A Florida jury convicted Denise Harvey of five counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor in 2008. The victim was a boy on her son’s baseball team. Harvey assaulted the 16-year-old boy several times at his father’s home and her office. She faces a 30-year sentence she will likely not serve.
I will repeat that: Harvey was convicted of sexually abusing a minor. She faces 30 years in prison. To avoid the prison sentence she filed for refugee status in Canada. Canada granted her request.
One more time: Canada granted refugee status to a convicted sex offender fleeing her sentence.
Here is the explanation for this embarrassment:
The Immigration and Refugee Board initially granted asylum to Ms. Harvey. In federal court documents, the board notes that there was no evidence that the sex was not consensual. The physical relationship was only illegal because of the age difference, the documents state.
The IRB decided Ms. Harvey was facing cruel and unusual punishment by Canada’s standards, which was also in disregard, it said, of ‘‘accepted international standards.’’
In Florida, it is illegal for a person over the age of 24 to have sex with a person 16 or younger. In Canada, the age of consent is 16. If the accused is in a position of trust or authority, the age of consent is 18.
Let us stop there. Harvey is not a Canadian citizen and the crimes did not occurred in Canada. They occurred in the United States and Canadian law does not apply here.
I wrote about Harvey in 2008 when she was convicted. I noted then that I was not sure if the 30-year sentence was the right call. Yet the quibbling over whether the sex was consensual is a moot point. The law states that the act is illegal regardless of whether the minor consented. That is the same language used in Canadian law. In other words, if one had consensual sex with a 15-year-old in Canada, it would still be illegal despite the minor’s consent.
Things were not that simple for Harvey’s application:
Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration then appealed to the Federal Court of Canada to overturn the decision. In a decision released in July, 2013, the appeal was granted and Ms. Harvey lost her refugee status.
The judge in the appeal case ruled the IRB had not provided adequate reasoning explaining why Ms. Harvey’s sentence contravened international standards. “We do not know which of Ms. Harvey’s arguments on the question of ‘accepted international standards’ were or were not accepted and why that was,” wrote Justice Anne Mactavish.
This federal court decision cleared the way for a new IRB hearing.
Florida assistant state attorney Nikki Robinson noted the absurdity of Canada granting refuge to a convicted sex offender because she is a convicted sex offender:
“It is incomprehensible to me that Canada would grant her any type of immigration relief under these circumstances,” she said in an email to the National Post.
Barry Golden, senior investigator with the U.S. Marshal’s Office in Miami, Fla., said Ms. Harvey’s case will remain open in the U.S.
“If she does come back to the States there will be an active arrest warrant for her,” he said.
“This type of crime, any felony where you’re sentenced to 30 years, that’s a severe crime,” he said.
This is an excellent example of what actual rape apologism looks like. It is not something publishing half-naked pictures of women or juries not convicting enough men charged with rape. It is a government protecting convicted sex offenders because of who they are.