James Cooper raped and tortured children. Now he’s back on the street
The Hamilton man once considered Canada’s worst pedophile — he raped, beat and tortured six children — has been released from prison even though experts agree he has not changed.
James Cooper moved into a Brantford halfway house Thursday, a short drive from two of his victims.
“You are a low-down, mean, despicable, evil manifestation of a human being that preys on little children,” Justice Nick Borkovich said in 1993 when he handed Cooper a 30-year sentence. At the time, it was the harshest punishment meted out to a child molester in this country.
The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) granted Cooper statutory release last month and notified at least one victim where Cooper would be living.
Cooper is 78 now, but PBC records show his age, and the sex drive reducing medication he takes, have done little to lessen the danger he poses.
“Despite his advanced age, Mr. Cooper is still focused on sexually related matters,” according to a clinician’s report.
He is considered a “moderate high risk” to re-offend, according to records, and a psychological assessment concludes he has traits associated with a psychopathic personality.
In evaluating Cooper’s progress, one clinician says: “Very simply, he just does not get it.”
The PBC itself writes: “When in the community you have returned to inappropriate sexual behavior indicating that you were unable to apply concepts and skills presented in programming.” And “your difficulty in complying with special conditions indicate that you are either unwilling or unable to abide by expectations and therefore the board has little confidence in your ability to do so on this release.”
“The board concludes that you have the potential to be a danger to others in the community.”
Yet, Cooper is out.
His record includes: five counts of gross indecency, three of indecent assault on a female, rape, sexual intercourse on a female under age 14, two counts assault cause bodily harm, buggery and sexual assault.
Five of the children Cooper molested were his own. The other was a neighbor. Five girls, one boy. Ages ranged from seven to 14 and the abuse took place over 16 years.
“You used such items as a cattle prod, buggy whip, a cow halter, cat-o-nine tails, belts and sticks as weapons of physical abuse,” the PBC report says.
All are adults now, struggling to deal with the damage Cooper did. I chronicled their lives in a long investigative piece called Pure Evil, published in 2012.
Cooper was released from prison before, in 2008, but breached his conditions in Peterborough by allegedly groping a woman, shopping for a sex toy for his female AA sponsor and sending an obscene email to a member of his support circle. He was sent back to prison in 2012.
“He will test the waters as soon as he can,” says a relative of two victims who live in Hamilton.
Cooper is on a condition to stay away from his victims, but in the past reached out to one anyway.
He is also on a condition to not be alone with “female children under the age of 18.” I called the PBC to ask why just female children, when his convictions include the rape of his son. The PBC said it could not discuss a specific offender’s conditions.
Other conditions include abstaining from alcohol because it makes him less sexually inhibited. He is also to take medication he is prescribed and have psychiatric treatment.
He is to report all relationships with females and tell his parole officer if those women have parental responsibility for children.
Elsewhere in the documents it is mentioned Cooper has a girlfriend. She lives with someone who cares for children.