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Halfway house safety concerns

Safety concerns are being raised after Vancouver police said on Sunday they were searching for a high-risk sex offender who failed to return to his halfway house — the second such incident in about a week.

Jason Bresnahan, 39, is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant and anyone who sees him is asked to call 911. He is on statutory release after serving a five-year sentence for crimes including the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl, police said.

"He has previous convictions related to child pornography, assaults, threatening and property crime and has been assessed as a high risk to re-offend sexually and violently," read a statement issued by Const. Brian Montague.

Vancouver Police issued a similar plea on Feb. 14 after Stanley Lee Porter, 44, failed to return to his halfway house. Porter is also a high-risk sex offender with an extensive criminal history.

Montague said Porter turned himself in the day after the public release was issued. He said the two men do not reside at the same halfway house, but could not provide further details of their residences.

He said Vancouver Police monitor about 45 high-risk offenders living in the city, most of which are sexual offenders, but the force does not issue the warrants for their arrest.

There was yet another incident in Surrey last week, when a recently released sex offender who had been living in a halfway house wound up back in custody for allegedly sitting beside a teenage girl on a bus.

Mike Farnworth, justice critic for B.C.'s Opposition New Democrats, questioned on Sunday whether the province was ensuring police had enough resources to monitor sex offenders. He told media that electronic monitoring of offenders has declined in recent years.

Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton issued a statement that said the Correctional Service of Canada is responsible for monitoring serious federal offenders.

"We are always concerned about incidents of this nature," she said. "It's entirely appropriate for police agencies to issue notifications in situations like these, at their sole discretion, in the interest of public safety.

"As such, I am confident in the process they follow in these situations."

The province has not conducted any detailed studies into why the number of electronic monitoring cases has declined, but the Ministry of Justice said it may be due in part to changes to the Criminal Code on conditional sentence orders.

The Correctional Service of Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bresnahan is described as white, five feet 11 inches tall, 270 pounds with brown shaved hair and was last seen wearing a bright blue T-shirt.

He has a tattoo of "Rae-Lene" on his forearm, "Alison" on his left wrist and the number 13 on his right hand.

Police said he has previous convictions related to child pornography, assaults, threatening and property crime and has been assessed as a high risk to re-offend.

 

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