Denise Harvey, Convicted Florida Sex Offender, Granted Asylum In Canada

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Florida Department Of Law Enforcement
Florida Department Of Law Enforcement

A convicted sex offender from Florida has been granted asylum in Canada, five years after she fled here.

Denise Harvey, who was convicted in 2008 of five counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, was granted protected person status in Canada in May, according to the National Post. She faces a 30-year prison sentence in the U.S.

The boy she had sex with was a 16-year-old on her son's baseball team. They had sex five times at the boy's father's house and in her office, the Post reports.

The 46-year-old woman fled with her family to Pike Lake, Saskatchewan in 2009, but wasn't arrested by the RCMP until April 2011, when she didn't show up for her prison sentence.

When she was arrested, Harvey claimed asylum, saying the 30-year sentence she faced in the U.S. was "cruel and unusual punishment".

The Immigration and Refugee Board granted her request in 2012, agreeing the sentence was unfair and that having sex with a 16-year-old isn't a criminal offence in Canada.

A minor is considered anyone 16 years and younger in the U.S.

The Canadian government sought a review of Harvey's protected status last year and won, overturning the ruling, but the refugee board ruled a second time in Harvey's favour. She can now apply for permanent residency, which could eventually lead to citizenship.

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander told CBC back in May he found it "mind-boggling" a person from the U.S. would think it appropriate to apply for asylum in Canada.

"They have no understanding of what true persecution is, and what it means to be a genuine refugee."

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