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Alberta Court of Appeal upholds dangerous offender tag for repeat child molester

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Serial child abuser Kenneth Hornby will maintain the title dangerous offender, Alberta’s top court ruled Thursday.

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In a unanimous decision, a three-member Alberta Court of Appeal panel said Justice Suzanne Bensler did not err when she designated Hornby a dangerous offender and handed him an indefinite prison term for his latest sex crime against children.

Hornby was handed the indeterminate sentence in January 2020, in connection with a May 2017 incident in which he molested a young boy in a back alley near the child’s Calgary home.

He had pleaded guilty to sexual interference of a minor.

At the time of his sentencing, Hornby said he couldn’t bear returning to prison.

“Wherever I’m going, I’m going to kill myself,” he said. “I cannot live in jail again, so I’m going to kill myself the first chance I get.”

He said publicity about his case, in which he admitted molesting a five-year-old boy, had resulted in repeated attacks against him.

“Everybody in Bowden (Institution) wants to kill me.”

In his handwritten notice of appeal filed shortly after Bensler’s ruling, Hornby asked that his dangerous offender status be overturned and replaced with a five-year sentence followed by two years of “closely monitored” probation.

In the reasons for his appeal, Hornby wrote that his lawyers “did not adequately defend me in regards to the last 25 years. I believe that with continued treatment programs I can curb my behaviour.”

Hornby has previous convictions for sexually molesting five other young boys beginning in 1986, as well as a 2013 conviction for possession of child pornography.

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In April, 2019, psychiatrist Dr. Ken Hashman told Hornby’s dangerous offender hearing that he remained a high risk to reoffend.

Hashman testified the repeat sex offender is at a great risk in part because he won’t address one of his major criminal triggers, his alcohol abuse.

“The last time I spoke to him about this he did not believe that he had a problem with alcohol or that he required treatment for it,” Hashman said.

“He has not been motivated in terms of addressing it.”

Hashman said several factors increase Hornby’s risk to re-offend, including substance abuse, hyper-sexualized behaviour, associating with children and attending places where children frequent.

The doctor said it would be difficult to prevent Hornby from being tempted to offend again.

“Children are everywhere within the community,” Hashman said.

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