Mom who fears sex-offender granted protection
A Winnipeg mother has been granted a protection order against a convicted sexual sadist who police say poses a high risk to all females now that he's out of jail and back living in the city.
Amanda Westervelt left the Winnipeg Law Courts building at about noon Thursday in the company of two city police officers who came with her to a morning hearing before a provincial magistrate.
Clutched in her hands were the legal-sized pages of a protection order barring Kevin Steppan from having any contact or communication with her.
Attached to it was a police notification of Steppan's imminent release.
Steppan, 25, was released from Headingley Correctional Centre on Wednesday, triggering a police notification that he poses a high risk to reoffend.
Steppan was behind bars for two violent sexual attacks on two Winnipeg sex-trade workers.
According to Westervelt, he had been sending her letters from jail and she feared for her safety.
They met in 2004 while they were both staying at the Salvation Army in downtown Winnipeg prior to Steppan's 2005 arrest.
She alleges he was stalking her and sending her obscene notes.
1st order refused
It was just a few days ago that the courts refused Westervelt's first application for a protection order under the provincial Domestic Violence and Stalking Act. She said she was not offered a reason why it was denied.
After she took her story to the media, however, she said justice officials telephoned her and urged her to reapply.
She told CBC News she was relieved to have the order, but found the hearing emotionally difficult.
"It felt like I had to relive the whole stalking in 2004," she said. "I'm mostly terrified for my son. And I will do anything for my son," she said.
Steppan is also bound by a 10-year long-term supervision order imposed on him by the courts.
Under the terms of that order, he must abide by a number of strict conditions, including getting psychological counselling, living at a halfway house for a minimum of six months and notifying his case worker of any romantic relationship he gets involved in.
The parole board noted in a pre-release report that while in custody, Steppan did participate in sex-offender programming and has been taking a sex-drive reduction medication since January.
However, Steppan's commitment to his treatment is "low," the board said.
"The extents to which you engage in domin[ant] violent criminal behaviours is chilling," the board said.
"You say you will not reoffend but show no insight as to how you will manage your risk."
Winnipeg police Const. Robert Carver said Westervelt's protection order goes beyond what the federal supervision order was able to provide.
The order also names her son and mother as needing court protection.
"This particular order protects Amanda and anyone … associated to her. It's a higher level of protection for a specific individual in this case," Carver said.
The Crown had applied to have Steppan declared a dangerous offender. The rare designation would have kept him incarcerated indefinitely.
In February, a provincial judge denied the Crown's request and instead imposed the decade-long supervision order.