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Ontario town to return donation from pardoned sex offender

Article by California Defense Lawyer

According to source, An Ontario town will return a 0,000 donation to an 80-year-old convicted sex offender, reversing its decision to name a street leading up to a new sports complex after him.

Ron Sutherland, deputy mayor of the town of Amherstburg, just south of Windsor, Ont., brought the motion forward at a council meeting Thursday. The vote was unanimous, he said.

“Council has reviewed the matter and decided that it is no longer in the interest of the Amherstburg Community Foundation and council to accept these moneys,” Sutherland said in an interview. “These moneys will be returned and all the naming sponsorship removed.”

According to news reports from 1990, Jim Massen of Amherstburg pleaded guilty to two counts of gross indecency and one count of sexual touching involving three teenage boys. He said he was pardoned for his crimes in 2004.

Massen, a retired television repairman and farmer, said he sold his farmland to contribute to the .6 million sports complex, which opened in January. Massen Dr., which leads up to the centre, will be renamed, and parts of the complex will no longer be named after him.

“No, it isn’t fair, truly it isn’t fair,” Massen said.

The Ontario and federal governments provided more than .7 million toward the facility, which features twin arenas, an indoor soccer field, a baseball diamond for people with disabilities and a seniors centre.

Council wouldn’t say whether it knew about Massen’s past before accepting the money. But Rick Fryer, a former city councillor, said information about Massen’s past had been difficult to find because he had received a pardon.

When a person convicted of a serious sex offence is pardoned, his or her name will only show up in police checks specific to work that involves children, the disabled or other vulnerable people.

More than a dozen concerned citizens waited anxiously to hear council’s decision Thursday. Fryer, who was at city hall to hear the decision, said a few politicians were crying as they left the 40-minute closed-door council meeting.

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