A man suspected of extorting money from residential school survivors is being released on day parole with their support, APTN News has learned.
The revelation about Ivan Johnny, who was serving time for first-degree murder in British Columbia, is contained in Parole Board of Canada documents shared with APTN Tuesday.
The documents say the 68-year-old will be released on several conditions to seek treatment at a community residential facility before returning to live on his First Nation.
A court order prevents APTN from naming the community to protect the identities of survivors.
“The community advised that they would like to reassess you further after your treatment to see if you are ready for a community healing circle with the victims of this allegation,” says the nine-page decision, “noting that although you were not charged, many members of the community believe you committed fraud.”
APTN has followed this case since 2012. It was one of several dysfunctional incidents that revealed a glaring gap of oversight in the Independent Assessment Process (IAP), which paid survivors compensation for severe physical and sexual abuse.
Johnny, who says he was physically and sexually abused in residential school, was working for a Vancouver lawyer while on parole from his murder conviction when some survivors alleged he was ripping them off.
His parole was revoked and he sought release many times since then.
Two members of the four-member parole board voted in favour of his release while to others abstained.
The decision paints a glowing description of Johnny’s rehabilitation saying he has overcome anger and addiction issues stemming from childhood abuse. And, it suggests he is at low risk to re-offend despite a lengthy criminal record that includes violence, firearms and rape charges.
He was convicted in June 1984 of shooting and killing a man outside a bar.
It says the community has faith in Johnny, who, among other things, wants to return to his love of carving.
“At this time, they believe you have begun your spiritual journey and have taken positive steps towards a better future,” it says.
The decision will be re-assessed after six months.