Convicted sex offender running for Catholic school board trustee
Published Monday, October 17, 2016 11:29AM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, October 18, 2016 1:24PM CST
UPDATE: Denis Hall announced Monday night he's withdrawing from the race. His name must remain on the ballot, however, because the election is already underway with advance polls, according to the election's returning officer.
The story below was written prior to his announcement:
A candidate running for a school board trustee position with Greater Saskatoon Catholic School has past convictions for sexual assault.
Denis Hall was convicted of the offences in 1981. According to court documents, Hall pleaded guilty and was convicted of two charges relating to him having sex with girls between the ages of 14 and 16 and two charges of indecent assault on females.
He received a pardon for the offences in 1994.
In a statement, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon said officials are concerned about Hall running and that his convictions would bar him from working with vulnerable people in the diocese.
"An important question to ask is whether Mr. Hall could enter into a relationship with others where the bonds of trust can be easily developed and sustained so that the good work of proclaiming the message of the gospel can easily and naturally take place," the diocese’s acting administrator Father Kevin McGee said in a written statement.
“When I consider such questions in light of Denis Hall and his desire to serve as a Catholic trustee, I have reason for serious concern that Mr. Hall is not suited for this position,” he said, noting Hall has met the legal qualifications to run as a candidate.
The Greater Saskatoon Catholic School board says the division is aware of Hall’s criminal convictions but cannot prevent him from running because Hall is a qualified candidate.
“Mr. Hall qualifies as a candidate under the Local Government Elections Act, 2015. The school division has no legal recourse and is bound by the legislation,” a statement from the school division reads.
“We are aware of Mr. Hall’s criminal convictions, and we have taken steps over the years to prevent him and his organization, YAS, from having access to students and our buildings. We will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of our students in the future.”
Hall ran for the same position in 2003 but was unsuccessful.