STOP SEX OFFENDERS | Ontario, Canada: First year of Ontario Sex Offender Registry a success
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Ontario, Canada: First year of Ontario Sex Offender Registry a success.

April 5, 2002

TORONTO, April 5 /CNW/ - On the eve of its first anniversary, law enforcement officials and victims of crime are declaring the Ontario Sex Offender Registry a success when it comes to community safety, Solicitor General David Turnbull said today.

"We are extremely pleased by the success of the registry," said Turnbull. "Almost 93 per cent of offenders in the province have registered with local police. We will continue to work with law enforcement officials across the province to ensure that every offender complies with the law. The message is clear - if you fail to register, you will pay the consequences."

Since the Ontario registry was created a year ago, three offenders have been convicted for failing to comply with Christopher's Law. Four cases are currently before the court and police across the province continue to take steps to achieve full compliance.

Ontario's Sex Offender Registry - the only one of its kind in Canada - was sparked by the brutal 1988 murder of 11-year old Christopher Stephenson at the hands of a convicted pedophile on federal statutory release. At the 1993 inquest into Christopher's death, the coroner's jury recommended creating a national registry for convicted sex offenders, requiring them to register with their local police service. Christopher's Law (Sex Offender Registry 2000) came into effect in April 2001.

"My wife and I have a very personal interest in the success of Ontario's Sex Offender Registry, and for us the Ontario Registry is an impressive policing and public safety success," Christopher's father Jim Stephenson said. "We are heartened by the federal Solicitor General's recent promise to introduce federal legislation establishing a national registry. We look forward to seeing the federal government fulfill its commitment to enhance public safety and ensure community protection."

As the Ontario Registry marks its first year in operation, Turnbull is calling on the federal government to move on its commitment to create a national registry.

"While we are pleased the federal government finally sees the benefits of a national registry, we have yet to see the introduction of legislation to implement it," Turnbull said. "Ottawa must make a national registry a top priority. Every day that passes without action is another day community safety is threatened."

"Communities and police have responded with extremely positive feedback," OPP Staff Sergeant Charles Young, manager of the Sex Offender Registry, said. "Law enforcement agencies across the province are actively using the registry in ongoing investigations of sexual offences. The closer police/offender relationship desired and mandated by Christopher's Law has been effective and enhanced community and public safety."

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Source: 2002 Canada NewsWire