Coquitlam sex-assault convict given statutory release

Published: February 26, 2014

Statue of Justice at the new Law Courts Building in downtown Vancouver. PNG

JENNIFER SALTMAN
VANCOUVER DESI

A former care aide who forced himself on a mentally-challenged woman at a Coquitlam group home where he worked has been released from prison.

Chandraduth Gopaul, 57, was convicted in May 2011 of sexual assault and sentenced the following year to three years in prison. According to a Feb. 17 decision from the Parole Board of Canada, Gopaul was given statutory release with some special conditions.

Statutory release is automatically granted to most offenders after they have served two-thirds of their sentence. A prisoner cannot be detained past that date unless there is a recommendation by the Correctional Service of Canada for detention.

The victim, who has the mental capacity of a child, testified at trial that on New Year’s Day 2008 Gopaul came into her bedroom without her permission and, ignoring her protests, made her perform fellatio and had intercourse with her.

The woman told another support worker what had happened two days later, and was taken to hospital and interviewed by police. Her clothes were seized and Gopaul’s semen was found on her underwear.

Gopaul tried to blame the woman for the assault, but a B.C. provincial court judge found his explanation unbelievable.

Gopaul was also suspected of sexually assaulting another adult female with special needs, however police determined there was not enough evidence to proceed with charges.

Although estimates of Gopaul’s risk to reoffend vary, when he was first sent to prison an assessment stated that Gopaul was a low to moderate risk to reoffend sexually, although that risk would increase in the presence of vulnerable people.

The Correctional Service of Canada will monitor his choice of employment and access to potential victims.

While on statutory release, an offender must report to a parole officer and follow conditions. In Gopaul’s case, he is subject to three special conditions: no direct or indirect contact with the victim; immediately report all intimate sexual and non-sexual relationships and friendships with females to a parole supervisor; and follow a treatment plan or program in the area of sexual deviancy and mental health.

If a parole officer believes there is a risk to the public, a warrant can be issued and an offender temporarily returned to prison. The board can also revoke an offender’s statutory release if the risk to the public has become unmanageable.

Gopaul’s sentence expires on March 11, 2015.

jensaltman@theprovince.com
twitter.com/jensaltman

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