Stoney Creek councillors are advising residents to follow their downtown comrades and force a convicted sexual offender out of the Fruitland Road area.
“I’m very concerned about the children in the neighbourhoods,” said Ward 10 councillor Maria Pearson. “There is Saltfleet soccer and Sherwood Park where children are playing. Yet there is nothing we can do about it. He has served his sentence.”
Ward 11 councillor Brenda Johnson had spoken to about 30 concerned mothers by Tuesday, the day Hamilton police announced Keith Theodore Constantin was being released into the Stoney Creek area.
Constantin, 35, was supposed to be moving into the Gage Park neighbourhood July 25 after serving a five-year sentence for assaulting a young woman in the basement of his parents’ home, but decided under pressure to relocate to the Fruitland Road area.
“Children are everywhere,” she said. “Vulnerable people are everywhere. (The moms) are not suggesting this person move to another community. They’re suggesting that he be put in a secured facility.”
Hamilton Police Service informed the public, under the community and safety provisions of the Police Services Act, that Constantin was relocating to the east end of the city on July 28. No other specific location was given out to the public by the police. He has ties to the Hamilton area.
“Residents are terrified,” said Pearson, who has been receiving email and telephone calls from people. “I don’t blame them. This is terrifying. Residents should be on the look-out.”
Pearson did caution she isn’t advocating for any provocative action against the person. She just wants residents to be aware and on the look-out for Constantine.
“I don’t want violence, absolutely not,” she said.
Pearson is encouraging residents within her ward to sign their own petition to get Constantin out of the area.
A petition signed by 1,000 residents from the Gage Park area pressured Constantin to move out of their neighbourhood.
As of July 29 there were 527 signatures on a petition, located on the www.ipetition.com website. The goal is to get 1,000 signatures.
Eva Zezza, who signed the electronic petition, states that “I have 2 young boys and I don’t want this guy anywhere near them. Our justice system has definitely failed us and our children.”
Pearson has talked to Police Chief Glenn De Caire about the situation, but the police can do little except inform the public since Constantin has served his time.
“Nobody knows where he is,” she said. “He is not wearing an electronic monitor.”
Police did obtain a peace bond in 2007 to restrict his movements because he could hurt someone.
He does have a number of conditions on his release, including not to be alone with anyone under the age of 16 years unless accompanied by an adult; not to be present at any daycare, swimming area, school ground or playground; and he is prevented from possessing, or consuming any alcohol and drugs.
A concerned mother who did not want her name used for fear of retribution said an informal Stoney Creek moms group will be putting up posters warning the public of Constantin’s presence.
“I’ve never, ever heard (the police warn the public of an offender) in our community,” she said. “That tells me he’s going to re-offend. They need to do more in the community because what are we doing? We’re waiting for him to re-offend.
Constantin has had previous convictions for sexually assaulting a boy in a park, an assault against a blind woman in a second-floor lodging home and convictions for robbery and possession of explosives.
He is described as white, five feet nine inches tall and weighing 240 pounds, with a heavy build and short brown hair.
-With files from Mike Pearson