Jul 19, 2012 / 1:49 pm
Admitted child abductor Randall Hopley was fighting his emotions Thursday as he was forced to watch a videotaped meeting between himself and the father of his three-year-old victim.
Sitting with his head bowed down in a courtroom in Cranbrook, BC, Hopley struggled to hold back the tears as the video showed Paul Hebert telling Hopley that he forgave him for abducting Kienan and thanked him for his safe return.
"There was no sexual assault at all," Hopley told him in the video interview, played on the second day of Hopley's sentencing hearing.
Hebert asked Hopley if he was heterosexual or whether he only liked children.
"Oh yes. I prefer women," replied Hopley. "Children, but not in a sexual way. It was nothing to do with sex."
In the interview, Hopley is reminded about a previous incident involving an assault on a young boy, but Hopley said he would never have done anything to someone as young as Kienan.
"That was in the past. I don't want to go back there," Hopley said softly. Hopley was convicted in 1985 of sexually assaulting a five-year-old boy
"If I hurt a three-year-old, I would just take myself out in the bush and shoot myself," he continued.
"I believe you," replied Hebert. "You took my son from me and I forgive you. Change yourself. Be a better person."
Hopley, who turns 47 next week, has already pleaded guilty to abducting Kienan Hebert from the boy's home in Sparwood, a southeastern B.C. town near the Alberta boundary, last September.
Kienan vanished from his bedroom in the middle of the night wearing Scooby Doo boxer shorts, prompting police to launch a massive search.
The operation grew over several days, with police issuing an Amber Alert that was eventually expanded to include Alberta.
The boy was returned unharmed four days later and Hopley was arrested at a nearby Bible camp several days after that.
Hopley has consistently denied that he sexually assaulted Kienan. He insists he was looking for revenge against the justice system for what he says was a wrongful conviction in 2007.
An actual sentence isn't expected to be handed down any time soon. The Crown has served notice that it wants to proceed with a harsher approach to Hopley, asking that Hopley be subjected to a 60-day psychiatric assessment to determine whether he should be labelled a dangerous or long-term offender.
"It is merely a trigger to launch the application," said Crown prosecutor Lynal Doerksen.
Doerksen said Hopley's previous convictions for sexual assault, abduction and numerous break and enters satisfy the criteria for a dangerous offender application.
It Justice Heather Holmes grants the request for an assessment, a dangerous offender hearing would likely delay sentencing even further.
Hopley also pleaded guilty Thursday to Alberta charges related to breaking into a cabin and taking up residence in 2010. The cabin contained children's clothing and toys.
"My client is a bit of a hoarder and collects things other people discard," explained his lawyer, William Thorne.
After his 1985 conviction, a psychiatric report leading up to his prison release warned he could offend again.
The report said Hopley had an IQ well below average and seemed to have fallen between the cracks of various support agencies.
Hopley has been kept away from the general prison population since his arrest in September 2011.
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