When James William Conway was moved to Chilliwack last year, the local MLA said although he was notified, he didn’t have any objections. However, he now believes the high-risk sex offender’s location is less than ideal.
“Last year, I didn’t object to his placement in Chilliwack because he has to live somewhere in B.C.,” said Laurie Throness, MLA for Chilliwack-Hope.
“But now that we know (where he is) and know families are on either side, his place of residence is difficult to defend.”
During his first term as the region’s Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), Throness was the Solicitor General for Corrections, and published a review on our provincial penitentiary system—Standing Against Violence: A Safety Review of BC Corrections—in December 2014.
“I have a good relationship with BC Corrections,” said Throness. “(And) I have been communicating with (them) this week.
“Of course my first concern is public safety,” continued Throness. “But there’s no immediate danger to children. Mr. Conway is locked down tight.”
Although Conway is no longer incarcerated, he’s still subject to more than two dozen “very stringent conditions, including 24-hour supervision, an ankle bracelet, and a list of prohibitions,” said Throness.
“I am told that he has been completely compliant for the past three years,” he added.
However, Kelly Wood, who lives near Conway and organized a rally of residents who object to his placement in their family-friendly neighbourhood, worries about what the convicted sex offender can get away with.
“It’s just so violating,” Wood told The Progress during an earlier interview. “He was waving at my girlfriend as she drove by and she called me freaking out. Called Corrections and they said since he’s able to do what he wants in his own home.”
Since learning who her neighbour is, Wood says she’s barely slept and hasn’t eaten in days. “All I can think about is this creep and it’s bothering me that I’m even thinking about it this much … but at least I can do my due-diligence (as a mother now).
When do my children and the community of chilliwack get to feel safe @LaurieThroness We have a high risk sexual offender that is a diagnosed pedophile with a side of paraphilia living in our community and driving past our homes. My family has been violated and we need your help
— Kelly Wood (@KellyWo93086536) 14 June 2018
“My son would ride his bike past (Conway’s) gate before (we knew who he was). Now that I’m aware, he isn’t allowed.”
And while Throness agrees that Conway’s current placement is no longer as originally described, the region’s recent growth may have played a factor.
“In the sense of proximity, it was a more remote area three years ago,” explained Throness, who says he’s recently toured the area. “There’s a brand new subdivision going in there, and there’s a clearing across from (what’s believed to be Conway’s) residence, so the area’s becoming less remote (daily).
“Unfortunately, there’s no long-term solution for Mr. Conway. He’s disable and may never get better,” said Throness. “So I will continue to work with BC Corrections to explore other options for a long term solution to ensure the public is safe.”