Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
A high-risk sex offender, who’s been to prison four times for crimes against women and girls, has told a judge he is finally ready to change.
On the eve of his latest release from custody, Brett Russell Pilch, 55, told the judge Thursday that he knows he can do it.
"I’m going to be putting my best foot forward and making these healthy changes in my life and ensuring public safety," he told provincial court Judge Robert Heinrichs.
Pilch agreed to be placed on what is commonly referred to as an 810 peace bond, a preventative recognizance imposed on offenders who have served their full sentence in custody and are deemed a high risk to reoffend.
Pilch’s criminal record, which dates back to 1992, includes a conviction for sexual assault, five convictions for criminal harassment, 23 convictions for indecent or harassing phone calls, and seven convictions for uttering threats. The targets of Pilch’s crimes are often women he does not know.
Pilch is set to be released from Stony Mountain Institution on Friday after serving a 30-month sentence for breaching a probation order. He had just started serving a 15-month sentence in June 2017 at Headingley Correctional Centre when, over the course of one month, he placed 87 phone calls to an Ontario woman and engaged in sexually graphic conversations. The phone calls violated conditions of Pilch’s probation that require pre-authorization of phone calls and that he notify his probation officer of any relationships with a woman.
Pilch’s victims include a woman he tracked down after seeing her in a newspaper, a woman he met in a shopping mall, and several women across Western Canada that he randomly found in the phone book.
In 1999, Pilch was sentenced to two years in prison for stalking a woman while he was serving a 35-month prison sentence for criminal harassment.
In 2010, Pilch was sentenced to five months in jail after admitting to making sexually charged remarks to a 16-year-old girl who crossed his path in a downtown grocery store. Pilch told the girl she was "cute" and "sexy" and followed her when she left the store.
Details of Pilch’s criminal history were included in a booklet prepared by Manitoba's integrated high-risk sex-offender unit, which was provided to the court for Thursday’s hearing.
"I realize there are bad things in that book that have been said about you, but my belief is that it is never too late for a person to change and I wish you well," Heinrichs told Pilch.
Pilch was placed on an 810 peace bond in 2005, but later breached it. He has been on probation eight times since 1992, and breached his conditions every time.
Under terms of the current peace bond, Pilch is bound by a nightly curfew and required to notify his probation officer of any relationship with a woman, comply with orders he undergo treatment or counselling, and have no contact with his victims.
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.
The Winnipeg Free Press invites you to share your opinion on this story in a letter to the editor. A selection of letters to the editor are published daily.
Letters must include the writer’s full name, address, and a daytime phone number. Letters are edited for length and clarity.