Con­victed killer, sex of­fender given brief leave

Croteau at­tends rel­a­tive’s fu­neral

Montreal Gazette - - Montreal - PAUL CHERRY GAZETTE CRIME RE­PORTER pcherry@ mon­tre­al­

A con­victed killer and sex of­fender serv­ing a life sen­tence for mur­der was re­cently granted a brief leave from a fed­eral pen­i­ten­tiary so he could at­tend the fu­neral of a rel­a­tive un­der heavy guard and in re­straints.

Guy Croteau, 56, con­victed in 2004 of first-de­gree mur­der in the 1987 death of So­phie Landry, 17, was re­cently granted the leave so he could be taken to a fu­neral home on Aug. 10.

A source within Cor­rec­tional Ser­vice Canada said the leave was car­ried out with­out in­ci­dent.

The de­ceased per­son’s re­la­tion to Croteau was redacted from a writ­ten sum­mary of the Pa­role Board of Canada’s de­ci­sion to grant the leave. But the sum­mary states the leave was re­quested as a com­pas­sion­ate tem­po­rary ab­sence, which are nor­mally granted so in­mates can at­tend the fu­ner­als of close rel­a­tives.

The de­ceased was only re­ferred to in the de­ci­sion as some­one Croteau should con- sider “a model for (him) to fol­low” if he sets goals to­ward re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

The leave was granted un­der a sec­tion of the Cor­rec­tions and Con­di­tional Re­lease Act which al­lows for an “in­mate to be ab­sent from pen­i­ten­tiary, es­corted by a staff mem­ber or other per­son au­tho­rized by the in­sti­tu­tional head, for med­i­cal, ad­min­is­tra­tive, com­mu­nity ser­vice, fam­ily con­tact, per­sonal de­vel­op­ment for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive pur­poses, or com­pas­sion­ate rea­sons.”

The con­di­tions set out for the leave in­di­cate Croteau is still con­sid­ered a very danger­ous man.

Be­sides be­ing con­victed of killing Landry, a stranger Croteau ab­ducted and raped in 1987 be­fore stab­bing her 173 times, he is also serv­ing a con­cur­rent 18-year sen­tence for sex­ual as­saults of three other vic­tims.

In one case, in July 1999, Croteau picked up two 16-year-old girls who were hitch­hik­ing and sex­u­ally as­saulted both at knife­point.

In the other sex­ual as­sault case, Croteau ab­ducted a 10-year-old girl at knife­point, in 2000, af­ter pre­tend­ing he needed her help to look for a lost dog. He sodom­ized the girl af­ter tak­ing her to a wooded area.

A Sûreté du Québec in­ves­ti­ga­tion, dubbed Pro­ject Probe, ended with his ar­rest in 2002 and found Croteau, who was work­ing as a jan­i­tor at a high school at the time, was pos­si­bly in­volved in other sex­ual as­saults and ab­duc­tions on the South Shore be­tween 1995 and 2000.

Landry was ab­ducted from South Shore La Prai- rie, but Croteau left her body in a corn­field in St-Rochde-l’Achi­gan, 40 kilo­me­tres north of Mon­treal.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion used DNA found on the clothes of the 10-year-old girl Croteau sodom­ized to link him to Landry’s mur­der and the as­sault on the hitch­hik­ers.

The pa­role de­ci­sion re­veals Croteau is de­tained at a medium-se­cu­rity pen­i­ten­tiary some­where in Que­bec and that he col­lab­o­rates well with cor­rec­tions staff. But he is still con­sid­ered a high risk to re­of­fend with lit­tle po­ten­tial for be­ing paroled, which won’t be an op­tion un­til some­time af­ter 2027.

The de­ci­sion states Croteau meets reg­u­larly with a psy­chi­a­trist and a psy­chol­o­gist to deal with men­tal-health prob­lems.

In 2004 he was di­ag­nosed as suf­fer­ing from chronic de­pres­sion (he tried to kill him­self in a court­room af­ter he was con­victed of mur­der) and para­noia. He is also on a wait­ing list to take part in pro­grams to treat sex­ual de­viance and drug ad­dic­tion.

To ad­dress the threat he posed, the pa­role board or­dered that Croteau’s leave to the fu­neral home be limited to less than eight hours, with 30 min­utes for lunch.

The board also or­dered that he be es­corted by two armed guards at all times and trans­ported in a ve­hi­cle used to trans­fer in­mates. The board also re­quired that Croteau be kept in hand­cuffs and leg shack­les while at the fu­neral home.

“Con­sid­er­ing the mea­sures fore­seen to con­strain you, your case man­age­ment team is of the opin­ion that the risk can be man­aged ad­e­quately dur­ing the es­corted leave that they rec­om­mended,” the board noted in its de­ci­sion. “All of the nec­es­sary ver­i­fi­ca­tions were done rel­a­tive to the vic­tims and they raised no par­tic­u­lar pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with the leave.”

The SQ re­leased th­ese 10 pho­tos of Guy Croteau in 2002 so that vic­tims of un­solved sex­u­alas­sault cases might rec­og­nize him and con­tact po­lice.

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