McClin­tic back in prison af­ter time in heal­ing lodge

Medicine Hat News - - FRONT PAGE -

A con­victed child killer who be­came the sub­ject of na­tional out­rage when it was learned she’d been trans­ferred to an In­dige­nous heal­ing lodge is back in prison.

Rod­ney Stafford is­sued a brief, cel­e­bra­tory Face­book post an­nounc­ing that Terri-Lynne McClin­tic, who pleaded guilty in the death of his eight-year-old daugh­ter Tori, was no longer at the Saskatchewan lodge run by Cor­rec­tions Canada.

“It’s of­fi­cial!!! Terri-Lynne is back be­hind bars,” he wrote in the on­line post.

Stafford later told Toronto me­dia McClin­tic had been re­lo­cated to a prison in Ed­mon­ton overnight, not­ing that Cor­rec­tions Canada of­fi­cials told him of the move Thurs­day.

McClin­tic be­came a fig­ure of na­tional in­famy af­ter de­tails emerged about Tori’s 2009 slay­ing.

The girl from Wood­stock, Ont., who was miss­ing for three months be­fore her body was found, had been ab­ducted, re­peat­edly raped, and ul­ti­mately blud­geoned to death with a ham­mer.

McClin­tic, 18 at the time of the killing, pleaded guilty in 2010 and of­fered tes­ti­mony that helped con­vict her then boyfriend, Michael Raf­ferty. In sep­a­rate pro­ceed­ings, McClin­tic and Raf­ferty were both sen­tenced to life in prison with­out any chance of pa­role for 25 years.

Stafford learned, how­ever, that eight years into her sen­tence, McClin­tic was qui­etly re­lo­cated to the heal­ing lodge, a fa­cil­ity touted as a path to re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion for In­dige­nous of­fend­ers. The re­mote, ru­ral lodge is listed as a medium-se­cu­rity in­sti­tu­tion for women.

Stafford, who has emerged as a child safety ad­vo­cate in the years since his daugh­ter’s death, found him­self at the cen­tre of a charged po­lit­i­cal con­tro­versy when word of McClin­tic’s trans­fer emerged.

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau and his Lib­eral govern­ment came un­der fierce crit­i­cism for both the ini­tial trans­fer and the fact that no move was im­me­di­ately made to re­verse it.

The govern­ment said it would re­view the trans­fer de­ci­sion, and the Con­ser­va­tive op­po­si­tion re­peat­edly raised the is­sue, call­ing on the Lib­er­als to place McClin­tic back in prison.

On Wed­nes­day, Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale an­nounced more strin­gent mea­sures gov­ern­ing trans­fers to heal­ing lodges, adding that the new ap­proach would be ap­plied in both past and fu­ture cases.

Trudeau said on Thurs­day that the new rules will in­crease ac­count­abil­ity.

“Th­ese changes will help en­sure guilty par­ties are held ac­count­able while fos­ter­ing re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion so we can have fewer re­peat of­fend­ers, fewer vic­tims, and ul­ti­mately safer com­mu­ni­ties,” he said dur­ing Ques­tion Pe­riod, adding that the govern­ment had heard the an­guish ex­pressed by Tori’s fam­ily.

In an in­ter­view with Toronto tele­vi­sion sta­tion CP24, Stafford gave Ot­tawa some credit for send­ing McClin­tic back to a tra­di­tional prison.

“I see the re­ac­tion from the fed­eral govern­ment as be­ing a pos­i­tive one be­cause the steps have been made to put her back to where she had to go and where she be­longs,” he said.

Con­ser­va­tive Leader An­drew Scheer, how­ever, said that the govern­ment was do­ing lit­tle more than bow­ing to pub­lic pres­sure.

“The Lib­er­als have fi­nally backed down and taken ac­tion,” Scheer said dur­ing a pol­icy an­nounce­ment in Bramp­ton, Ont. “But we can never for­get that they only made this de­ci­sion af­ter be­ing forced to.”

The new rules an­nounced by Goodale spec­ify that pris­on­ers won’t be el­i­gi­ble for trans­fers to heal­ing lodges with­out se­cured perime­ters un­til they’re into the “prepa­ra­tion for re­lease” phases of their sen­tences. In McClin­tic’s case, she would not be el­i­gi­ble for such a move un­til she nears the end of the 25 years she must serve be­fore be­ing el­i­gi­ble for pa­role.

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