So the world’s up in arms again about the latest geographic transgression of Karla Homolka.
Yesterday the Montreal Gazette reported that the Canadian serial killer supervised kindergarten children from the Greaves Adventist Academy on a field trip in March and once brought her dog to the school for students to pet. Homolka’s three children attend the private school ( Karla volunteered at an N.D.G. elementary school ).
Like any parent I am outraged. Now tell me how you’d better handle the situation. It’s a private school. The school knew of her history. They apparently made the decision that everyone deserves a second chance. Their decision.
In the criminal case against Karla Homolka the prosecution gave her a sweet-heart deal, after 12-years in prison she walked in 2005. Again, their (appalling) decision. Last spring we learned Homolka was living in the Montreal south shore community of Chateauguay, and the world again was outraged. Well she’s got to live somewhere? We’re not going to toss her outside the walls of society.
I well remember speaking with a British Columbia corrections administrator some years ago who talkedto about when a registered sex offender moved into her neighborhood. She baked a plate of cookies, and she and her daughter walked across the street to present them to the man:
“Hi, welcome to the neighborhood. My name’s Jane Smith, I work for the department of corrections,”
Translation: “Hi, “m Jane Smith, I KNOW WHO YOU ARE.”
The point was very simple. Welcome, but I’ll be watching. Trust, but verify.
When my children were younger I used to spend time periodically probing the sex offender database to see who had moved into the neighborhood. I soon stopped because there were just too many coming and going, and I didn’t have that many cookies. Better to teach my kids how to be vigilant, and to NOT TRUST MEN. Harsh, I know, but why not cut to the chase.
On further consideration I might prefer having Leanne Teale – the name Homolka’s currently using – living in my neighborhood because having identified the threat, I could then mitigate the risk.
In all this bluster and bombast I fear people are missing a larger issue; Homolka’s threat might be real, and the warning signs are deeply woven int the fabric of Montreal’s history.
In choosing to live on Montreal’s south shore Homolka selected a community with a remarkably similar tragic history to that of Saint Catherines, Ontario, where Paul Bernardo and Homolka carried out the brutal murders of 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy and 15-year-old Kirsten French.
In 1974-75 the town of Chateauguay was rocked by the disappearances and murders of 12-year-old Norma O’Brien and 14-year-old Debbie Fisher. Within a year a young offender who came to be known as the Chateauguay Killer (“Le Maniaque Pleine Lune”) was arrested, but the community never fully recovered.
Jump forward to last spring and you get some idea of the true source of the community’s outrage. Remarkably, no news agency bothered to point out the “irony” of Homolka choosing this town. One reporter told me at the time that “they didn’t want to further traumatize people”, as if as a society we are incapable of having difficult discussions. When the media muzzles such conversations they do more damage than good, leaving communities no other resort but to sling shit at the towers in the social media circus (and the media have no qualms about stirring that shit pot).
And can Homolka moving to Chateauguay really be best summed up as “ironic”? Is it not possible that she deliberately chose this community because it was as familiar to her as Saint Catherines? A small suburban community, a history of tragedy with two young victims similar in age to Mahaffy and French, who physically resemble Mahaffy and French. Did Homolka learn of the tragedy while serving her time in Quebec prison? Inmates talk about such things. In short, did Homolka choose Chateauguay because it felt like home?
If you think the idea of an offender compelled to re-live the gruesome experiences of crimes the stuff of fiction consider this:
Gilles Pimparé, imprisoned since 1979 for the brutal and infamous Jacques Cartier Bridge murders of Maurice Marcil, 14, and Chantal Dupont, 15, has been denied parole six times in 13 years. Remarkably, the Dupont family forgave him, buying his story that he “loved Chantal too much, that’s why he had to kill her.”. But one of the chief reasons Pimparé has never been paroled? He kept a porn stash on his hard drive that had photos of naked young girls posing at the Jacques Cartier Bridge to sustain his paraphiliac fantasy’s decades after the murders were committed (you can look it up by checking his parole records).
So I just wonder whether Homolka had specific intention when she chose to live in Chateauguy. If I were an investigative journalist? I’d want to check and see if corrections / parole assigned her to Chateauguy or if she chose it.
Trust but verify.