POLITICS

No temporary prison absences for woman convicted in stepson's death:parole board

05/28/2015 10:47 EDT | Updated 05/28/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - A woman who was found guilty in what has been described as one of the worst cases of child abuse in Canada has been denied escorted temporary absences from prison, where she is currently serving a life sentence.

The Parole Board of Canada denied Marcia Dooley's requests in a recent decision, saying it found the 45-year-old still reluctant to accept full responsibility for her crime.

Dooley, along with her husband, was convicted of second-degree murder in 2002 in the death of her stepson, seven-year-old Randal Dooley.

Randal was born in Jamaica and came to Canada with his brother to live with his father and stepmother in November 1997, 11 months before his death.

He had wasted to just 41 pounds and had 13 fractured ribs, a lacerated liver, four brain injuries, and head-to-toe bruises when he died in 1998.

It was found that Dooley had struck the fatal blow to Randal and had inflicted the vast majority of the prior abuse.

Dooley, whose parole eligibility was set at 18 years, had requested escorted temporary absences for family visits — six over a 12 month period to her parents' home where she said her mother had health issues — and had asked to be able to participate in an anger management program and a self-awareness group.

The board noted, however, that Dooley claimed she had been hit by her mother in the past and used that to justify some of her actions — something the board called "impossible to accept."

"In the board's view, you are a person with deep-seated anger problems. Anger that led to the death of a helpless, defenceless young boy," the board decision said.

"The source for that anger may be your mother. While the board believes that having family contact in order to facilitate these discussions would be helpful, we do not believe that this would be manageable within the brief confines of an escorted temporary absence."

It added that Dooley hadn't spoken to her mother about the alleged abuse she suffered at her hands, and noted that her own father didn't believe his daughter was responsible for Randal's death because Dooley had never discussed the matter with her parents.

The board also did not believe the programs Dooley had requested absences to attend would help reduce her risk.

The board also highlighted some inconsistencies with information Dooley provided.

It noted that she had stated in the past that her husband left for the U.S. within weeks of his children arriving in Canada, leaving her to raise two young boys she hadn't met before.

But, the board said, Dooley provided "somewhat different information" at her hearing, which was held earlier this month.

"You said that your husband did not stay away for seven months as the file states, but that he went back and forth between the U.S. and your home. Additionally, you said that you often spoke with him by telephone when you felt you needed his help with Randal," the board's decision said. "This raises significant questions regarding your assessment that you felt 'abandoned' during this critical time period."

The board noted that it spent "a great deal" of Dooley's hearing trying to determine the level of responsibility she was willing to accept in Randal's death.

"To your credit you accepted more responsibility today for the violent injuries that you inflicted," the board said, before adding, "you confirmed that you broke his ribs through these assaults but could not fully explain why you felt so angry toward him or why you felt justified in causing this young boy such grievous injuries."

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