Nfld. & Labrador

Paradise mayor apologizes after sex offender caught working in town's arena

Mayor Dan Bobbett says companies operating from town-owned facilities will be required to ensure their employees have been screened after a convicted sex offender was arrested while working at the town's arena.

Convicted of sexually assaulting 14-year-old, Peter Hoyles was working in arena cafe

Dan Bobbett says the town of Paradise is taking Saturday evening's incident very seriously. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Mayor Dan Bobbett breathes in sharply and looks downward when he's asked what he has to say to parents and children who use the Paradise Double Ice Complex after a man convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage girl was arrested while working at the town's hockey rink.

"It's a very unfortunate incident. The town apologises and we understand their concerns," Bobbett said.

Peter Hoyles was convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in 2016 and was on parole when he was hired as a cook by Coffee Matters, which operates the Canteen Matters cafe in the Paradise arena.

Steve Hillyer, the company's owner, said he had no idea that Hoyles's parole conditions forbade him from being around minors.

Hoyles was arrested while working at Canteen Matters on Saturday night for breach of parole. A spokesperson from the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary told CBC News on Wednesday that no charges have been laid against Hoyles.

Hoyles was arrested Saturday evening while working at the Coffee Matters cafe in the Paradise Double Ice Complex. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

Bobbett said since he was told about the incident on Saturday night, big changes have been ordered for all companies with contracts to operate in the complex.

"Staff are in the process of reviewing all the policies and contracts that we have right now," he said. "We will make amendments and addendums to those contracts to make sure that the security checks in place for any of their employees that work in our facilities."

Hillyer told CBC News that he hadn't run any background criminal check on Hoyles after interviewing him and checking his work experience, and that nothing about Hoyles set off any warnings for him.

He also said he received no complaints about the man's behaviour from staff, despite Hoyles having worked with minors while with the company.

Bobbett said he was "a little bit surprised, obviously" to hear that Coffee Matters didn't do background checks on their employees, but that the company has been happy to oblige with the new rules.

"They're being active in getting the security checks done for those employees that will work in our facility," he said. "They take this very seriously as well."

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