A federal investigation has been launched to examine the Parole Board of Canada following charges laid against a convicted murderer who had been out on day parole. A Canadian parole board granted a convicted murderer supervised release on day parole and gave permission for him to avail himself of the services of prostitutes at a Montreal erotic massage parlour. He has now been charged with second-degree murder and questions about why he was granted permission to seek sexual satisfaction have not yet been answered.
Eustachio Gallese (“Gallese”) was found to have beaten his wife with a hammer before stabbing her to death with two knives on October 21, 2004. In 2006, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole for 15 years for the murder of his wife.
Prior to this incident, in 1997, Gallese was also convicted of sexual assault against a romantic partner.
In 2007, the parole board concluded that Gallese was at “high risk” of violently re-offending.
In 2016, the parole board reduced Gallese’s status of re-offending to “moderate” and further dropped it to “low to moderate” in 2019.
In March of 2019, according to parole board documents, Gallese was granted supervised release on day parole at a halfway house based on his good behaviour.
Gallese was required to adhere to several conditions, including to report any relationships with women (sexual or otherwise) and he was forbidden to consume drugs or alcohol.
Gallese apparently discussed his concern about relations with women with his case workers. Parole board records indicate the he was encouraged by his case workers to satisfy his “sexual needs” and was allowed to meet women “only for the purpose of responding to [his] sexual needs”.
The parole board’s decision stated:
During the hearing, your parole officer underlined a strategy that was developed with the goal that would allow you to meet women in order to meet your sexual needs. The hearing allowed us to realize you managed, and this with the approval of your case-management team, relations with women that the board considers inappropriate.
The parole board found that the strategy “paradoxically constitutes a worrying and significant risk factor” and ordered that Gallese be re-evaluated for the terms of his parole in six months.
Two months prior to Gallese’s re-evaluation date, he turned himself in to police and told them where to find the body of Marylene Levesque (“Levesque”). Her body was found in a hotel room in Quebec City’s Sainte-Foy neighbourhood.
Levesque had been working out of an erotic massage parlour. Gallese had been banned from entering the massage parlour as he had been violent with other women, therefore he and Levesque met at a hotel.
Gallese has been charged with second-degree murder.
THE GOVERNMENT’S REACTION TO THE TRAGEDY
Last week, the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion to condemn the Parole Board of Canada’s decision with respect to Gallese, which ultimately led to the death of Levesque by an inmate on day parole.
The motion also passed to allow the Public Safety Committee to conduct hearings and review changes made in 2017 to the parole board’s nomination process and recommend measures that need to be taken to avoid another “tragedy”.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has also confirmed that a federal investigation has begun “to deal with any issues of misconduct, negligence or error, but also to examine our policies, procedures and training that direct the work of the Parole Board and others involved in these decisions”.
Conservatives Pierre Paul-Hus and Glen Motz also condemned the parole board’s decision and stated:
[A] convicted murderer, with a history of domestic violence, out on day parole so that he could meet women in order to address his sexual needs. … The Liberal appointed Parole Board members demonstrated a clear lack of judgment in this case and must face consequences.
THE CRIMINALIZATION OF SEX WORK
This latest example of violence against a sex worker has reignited the debate regarding the criminalization of sex work in Canada.
Those that advocate for the decriminalization of sex workers believe that the violence facing sex workers is driven by the devalued status of sex workers and their lack of police protection. Erotic massage parlours must operate illicitly because clients and those that run, manage and work in the establishments (including security guards) are criminalized under Canadian law. If violence does occur in these establishments, they are unable to report it to authorities due to the risk of criminal charges.
We will continue to follow the developments regarding the federal investigation and review of the Parole Board of Canada, as well as any government reaction to those that call for the decriminalization of sex work in Canada, and will report any updates in this blog.
In the meantime, if you have been charged with a criminal offence or have any questions regarding your legal rights, please contact the experienced criminal lawyers at Affleck & Barrison LLP online or at 905-404-1947. We offer a 24-hour phone service to protect your rights and to ensure that you have access to justice at all times. We are available when you need us most.