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Matthew McKnight, convicted Edmonton sex offender, granted day parole

Click to play video: 'Convicted AB sex offender classified as ‘serial rapist’ moving to Vancouver'
Convicted AB sex offender classified as ‘serial rapist’ moving to Vancouver
Matthew McKnight will be living in an undisclosed halfway house in Vancouver. The former club promoter was convicted in 2020 of sexually assaulting five women between 2010 and 2016. Kristen Robinson reports. – Feb 22, 2024

A former Edmonton club promoter who was convicted in 2020 of sexually assaulting five women in Edmonton has been granted day parole.

According to a Feb. 16 Parole Board of Canada decision, Matthew McKnight, 37, will be allowed day parole for six months.

He will stay at a community-based residential facility approved by the Correctional Service of Canada, pending bed space availability. He was denied full parole.

McKnight will be moving to Vancouver, where he’ll be living at a halfway house while on parole.

McKnight was accused of sexually assaulting 13 women ranging in age from 18 to 22 between 2010 and 2016.

Court heard McKnight met most of the women in bars and assaulted them at his apartment. He pleaded not guilty, but a jury convicted him on five counts.

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Click to play video: 'Matthew McKnight sentenced to 8 years for sexual assaults in Edmonton'
Matthew McKnight sentenced to 8 years for sexual assaults in Edmonton

McKnight was initially sentenced to eight years in prison. However, in March 2023, the Alberta Court of Appeal increased his sentence to 11 years. The Crown argued that he was premeditative in offering women free alcohol at the bars where he was working before he raped them at his downtown apartment.

“Even though the jury apparently did not accept the Crown’s theory that (McKnight) had embarked on a plan to sexually assault multiple women, there was clearly a pattern involved,” the unanimous decision of three justices said.

Justice Doreen Sulyma, who originally sentenced McKnight after a four-month jury trial, had said he was “a first-time offender of previous good character,” adding that he was “very repentant.”

Click to play video: 'Sentence increased for former Edmonton club promoter Matthew McKnight'
Sentence increased for former Edmonton club promoter Matthew McKnight

Vancouver police said Wednesday they are aware McKnight has obtained parole and has indicated he intends to live in the city.

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“We believe he has family here, so some supports here,” Sgt. Steve Addison said in an interview. “We understand the concern that people will have with the knowledge that somebody who’s got a violent and a predatory past is now going to be living in Vancouver.”

The Vancouver Police Department said its high-risk offender team has been in touch with parole officers in Edmonton and will be working with the Vancouver parole office to determine if a wider public warning is needed.

“That’s certainly something that we could consider (but it’s) not a step that were taking at this point,” Addison said Wednesday. “You can expect us to respond immediately if we become aware of any new criminal offences or breaches of his release conditions.”

According to the Parole Board of Canada decision, McKnight’s day parole comes with a list of conditions, including not consuming drugs or alcohol or entering a drinking establishment, having no contact with victims and to follow his treatment plan. There is also a geographic restriction imposed.

In its decision, the parole board said that, based on “actuarial estimates,” McKnight is considered “a moderate risk to sexually re-offend and a low risk to reoffend for non-sexual crimes.”

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— with files from The Canadian Press and Kristen Robinson, Global News

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