2019-11-06

Bridgewater child killer gets more temporary escorted absences from prison to attend church

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>Screengrab from 2008 news conference where Penny Boudreau put out a public plea to help find her missing daughter.</p>

The local woman who strangled her 12-year-old daughter to death in 2008 has been granted six days of escorted temporary leave from prison over the next year to attend church, a recent Parole Board of Canada (PBC) decision reveals.

This would make for two additional days of leave over a 12-month period for Penny Boudreau. A June 2018 PBC ruling gave her four days of escorted temporary absences to attend church services every four months over the course of the year. The PBC said those days were completed without any issues.

The six "personal development" absences were recommended by Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) to to allow Boudreau "to continue attending church services approximately every second month," the PBC decision reads.

The absences will be up to three hours in duration including travel time. Travel is by CSC vehicle to and from the church with an approximate travel time of 15 minutes.

"You have confirmed support from the Pastor of the church you have been attending. Further, local police have no objection to you attending church services provided that you are escorted by CSC staff and closely monitored," the decision goes on, concluding the absences don't present an undue risk to society.

"The [PBC] notes your reported acceptance by members of the church congregation, your continued welcome by the church's staff, and the evidence of the importance of spirituality as a contributing part of your correctional plan," reads the decision document dated October 6.

The PBC "is satisfied that your release plan for personal development [absences] contains a level of structure, monitoring and supervision that is consistent with your current level of risk and need." The federal agency "believes that this provides the required protection for society when considering an absence at this stage of your sentence."

The additional days of absence "are a logical continuation of previously approved [time], and that they contain the appropriate structure and supervision which the [PBC] assesses, at this point during your sentence, as mitigating to your risk to re-offend."

Karissa Boudreau was reported missing on January 27, 2008, the same day her mother took her to a remote area in Hebbville, Lunenburg County and strangled her with a piece of twine because she was seen as an obstacle in her relationship with her then-boyfriend.

Penny then drove Karissa's body to Conquerall Bank, just outside Bridgewater town limits and dumped the body down an embankment off Highway 331.

Penny went in front of media cameras twice, making emotional pleas for Karissa's safe return as still images of her child were posted all over the community.

Referred to as "Bridgewater's daughter," Karissa was remembered during a packed funeral in Shelburne County where she used to live and at a memorial service in Bridgewater. A year later, hundreds gathered in a Bridgewater park for a memorial marking the first anniversary of her death.

In June 2008, police charged her mother with first-degree murder. Months later, in January 2009, Penny admitted to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years.

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