NEWS

Victoria massage college cancels contract with halfway house

11/01/2013 08:17 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
A Victoria college that trains registered massage therapists has cancelled its contract with a Salvation Army halfway house after a complaint that one of its students provided services to the so-called "balaclava rapist," Larry Takahashi. 

Takahashi, 61, is serving three life sentences for dozens of sexual assaults against women in Edmonton in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He would break into women’s homes and rape them while wearing a balaclava.

He was released from jail on an unescorted temporary absence in October and will be residing in the Salvation Army halfway house in Victoria until Dec. 24, when his behaviour during the absence will be reviewed by the National Parole Board.

Fran Blake with the West Coast College of Massage says that when they learned one of their students had worked on the serial sex offender, the college took immediate action. "We have terminated the outreach program at the Salvation Army forever," says Blake.

Parole Board documents indicate there is a medium to high risk that Takahashi will reoffend. The Salvation Army's  Patricia Cuff says the college and its students knew they would be working with sexual offenders.

"We can't state that this person is so-and-so because of confidentiality, but there is an awareness and that's part of our agreement with the school," says Cuff.

The college, in response, says it had no idea Takahashi was in the program.

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