Saskatchewan

People shouldn't be afraid of me, sex offender says

A B.C. man who recently moved to Regina after serving a lengthy prison sentence for sex offences says the public shouldn't be afraid of him.

A B.C. man who recently moved to Regina after serving a lengthy prison sentence for sex offences says the public shouldn't be afraid of him.

Last week, Regina police took the rare step of warning the public about sex offender Brian Keith Solberg, releasing his name, photograph and some of his criminal history.

Police said Solberg, 54, has a history of committing violent sexual offences against females, with the youngest victim being 15.

He was released from prison last year after serving a 10-year sentence for a 1993 attack on a young B.C. woman. The charges included sexual assault with a weapon, unlawful confinement and robbery.

On Friday, Solberg broke his silence, phoning CBC News to say the public shouldn't be afraid of him. He said he's "a new man" and he has people in the community he can turn to for support.

According to documents obtained from the National Parole Board, Solberg had "an extremely serious history of sexual offending over many years." He's been sentenced to a total of 21 years for "offences involving sexual deviancy."

The May 13, 2004 report referred to Solberg's "lack of progress" in his sexual offender program. The parole board report also referred to Solberg's anger, absence of insight into his behaviour, self-centred thinking, and failure to take steps to reduce the risk of re-offending.

"Your compulsive and violent sexual behaviour has caused profound harm to your many victims," the report said.

Solberg confirmed he didn't complete his sexual offender treatment. However, he says he considers himself rehabilitated.

The parole board decided in 2004 to keep Solberg in detention, saying it believed that if he was released early, he was "likely to commit an offence causing serious harm to another person" within a matter of months.

"You represent a high risk of re-offending sexually," the 2004 report said.

The report also said Solberg's sentence would expire on Oct. 30, 2004.

Solberg is described by the police as Caucasian, 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 180 pounds.

Police said Solberg is under a court order until Oct. 8, 2006 that requires him to live at a residence approved by his parole officer, abstain from alcohol and drugs and stay away from any work that would put him in contact with females.

The police said it was releasing the information so members of the public could take suitable preventative measures. Police spokesperson Elizabeth Popowich said that means people should be aware Solberg is in the community and should be careful about walking alone at night and where they go.

Police also warned people against embarking on any kind of vigilantism.

A spokesperson for the John Howard Society said he was concerned the publicity would fuel public hysteria and make make Solberg's rehabilitation more difficult.

"This kind of publicity will harm or raise risk of this offender," said Mike Dunphy, the society's executive director. "Many of these offenders don't have a coping strategy that's positive and they react in a negative manner, which may raise or elevate their risk."

Dunphy says people like Solberg have to go somewhere once they've served their time.

He said he understands the police decision, but it's always a difficult balancing act.

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