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Canada may deport US sex offender ordered to serve probation there

[JURIST] Canadian officials are considering whether to deport an American sex offender who reached a plea agreement [JURIST report] with a US judge allowing him to serve probation in Canada [JURIST news archive]. Malcolm Watson, a former teacher at a private school in Buffalo, was released on bail Friday a day after he was arrested at the US-Canada border on suspicion of violating the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act [text]. A Canadian immigration official presiding at Watson's detention hearing said that he posed no immediate threat to society, but ordered him to report to a full admissibility hearing to be held in the next few weeks. Earlier this week, a New York State judge sentenced Watson to three years' probation [Buffalo News report] for endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree sexual abuse, ordering him to return to the US only to meet with a probation officer. Canadian Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day [official profile] said the government would file an application to block Watson's entry so that Canada does not become "a haven for pedophiles or anyone else committing a serious crime...We don't want U.S. courts getting the notion that we just take people here that they would have put in jail"

Watson's lawyer says that his client merely kissed and touched a single 15-year-old girl - conduct that is not a crime in Canada, where the age of consent is 14 [legislative backgrounder]. Watson has lived in Ontario with his wife and children for four years. CTV News has more. Canadian Press has additional coverage. The Buffalo News has local US coverage.

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