Correctional services missed signs leading up to Marylène Levesque murder, says report

The Correctional Service of Canada missed warning signs while supervising a parolee with a history of violence against women who went on to kill Marylène Levesque last year, according to the findings of a federal investigation.

Levesque, 22, who had been working at an erotic massage parlour, was found dead in the Quebec City suburb of Sainte-Foy on Jan. 22, 2020.

Eustachio Gallese, who has since pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in her death, had been on day parole since March 2019 for the 2004 killing of his former spouse.

The Parole Board of Canada initially denied Gallese full parole. However, it extended his day parole with several conditions, listing his likelihood of reoffending as “low to moderate.”

Gallese had a special arrangement with his case worker that allowed him to have relations with women to meet his “sexual needs.” As part of the conditions of his day parole, he was required to disclose any relations he had with women to his parole officer.

‘There were warning signs’

The case touched off a political firestorm in the House of Commons over Canada’s parole board system. Following the outcry, the federal correctional service announced a joint internal investigation with the parole board.

“The [national joint board of investigation] found that there were warning signs that the case management team did not properly assess and therefore did not adequately take into consideration to implement the required interventions to ensure better risk management,” notes a summary of the report’s findings.

“Additionally, the visits to a massage parlour for sexual purposes were a contributing risk factor given the offender’s history of domestic violence.”

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), which oversees about 12,600 inmates in federal institutions and approximately 9,400 offenders in the community, says it has made a number of changes in the wake of Levesque’s murder.

“The supervision strategy used in this case was inappropriate and not something that CSC condones in the way it manages offenders,” notes a statement from the federal department.

As recommended by the report, Anne Kelly, the CSC commissioner, said her department will:

  • Revise its information collection policy to specify which types of documents are required and relevant to an offender’s history and implement a formal monitoring mechanism.
  • Adopt a single community supervision model for federal offenders across the country.
  • Implement new, mandatory intimate partner violence training.

CSC said it has also conducted a nationwide review to ensure that all supervision strategies “are sound, appropriate, consistent with legislation and policies.”

A media statement also said the review “found there were no similar cases.”

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