Victims’ advocate wants stalking to be treated as a ‘red flag’ crime

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The criminal justice system needs to start treating the crime of stalking as a “red flag” signaling the potential for more serious violent behavior, says a women’s rights advocate.

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“We have to understand that stalking is a red flag for homicide ⁠—it’s a well-documented fact⁠— and treat it with the severity it deserves,” said Julie Lalonde, a stalking survivor and expert on violence against people recognized at Nacional level. women.

Stalking, also known as criminal harassment, is often a symptom of the kind of dangerous obsession that leads to assault, sexual assault and murder, he said, adding: “We have to recognize that this is rarely an isolated crime.” .

Lalonde spoke Thursday following the revelation, first reported by CBC’s Shaamini Yogaretnam, that Joshua Graves was charged with criminal harassment, assault and sexual assault and then released from custody just three days before he stabbed a mother of Ottawa and her two daughters.

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Two of those women, Anne-Marie Ready, 50, and her daughter, Jasmine Ready, 15, are dead. Catherine Ready, 19, remains in the hospital with knife and gunshot wounds.

Graves, who was wielding a knife, was shot to death by police Monday night on Anoka Street, where he was assaulting Catherine Ready.

According to information released by the Ontario police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, officers ordered Graves to drop his gun and when he did not act, three officers shot him.

Graves was pronounced dead at the scene.

Catherine Ready was taken to hospital with stab wounds and a gunshot wound sustained in Graves’ confrontation with police. Agents later discovered the bodies of Anne-Marie Ready, Canada’s trade commissioner for Global Affairs, and her daughter, Jasmine, a student at the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est.

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Court documents obtained by this newspaper show that Graves was released on Friday, June 24, by Justice of the Peace Andrew Seymour, a former Ottawa Citizen reporter.

Graves had been charged with three counts of criminal harassment, assault and sexual assault for crimes that occurred between early March and mid-June.

He was released on $2,000 bail from his mother, Emily, and on a set of conditions that required him to live at home and not enter an area bounded by Montreal Road, Coventry Road, St. Laurent Boulevard and Vanier Parkway. near where his alleged victims lived and worked.

He was also ordered not to have contact ⁠—directly, indirectly or online⁠— with four people, two of them women, whose identities are protected by a publication ban. Members of the Graves family were not among those identified in court documents.

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Seymour also ordered Graves not to possess any conventional weapons as defined by the Penal Code, or anything else designed to cause death or injury.

He was scheduled to appear in court on July 13.

Lalonde said the news of the double femicide was particularly painful given that it occurred on the same day that a three-week investigation into the Ottawa Valley murders of Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam made its recommendations. The inquest heard that the man responsible for that September 2015 murder rampage, Basil Borutski, had been convicted of domestic violence charges against Kuzyk and Warmerdam, and had been harassing Culleton.

“It’s horrible, and it’s particularly hard for me to hear, as I just testified in the triple femicide inquest,” Lalonde said. “It’s horrible that this keeps happening.”

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In his appearance before the inquiry, Lalonde called for a broadening of the definition of criminal harassment and the introduction of services adapted to harassed people.

“It’s nice that we have so many sexual assault shelters and centers, but there’s literally no other place people can go if they’re being harassed, other than to call the police and hope that what happened to them crosses the threshold of being a sexual assault. legal. ,” she said.

Lalonde has had personal experience with stalking during a disturbing 10-year episode that she recounts in her memoir, Resilience Is Futile: The Life and Death and Life of Julie S. Lalonde.

She said it’s “incredibly frustrating” that two more women are dying at the hands of a stalker. “The whole story is so unbelievably horrible: not only that he was previously charged, but that he was such a young man. He is 21 years old and has caused so much carnage.”

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