Canada home to advanced sex offender treatment programs

SASKATOON – Over the past week, police in Saskatchewan and Alberta have been involved in an intensive manhunt for high-risk sex offender Michael Sean Stanley.

Lethbridge police have confirmed the 48-year-old was in their city on Oct. 4. His vehicle, a purple 1996 Chevy Blazer, was found at a west end home.

Stanley, who is described as violent, has a long history of sexual offences against women and children.

According to University of Saskatchewan Associate Professor Mark Olver, Canada is home to one of the most advanced sex offender treatment programs in the world.

“This is not to say that there is a 100 per cent success rate, but what research has shown is that by and large, there’s a one-third reduction in sexual violence for people who complete treatment and go through programs,” said Olver.

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Olver, who is a clinical psychologist by trade, has experience treating sexual violence and studying the factors that elevate risk. He said there are a number of factors that contribute to an individual relapsing.

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“You could have somebody who’s doing fine for a period of time. Their risk can be managed and then something can change for them,” said Olver.

“They can have an emotional collapse. There can be a lot of stress in their life. There could be a number of things that occur for the person that increase their risk and decrease their stability.

Saskatoon Police Service Staff Sgt. Kirby Harmon is in charge of an investigative unit that looks after high-risk offenders. He said there are currently 218 sex offenders living in Saskatoon.
“We do have dedicated officers who are monitoring compliance for these sex offenders,” said Harmon.
He said that while sex offender Michael Sean Stanley was able to break free from his electronic monitoring bracelet, it is a rare occurrence in Saskatchewan.
“They’re not easy to get out of. I’m not sure how this happened,” he said.
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“I’ve seen the electronic monitors. They’re not easy to defeat.”
He told Global News that while some may be concerned about the number of high and low-risk offenders living in the city, there are safeguards in place protecting the public.

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