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Judge deems Shane Pattison long-term offender, calls out CSC
Published Thursday, May 17, 2018 11:47AM CST
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2018 7:07PM CST
Warning: extremely graphic content
Convicted child pornographer Shane Pattison is headed back to prison after being deemed a long-term offender and receiving a seven-year sentence followed by a 10-year supervision order.
Justice Richard Danyliuk accepted the joint-submission filed by Crown and defence lawyers at Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench this week.
The expectation of Danyliuk and the lawyers is that Pattison, 28, will receive sexual offender programming while in a federal penitentiary — something he did not previously receive while in prison.
In 2012, Pattison was sentenced to five years in prison — one of the province’s longest sentences for similar offences — after pleading guilty to 53 child pornography-related offences.
He didn’t receive treatment in prison, even though he said he wanted to get help, and was caught reoffending weeks after he was out on statutory release in 2015. He was found actively viewing and streaming child pornography at a halfway house. He pleaded guilty to 42 counts of child porn-related offences in June.
“We’re basically warehousing sex offenders then re-releasing them into communities without any correction of their behavior,” defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle said. “That, as a member of society, is quite frightening.”
Judge calls out Corrections
Danyliuk had strong words for Correctional Service of Canada when it comes to its practices surrounding offender classification and programming. He described the reason Pattison didn’t receive treatment as “the perfect storm.”
Pattison was deemed a low risk to re-offend when he first entered the prison system. Parole officers who worked with Pattison testified during the hearing they believed he was at a higher risk, but the low-risk status remained. That status, combined with the lack of hands-on offences by Pattison, made him ineligible for federal programming in and outside of prison.
Parole officer Jessika Diks testified the sexual offender programming offered wouldn’t have addressed Pattison’s needs of being an internet offender and could end up setting him up to be a more serious sexual offender because he could be exposed to offences beyond what he was convicted of.
“Our goal is to protect the public. In order to protect the public, offenders need to receive treatment,” Crown prosecutor Lana Morelli said outside of court.
Danyliuk said it’s “incomprehensible” that Pattison did not receive programming and said he hopes the CSC takes into account his concerns.
“I do call upon them to re-evaluate their existing practices and put better, modern, more responsive and more flexible practices into place,” Danyliuk said.
CRC working on ‘specific strategy’
Correctional Service Canada wrote in an email to CTV News on Friday that low-risk offenders can gain more from other forms of intervention than from correctional programs. The agency was responding generally on low-risk offenders, and not specifically on Pattison’s case.
“For most low-risk offenders, routine case management is the best option,” the email stated.
“Low-risk offenders can also access other services that may help with their reintegration, including psychological counselling, restorative justice, education and employment programs, Native Liaison, volunteer programs, social programs, community supervision, etc.”
The email noted, however, the corrections agency is working on a “specific strategy to address the risks and needs of low risk offenders, including low risk sex offenders” — though the statement did not provide details on the strategy.
Strong words for Pattison
Danyliuk also said internet child pornography offences should be viewed just as serious as the physical sexual abuse of children. He told Pattison he is the same, if not worse, than those who are physically assaulting the children who have had their lives changed forever.
“You are just as much of that degradation and torture,” he told Pattison.
Danyliuk’s voice broke when he recalled the “haunting” child pornography images found on Pattison’s devices.
“The English language does not have appropriate words to describe how vile, how disgusting, how disturbing all of it is. It is simply, unquestionably wrong.”
Pattison’s collection of child pornography has been described by the Saskatchewan Internet Child Exploitation Unit as one of the worst investigators have seen. It focused on females mainly between the ages of infants to eight-year-olds. A psychological assessment of Pattison showed his interests included children being tied up and objects representing babies such as diapers and soothers.
“Frankly, I don’t know how you live with yourself,” Danyliuk told Pattison.
He said although Pattison may not be able to change his interests, he must learn to control himself.
In order for Danyliuk to deem Pattison a long-term offender, he found Pattison is at a high risk to re-offend, but that those risks could eventually be controlled. He said with treatment Pattison may be able to stop offending.
Pattison’s seven-year sentence works out to five and a half years after credit is given for his time in custody. He’s banned for life from using the internet unless for a use approved by the courts; from being anywhere people under the age of 16 frequent, including parks, swimming pools and playgrounds; and from being employed or a volunteer in which he’d be in a position of trust or authority to anyone under 16. He also can’t be in contact with any under the age of 16 unless supervised.
Editor’s note: This story was updated Friday, May 18, 2018, to include comments from Correctional Service Canada.