There is more negative reaction over the release of a violent convict into a Saint John halfway house.

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O'Brien was convicted in 1989 for violent sexual assaults on eight women. He wore a motorcycle helmet during the series of knife-point attacks and was dubbed the motorcycle rapist. (Archives)

An online petition is circulating asking for John Arthur O'Brien to be removed from the city.  

Joan MacDonald-Bradford, the petition’s author, knows it’s unlikely her petition will overturn a parole board's decision to place O'Brien into a Saint John halfway house.

"What I'm looking at is for Canada to, for the laws to change. So that there's not a mandatory release at two-thirds of their sentence. People that are not deemed safe should not be, you know, paroled under those circumstances," she said.

O'Brien was convicted in 1989 for violent sexual assaults on eight women. He wore a motorcycle helmet during the series of knife-point attacks and was dubbed the motorcycle rapist.

Authorities have concerns O'Brien, who is in his early 50s, could reoffend.

His most recent psychological assessment concluded his risk of sexual recidivism is in the "high end of the moderate range" and his risk for general violence is in the "moderate range," according to the National Parole Board's decision.

He was released into a Saint John halfway house this week after serving two-thirds of his 37-year sentence.

Psychologist Mary Ann Campbell said too much negative reaction can make it difficult for convicts to reintegrate.

"People aren't going to want to rent him a place to him, they're not going to want to give him jobs, they may not want to offer him the services that may be actually helpful for him to maintain a lower risk of reoffending," said Campbell.

MacDonald-Bradford said O'Brien is entitled to rehabilitation, but with the parole board saying he has a moderate to high risk of reoffending, she doesn't think her city is the place to do it.