A teen who was allegedly out on a pass from a sex offender treatment facility when he reoffended has been released on bail a second time.
The 15-year-old was initially released on bail to live at the same intensive sex offender rehabilitation facility.
He’s now accused of disappearing for about four hours and breaching his curfew.
That landed him in custody, but Judge Donovan Dvorak has since released the boy on bail again to live at the same home.
"Which is ultimately the best place for (him) to be," Dvorak said as he granted bail this week.
The teen was originally sent to the treatment home for crimes committed against two young girls.
In October, he was sentenced for sexual assaults against his eight-year-old sister and another young girl.
He received what Crown attorney Ron Toews described as a "massive break."
He was sentenced to two years probation and placed in the home for teenage boys who need sex offender treatment.
The facility is actually a converted duplex. Owned and run by Child and Family Services of Western Manitoba, it’s located in Brandon on a residential cul-de-sac.
A mother whose son once lived at the home recently questioned the level of supervision, while area residents have questioned its proximity to an elementary school, playground and spray park.
It’s alleged that the boy was allowed to leave the home in February to visit his mom in another Westman community where he sexually assaulted a girl.
He was charged with breach of a youth court sentence and sexual assault.
Those allegations haven’t been proven in court.
Judge John Combs then released the boy on bail to live at the same home.
However, he’s now charged with two counts of breaching his bail order by failing to be of good behaviour and violating his curfew with a brief disappearance from the home.
During another bail hearing for the teen on Monday, Toews said that staff at the home called police on Saturday to report that the boy and another resident had left the home about 30 minutes prior.
The teen was supposed to be on a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew, and staff heard that he planned to head for two possible Westman communities.
Toews said the accused left a note on his bed: "F--k this, me and (the other resident) are done being treated like s--t, bye."
At 4 a.m., staff at the home notified police that the boy had returned and he was arrested.
Defence counsel Bryton Moen said the boy was distressed at the recent death of a friend whose funeral he wasn’t able to attend.
The allegations surrounding the disappearance from the group home haven’t been proven in court.
Given the allegations of re-offending, Monday’s bail hearing was "reverse onus" — that means it was up to the accused to convince the court he should be released, in contrast to regular bail hearings in which the onus is on the Crown to show an accused should be held in custody.
Toews argued against release, describing the boy as a "substantial" risk to the community.
But Moen argued that the boy was better off in the home where he was getting treatment than in jail where he’d get an education in crime.
The fact treatment centre staff had reported the boy’s brief disappearance goes to show that he’ll be monitored.
"He’s on a tight leash," Moen said.
Dvorak agreed to release the teen, but tightened his curfew. He’s now under 24-hour curfew unless in the company of staff from the home.
The youth’s next court date is in August.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 28, 2013