MONTREAL — The day-to-day activities of Karla Homolka are once again causing a stir in Montreal after a media report said the convicted killer has been allowed to volunteer at an elementary school.
Local media captured images and photos of Homolka using a purse to hide her face Wednesday morning as she dropped off her children outside a private Christian elementary school in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grace neighbourhood.
On Tuesday, City News reported that Homolka had occasionally volunteered at the school, including supervising a field trip.
A spokesman for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which runs the school, told the station that Homolka was not a regular volunteer and was not allowed to be alone with the children, which would have required a criminal background check.
The school did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the early 1990s, Homolka and her then-husband, Paul Bernardo, were convicted of crimes related to the rape and murder of two schoolgirls, Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy. Bernardo was declared a dangerous offender and sentenced to life in prison while Homolka struck a deal with prosecutors in 1993 to serve 12 years in prison for manslaughter.
She had earlier told investigators that Bernardo abused her and made her a reluctant accomplice to the killings although it was later discovered through videotape evidence she had a far more active role than she led on.
A lawyer who represents the French and Mahaffy families says it’s still a “kick in the gut” for them to hear reports of Homolka seemingly living a normal life with her husband and children.
“These are joys the French and Mahaffy families will never enjoy because of Karla Homolka’s participation with Paul Bernardo to murder their children,” Tim Danson said in a phone interview.
Danson said he’s convinced Homolka was never rehabilitated and shouldn’t be allowed to work with children.
“I think she’s dangerous and I certainly wouldn’t take the chance with my kids to be around her,” he added.
Homolka was released in 2005 after serving her full sentence and has since changed her name a number of times.
The fact Homolka had moved back to Quebec with her husband, Thierry Bordelais, was confirmed in October 2014 by her younger sister Logan Valentini during testimony at Luka Rocco Magnotta’s high-profile murder trial.
News of her whereabouts have generated headlines several times, most recently in 2016 when some residents of Chateauguay, south of Montreal, expressed concern over a report that she was living in the town.
The latest report came up in Ottawa on Wednesday, where politicians were questioned on Homolka’s reported activities.
Montreal MP Marc Miller said he was concerned by the report but wouldn’t jump to conclusions, saying only it was something the government “would be looking into.”
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair raised the question of whether it might be time to forgive and move on.
“Everybody is going to have to take their own stock of that and ensure that first and foremost that the security of their kids is taken care of,” Mulcair said on Wednesday.
“Beyond that, it becomes a question of forgiveness,” he added, pointing out that Homolka had “paid her debt” to society.
“If you’re ensuring the safety of the kids, beyond our revulsion at the horror of the crime, is there any room for atonement and forgiveness?” he asked.
The Canadian Press