Fleetwood residents upset they weren’t notified about convicted sex offender

Fleetwood residents upset they weren’t notified about convicted sex offender

So-called “Balcony rapist” was released into Surrey in 2007, after serving his 20-year sentence

The so-called “Balcony Rapist” has found himself back in the news.

Paul Callow, now 61, was released from prison into Surrey back in February 2007 after serving his 20-year sentence for a series of sexual attacks in Toronto in the 1980s.

Earlier this week, a local TV news station reported that residents of a Fleetwood neighbourhood were upset to learn he had been living in their community for a year without them being notified by authorities.

Principal Amber Flanagan of Coast Meridian Elementary School sent out a letter to parents on Monday, Sept. 11 noting that it was brought to the school’s attention, by local parents, “concerns and questions regarding a resident of our neighbourhood.”

School staff had been in contact with the Surrey RCMP, she wrote in the letter, posted on the school’s website. “Police have not indicated any heightened risk to the community, nor has there been a public advisory. Safety of students and staff is a priority for our school, the district and the police. We will communicate further to parents, if necessary. In the meantime, we must be mindful and respectful of the rights of all individuals.”

Neither police or the Surrey school district would confirm if Callow was the subject of the letter.

“We’re not identifying any individual,” said Doug Strachan, Surrey school district’s spokesman.

Surrey RCMP Staff Sergeant Dale Carr said police “can’t disclose where he lives because he is under no restrictions, he’s under no guidance and it’s no different than why I can’t disclose where you live. He is a free citizen, he has completed his warrant in which he was held in custody for a number of years, I believe it was 20 years,” Carr said. “He’s been out of jail for more than 10 years and he’s a free citizen.”

What he did, Carr said, was “dispicable back in the day, but he’s done the time and he’s under no sort of guidance or restrictions or conditions.”

The Surrey Now reported in 2007, when Callow was living in Fraser Heights, that hundreds of residents met with police and City of Surrey officials to demand he be removed from their neighbourhood and some 50 residents also staged a demonstration in front of the house where he was living at that time. Someone later fired paintballs at the front door.

Dianne Watts, Surrey’s mayor at that time, said she was worried that vigilantes would “come into Fraser Heights from outside the area and start taking matters into their own hands.”

Callow had also lived in Newton for a spell, at about that time. He also lived in New Westminster.

tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com