ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - A former Surrey resident wanted in Thailand for allegedly sexually abusing an eight-year-old boy was granted bail Thursday in Abbotsford Provincial Court.
Orville Frank Mader, 54, was released on recognizance and $1,000 cash surety, with a series of conditions to restrict his movements and ensure he poses no risk to children under the age of 14, Crown counsel spokesman Stan Lowe said.
Under the conditions, Mader is prohibited from having contact with children under 14 and from visiting places children frequent, including parks, playgrounds and community centres.
He is not allowed to have access to the Internet and must report weekly to a probation officer, surrender his travel documents and passport and remain in B.C.
Mader, 54, was arrested Nov. 1 at Vancouver International Airport by the RCMP's Integrated Child Exploitation Unit after arriving on a flight from Vietnam.
He was arrested under section 810 of the Criminal Code, which is used if authorities believe there is a risk to local children.
Originally from Kitchener, Ont., Mader is accused of paying an eight-year-old boy for sex last month in the popular Thai beach town Pattaya, known for its sex industry.
Thai police issued an arrest warrant Oct. 31 for Mader, who most recently lived in Surrey.
He is the second Canadian to be arrested for alleged sex crimes in Thailand in the past few weeks.
Christopher Paul Neil, 32, of Maple Ridge, was arrested in Thailand Oct. 19 after a worldwide search led by Interpol to track down a man seen in about 200 Internet photos abusing a dozen Asian boys.
Neil, who remains in custody in Thailand, has been charged with molesting a nine-year-old Thai boy in 2003 and kidnapping and molesting another minor.
Thai officials have stated they plan to seek Mader's extradition, but it is not clear yet whether he will be sent back to Thailand or charged in Canada under this country's child-sex tourism laws.
Lowe said no charges have been laid against Mader and any extradition orders would be dealt with by the Justice Department.
To date, Vancouver resident Donald Bakker remains the only person convicted in Canada on charges of exploiting children abroad.
He pleaded guilty in June 2005 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually abusing children in Asia, and for abusing prostitutes in Canada.
Charges are still pending in the case of a second B.C. man, Kenneth Robert Klassen of Burnaby, who allegedly exploited children in Cambodia, Colombia and the Philippines.
Leading advocates against child sexual exploitation are divided on whether it's better to send Mader back to Thailand or try him in Canada.
Rosalind Prober, president of Beyond Borders, said she'd like to see Canada extradite Mader back to Thailand to face charges there.
Prober said she's worried that if Mader was tried in Canada, his alleged victims would be intimidated by Canada's adversarial justice system and could be re-victimized through harsh cross-examination.
"I think it's in the best interests of the alleged child victims to try Mr. Mader in their own community, in their own language," she said.
Thailand also has tougher penalties for Mader's alleged crimes, with maximum penalties of 20 years in prison compared to 10 years in Canada.
However, Benjamin Perrin, a leading expert on the child-sex trade, said he'd rather see Mader face trial in Canada.
Perrin, a law professor at the University of B.C., said extradition is a lengthy and costly process.
Canada has successfully extradited people to Thailand in the past and Mader's case would be simpler than some, since his alleged crimes do not carry the death penalty.
But the process would still not be quick, said Perrin.
"We're not talking about months, we're talking about years," he said.
Perrin said Mader's case is also complicated by the fact there have been similar allegations made against him in Cambodia.
A prosecution in Canada could cover Mader's alleged crimes in both countries, he said.
"Canadian authorities should be looking seriously at the option of prosecuting Mr. Mader in Canada if the evidence is sufficient to do so," said Perrin. "It would also allow for a more expeditious process to deal with these charges, rather than this lengthy litigation process over an extradition battle with Thailand."
Perrin acknowledged that Canada's sex-tourism law is still largely untested, but said that's an argument for more prosecutions, not fewer.
"It's one of those laws that, if you don't use it, you lose it," he said. "Right now we are really looking like an international embarrassment for failing to take steps to rein in alleged Canadian pedophiles."
One thing Prober and Perrin agreed on is that Mader made a shrewd move by making it back to Canada before he was caught, ensuring either a more lenient sentence in Canadian courts or a protracted extradition battle.
"I think the thought of spending years in a prison in a developing country would frighten many would-be pedophiles, as it should," said Perrin.
"Mader made a very strategic move to get himself over here, because it makes this type of prosecution very difficult," she said.
Source: The Vancouver Sun