CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses sexual assault and crimes against children
A petition to have a “high-risk offender” moved out of the province has been gaining support online.
Kingston Police sent out a news release last week to notify the public that 61-year-old Christopher Watts had been granted statutory release and would be residing in the Kingston area.
The release stated that Watts could pose a particular threat to young women and girls.
“This notice is being issued as Kingston Police believe he may pose a risk to the community, particularly to females, including females under 18 years of age. Watts has a residency condition and will be monitored,” Kingston Police wrote on Friday.
The news has drawn the ire of many in the community, with several people expressing concern that there needs to be a public warning for someone who will be living in their midst.
Among a number of other transgressions, Watts was responsible for the 2001 death of a 13-year-old girl in Ontario named Amanda Raymond-Trupp.
Her younger sister, Emily Trupp, has since launched the petition hoping to see the violent offender removed from the province.
She says her family was told that Watts would never end up back in Ontario, but after his most recent breach of parole in Saint John, New Brunswick, the sexual predator is running out of community correctional centres that will take him in.
Trupp says moving Watts back into Ontario, and into the city where her partner’s family lives, has made it harder for her and her family to attempt to find peace.
“Now it just feels like everything has resurfaced totally and it almost feels like we’re back at square one,” Trupp said.
“It feels like nothing really changed.”
Trupp said she’s been told there’s only two community centres in Ontario where Watts could be permitted to live.
If he wears out his welcome in Kingston, there’s potential for him to end up in Toronto where she and her family now live.
Trupp said there was a time in her life where she felt she wanted to say something to him, but says now she doesn’t believe this man is capable of any kind of change.
“It seems like he just doesn’t want to change, he doesn’t want to be rehabilitated, he’s still the same person he was when he killed my sister,” Trupp said.
“How long are we going to let it go on? Are we just going to let him keep breaching until he’s totally free in 2027?”
Trupp has provided an update on the petition page, saying that she’s heard from the Ontario Parole Board that it’s unlikely he will be moved from Ontario any time soon, but that she hopes the petition will show the community detests the decision and keep everyone on high alert.
Watts has served the entirety of his 12-year sentence for sexual assault, sexual interference and manslaughter, but continues to be under a supervision order until 2027 for repeated breaches of parole.
The petition to remove him from Ontario had received nearly 1,200 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon.