Irene Smith of the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre in Halifax said she's worried the province's justice system failed in the way it released David James Leblanc, who is wanted on charges of confining and sexually assaulting a teenage boy for days.
"I don't think the conditions were serious enough and in line with the charges before him," Smith said.
Smith made the comments as police continued to search for the 47-year-old Leblanc, who faces charges of forcible confinement and sexual assault after a 16-year-old boy was allegedly taken to a home in Upper Chelsea, N.S., held captive and sexually assaulted.
Police are also looking for 31-year-old Wayne Alan Cunningham, who faces the same charges.
RCMP Sgt. Alain Leblanc said police believe the two men are in Ontario and have received tips from people in that province and Nova Scotia. Sgt. Peter Leon of the Ontario Provincial Police said they have issued a notice to officers to look out for the men.
Smith and Nova Scotia's opposition parties said more restrictive conditions should have been imposed on David James Leblanc when he was released in 2010 pending a hearing on unrelated charges of sexual assault and possessing child pornography.
Leblanc is due in court in Halifax in November to answer to charges related to possessing digital images of child pornography, sexual assault and touching a person under the age of 16.
At the time, Leblanc was released on conditions that he keep the peace and stay away from places where children may congregate, like schools and playgrounds.
Court documents show that he was charged with failing to comply with some of those conditions in 2011 and was sentenced to 18 days in a provincial facility.
Court documents also show that both suspects have previous convictions for break and enter, theft and fraud, among other charges.
Liberal justice critic Michel Samson said Leblanc should have been fitted with an electronic ankle bracelet that would have tracked his movements.
He accused the NDP government of cutting back on programs used to monitor offenders and supervise their release.
"If it is decided that individual should be released because of the nature of the crimes that they've been charged with, an ankle bracelet should be an option," he said.
"Unfortunately, it's not anymore because of budgetary cuts."
Justice Minister Ross Landry dismissed the assertion, saying the province invests $400,000 a year on ankle bracelets and maintains a surveillance program.
"What the Liberals and Conservatives are trying to create is some fear and say we should throw more money at it rather than be logical in how we approach justice," Landry said.
"Are they saying that everyone's who's charged should be put on that (bracelet) because they may commit a crime?"
Court documents say the 16-year-old boy was sleeping on the streets of Halifax when he awoke to find himself in a van headed to a home in Lunenburg County.
In a document filed this week with the provincial court in Bridgewater, N.S., RCMP Const. Timothy Cole said the Mounties began their investigation after a woman reported Monday evening that a teenager who was chained at his ankles and wrists knocked on her door.