Several rallies were held in the previous communities Conway was placed in lead to his removal. Chilliwack residents are now hoping for the same. (Black Press file)

Several rallies were held in the previous communities Conway was placed in lead to his removal. Chilliwack residents are now hoping for the same. (Black Press file)

MLA speaks to high-risk sex offender’s placement in B.C. neighbourhood

Liberal Laurie Throness says ‘His place of residence is difficult to defend’

When high-risk sex offender James William Conway was moved to Chilliwack last year, the local MLA said although he was notified, he didn’t have any objections.

However, Laurie Throness now believes Conway’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 the Chilliwack-Hope representative said.

“But now that we know (where he is) and know families are on either side, his place of residence is difficult to defend.”

Throness was the Solicitor General for Corrections during his first term, and published a review on our provincial penitentiary system called Standing Against Violence: A Safety Review of BC Corrections in December 2014.

RELATED: Chilliwack Mayor and neighbours protest high-risk sex offender in town

“I have a good relationship with BC Corrections,” said Throness. “I have been communicating with (them) this week.

“Of course my first concern is public safety. But there’s no immediate danger to children. Mr. Conway is locked down tight.”

Conway remains subject to more than two dozen “very stringent conditions,” including 24-hour supervision and an ankle bracelet.

“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 against his placement in their family-friendly neighbourhood, worries about what the convicted sex offender can get away with.

RELATED: Dozens rally outside presumed B.C. home of repeat sex offender (VIDEO)

“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 said 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).

“My son would ride his bike past (Conway’s) gate before. 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,” he said, adding 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. So I will continue to work with BC Corrections to explore other options for a long term solution to ensure the public is safe.”


@SarahGawdin
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

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