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White case highlights procedural flaws

Failings in the system: Jon Brunson, chairman of Scars Bermuda (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The case of paedophile John Malcolm “Chalkie” White has “highlighted the gaps” in Bermuda’s system for dealing with sex offenders, according to a charity head.

Jon Brunson, chairman of Saving Children and Revealing Secrets, said the release of the former policeman without the “appropriate people being notified” should not have happened.

“There were failings in the system,” he said. “The Minister of National Security didn’t know he was being released and could not react.

“‘Chalkie’ White was supposed to report to police and I believe that did happen; he was under police observation and they knew where he was. But we feel that the system is not working effectively.”

Former policeman White served 12 years of an 18-year sentence for sexually assaulting three young boys.

Mr Brunson said it was standard for a prisoner to get one third taken off their sentence for good behaviour, as in this case. But he raised concern about White being released without undergoing any rehabilitation and said the case was a “prime example” of how a public sex offenders’ registry could serve the community.

“He has been set up to fail,” Mr Brunson said. “The chances of recidivism are high. He is being observed but what happens [in] three months or three years?

“There needs to be a sex offenders’ management system implemented.”

Mr Brunson joined the Premier and the Attorney-General in calling on the joint parliamentary select committee tasked with investigating how to better protect children from sex offenders to table its report.

“That’s another gap. It takes something like this for people to get exercised on the issue but … it is important for people to react responsibly and get educated.

“We have to take personal responsibility to effect change. It didn’t start with ‘Chalkie’ White and it won’t end with him.”