Warning signs were missed leading up to Quebec woman’s murder: report
MONTREAL -- A report into the murder of 22-year-old Marylène Levesque in Quebec City last year is recommending better oversight and changes into how federal offenders out on day parole are supervised.
The report found the Correctional Service of Canada missed warning signs, and noted shortcomings in the supervision of Eustachio Gallese, who stabbed Levesque to death in 2020 while out on day parole.
A convicted murderer, Gallese pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Levesque's death, and will serve 25 years in prison before being eligible for parole.
A federal probe raised many questions about the decision to release Gallese on day parole, as well as the lack of safety regulations when it comes to prostitution laws.
One revelation in the investigation was that part of the parole strategy suggested by Gallese’s officer allowed him to meet women to respond to his "sexual needs."
Members of the Parole Board of Canada said they did not authorize this permission and did not support this strategy, imposing a special condition to report all intimate and non-intimate relationships.
The investigation led to a report from a National Joint Board of Investigation (BOI) made up of five people, including two criminologists from outside the prison system.
The BOI’s report found “there were warning signs that the case management team did not properly assess and therefore did not adequately take into consideration to implement the required interventions to ensure better risk management.” It added that visits to a massage parlour for sexual purposes were a contributing risk factor given the Gallese’s history of domestic violence.
The report also found there were shortcomings in the collection of information in Gallese’s file, “resulting in an absence of information from official sources.”
It also pointed to problems within the supervision model used in Quebec.
For 40 years, that model has allowed for some Community Residential Facilities (CRF) to not only provide accommodation to offenders, but to also supervise offenders. This is the case for approximately 155 offenders out of 2,000 currently in the community, according to the CSC.
In addition, the report found training and requirements differed greatly between CRF clinical workers and CSC Parole Officers, leading to confusion around caseworkers’ roles and responsibilities, which it noted were not clearly defined by either organization.
CHANGES TO HOW PRISONERS ARE SUPERVISED ON PAROLE
In response to the report, the Correctional Service of Canada said changes are coming to the way federal offenders are supervised while on parole in Quebec.
“We have closely examined all of the board’s findings and accept their recommendations and have developed an action plan to implement them in their entirety,” said Correctional Service of Canada Commissioner Anne Kelly.
Those changes include:
- The CSC plans to take back all direct supervision responsibilities of federal offenders, thought CRFs will continue to provide housing and support to offenders on parole.
- It will revise its policy for collecting information related to an offender’s history, and will also implement a formal monitoring mechanism.
- It will also implement mandatory training around intimate partner violence which will be added to the existing training parole officers and their supervisors receive.
The CSC said it has also conducted a nationwide review to make sure all supervision strategies were “sound, appropriate, consistent with legislation policies, and serve to protect public safety” and found no similar cases. It added that since Levesque’s murder, employees directly involved in the supervision and oversight of Gallese have been assigned other duties and are no longer supervising offenders.
“The community supervision strategy in this case was entirely inappropriate,” said Kelly. “Let me be clear, the Correctional Service of Canada absolutely does not approve of offenders on day leave to participate in soliciting sexual activities.”
KILLED IN A HOTEL ROOM
Marylène Levesque was murdered last January in a Quebec City hotel room during a sexual encounter with Gallese, who was on day parole.
He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Levesque's death, acknowledging that he stabbed her 30 times because he was jealous and feared rejection. He is once again in federal custody and will serve 25 years in prison before being eligible for parole.
In 2006, Gallese was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 15 years after he killed his partner, Chantale Deschênes, by beating her with a hammer and stabbing her. He was also previously convicted of assaulting another partner.
Gallese was originally classified as a high-risk offender, before being re-evaluated as a moderate risk. By 2016, he was allowed out on supervised outings and was released to a halfway house in 2019.