British Columbia

Frank Skani, violent sex offender, released without warning in Vancouver

High-risk sex offender Frank Skani is back on Vancouver's streets, but no public warning has been issued, the CBC has learned.

Skani has been in and out of jail all his life for vicious sexual offences and is a high-risk to re-offend

Victim alarmed by sex offender's release

CBC News Vancouver at 6

6 years ago
Frank Skani, violent sex offender, released without warning in Vancouver 3:00

A violent sex offender is back on Vancouver's streets, but no public warning has been issued, the CBC has learned.

Frank Skani has been in and out of jail all his life for vicious sexual offences and is considered a high risk to re-offend.

He was the subject of a public warning by Vancouver police in 2011, but the last time he was released in 2013, police issued no warning and he quickly committed another violent assault in Burnaby.

Skani attacked his wife's neighbour "Kate" (not her real name) in her own kitchen, after asking to borrow pancake syrup, choking her on the floor. As she started passing out, she thrashed, broke his grip, and he fled.

Kate says releasing Skani again without issuing a public warning is endangering women in Metro Vancouver.

"I'm disgusted that this guy is out and that there is no public warning," she said. "He's a tornado waiting to erupt. It's brewing and it will erupt. It's unfortunate for the next person, but it will come."

Skani monitored every 3 hours

Skani was released from jail on August 19, after serving time for his assault on Kate. 

According to the Parole Board decision, obtained by the CBC, Skani has "an extensive…criminal history with nearly 50 convictions" and has an "assessed high risk to re-offend violently and sexually."

"Kate" agreed to speak to the CBC under condition of anonymity, after she was attacked by Skani in 2013. (CBC)

To reduce the danger to the public, Kate says she's been told Skani has been released into the Salvation Army's Belkin House in downtown Vancouver.

Kate says she was initially assured by Corrections officials that Skani would remain on a secure floor, indefinitely.

But she says she's now been informed Skani is being allowed out, every day until 7 p.m. PT to look for work as a drywaller, while authorities check up on him, visually, every three hours.

'People would stop paying attention'

In an email statement, Jean-Paul Lorieau with the Correctional Service of Canada said the service works closely with all police jurisdictions in which offenders live.

Lorieau said the service is legally required to provide police with an up-to-date offender photograph, a copy of the offender's release certificate and standard profile, and the parole board's decision sheet, all within 24 hours of release.

"The final decision on whether to issue a public notification or warning on any particular offender rests with the local police force," said Lorieau.

At the time of writing, Skani is understood to be living in the Salvation Army residential facility, Belkin House, in downtown Vancouver. (CBC)

In a statement, Const. Brian Montague said Vancouver police are currently monitoring about 45 high risk offenders who have chosen to live in the city.

"Unfortunately we cannot provide a public warning for every offender, as people would simply stop paying attention," said Montague.

Montague says the force looks at all the circumstances involved, including offender assessments, privacy laws and public safety concerns, when deciding whether to issue a warning or pursue other public safety options.

In a short email statement, Sgt. Annie Linteau with the Lower Mainland District RCMP said she could not speak about specific offenders.

"When we receive information that such a person is residing in an RCMP jurisdiction it is looked at on a case-by-case basis," said Linteau.

'He preys on women'

"I just can't believe it, that this is the way the system works. Very shocked ... You'd think the public would be better protected but they're not," Kate told the CBC.

Kate says police are now pledging to go door-to-door in the neighbourhoods where she and her parents live, as well as in Vancouver, to show Skani's photo and urge anyone who sees him to call 911.

But, she says, it's not enough — Skani is a serious threat and a public warning should have been issued as soon as he was released.

"He is a sexual offender. He preys on women. He knows exactly what he's doing."