Content warning: this article contains references to murder, sexual assault, and rape, which may be distressing for readers.
Kerri Kehoe survived being kidnapped and sexually assaulted by Richard Joyce when she was just 11 years old. So it is no wonder she was shocked to hear that the man who tortured her and two other Kingston children in the 1990s, and later violently murdered a Kingston woman, was left to work outside his minimum security prison in “a position of trust… and could have easily, by all means, just walked down the road.”
The above words, spoken at Joyce’s September 7, 2023 Parole Board hearing by parole officer Eleanor Creighton, who supported Joyce’s application for for Supervised Temporary Absences from William Head Institution in British Columbia, caused Kehoe deep concern. As reported earlier, she sought answers from the warden of the institution. Why was the murderer and child-kidnapping rapist allowed such a “position of trust”?
After more than two weeks, Kehoe received a response to her queries from Rob Clark, acting Warden of William Head Institution. The answer, which left Kehoe feeling less than satisfied, echoed verbatim a previous statement from the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC)/Government of Canada in response to Kingstonist’s inquiries.
At that time, Jean-Paul Lorieau, Regional Manager of Communications for CSC’s Pacific Region, avoided answering questions about Creighton’s words, choosing instead to focus on a version of events different from what Creighton had described. In Lorieau’s words, Joyce was “supervised, was within the perimeter of the institution, and was never permitted to leave the institution” while working only in the parking lot of the Institution.
Acting Warden Clark wrote to Kehoe, saying, “I would like to reiterate that [Richard Joyce] was supervised, was within the perimeter of the institution, and was never permitted to leave the institution.”
He continued, “CSC’s mission is to provide a safe, secure, and humane environment, conducive to the rehabilitation of all offenders in CSC’s care. CSC employees are expected to act according to legal and ethical standards, and are subject to the rules of professional conduct and code of discipline as stated in the Commissioner’s Directive 060 – Code of Discipline.”
Kehoe, however, was undeterred and asked Clark for a better, less dismissive response.
Clark then explained in more detail: “I am not trying to be dismissive at all and take your experience seriously…. we’re all human and make errors in judgement… Please be assured that this situation was addressed with the Parole Officer. The Parole Officer assumed ownership of her words and their impact. The Parole Officer was nervous and made a comment that she regrets. She has been reminded of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector as well as CSC’s Values Statement, which speaks to respect, fairness, professionalism, inclusiveness and accountability.”
He continued by writing, “While this individual action is regrettable, it does not reflect CSC’s commitment to its mission, mandate and corporate priorities within which the safety and security of the public, victims, staff and offenders remains central. Please accept my apology for this situation and the stress it has caused you.”
Kehoe is considering what further steps she might take to gain assurance that Joyce will remain behind bars; so far, she feels let down.
“I will forever be appalled at CSC’s process of notifying victims of transfer without reasonable notice and no opportunity for the victims to share their opinion. The Bath Institution Warden made a decision to transfer Joyce from Bath Institution, a medium security facility in Bath, Ontario, to William Head Institution, a minimum security facility located [near] Victoria, BC, effective July 27, 2021,” she said.
“Joyce a serial child kidnapper, rapist, and murderer who described symptoms of psychopathy [at his parole hearing] in 2023 and has not been diagnosed as a pedophile or psychopath in the last 32 years and still fantasizes about prepubescent children after getting caught for the crimes he committed in a two-year span of violence of against women and children,” she continued, referring to admissions made by Joyce himself at the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) hearing on September 7.
Kehoe speculated that “Joyce made his transfer to a new province on the other side of our country before his eligibility of Parole and request for ETAs,” referring to ‘escorted temporary absences.
“That’s not a coincidence. This is what inmates do to increase their chances of being successful at PBC hearings.”
Kehoe further stated that she does not accept the Warden’s explanation that Eleanor Creighton was “nervous.”
“CSC had time to train Eleanor Creighton and prepare her for the PBC hearing and she had the professional responsibility to speak up if she nervous or not qualified to be assigned a file… All behaviour has meaning and her behaviour… speaking out of turn and making statements that simply were not true, if an error in judgement — what was her motivation?” she asks.
Kehoe would like to know how long Creighton has been a parole officer and how long she has known Joyce, but she is not privy to that information.
“Where are the honesty, integrit,y and moral principles in the CSC’s value statement? Eleanor Creighton’s actions eroded public trust and public confidence,” she concluded, reiterating that, if she can find out those answers, she will.