Saint John residents upset after another sex offender released to community
For the second time in a month, a sex offender has been released to the City of Saint John.
Police say they took the unusual step of notifying the public of Roger Roberge’s release from prison because he is a high risk to reoffend.
“Criteria have to be met for us to do this,” says Sgt. Jay Henderson. “If a person is considered moderate to low, we certainly wouldn’t be issuing a public advisory, but in this case, it’s considered to be a high risk.”
While some Saint John residents say they are glad police have issued a warning, others say they would rather not have a sex offender living in their community – warning or no warning.
“There is the possibility of them reoffending, but at least the public is aware of them reoffending” says one area resident. “At least the public is aware they are in the community.”
“We’ve got too many sex offenders in the Saint John area,” says another. “I think they should all go somewhere else for the rest of their life.”
A man dubbed the ‘Motorcycle Rapist’ was also released to a halfway house in the city earlier this month after having served 24 years, or two-thirds, of his sentence.
Rev. Don Uhryniw says the release of a sex offender always raises difficult issues in the community.
“When a sex offender is released, we think of it as a higher level of sin,” says the United Church minister.
“I think it’s an aggressive tolerance because of that fear that it elicits in us. We have to, while being vigilant, we have to be forgiving. As people of faith, that’s what we’re about, and that’s a difficult thing to forgive. There’s no question about that.”
Police say Roberge will be monitored by the family protection unit of the Saint John Police Department, and are urging the public not to take any form of vigilante action against him.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Mike Cameron