Residents of a King Township community are expressing concern following the release of a sex offender deemed at high risk to re-offend and now living at a group home in the area.
Keith Constantin, 35, was let out of prison last month after serving time for numerous sexual assaults and attacks, including some against children, which took place in Hamilton. He now lives in a group home run by non-profit organization Christian Horizons.
"[He] technically served his time but when you say you have urges to rape again and even kill, I'm pretty sure that designates him as a 'dangerous offender,'" said resident Amy Castellano.
Castellano is behind a string of community protests and a petition to have Constantin deemed a dangerous offender. That status would allow the courts to impose specific residency conditions, an indeterminate prison sentence or electronic monitoring.
Constantin's release has people in the community of Schomberg concerned about their safety and prompted a warning this month by police to students in York Region. It also spurred the creation of a task force on high-risk offenders whose members include a retired OPP officer, a retired corrections officer and two Schomberg residents, among others.
But while Castellano and others want Constantin out of the area, King Township's mayor Steve Pellegrini says simply removing him isn't the answer.
"We don't want to just get him out of our community to put him in someone else's community. That's what happened to us," Pellegrini said.
Constantin isn't roaming the streets of Schomberg, Pellegrini emphasized. In fact, he doesn't technically even live in Schomberg.
He is close-by, though closer to the communities of New Tecumseh and Caledon, Pellegrini said. Nevertheless, the mayor shares residents' concerns.
"He needs to be at a facility that has the services that he requires, the rehabilitation services, and one that's in close proximity to police."
More than a 'Schomberg issue'
Pellegrini also wonders about the cost of having Constantin live in a group home, where he would need regular supervision.
"As a taxpayer, he's in a group home, on his own, with two supervisors. Is that the best use of our dollars?" Pellegrini asked.
Christian Horizons wouldn't comment on whether Constantin is under their care.
"I can tell you that we provide round-the-clock supervision where that's required. It depends what the supervision orders would require and again we follow those to the letter," said the group's CEO Janet Nolan.
In the meantime, Castellano said she and other community members will keep up their protests.
"This isn't a minor issue, it isn't a Schomberg issue, it's a provincial and national issue and we're not going to stop until he's gone and into the proper facility."