Thursday, February 8, 2007

Homolka probably not a mother yet, but ...

There seems to be some confusion today over what the Toronto Sun claims is a scoop: Convicted killer Karla Homolka, out of jail nearly a year and a half after serving her full twelve year sentence for manslaughter is now a mother -- or so the tabloid says. Some however have disputed this claim, for example a member of the Elizabeth Fry Society and even Tim Danson, the lawyer of Homolka's later victims.

Quite honestly, I don't know what to believe in this case myself. If she was pregnant last summer when Global News caught up with her in Montréal, it might explain why she was so reluctant to talk to the reporter. (Ironically, Global is owned by the same company that prints the Ottawa Citizen, which published the dismissal of the pregnancy claim on its website today.)

A few points here: Yes, Homolka is manipulative and a sociopath who probably still doesn't understand the enormity of her crimes -- including facilitating the choking death of her own sister. And she certainly owes an apology to the families of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, although I suspect it would instantly be refused if it was ever offered.

On the other hand, she has legally paid her debt to society; and the restrictions on her movement have been lifted since the fall of 2005. Moreover, the laws of Canada do not prescribe a sentence of castration in the case of sex-motivated crimes. She certainly has the right to become a mother if she so chooses. The concern is whether she still has a weakness for dominating male figures like Paul Bernardo (her ex-husband) who is serving a life sentence; which could put the life of her alleged child in danger. Not to mention what she might do herself.

My sense is that if the rumours are true, she should still be left alone as long as she remains law-abiding for the rest of her days. Yes, I acknowledge she killed three women while they were still teenagers and that is a huge strike against her. Nevertheless, she owes it to her child to tell the whole truth someday and to tell him or her the consequences for her victims, her parents and herself (in that order) but that should be on her own terms and timing, not society's. (Especially considering that Homolka claimed Bernardo told her he only wanted daughters so they could be his slaves and any boys she may have conceived with him would be aborted on his orders.)

On the other hand if she is or was not pregnant -- it's possible she's not even married -- then the editors responsible for writing this story without properly sourcing it should be ditched. Even a tabloid that values sleaze over serious journalism has some standards and at least trying to tell the truth, even the truth as they see it, should be pursued. It doesn't help when the media won't even let her attempt to rebuild her life even if she did shatter the lives of others.

In retrospect, the police investigation was sloppy and Homolka should have been in prison for life. We have to deal with what is, though, not what should have been. She has to look at herself real hard before grabbing another Ice Cap -- but if the story is true and she is a mother, she should not be singled out; for many other mothers who are registered sex offenders are still mothers. More important if it's true, she's a mother now, not a child -- and the Radio Canada interview she did on her release suggested to me she'll still acting like an overgrown teenager.

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