Montreal

Corrections Canada, parole board to jointly investigate circumstances of sex worker's death

The man accused of Marylène Levesque's second-degree murder, Eustachio Gallese, 51, was allowed to have his "sexual needs" met while on day parole for the violent killing of his former spouse in 2004.

Marylène Levesque's alleged killer allowed to have 'sexual needs' met while on day parole for 2004 murder

Marylène Levesque, 22, was found dead in a hotel room in the Quebec City suburb of Sainte-Foy on Jan. 22. (Marylène Levesque/Facebook)

The federal Correctional Service agency and the Parole Board of Canada will jointly conduct an investigation "into all of the circumstances that led to the tragic death of Marylène Levesque," Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Monday.

The 22-year-old woman was found dead in a hotel room in the Quebec City suburb of Sainte-Foy last Wednesday. Levesque had been a sex worker, according to Radio-Canada sources.

The man accused of Levesque's second-degree murder, 51-year-old Eustachio Gallese, had been on day parole since March 2019 for the 2004 killing of his former spouse.

Blair was responding to a question Monday in the House of Commons from the Conservative MP for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, Pierre Paul-Hus, who demanded to know how the parole board could have knowingly permitted Gallese, "who they knew had a problem with women, to obtain sexual services."

"Can the minister tell the family why the board gave that permission to a man known to be violent?" Paul-Hus asked.

A joint investigation has been launched, Blair responded, "to ensure that all established protocols are followed and that lessons are learned."

Lebel 'satisfied' with Blair's response

On Friday, Quebec Justice Minister Sonia LeBel asked that Blair look into the case to find out why the parole board granted Gallese certain conditions and whether his case workers were properly trained to evaluate the risk he might have posed to public safety.

Lebel tweeted Monday that she is satisfied to learn that an investigation is underway.

The parole board denied Gallese full parole last September, however, it extended his day parole with several conditions, including the requirement that he report any relationships with women, sexual or otherwise. 

At a hearing into Gallese's request for full parole, the board heard from the offender's parole officer that while living in a halfway house, Gallese had been allowed to have his "sexual needs" met.

The board raised serious concerns about that as a "risk management strategy" but nonetheless listed Gallese's likelihood of reoffending as "low to moderate."

"The Board expects the assessment that culminated in this approach to be re-examined," it said.

Eustachio Gallese, 51, has been charged in connection with the death of 22-year-old Marylène Levesque. He was released on day parole in March 2019 for the 2004 murder of his ex-spouse. (Radio-Canada)

The parole board turned down a request for comment Monday.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the board said the joint investigation will examine all the circumstances surrounding the incident and take whatever measures are necessary to avoid anything like it ever happening again.

Generally, a community member who works for neither the parole board nor Corrections Canada is also appointed to the investigative team, the statement said.

With files from Radio-Canada's Audrey Paris and Pascale Lacombe

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