Guilty plea brings closure to family of abducted B.C. boy
CRANBROOK, B.C. - The father of a three-year-old boy who was abducted from his home in southeast B.C. last fall says the family got some closure Monday when a man accused in the abduction pleaded guilty to the charges.
Yet, Paul Hebert said he takes no pleasure in seeing Randall Hopley, 46, being punished for the abduction of his son, Kienan.
"We don't want to celebrate Hopley's punishment," said Hebert. "It's not for us to do so."
In what was to be a hearing to fix a court date, Hopley admitted to abduction of a person under 14 and break and enter with intent to commit an indictable offence. Appearing in court via video link, Hopley pleaded not guilty to a charge of kidnapping, and the Crown is expected to stay that charge.
Hebert said the guilty plea brought closure to his family, thanks in part to their faith.
"In our faith we simply learn that we simply have to forgive one another. We're all sinners."
Hopley was accused of taking three-year-old Kienan from his home in Sparwood last September, setting off a Canada-wide manhunt.
The Amber Alert brought in tips from the public right across the country.
Four days later, the boy was returned to the same home he was take from, apparently unharmed, both physically and emotionally.
Hopley was arrested a few days later after police tracked him to an abandoned cabin on Crowsnest Lake, just across the border from the B.C. town where the boy lived.
A dog handler was alerted to the possible presence of someone inside one of the cabins, said RCMP Insp. Brendan Fitzpatrick.
Hopley bolted. But he was quickly captured, marking the end to an intense week-long drama.
A sentencing hearing for Hopley will be held in July in Cranbrook. His lawyer has asked for a pre-sentence report before the hearing.
Documents released after his arrest showed that Hopley was convicted in 1985 of sexually assaulting a five-year-old boy and a psychiatric report leading up to his prison release warned he could offend again. He was sentenced to two years in prison.
The report prepared by Dr. J.A. Noone, said Hopley, then 21 years old, refused sex offender treatment and wasn't a suitable candidate for other treatment programs.
"I see him as a high risk to reoffend unless he is in a supervised setting. I do not see that there are viable treatment possibilities for him, if released.''
Noone said Hopley, who had an IQ well below average, was one of those people who seemed to have fallen between the cracks of various support agencies.
The report was written just one month before his mandatory release date of Jan. 6, 1987. But justice officials wanted to keep Hopley in prison until the end of his term, citing his high risk to children.
"He should have got help a long time ago," said the boy's father, adding he hopes Hopley gets the help he needs so he can become a better citizen.
Hebert said his son is doing well and there's no sign of trauma. He said Kienan remembers what happened but is not afraid because "Hopley didn't do anything to him."
"He's phenomenal. He's acting just like he's always acted. He's out there playing."
Hebert said the family does not discuss the abduction and are now moving on with their lives.