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Survivor seeks to keep killer and child rapist behind bars

Click to play video: 'Survivor speaks against parole for Kingston killer, child rapist'
Survivor speaks against parole for Kingston killer, child rapist
WATCH: An Ontario man who has been behind bars for decades for murder and sexual assault is applying for parole. While his name may not be familiar in Toronto, many in Kingston will remember his horrific crimes committed in the early 1990s. Caryn Lieberman speaks with one of the victims who is fighting to keep him locked up – Aug 28, 2023

WARNING: This story contains graphic details.

It took two decades for Kerri Kehoe to speak about the horrific sexual assault and kidnapping she endured as a child.

“Nobody would believe me if I told them this story,” she recalled thinking as an 11-year-old girl.

In 2010, when DNA connected a convicted killer to the unsolved kidnapping and sexual assault of a little girl in Kingston, Kehoe spoke up for the first time.

“On the front cover of the paper, it said, ‘Cold case, child abduction, sexual assault solved after 20 years,’ And I can’t tell you why I knew, but I knew,” she said.

Kehoe went to Kingston police and told her story.

“I was pregnant at the time and I knew I wasn’t well. And later I got diagnosed with complex PTSD. And it was the headaches. It was the insomnia that brought me forward. It was needing to do something for the protection of my baby,” she recalled.

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Richard Charles Joyce had been serving a life sentence with no parole eligibility for 25 years for his role in the vicious murder of mother of three Margaret Yvonne Rouleau. He then pleaded guilty to charges related to the kidnapping and sexual assault of three girls, including Kehoe, ages nine and 11. He received a 10-year sentence for one of the girls and a 12-year sentence for the other two girls, to be served concurrently.

Since coming forward, Kehoe said she feels it is her responsibility to continue speaking up in an effort to keep Joyce behind bars as a parole hearing for the offender quickly approaches.

“What I learned recently is that a life sentence is not a life sentenceand I call it the ‘just us system,’ not the justice system,” she said.

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“Kingstonians should be made aware that this offender is seeking escorted passes in the community. He is seeking parole. And even though the crimes happened in Kingston, he’s still, in my opinion, a danger to the public in Victoria, B.C., where he’s currently in William Head Institution,” she said.

Kehoe said she now shares the traumatic details of her kidnapping and assault, acknowledging it may be difficult to hear, so that members of the community are aware of the heinous nature of Joyce’s crimes.

She recalled how she had been on her way to meet cousins at the Kingston Memorial Centre in the summer of 1990 when a man abducted her at knifepoint.

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“He immediately bound my wrists together. He buckled me into the seat and I was instantly terrified. I thought he was going to kill me. I didn’t know what was happening…. As we were passing my neighbourhood on the left, he reached out and forcibly started groping my underdeveloped chest. And I remember complete panic and I was frozen because I’ve never been touched like that before. I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew something bad was happening and what’s going to happen,” she said.

Kehoe remembered being forced to perform sexual acts on Joyce in his vehicle and then in a remote forest where she was taken.

“When I looked over, the knife was still in his left hand and there was a garbage bag big enough to fit my body in. And he untied me and he laid down on the ground and he asked me to lay on top of him,” Kehoe said through tears.

She vividly remembered pleading for her life.

“I still hear the way I screamed, begging him not to kill me. And I was shaking,” she said.

According to the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime (CRCVC), there needs to be a proper system in place that is “truly rehabilitating” so that victims and the larger community can continue feeling safe when an offender is released on parole.

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“We also should be giving legal, enforceable rights to victims of crime in Canada, so that they can be fairly consulted, and perhaps make the entire process a little bit more victim-centred, and trauma-informed. For victims, this process is so re-traumatizing,” CRCVC executive director Aline Vlasceanu said. “We must make sure we protect them, not just from the offender.”

With Joyce now seeking parole, Kehoe is hoping to raise awareness across the country about his vicious crimes and the danger, she said, he still poses.

“Had I not chosen to engage the community, had I not chosen to be motivated thinking about the first girl, the second girl, myself, Margaret Yvonne Rouleau’s family, maybe it would have been a quiet release,” Kehoe said.

Kehoe created a Facebook page to post past articles about Joyce and to provide information for members of the public who wish to attend the Sept. 7 parole hearing either virtually or in person.

“I think he has a very good chance. He became a model prisoner. But what I know to be true is that model prisoners do not become pedophiles. Pedophiles become model prisoners for a variety of reasons. One, maybe their own safety. They want to get back out. There’s no cure for pedophilia. There isn’t,” she added.

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