Canadian serial killer Paul Bernardo's prison transfer sparks outrage

Jun 3 2023, 8:29 pm

Editor’s note: This article includes descriptions of violence and sexual assault.

One of Canada’s most notorious serial killers has just been transferred to a medium-security prison and people are furious.

Paul Bernardo has been quietly moved by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) from a maximum-security prison in Ontario to a medium-security prison in Quebec, reports Kingstonist.

Bernardo, 58, has spent a decade at Millhaven Institute, a maximum security facility with a capacity for almost 500 inmates. Now, he’s continuing to serve a life sentence at La Macaza Institution, a stand-alone medium security facility with an inmate capacity of 240.

CSC has not provided a reason for the transfer.

In the late ’80s and ’90s, Bernardo committed a series of sex crimes, rapes, and murders in Toronto. His wife, Karla Homolka, joined him and became his accomplice in the ’90s and the two videotaped their crimes. They were dubbed the “Ken & Barbie killers” in the media because of their looks.

Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General reports that between May 1987 and December 1992, Bernardo raped or sexually assaulted at least 18 women in Scarborough, Peel, and St. Catharines and killed three women in St. Catharines and Burlington.

The couple kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and murdered Kristen French, 15, and Leslie Mahaffy, 14.

Online, Bernardo’s prison transfer has sparked outrage.

In a statement posted on social media, Minister of Public Safety of Canada Marco Mendicino described the decision as “shocking and incomprehensible.”

“Our thoughts are with the families of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, and all those affected by these horrific crimes. We stand with them, and all Canadians who are rightfully appalled by this move,” he stated. “Having devoted my career as a federal prosecutor to protecting our communities, I have reiterated my firm expectation that CSC take a victim-centred and trauma-informed approach in these cases.”

Mendicino added that he plans to discuss Bernardo’s prison transfer with the CSC commissioner.

With files from Imaan Sheikh.

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