The Wandering Rapist

It’s not often one is likely to feel pity for a violent serial rapist, but in the case of Paul Callow, I’m beginning to wonder if he’s in an impossible bind.

The story so far: the now-paroled “balcony rapist” (it’s his parents you feel for, really) has been hounded out of Newton, and is now headed for New Westminster. Not surprisingly, the burghers of New West (and, I’m sure, virtually everyone else in the area) aren’t happy about it.

But who would be? The police warn that he’s considered a high risk to reoffend. He’s literally not even allowed in Ontario, where he committed his crimes.

Now I take a pretty draconian attitude towards crime and punishment, or at least towards high-risk ex-cons. Don’t we have a DO provision for guys like Mr. Callow?

He seems to qualify, but for some reason or another, has not been given that rare designation. One explanation is that the Dangerous Offender status must be applied for by the Crown within six months of conviction. Presumably, he wasn’t seen as a grave enough danger at that time, and now it’s far too late to reconsider.

The victims are often mentioned in such cases, but it appears that in this case, they are the best protected parties. The question is really about the horrific possibility of future victims, and preventing just that.

But even with that high in our mind, how have the people of Newton helped things? By hounding Mr. Callow into another neighbourhood, they have performed no societal service, they’ve just moved the problem over the river. At best, you can say they’ve given the corrections system a no-confidence vote. But there seems to be no denying that Mr. Callow will have to live somewhere, and Newton seems as sensible an answer as New Westminster.

It’s not so much a case of there being no right answers, as there being so many wrong answers. Callow should never have been let out of prison. Callow should have been rehabilitated in prison. Callow should not have been hounded out of Newton. Callow shouldn’t be hounded out of New Westminster.

And of course, most importantly of all, Callow should not have raped five women at knifepoint.

Pick your favourite link in this chain, they’re all weak.

9 Comments so far

  1. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on March 1st, 2007 @ 10:46 pm

    It’s quite clear we have no intention of integrating these people back into society, not when we don’t provide them with anonymity. So what’s the point of letting him out of jail?


  2. Wrenkin (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2007 @ 7:26 am

    I don’t think the dangerous offender law existed when he was convicted. They surely would have tried to keep him in. The whole case was huge in Toronto, what with the police not warning anyone in the hopes that they’d catch him, which amounted to using female citizens as bait.


  3. Ryan Cousineau (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2007 @ 8:38 am

    Wrenkin: it seems you’re right. this link on the Corrections site suggests that something like DO legislation has existed since the forties, but I also found a CTV article that says it was not available when he was convicted.

    The Globe has a decent backgrounder on why the police consider him an extraordinary risk to re-offend.

    Jeffery: I think they’re taking these extraordinary steps because he’s an extraordinary sort of offender. From the simple fact that he served the entirety of his sentence (rather than the usual 2/3rds) we may derive a picture of how much of a problem the corrections system thinks Mr. Callow is.


  4. Marie (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2007 @ 9:07 am

    I was born into a large mostly rural family, that knew everyone and everyone knew us for miles around. That community contained 2 men that all of the adults warned us never to go alone with. One of them worked for my uncle and lived his life amongst us. The other who stole underwear from the clotheslines, was eventually institutionalized, in a psychiatric hospital. Neither of these men were isolated from us, they were allowed to live and contribute to the community. It seems to me a rational way to deal with those that suffer with mental illness. They live among us and we need to take responsibility for that.


  5. ddrucker (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2007 @ 10:50 am

    Aren’t there some drugs that effectively dampen sex drives, like Depo Provera or Tamoxifen (not just make men impotent, like saltpeter)?

    I know I’m going against a group I usually supported — the ACLU — but ‘chemical castration’ should have been an option offered to him as a requirement for being released. After raping five women at knifepoint, I don’t believe you have much of an argument for retaining your civil rights, much less the right to reproduce.


  6. a_brutalkind (unregistered) on March 3rd, 2007 @ 11:20 pm

    One factor in him serving his full 20 years, was the suggestion of the sentencing judge that he serve every day; now was that because it would be to Callows or communities benefit, probably. But could he have been making a point or a statement that may have reassured us all when we needed it-maybe.

    We must also remember that societies view of rape was much more sheltered and in this case was actually talked down from being violent in act because compared to other sex crime cases, his victims weren’t physically harmed rather than ‘just’ threatened.

    I’d like to say how I encourage this discussion over the news smearing…it’s always best to understand than just assume.


  7. Jonathon Narvey (unregistered) on March 4th, 2007 @ 12:02 am

    It’s a real problem: how to deal with hardened criminals after they’ve served their terms, and supposedly fulfilled their debt to society. I agree with imposing long sentences for criminals, not so much as a deterrent but as a protection for society (criminals behind bars are not a threat to the public).
    But when criminals do get out, how can we provide them with the skills and opportunities to function on the outside? In one sense, the state isn’t obligated to help them, since criminals put themselves into this position by their own bad behavior. On the other hand, criminals who don’t receive any kind of support are likely to reoffend – which means that the state, on technicality, is obligated to intervene.
    But after all that preamble, I have to admit… I don’t have an answer. Darn. Why did I start writing this comment again..?


  8. Stephen Kawamoto (unregistered) on March 5th, 2007 @ 12:48 pm

    This blog has a lot of smart people in it unlike other blogs where they smear Callow.

    He needs a job. Let him contribute to society.

    Reject him, oppress him, harrass him — and he will feel powerless and strike again.

    Yes, he is a time bomb, but society is making his fuse shorten.

    So, anybody got a job for a guy who is good with ropes, can climb building and works well under supervision?


  9. ghenderson (unregistered) on March 7th, 2007 @ 2:18 am

    You’re right about this blog being smarter than others. Those who taunt and smear are reacting out of fear. In fact, they are prisoners of their own fear. People don’t realize that the media “constructs” their stories. None of us know all the facts surrounding his imprisonment and rehab efforts, we just know what we are told, much like how the Americans were told Iraq had to be invaded to take control of all of those weapons of mass destruction that were never found.
    Women are actually being scared by all the press because fear sells more newspapers. I feel sorry for those who buy into that fear.



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