A B.C. man was charged with 8 counts of sex offences involving children. He never went to trial
UPDATE: March 7 — Stan Tessmer, the lawyer who once represented Joseph Duff, told Global News that peace bonds are entered into for a variety of reasons and don’t imply guilt. He also said the public should not condemn Duff based on one side of the story.
But he would not talk about the particulars of Duff’s case, even though he’s deceased.
“I can advise you that in my practice of over 30 years, defendants will agree to peace bonds under the Criminal Code for a number of reasons primarily because of the uncertainty of the outcome of a trial, regardless of actual guilt or innocence and the financial cost of a lengthy trial, which would be in the thousands of dollars.”
“I want to know the truth.”
That’s Darren Telford, speaking about a historical sexual abuse case in which he claims that Joseph Duff, who he said was a volunteer at Glenwood Elementary School in Maple Ridge, had sexually assaulted him starting when he was in kindergarten.
WATCH: Historical sex assault case heading to court
His case is proving to be an unfolding mystery — one that involves a man, now deceased, who was charged with numerous counts of sexual offences over the course of eight years, but never went to trial.
Global News has uncovered court documents that detail eight counts that were laid against Duff between 1991 and 1999.
Those charges involved three children — including Telford.
In October 1999, a letter from the Crown said proceedings involving Duff were stayed, and the charges dropped without any trial — or explanation as to why they wouldn’t proceed.
The BC Prosecution Service said it’s looking into the case, and will pull files from the archives.
Duff entered into a peace bond on two sexual offences that involved Telford alone, in January 2000.
Again, there was no trial. Duff was released under court-ordered conditions — including that he have no contact with five kids, including Telford.
But there’s no explanation for why in the file.
A warning letter was circulated to parents of children at Glenwood Elementary School in September 1999, eight years after after Telford claims his mom first notified the school about the abuse.
The school district denies it was advised of any sexual abuse committed by Joseph Duff.
“It has come to our attention that an adult neighbour living adjacent to Glenwood elementary has been charged with a number of offences involving children,” the letter said.
It wasn’t clear who the school was referring to in that letter.
The school district is not commenting because of a civil trial around Telford’s case that goes to court next month.
“It’ll all come out in court,” Telford told Global News.
“They’re fighting a fight they can’t win, in my mind.”
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