would just be transported to Brampton, there’s no logic to that and we hope that the minister will answer.”
Peel Regional Police said Friday’s community safety advisory was issued “as a precautionary measure.”
“Although Madilyn Harks does present a safety risk to the public, she remains a Canadian citizen and her rights are guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” police said.
Police said they will act to protect these rights if they are infringed.
Meanwhile, police said the public should use caution if they encounter Harks, and parents should be cognizant of their children’s activities and aware of the individuals with whom they are associating.
Peel District School Board has also alerted residents to Harks’s presence in Brampton, by sharing a tweet from Peel Regional Police.
Peel Regional Police have released a community safety alert about an offender being released to the Brampton area of Main and Queen streets. See <a href=”https://twitter.com/PeelPoliceMedia?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@PeelPoliceMedia</a> tweet below for full details. Information will be posted on the websites of Peel schools in the area. <a href=”https://t.co/rt0ZyMUBVi”>https://t.co/rt0ZyMUBVi</a>