Nova Scotia

Ex-probation officer who abused children dies, leaving behind series of lawsuits

Cesar Lalo, one of Nova Scotia's most infamous pedophiles, has died at 79 in an Ottawa hospital following a brief illness.

Cesar Lalo, one of Nova Scotia's most infamous pedophiles, has died at 79

Cesar Lalo, who was convicted of sex offences involving 29 youths and children, died Aug. 28 in an Ottawa hospital after a brief illness. (Facebook)

One of Nova Scotia's most infamous pedophiles has died, leaving behind a series of lawsuits involving some of his victims.

Cesar Lalo died Aug. 28 in an Ottawa hospital after a brief illness. He was 79, according to his obituary which was published on Monday.

No one knows exactly how many young people Lalo abused during his time as a probation officer employed by the Nova Scotia government. He was convicted of committing sex offences against 29 youths and children from 1973 to 1989.

But prosecutors stopped proceeding with cases against him once they felt they had amassed enough convictions to have him declared a dangerous offender.

They could not persuade a judge to make that designation. Instead, Lalo was declared a long-term offender. He was sentenced to five more years in prison, followed by a period of 10 years of close supervision in the community.

In passing sentence, Justice Heather Robertson said a more appropriate prison term would have been nine years, but she gave him credit for the four years he had spent in jail while his case made its way through the courts.

Lalo had difficulty adhering to the terms of the supervision order and those 10 years stretched on and on.

Every time he breached a condition, he was charged, sent back to prison and the 10-year countdown was halted.

He was reluctant to abide by the condition that he undergo chemical castration in order to gain his release. He was also found in violation for viewing child pornography. 

In 2014, the Parole Board of Canada loosened some of the restrictions Lalo had been under, including the one that had prevented him from accessing the internet.

Following the expiry of his sentence, Lalo settled in the Ottawa area.

Several of his victims launched civil lawsuits against him. Most of the lawsuits included the Nova Scotia government as a defendant on the basis of vicarious liability — the legal principle that even if his employers didn't know what he was doing they should have, and should be responsible for his conduct as an employee.

Three of the lawsuits resulted in judgments against Lalo and the province. But the government entered into negotiations with many others. Since November 2014, they have settled 29 of the suits. It is not clear how many lawsuits are still ongoing. 

 All of his victims had been sent to him in his capacity as a probation and parole officer. Many had committed minor offences like truancy or shoplifting. Some hadn't committed any crimes at all and were sent to Lalo for counselling by authorities who worried the boys were at risk of getting into trouble if they didn't get guidance.

But they didn't get guidance from Lalo. Instead they were subjected to physical and mental abuse. Lalo threatened that if they didn't do what he asked, he would have them sent to Shelburne, the site of a youth prison for boys that had a notorious reputation of its own.