Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Accused child abductor Randall Hopley is led out of the Cranbrook, B.C. courthouse on Wednesday Sept. 14, 2011. (Bill Graveland/ The Canadian Press/Bill Graveland/ The Canadian Press)
Accused child abductor Randall Hopley is led out of the Cranbrook, B.C. courthouse on Wednesday Sept. 14, 2011. (Bill Graveland/ The Canadian Press/Bill Graveland/ The Canadian Press)

Hopley considered high risk, documents show Add to ...

Randall Hopley was identified at the age of 21 as a dangerous pedophile after sexually assaulting a five-year-old boy in 1985 and was considered to be a high risk to reoffend unless he was in a penitentiary or under 24-hour supervision in the community.

Mr. Hopley was unsuitable for psychological counselling because he lacked motivation and had limited mental abilities, said a report his case management team submitted to the National Parole Board during a detention hearing in December, 1986. Also, psychiatry did not have anything to offer Mr. Hopley, and the government was often loath to become involved with the mildly mentally retarded, according to psychiatrist J.A. Noone, who also prepared a report for the parole board.

More related to this story

“Unfortunately, he is one of those individuals who tends to fall between the cracks of various agencies,” Dr. Noone stated in his report for the parole board.

Last week, Mr. Hopley, 46, was charged with kidnapping, abduction and break and enter in the case of three-year-old Kienan Hebert, who was taken from his family home in Sparwood, B.C., and mysteriously returned four days later. Mr. Hopley is in custody and the court has ordered a psychiatric assessment to see if he is fit to stand trial.

The report by Mr. Hopley’s case management team and the report by Dr. Noone were among court records obtained by CTV from a civil lawsuit Mr. Hopley launched in early 1987. At that time, he was serving two years for the sexual assault of a five-year old boy and for failing to comply with a mandatory supervision order.

Mr. Hopley began his sentence on Sept. 4, 1985, at 20 years old, and was eligible for parole on May 5, 1986. His application for parole was heard at a National Parole Board detention hearing on Dec. 11, 1986. After he was turned down, he launched the lawsuit. The court ordered another parole board hearing.

The National Parole Board had no records of Mr. Hopley’s parole hearing. A National Parole Board officer said on Tuesday all records are routinely destroyed after 10 years.

In the document submitted to B.C. Supreme Court, Dr. Noone wrote that Mr. Hopley had “little if any” control over his impulses. “He requires firm external control over his behaviour and consistent supervision,” Dr. Noone stated.

Despite those warnings, there is no record of Mr. Hopley being convicted of sexual assault since 1985.

Dr. Noone stated that various professionals who assessed Mr. Hopley were “at a loss to develop effective recommendations.”

The best that could be achieved by his incarceration, Dr. Noone stated, was to not allow early release “particularly as he is not involved in any remedial efforts and is not addressing his problems.” It was in his best interests – and not against the best interests of society – for Mr. Hopley to be in prison for as long as the law allowed, Dr. Noone wrote.

The case management team said it believed the seriousness of the offence had not registered with Mr. Hopley. “He expresses no insight into his behaviour nor into the effects of his actions upon his young victims,” the team’s report stated.

The case workers wrote that Mr. Hopley had the potential to commit further crimes escalating in violence and damage to his victims. After he was charged with sexual assault of the five-year-old boy, he frightened two young boys with a 12-inch knife, the report said.

The case management team also told the parole board that Mr. Hopley was unemployable. He had no marketable skills and had never held a job. Before he was sent to prison, he lived on social assistance.

Mr. Hopley’s plan to live on his own after being released from prison was not considered viable. “The case management team are doubtful that [Mr.]Hopley would be able to control his sexual deviancy while living on his own as he was unable to control it prior to incarceration,” the report stated. “He would virtually have to be placed on 24-hour supervision in order to ensure that he not molest any children.”

A note on the report says Mr. Hopley read the report prepared by his case management team but refused to sign it. “His reasoning: Everything is bullshit,” the note stated.

David Wilks, former mayor of Sparwood, a long-time member of the RCMP in the area and currently the MP for Kootenay-Columbia, knows Mr. Hopley well from his many run-ins with the suspect over the years.

In an interview from Ottawa, Mr. Wilks said he wasn’t surprised by Dr. Noone’s observations about Mr. Hopley.

“I agree with the psychiatrist that he is one of many who falls through the cracks, but it was a long time ago, and they had to release him,” Mr. Wilks said.

He said there is no fault to be found in what happened years ago.

“[Mr. Hopley]served his full time. Yes, the psychiatrist said he shouldn’t be released, but at that point of time, we didn’t have dangerous offender status. We didn’t have a lot of things. The courts were bound by what they had to do.”

Nowadays, said Mr. Wilks, courts are able to sentence people to much longer sentences than the punishment Mr. Hopley received back in 1985.

He said he also agreed with Dr. Noone that Mr. Hopley’s mental abilities are limited.

“I do know this about Randall. He is not your typical 46-year old. From a mental perspective, he is not 46. He does have a handicap that has been identified by the psychiatrist,” Mr. Wilks said.

“Even when I was dealing with him, I was not dealing with a person of the age that he was.”

With a report from Rod Mickleburgh

Follow us on Twitter: @GlobeBC

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories