Keeping Christopher Watts out of prison puts community at risk, parole board says
Published Friday, April 21, 2017 3:23PM EDT Last Updated Friday, April 21, 2017 6:44PM EDT
In the nearly 18 months since he was released from prison, Christopher Watts has been sent back into custody five times.
Watts, who is now 56, spent more than a decade in prison in connection with the 2001 death of Amanda Raymond.
The 13-year-old Raymond died after attending a party at Watts’ home at Puslinch Lake, where she and other girls were given drugs by Watts.
Watts had already served two prison sentences prior to 2001. Upon his release in November 2015, he was bound by a long-term supervision order (LTSO) laying out specific conditions for him – including not using any device connected to the internet, not being around female children without supervision, and not possessing and device capable of recording audio or video. He decided to live in Vancouver.
A month later, the Parole Board of Canada found that Watts had already breached the conditions of his LTSO. Though he was returned to custody, no charges were laid – and Watts was released again in March 2016.
He was back on the parole board’s radar within days, as he was seen using the internet at a business and “images of young women” were found among his personal belongings. He denied using the internet, and claimed the images were part of research he was doing for a book.
Another spell in custody followed, and ended with his release last June. Before the month was out, he had a cellphone with internet and email capabilities.
An arrest warrant for Watts was issued after he received a cellphone bill showing that he had a plan for unlimited photo-sharing and video-sharing, despite Watts’ protestations that he was unaware of that aspect of his cellphone plan.
When the authorities packed up his belongings this time, they found more pictures of women – one of whom was nude – and apparent plans to start a website called “Piggyleaks” featuring revealing images and videos of police officers and prison guards.
Watts was released back into the community last September. Again, reports of potential LTSO violations started to trickle in. By early November, officials learned that Watts appeared to be using a personal email address – something restricted by his LTSO.
After yet another stint in custody, Watts was released again on Jan. 9. This time, he decided to leave Vancouver for British Columbia’s Fraser Valley area.
Before the month was out, the parole board says, Watts was seen going into a building “containing social housing and what is described as a ‘full service massage parlour,’” as well as a business that offered passport photos and printing services – neither of which he received the necessary permissions for beforehand.
The following search of his personal belongings turned up a box cutter, a packed travel bag and other items which authorities found concerning.
The parole board decided earlier this month to recommend that Watts be charged criminally with breaching his LTSO – something that it has pushed for twice since his 2015 release, but has never actually happened.
“You have repeatedly and consistently breached special conditions put in place to reduce the risk you present to society,” the board’s decision reads.
“No appropriate program of supervision can be established that would adequately protect society from the risk of your reoffending.”
If a charge is laid and Watts is convicted of breaching the order, he could be sent back to prison for up to 10 years.