Pedophile ends his own life

Somewhere in Hysterical Canada...

Jail is not an easy place for people accused of sex crimes against children.
Pedophiles are scorned and reviled by other inmates, many of whom are fathers -- and some of whom were themselves the victims of childhood sexual abuse.

[Ed: the received wisdom is that other prisoners, otherwise hated by society, become these virtuous justice-dispensers, not because they themselves are cruel and sadistic, but because they are preventing the kind of "abuse" that created them. What nonsense! Many of the criminals in jail/prison are ignorant and vicious savages who relish the opportunity to see themselves, and to be seen, as having greater worth than "molesters". It is for this reason (and because their jailers look the other way) that sex offenders are particularly vulnerable in custody].

Meeting with a doctor several weeks after his arrest on child pornography charges in October 2007, Darren Philpott said he was afraid of being harmed by other inmates, and he had good reason for his fears.

He was assaulted at least once, attacked by another inmate while at a court appearance in Regina, and he had to be kept in segregation at the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre for his safety.
The months that followed Philpott's arrest would see him rapidly and visibly deteriorating, appearing increasingly haggard during his appearances in court, and looking ever more grim as additional charges were laid and the spectre of his future loomed large.

By the end of August 2008, Philpott, then 38, was facing a raft of new charges for sexually assaulting children, making and sharing child pornography, and voyeurism.

The investigation against Philpott was ongoing, and he told others he was expecting still more charges to be laid against him by police in Regina and elsewhere.

There was a plea deal on the table, and Philpott's lawyer had indicated in court that the case was close to a resolution.

Though neither the defence nor the Crown will confirm any details of the proposed plea bargain, a woman whose son was sexually assaulted by Philpott says she was told he was going to plead guilty and receive a life sentence. Other sources say the same thing.

Having already attempted to kill himself at least once while in custody, Philpott was on suicide watch, where inmates are checked by guards every 15 minutes and are barred from having items such as razors and pop cans, which they could use to harm themselves.

In late August or early September, Philpott hanged himself in his cell. His heart had stopped when he was discovered by correctional officers and cut down from the ceiling, but he was revived with CPR and made an almost miraculous recovery.

Then, on the evening of Sept. 24, left alone behind a closed door to shower, Philpott hanged himself again. Sources say he used a bedsheet to hang himself from a pipe, and he was blue and unconscious by the time he was discovered by guards.

A group of correctional officers and jail medical staff again performed CPR and were able to bring back a pulse, but the injuries Philpott suffered were too severe. An MRI in hospital showed no brain activity and Philpott was taken off life support two days later.

"He wanted to die. If someone wants to do it, they'll do it," a witness at the scene told the Leader-Post at the time.

"It's unfortunate, but it's one of those things. It's one of those stories."

But defence lawyer Noah Evanchuk is concerned that his client was able to commit suicide in jail, particularly after making a significant suicide attempt just weeks earlier. Evanchuk believes the charges Philpott was facing may have an impact on how the death is perceived.

"If the system breaks down for an individual like Darren Philpott, society doesn't seem to show any concern," Evanchuk said. "It could develop into a slippery slope where people who are charged with less shocking offences are put in a situation where this could happen. The system is supposed to be equal for everybody. The presumption of innocence doesn't stop applying because you're charged with some serious offences."

A man who was close to Philpott says he, too, has questions about Philpott's death, and wonders if more could have been done to prevent it.

The man says he doesn't know why someone who is suicidal would be left alone to shower, for instance, and he questions how Philpott managed to have a bedsheet in the shower room.
"It just doesn't make sense," said the man, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In Saskatchewan, a coroner's inquest is held whenever an inmate dies of unnatural causes while in custody. Though the inquest will not be formally confirmed until Philpott's autopsy results are completed, a Justice Ministry official says it is expected to go ahead sometime next year.

A review of Philpott's death has already been conducted inside the jail, but Corrections and Public Safety spokeswoman Judy Orthner says information about the internal investigation or its findings will not be made public.

Philpott's charges were unceremoniously stayed in court a few days after his death, and the Crown's file is now formally closed.

But it is not over. At Regina's Integrated Child Exploitation Unit, police investigators continue to work hard on the case, and will likely be doing so for many years. Officers continue to painstakingly examine each photo and video in Philpott's collection of child pornography, trying to identify more of Philpott's victims, and looking for locations, other offenders, and clues that may be of use in the ongoing fight against child sexual abuse around the globe.

"Even though he may not be here, there is still lots of work to be done ...," said Det. Sgt. Dave Wyatt. "I'm sure you are aware this is international, there's other agencies all across this world that are interested in what's going on."

Wyatt says police are working to track down as many of Philpott's victims as possible to find out if the children are OK, and make sure they can get help. The victims also need to know that their images are still circulating.

"Their pictures are out there," said Wyatt. "Who is to say they don't come across themselves? Because some of them are posted on Internet sites."

For Laura*, whose son was sexually assaulted by Philpott just over a year ago, the horror she has experienced did not end with Philpott's death.

"It's something I think about always," she said. "I think about it when I go to bed, I think about it when I wake up. I haven't been able to forgive myself or move on, and now I hope I can somewhat.
"I'm glad he's dead, but I also don't think he suffered enough. He's just ruined so many kids' and families' lives. It doesn't just destroy a child, it destroys a whole family."

Laura says her son stopped having nightmares about Philpott after he died, but the nightmares Philpott created for the boy in real life are ongoing. A video of her seven-year-old, Colby*, has already been found during a child pornography investigation in California, and Laura says she's gotten strange phone calls from men in the United States.

Laura has been haunted by the idea that another pedophile will track down one of her children after seeing pictures provided by Philpott. It's a new fear that remains strong, even as Philpott's presence in her life starts to fade.

Michelle*, too, finds limited comfort in the fact that Philpott is no longer a physical threat to her family. She knows that, although Philpott may be gone, in many ways the ugly mark he left on her life is only beginning to show.

Michelle's son, Brandon*, is still struggling with being molested by his former mentor and friend, and the boy is deeply angry that he was fooled by someone he trusted. Unable to get her son into counselling while the case was still before the courts, Brandon now refuses to go. "Why?" he asked his mom. "It's over."

But Michelle knows it's not.

"Where in my son's life will we see the effects of Darren Philpott?" she said. "Will we see it in drugs? Will we see it in alcohol? Will we see it in suicide attempts? Or, Brandon having such a good relationship with the police, is my kid going to turn around to be the next child exploitation investigator?"

She clings to the hope that her son will overcome what happened to him, but she fears the worst.
The experience has had a profound impact on Michelle as well. She is on leave from work, and is thinking of a career change. Her relationship with her extended family has also been impacted, and she has a hard time trusting her children -- and herself -- to know if another man like Philpott ever comes into their lives.

"Darren Philpott hung himself, but there's millions of Darren Philpotts in our world still. There's tons," she said. "Darren's just one of many."

*The names Michelle, Brandon, Laura and Colby have been changed to protect the identity of the child victims.

This is the fifth in a six-part series, "Pedophile & Predator: The Darren Philpott Story."
Tomorrow: Questions without answers.

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