Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sex offender flees to U.S. after bracelet cut off

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EDMONTON -- The Alberta government won't ask the federal government to seek the extradition of a convicted sex offender who police say fled Canada for the United States.

A spokesman for Alberta's Justice Department said in a statement Saturday that although Michael Stanley has a criminal record of violent offences, the charges he is currently wanted for aren't severe enough to justify asking American authorities to turn him over.

"Mr. Stanley is not currently charged with any offences of violence in Canada," Dan Laville said in an email Saturday evening. "The charges against him do not typically warrant engaging the extradition process. We advised our federal counterparts of the decision (Saturday) afternoon."

Police have been trying to track down Michael Stanley since Oct. 1 when the electronic monitoring bracelet he was wearing was cut off. The bracelet was found on the roof of a business in Lloydminister, which straddles the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary.

An arrest warrant was issued for Stanley on charges of breach of recognizance, mischief and driving offences. Police issued a public alert describing the Edmonton man as an untreated violent sex offender posing a significant risk to the community.

Concern over Stanley prompted several schools in west-central Saskatchewan to lock their doors after RCMP received several unconfirmed sightings of him, but on Oct. 7, police in Lethbridge, Alta., found his vehicle in the city and warned the public he could be in the area.

Police subsequently said Stanley had managed to cross into Blaine, Wash., south of Vancouver, but they said they were "confident" of his location and had notified U.S. authorities.

However, the U.S. marshal's office said Friday it wasn't tracking Stanley and was unaware of his whereabouts. Jack Williams, acting deputy chief of the U.S. Marshal Service in Seattle, said Stanley is not wanted by American authorities and without a Canadian extradition request, there was little his office could do.

A court order required Stanley to wear the ankle bracelet because of his previous criminal record, but removing it would not justify seeking extradition, Laville said.

"This order required him to wear an ankle bracelet and is not a criminal charge and cannot ground an extradition. The only charges Mr. Stanley current faces relate to the removing of his bracelet," Laville said, but added authorities on the border will be on the lookout should Stanley decide to return.

"If Michael Stanley returns to Canada, we are prepared to prosecute him and to ensure that he continues to be subject to an order to protect the public."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 13, 2013 A6

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