Cross border controversy: Why Alberta won't try to extradite convicted sex offender
Published Sunday, October 13, 2013 10:00PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 13, 2013 11:19PM EDT
A high-risk sex offender who was being sought in Canada is now walking free in the United States, after the Alberta government announced Saturday it was dropping the case.
Michael Sean Stanley had police and the public on alert in Alberta and Saskatchewan earlier this month.
Stanley went missing on Oct. 1 after he cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet near the boundary of the two provinces. Police announced Friday that Stanley had crossed into the United States.
Stanley, who was released from jail in April 2011 after completing a 32-month sentence for assault and forcible confinement, is still wanted in Canada on charges of breach of recognizance, mischief and driving offences.
But those recent and relatively minor charges relate to cutting off the ankle bracelet and dropping out of sight.
In a statement, the Alberta government said although Michael Stanley has a criminal record of violent offences, the Canadian warrant for "Breach of Peace Bond" is not serious enough to justify asking American authorities to turn him over.
"The only charges Mr. Stanley faces… are related to the removing of his bracelet."
That, it turns out, is not an extraditable offense.
The extradition agreement between the United States and Canada was drawn up in the 1970s, and pre-dates electronic monitoring technology now commonly used by law enforcement.
Stanley, an American citizen, has a long criminal history in the United States, but was admitted into the country by border guards at the Blaine, Wash., crossing south of Vancouver.
Police confirmed last week that he crossed the border on the evening on Monday Oct. 7.
Edmonton police say the appropriate agencies were notified of the possibility that Stanley might try to cross the border, including the Canadian Border Services Agency and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Tracking offenders globally
Beyond Borders, an organization co-founded in Canada by Rosalind Prober, has been working since 1993 to close loopholes in the Canadian Criminal Code that allowed sexual offenders to abuse children abroad “with impunity.”
Prober says it's time to stop thinking locally and have governments work together, using technology, to track sex offenders globally.
"This guy is out there," Prober said. "He is bent on having sex with 82-year-olds to babies. So that's a problem…. And if we can’t control this type of individual, if the systems aren’t in place -- how do we get them in place?"
The RCMP website still lists Michael Stanley as begin wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, and Canadian officials say if he returns to this country he will be prosecuted.
In the U.S., there are no charges against him, but law enforcement officials say he will be required to register as a sex offender.
Stanley's criminal record in Canada dates back to 1987, and police said his victims ranged from young and old, male and female. He last received a 32-month prison term for assault and forcible confinement.
The Parole Board of Canada determined that he posed a risk to reoffend and kept him behind bars until his warrant expiry date, the final day of his sentence, in 2011.
Before his flight, he was being monitored by police under a peace bond, which authorities use to impose conditions on individuals in the community.
His peace bond had 20 conditions, including one ordering him to stay away from children.