Just weeks after Terri-Lynne McClintic was returned to prison after being transferred to an Indigenous healing lodge, the victim’s father has learned that her co-killer, Michael Rafferty, was transferred to a medium security prison in March.
The transfer was revealed by Rodney Stafford — father of murdered eight-year-old girl Tori Stafford — in a lengthy post on his Facebook page and later confirmed by CBC News.
“It has come to my knowledge as of today that Michael Rafferty — the man responsible for all actions the day of April 8, 2009, the abduction, brutal rape, murder and concealing of evidence — was transferred from his maximum security facility to a medium security facility in March,” Stafford wrote.
He said he was not informed by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) about the transfer last spring. He further states he wasn’t informed of the transfer during a recent meeting with the service’s commissioner, Anne Kelly.
Stafford said he only found out about the change in Rafferty’s status because he requested the information from the Correctional Service of Canada. The service came back to him, he said, and told him that there “really hasn’t been much activity on Rafferty’s file, would you still like me to send the information to you?”
“Oh ya,” he said on Facebook. “Glad I did.”
Stafford told Media that he wants the federal government to immediately reverse the transfer.
“I’m looking for both of them to serve their sentences in max security, where they belong, and be labelled dangerous offenders, which they are,” he said. “There’s nothing right about this. Corrections Service Canada is messing up, bad, and it’s affecting all Canadians — not just myself.”
The treatment of Tori Stafford’s killers became a political flashpoint in September when Rodney Stafford revealed that McClintic, who is serving a life sentence for her part in the the brutal rape and murder of his daughter, was transferred from the Grand Valley Institution for Women near Kitchener, Ont., to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge for Aboriginal Women on Nekaneet First Nation in southern Saskatchewan.
The transfer resulted in several heated exchanges in the House of Commons. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale ordered a review of the practice of transferring prisoners to healing lodges that resulted in McClintic being returned to a traditional prison last month.
The news of Rafferty’s transfer came just as Monday’s question period was coming to a close; the Conservatives still managed to get a question asked as the clock ran down.
“Can the minister tell us if this is true: Is Michael Rafferty behind bars where he belongs? Or is he in a cushy healing lodge somewhere in the woods?” asked Conservative House leader Candice Bergen.
In an interview recorded for CBC’s Power & Politics on Nov. 23 that airs today, the federal ombudsman for victims of crime said victims should be consulted before decisions are made to transfer offenders to different correctional facilities.
“What we see as a problem is that there is no advance notification,” said Heidi Illingworth.
“There’s no flagging in the system that says, ‘Let’s outreach to the victims, let’s see what the concerns are, let’s hear from them in this process.’ It’s all done by corrections officials behind closed doors.”
Illingworth began her role as ombudsman in October, just as the government began its review of inmate transfers. She said she is glad the issue has gained more attention since the McClintic case.
We’ll keep updating this article as more updates become available.