During James Coates recent hearing, Crown prosecutor Karen L. Thorsrud, the lawyer leading the charge in the GraceLife Church case, insisted that Pastor James Coates must remain locked in prison for the good of all, stating that the Alberta government believes he a danger to society and that keeping him incarcerated and away from his church would keep the public safe.
So adamant was their insistence, it makes one wonder why they haven’t intervened and arrested Associate Pastor Jacob Spenst. He’s been leading services since Coates was arrested, making him as much of a danger to society as Coates. Hypocritically, but also mercifully, but he has not been picked up and the church has continued to have services as normal.
While Coates remains incarcerated “for the protection of the populace,” however, several high-profile sex-offenders have been released from prison in as many months, with Edmonton police putting out press releases stating that they are likely to offend and go back to their dark and evil crimes.
Last March, Edmonton resident Wade Stene kidnapped an 8-year-old girl, a complete stranger, and threw her into his van, then raped her. He was charged with six offences, including sexual assault with a weapon, kidnapping, and issuing death threats. He spent three months in prison, as long as Pastors Coates will by the time of his trial, and then was released on bail into the community.
Two months ago Russell Sikyea was released. Unlike James Coates, he has no conditions on his release. He has a history of breaking into homes and sexually assaulting women while they sleep, as well as voyeuristically watching minors. Police have said he “poses a significant risk of harm to the community” and should be “avoided at all costs.” He has fewer conditions of release than Pastor Coates does.
This week Cyle Larsen was released. Again. He has a long criminal history of sexually abusing at least 19 minors going back over a decade, with the youngest being 4 years old. Law enforcement has issued a statement saying they have “reasonable grounds to believe he will commit another sexual offense against someone under the age of 16 while in the community.” According to Global News, “Larsen has pedophilic interests toward both boys and girls and has a history of “opportunistic offending” against children in his life. He’s also shown he will groom and/or lure his victims.”
The fact that Coates remains imprisoned while they are walking free, some with fewer conditions than he has, demonstrates where the government’s priorities lie. They don’t really care about victims or justice. Rather, it is about exerting control and quieting the gospel, treating the church as a non-essential irritant that must be silenced in order to “protect the public” from this “dangerous offender” whose only crime is being a faithful pastor.
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