London

'I'm really angry': Rodney Stafford says he's ready for another fight

The Woodstock father of murdered eight-year-old Tori Stafford discovered Monday that his daughter’s co-killer Michael Rafferty was transferred from a maximum-security prison to a medium-security facility.

Michael Rafferty was transferred to a medium-security facility in March this year

Rodney Stafford standing outside of his home in Woodstock on Monday after he received a letter from CSC informing him of Michael Rafferty's transfer. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

The Woodstock father of murdered eight-year-old Tori Stafford discovered Monday that his daughter's co-killer Michael Rafferty was transferred from a maximum-security prison to a medium-security facility.

For Rodney Stafford, the placement means the man who played a role in the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of his daughter is now able to experience "easier living."

"I'm quite enraged. I'm really angry," he told CBC News Monday outside of his home in Woodstock.

The discovery came weeks after Terri-Lynne McClintic, also sentenced in Tori Stafford's murder, was returned to prison after being transferred to an Indigenous healing lodge.

Stafford had spearheaded the fight to reverse the transfer and change policy to ensure it never happens again.

A slap in the face

Stafford said his anger is compounded by the circumstances of how he learned about the transfer that happened back in March 2018, when Rafferty was sent from Quebec City to Montreal. 

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012.

He said he was not informed of the transfer by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), but instead learned through documents requested two weeks ago, which he received Monday.

"[I'm] upset at the fact that I feel like I'm being slapped in the face by Corrections Service Canada," he said.

CSC suspended Stafford's notification status between November 2016 and August 2018 due to outdated contact information. 

However, Stafford said CSC still had the responsibility of contacting him or updating him of the changes, instead of him having to request documents.

"It's disheartening because I'm entitled to this information and the one attempt they tried at trying to contact me didn't work so they just gave up, 'who gives a crap?'" he said.

"It's not right. I'm entitled to this information and I should've been given it no matter who it was through," he said, noting that CSC had his mother's contact information.

Victoria 'Tori' Stafford was sexually assaulted, tortured and murdered on April 8, 2009.

CSC said the transfer happened during a period when Stafford was unreachable. A spokesperson said CSC can't comment on the specifics of the case.

"We encourage victims to keep their contact information up-to-date, so that we can stay in contact with them and maintain ongoing dialogue," the statement reads.

Stafford reaches out to community

In a lengthy Facebook post about Rafferty's transfer that received more than 7,000 shares, Stafford asked the wider community for help.

Facebook user John Wehrstein wrote it's "appalling and blatantly reprehensible," and Jesse Wood wrote "absolutely disgusting."

Rodney said he's again reaching out, "asking everybody once again to please help me join in this fight and let's get Canada back to where it should be — have some justice in this country."

"Now it looks like I'm going to be fighting to have two people put back into maximum-security prison and both of them labelled dangerous offenders and that's exactly what they are. They are child killers and they deserve to be behind bars," he said.

About the Author

Hala Ghonaim

Reporter/Editor

Hala Ghonaim is a London, Ont.-based radio and digital reporter. You can reach her at hala.ghonaim@cbc.ca.

With files from Peter Zimonjic