Nova Scotia

Former N.S. paramedic convicted of sexual assault gets day parole

James Duncan Keats, a former Nova Scotia paramedic who served four years of a 6½-year prison sentence for sexual assault, has been granted day parole.

James Duncan Keats served time for sexually assaulting 3 women while on the job

James Duncan Keats was charged with sexual assault in May 2013. (CBC)

A former Nova Scotia paramedic who served four years of a 6½-year prison sentence for sexual assault has been granted day parole.

James Duncan Keats was sentenced to four years in prison in 2015 for raping a 71-year-old woman in her Annapolis Valley home.

Keats sexually assaulted the woman while he and another paramedic were there to attend to the victim's husband.

After that case gained attention, more women came forward and in 2016, Keats was convicted of two more sexual assaults against two other women, but he was acquitted on charges of sexually assaulting two other women. A judge tacked another 30 months on to his sentence.

In a decision dated Oct. 10, the Parole Board of Canada said it's satisfied Keats has gained insight into the "serious harm" his offences have caused, and it believes he's now taking responsibility for his actions.

"You indicate you plan to obtain employment, regain trust from the community, repair family relationships, continue on your spiritual path, participate in programs, and support groups," said the decision.

Parole requests

Keats applied for parole in 2018, but his request was denied.

His most recent request for full parole was also denied by the Parole Board of Canada, which said he met the conditions required for a six-month day parole. If he abides by his restrictions, he'll be granted full parole at the end of the six-month term.

The board ordered Keats to stay away from the victims of his crimes, avoid all pornography and avoid employment in any job where he may be in a "position of trust for vulnerable individuals."

What the board considered

The board said it took into account that Keats' first criminal conviction happened in his 50s, which, it said, indicates he's capable of living lawfully. The board said it received positive testimonials from his family members, friends and former professional supervisors. It said local police support the release plan.

"While you initially denied committing your offences, you have since admitted your involvement and have gained insight into your offending behaviour," said the decision. "You are currently considered in the action stage of change."

"Through counselling with your religious adviser, you realize that you were highly sexualized, in a career that was predominantly male dominated, and working with a partner who was involved in numerous affairs. Locker-room 'talk' was normalized."