Long-term sexual offender still poses risk: Parole Board

Published on August 11, 2014
Joseph McGrath

Repeat sexual offender Joseph Frederick McGrath of St. John’s has had his residency condition to live at a halfway house prolonged for another 180 days.

This is one of several times that McGrath has had this condition prolonged for a further 180 days.

McGrath has been previously convicted of sexual assault, accessing and possessing child pornography, break and enter and theft.

His last conviction came in August 2009 after a Correctional Service of Canada worker found child pornography on McGrath's computer at his Stella Burry residence. He was on parole at the time. It was the fifth time McGrath had violated the conditions of his release since he was deemed a long-term offender on April 3, 2003.

According to a certified copy of the National Parole Board’s decision obtained by The Telegram, McGrath’s case management team has reported to the board that while he has been doing well while on release, they consider him to have a propensity for sexual assaults toward young girls and that his risk to the community has not been reduced.

McGrath is prohibited from being in, near or around places where children younger than 18 are likely to gather, unless accompanied by an adult approved by his parole supervisor. He also cannot access pornography and is prohibited from using or possessing a computer or any technological device that would allow him to have unsupervised Internet access.

According to the files obtained by The Telegram, McGrath has adhered to the conditions of his release during this last 180-day stint in a halfway house with the exception of an incident on May 26 of this year. McGrath was found to be in possession of another person’s cellphone and was suspected of possibly accessing the Internet. McGrath claimed he was helping the owner of the phone with issues they were having with the phone but that he wasn’t accessing the Internet. McGrath said he had helped this individual on several occasions and wasn’t aware that helping someone with their cellphone was against his release conditions.

This wasn’t the first time McGrath was observed using a cellular device. In 2011 when McGrath’s residency condition to live at a halfway house was again extended by 180 days, The Telegram also obtained the written decision of the National Parole Board at that time. McGrath was found using a cellphone at that time too. When asked what he was doing with it, McGrath denied he was trying to access the Internet and said he was repairing the device for a fellow halfway house resident.

While the files obtained by The Telegram say that McGrath has not reduced his risk to reoffend, the Parole Board also says that risk has not risen. It continues that McGrath still needs life structure that can only come from living in a halfway house.

McGrath is also not granted leave privileges as the Parole Board has determined that he doesn’t have the community support to offer proper supervision to manage his risk to the community.