Two very different pictures are emerging in a Cranbrook, B.C., courtroom at the dangerous offender hearing of admitted child abductor Randall Hopley.
The small, almost cartoonish and unthreatening man shuffles into the court each day in the custody of sheriffs. His hands and feet are shackled and he wears a long sleeve shirt with grey jogging pants. He leans forward in the docket, his arms folded and his jaw clenched during the proceedings.
But report after report entered as evidence at the hearing aimed at keeping him behind bars, possibly for the rest of his life, paints an image of a remorseless child molester.
Hopley, 47, has admitted to the 2011 abduction of three-year-old Kienan Hebert from his home in Sparwood, B.C., and then returning the boy a few days later - seemingly unharmed.
The court has heard Hopley was only 17 years old when he assaulted three children at his foster home.
A few years later, he was sent to prison for sexually assaulting another five-year-old boy.
A National Parole Board summary from one of his parole applications was submitted by Crown prosecutor Lynal Doerksen on Tuesday.
“The seriousness of his offences has not registered with Mr. Hopley at all,” said the report. “There is no concern about the impact on his young victims.”
The report noted that Hopley was not motivated to change and didn’t have the mental ability to do so.
“Unless he is treated, he will continue to pursue inappropriate sexual outlets.”
A second parole board report was even less optimistic.
“He is essentially an untreated sex offender,” it said.
Although a number of programs for the treatment of sexual offenders have been made available, he has shown no interest in participating, the report said.
A Corrections Services of Canada report said Hopley suffers from a disturbance in his psychosexual development.
“Hopley displays little insight to his behaviour. He is in desperate need of treatment for his sexual matters,” the report reads. “He needs to be taught how to control his sexual attraction to children, but has done nothing in that area.”
Hopley has maintained he is not sexually attracted to children throughout his time in the courts. Although he has confessed to his crimes, he is unwilling to talk about the assaults themselves and describes the acts as spontaneous and unplanned.
Forensic psychologist Dr. William Koch assessed Hopley in July 1985 and described his first impression of him as a “dishevelled and sulky young man”.
He said Hopley’s self control is “virtually nil” and he is a constant risk to reoffend.
“I would consider this young man to be a danger to society primarily because of his lack of remorse,” he said.
Koch said Hopley would be a poor candidate for treatment and generally avoids accepting responsibility for his actions. He said Hopley had a simple response to the negative aspects of his assaulting young children: “The community gets upset.”
The court heard that Hopley has an IQ of 65 and is basically operating at the level of a Grade 3 student.
He was also unaware of the world around him. When asked a number of questions, he said simply that Trudeau was B.C.’s premier and that Victoria was the capital of Canada, but he did correctly name Brian Mulroney as prime minister at the time of the Koch’s questioning.
Hopley bounced from foster home to foster home after he displayed angry and aggressive behaviour following the accidental death of his father when he was two. His mother and stepfather couldn’t deal with his behaviour, the court heard.
The hearing is expected to run all week. The Crown wants him designated as either a dangerous or long-term offender.
If declared a dangerous offender, Hopley could face the harshest punishment of an indeterminate prison sentence, with no chance of parole for seven years.
A long-term offender designation would mean Hopley could, after serving his sentence, receive a supervision order for up to 10 years.
Kienan Hebert was abducted in the middle of the night from the second-floor bedroom of his unlocked home in Sparwood, a small town in southeastern B.C., in September 2011.
Kienan’s parents issued an emotional public plea to the boy’s abductor, asking the man to leave their son in a safe place.
Shortly after, an anonymous 911 caller told police where to find Kienan — back at his home.
Hopley pleaded guilty to breaking into the Heberts’ home and abducting the boy.
He has insisted that he never harmed or sexually assaulted the boy, and the Crown has presented no evidence that he did.
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