Hardware-store owner's Homolka allegations being greeted with skepticism
 
Greg Bonnell
Canadian Press

Thursday, August 25, 2005
Richer Lapointe in Montreal Wednesday. (CP Photo/Paul Chiasson)

 

MONTREAL (CP) - Karla Homolka remained in hiding Wednesday as the man who exposed her whereabouts and accused her of violating her strict release conditions continued his apparent media campaign, making fresh allegations that were met with increasing skepticism.

Homolka was said to be holed up in a new residence in mid-town Montreal after fleeing her apartment in the wake of Richer Lapointe's accusations earlier this week in the Toronto Sun and Le Journal de Montreal.

For one of the rare times in the long and sordid Homolka saga, however, the attention Wednesday was focused not on her, but squarely on her accuser.

Even Tim Danson, the outspoken lawyer for the families of Homolka's victims who has never been shy about assailing the schoolgirl killer, doubted the credibility of the hardware-store owner who gave Homolka her first post-prison job.

"I'm not prepared to accept anything he says at face value," Danson said of the information Lapointe confidentially shared with the Toronto-based lawyer but then promptly provided to media outlets.

"I'm very uncomfortable with this now. I've told him this is very serious stuff and that he should be speaking with the police and not the media."

Lapointe faced legal troubles of his own Wednesday, appearing in court on various charges, including sexual assault.

The court told Lapointe he could not leave Quebec, contact the alleged victim or communicate with anyone with a criminal record.

Lapointe has said he wants to go to Ontario to give Crown prosecutors details of what he said Homolka told him.

He has denied he set up Homolka by approaching her lawyers repeatedly before her release with a job offer, hiring her and then exposing her whereabouts. He says he intended to help the schoolgirl killer reintegrate into society, but Homolka's actions and comments forced him to present his allegations to the Toronto Sun.

His fresh allegations Wednesday centred around Homolka's role in the rape of a teenaged girl known only as Jane Doe, a crime for which Homolka received immunity in exchange for testimony against her former husband Paul Bernardo.

Those new allegations don't constitute an admission of further crimes nor do they suggest she lied to authorities about her role in the attacks on Jane Doe.

If the information did suggest Homolka lied to authorities when striking the deal that gave her immunity, Danson suspects the deal could "be opened up."

But he added in an interview: "I don't believe for a moment, at this stage, that that's the kind of information that he has."

Homolka eventually disclosed her role in the rape of Jane Doe to Ontario officials after striking a plea-bargain agreement that saw her receive 12 years for the sex slayings of two southern Ontario high-school students.

Lapointe said he plans to provide a sworn statement to authorities about Homolka's revelations and will also provide audio-taped evidence, but he was vague on what he has on tape, if anything, about Homolka's musings on Jane Doe.

He also intends to hold a news conference in Montreal on Friday and play excerpts from the tapes.

On Wednesday, Montreal TV station CFCF broadcast part of one of the tapes in which someone identified as Homolka is heard saying in English she can't see Stivia Clermont, a friend of her who's an inmate, because she has a criminal record.

Homolka began working in Lapointe's hardware store on Aug. 10, a month after being released from prison, but quit the job last week after police informed her of Lapointe's criminal past. The phone call from police came just days before the Sun published Lapointe's allegations.

The media descended in droves on the Montreal suburb of Longueuil last weekend as word leaked out that Homolka was working in the area, reigniting the dormant saga of Canada's most notorious female offender and driving her back into hiding.

"She knew from the start that she would be found," said her lawyer, Sylvie Bordelais.

Still, Homolka is saddened and "very disappointed" that her first chance at independence since her release from prison came to such an abrupt and publicized conclusion.

"I know that job was very important for her," Bordelais said. "It's a way of . supporting herself.

"She came out of jail not knowing what she would be facing, not knowing what awaited her. She did not have a lot of money when she went out of jail; she's not from a rich family."

Police spirited Homolka from prison on July 4, evading a small army of journalists keeping vigil outside her prison to deliver her to a secret location. Homolka was advised not to leave her apartment for the first few weeks, and her mother had travelled to Montreal to help settle her into her new life.

Bordelais says Homolka has again gone into hiding, but this time without the aid of her mother, who has returned to Ontario.

 The Canadian Press 2005

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