News Views: Spare the risk

A former teacher, Christopher Paul Neil spent the past five years in a Thai prison for molesting two young boys.

Christopher Paul Neil, a convicted pedophile from Maple Ridge, was set free on Wednesday, with conditions.

A former teacher, Neil spent the past five years in a Thai prison for molesting two young boys, although the Interpol warrant that led to his arrest was for 12 such assaults. He was released after five years and as part of an amnesty to mark the 80th birthday of the Thai queen.

The 37-year-old man was then arrested by RCMP at Vancouver airport under a rarely used section of the Criminal Code designed to protect the public before a criminal offence is committed. This week, Neil consented to the peace bond, and was added to the national sex offender registry. Conditions imposed on him include surrendering his passport, no access the Internet via a computer or phone, and staying away from parks, playgrounds and schools. Neil must also report to a probation officer and seek psychiatric help.

He could be arrested for breaching these restrictions, but are they enough?

The peace bond expires in April 2014, unless Crown renews it. But it likely won’t be if he stays out of trouble.

Neil grew up in Maple Ridge, but has no fixed address at the moment. His family still lives in the community. He plans now on finding a job.

Before his arrest, Neil was a teacher in Thailand and South Korea. He was also a substitute teacher at  Arch Bishop Carney in Port Coquitlam, and prior to that volunteered at St. Patrick’s Catholic School in Maple Ridge.

He can’t go near a school now.

Neil is not facing any criminal charges in Canada, but Cambodian police have a warrant out for his arrest connected to allegations of abuse in that country. Police in B.C. and Germany previously seized hundreds of images of child pornography and of Neil sexually assaulting children, some as young as six.

He was so bold as to post hundreds of images of himself committing sexual acts with young boys, and to digitally disguise his identity, and his previous jobs all put him in position to work alongside children.

The conditions placed on Neil are all police can do to protect them, for now.

But they are an indication that he is a high risk to reoffend.

Why wait.

Canada should confer with Cambodian officials and have Neil extradited to face charges there.

No one else should have to be harmed before others can be spared.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News