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'Canada's worst pedophile' living in Toronto, cops warn

Toronto Sun crime reporter Chris Doucette. (Sun files)

By Chris Doucette, Toronto Sun

Released sex offender James Alfred Cooper. (Toronto Police handout)

Released sex offender James Alfred Cooper. (Toronto Police handout)

TORONTO - 

James Alfred Cooper, who has been described as Canada’s worst pedophile, is now living freely in Toronto after serving 21 years behind bars for the brutal rape and torture of six kids in the Hamilton area.

And even at 79 years old, Toronto Police remain so concerned the convicted sexual predator may strike again that they have taken the unusual step of warning the public about his release from prison.

“This is fairly rare,” spokesman Mark Pugash said Tuesday. “It’s something we only do maybe two or three times a year.

The warning, issued a day earlier by the Sex Crimes Unit, revealed Cooper was freed Monday after serving a 21-year sentence and will be residing in Toronto.

Cops also explained they were “notifying the public about his release because of his potential to re-offend against children.”

Cooper was found guilty in 1993 of five counts of gross indecency, three counts of indecent assault, two counts of rape, assault causing bodily harm, sexual intercourse with a female under the age of 14, buggery, and sexual assault.

He was initially ordered jailed 30 years but that sentence was reduced to 21 years on appeal.

Cooper was granted statutory release in 2008 after serving two-thirds of his sentence. That release was revoked in 2012 after he breached his conditions and he was sent back to prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

His latest release includes court-ordered conditions that require him to report to police weekly and forbid him from attending any daycare centre, school property, playground, arcade, public swimming area or public park.

He is also not allowed to have contact, “direct or indirect,” with anyone under the age of 16. And he must notify cops before engaging in an intimate relationship, living with or marrying someone who is a parent or legal guardian of a child under 16.

While Cooper’s crimes were committed in the Hamilton area and he lived in Peterborough during his last release, Pugash said Toronto Police are now involved because “this is where he’s living.”

Although Pugash refused to say exactly where in the city Cooper is residing, he did explain the decision to issue a public warning is not one that cops take lightly.

“We look at each case individually,” he said, explaining the decision is based on medical reports outlining the pedophile’s risk of re-offending as well as various other factors.

“The issue for us is that if we believe the person poses a threat of re-offending then we take whatever steps are necessary to protect public safety,” Pugash said.

chris.doucette@sunmedia.ca