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Accused in N.S. confinement case troubled: parole board

Wayne Cunninhma and David Leblanc are shown in an RCMP handout photo. The RCMP in Nova Scotia's Lunenburg County say they're looking for the two men in relation to an alleged forcible confinement and sexual assault of a 16-year-old teen.


A man wanted in the alleged confinement of a teenage boy in Nova Scotia was troubled by emotional issues surrounding his sexuality and self-esteem, the National Parole Board said in its decision to give him day parole.

The parole board's assessment released on Tuesday is contained in a March, 2007, decision approving accelerated day parole for Wayne Alan Cunningham, who faces charges of sexual assault and forcible confinement after a 16-year-old boy alleged he was kept captive by two men at a home last month.

Mr. Cunningham, then 26 years old, had been sentenced four months earlier to more than three years in prison on charges including theft, break and enter, fraud and forgery.

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"Issues surrounding sexual identity in your teens is believed to have ill-effects on your self-esteem," board member Anna Butland wrote in the decision.

"This result is believed to have led to choices in being a follower of criminally oriented peers and negatively influenced family relations."

The board suggested Mr. Cunningham turn his life around by addressing his emotional issues, upgrading his educational and employment skills, and keeping his distance from negative influences.

"Furthermore, you must avoid persons who can easily lead you back on the criminal path," the decision said.

A weeklong hunt continued Tuesday for the 31-year-old man, who police said could be headed to Calgary in a grey 2003 Hyundai Elantra with Nova Scotia license plate FBP 233.

Mr. Cunningham's co-accused in the alleged case of confinement, David James Leblanc, was arrested Sunday in northern Ontario. He also faces charges of sexual assault and forcible confinement.

Police in that province said the 47-year-old man was picked up on a road in Greenstone, about 250 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay after officers received a report of a man wandering with no shoes and light clothing as temperatures hovered around the freezing mark.

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The RCMP in Nova Scotia launched an investigation last week after a woman reported that a boy – barefoot and chained at his wrists and ankles – showed up at her doorstep in the Lunenburg County community of Upper Chelsea, about 130 kilometres southwest of Halifax.

In documents filed last week with the provincial court in Bridgewater, N.S., RCMP Constable Timothy Cole said a 16-year-old boy told them he was sleeping on the streets of Halifax last month when he woke up in a van and was taken to a home.

Constable Cole said two men held the boy against his will, sexually assaulted him over several days and talked about trying to sell him.

The parole board said Mr. Leblanc was also serving more than three years in prison on similar charges as Mr. Cunningham when he, too, was approved for accelerated day parole in March, 2007. Both men had been sentenced in November, 2006.

Decisions by the board said both men committed crimes as a means to survive or meet personal needs, but added that neither was prone to violence, though Mr. Leblanc's sentence also included time for an assault charge.

"The board is satisfied that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that, if released, you are likely to commit an offence involving violence before the expiration of your sentence," the board said in its decisions for both men.

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The decision approving parole for Mr. Leblanc described him as a "desperate man" who turned to crime when he was unable to secure a job or social assistance.

"The question becomes one of how far you are prepared to go to meet personal needs," wrote board member Pat O'Brien.

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