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‘Community traumatized’: Kelowna MLA outraged over release of sexual predator

Taylor Dueck had previously served multiple sentences for convictions of sexual assault

Kelowna-Mission MLA Renee Merrifield has berated the NDP over the release of a convicted repeat sex offender in the community.

During the Mar. 5 session of Question Period in the Legislature, a visibly angry Merrifield called the release of Taylor Dueck a violation of trust by the provincial government. Dueck had previously served multiple sentences for convictions of sexual assault, before being released in Kelowna without any warning to residents.

According to Cpl. Michael Gauthier with the Kelowna RCMP, police had requested that a Public Interest Disclosure (PID) be issued before Dueck’s release.

Gauthier said that the “threshold was not met in this case based on the totality of the circumstances,” and the RCMP’s request for a PID was denied.

READ MORE: Man with history of sexual assaults allegedly re-offends in Kelowna

“While children were arriving for after-school lessons, this convicted child molester’s supervisor sat in the parking lot, in his vehicle for 2.5 hours,” Merrifield told her colleagues. “The result was an 11-year-old girl being cornered and sexually assaulted in the bathroom by this predator.”

Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth reminded MLAs that he immediately ordered a full accounting of the provincial and federal agencies involved when he first heard of Dueck’s release.

“Was it a systemic failure, or was it a failure of an individual? That work is underway to ensure that this never happens again. So this government most certainly has taken action.”

Merrifield responded that someone needs to be accountable.

“This 11-year-old girl deserves better. Our community is traumatized. That 11-year-old is traumatized. Our communities are not going to be protected by some investigation and analysis and report.”

Cpl. Gauthier has confirmed that Dueck is currently in custody.

However, Merrifield noted that Dueck has an upcoming bail hearing and the community fears he’s going to come back if released.

“The premier was the former Attorney General,” Merrifield added. “It’s under his watch that the system prioritized this sexual predator’s privacy over the safety and well-being of our children, over the safety and well-being of that 11-year-old girl.”

Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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