Friday, June 25, 2010

Serial rapist who absconded from halfway house caught, sentenced for breach of conditions

(Original Post 10-25-09)
A serial rapist and attacker of women is being sought on a Canada-wide warrant by the RCMP after absconding from a Calgary, AB halfway house. Dean Robert Zimmerman, 44, is believed to be heading back to the Abbottsford, BC area from Calgary.

According to RCMP Sgt. Rob Vermeulen, “Zimmerman has ties to both the British Columbia Interior and the Lower Mainland and there is a likelihood that he could attempt to reach these areas.”

Calgary police expect Zimmerman to offend again, citing his long history of sexual and physical assaults against women. Const. Jason Bobrowich, with the Calgary Police Service high risk offender unit, says that  "It's totally a matter of when; it's not even if. Eventually, he will come into contact with a female and he will target them. Past behaviour is a predictor of future behaviour."

Zimmenman was released to a halfway house under a curfew after serving 40 months of a prison sentence for sexual assault and forcible confinement. The victim was a 24 year old Edmonton, AB woman. The three Canada-wide warrants he's wanted on include two breach of release conditions, and a fraud charge. Authorities believe that this was always Zimmerman's plan.

Bobrowich says that "I don't think it was his intention ever to stay in the Calgary area and be monitored by us for two years. Probably he worked out as much as he could while in jail."

Zimmerman's sexual criminal history began in 1995, when he served three years for the rape of a Abbottsford, BC woman. It was there that his second wife met him, despite the rape conviction and despite the ongoing marraige to another woman.

The second wife found out just how much of a criminal Zimmerman was in June 1998, when near Mission, BC he beat her, while pregnant, and allegedly raped her at knifpoint in a tent over a 12 hour period. In 2001, a jury convicted him of physical assault and obstruction of justice, bur acquitted him of sex assault charges. Zimmerman's last contact with British Columbia authorities came in 2005, as he was being sought for the Edmonton rape.

On Tuesday, [Calgary] police released new photos of Zimmerman, including ones that have been digitally altered to show how he would look with a beard or if he shaves off his goatee.
Bobrowich said the fugitive is known to alter his appearance and likely has changed his looks--growing out his hair for example -- to keep the public from recognizing him. Police also have photos of him leaving his home, dressed for the weather and with a backpack and duffel bag around 4 a. m. on Oct. 13.
Zimmerman has a limited amount of cash, so he may have hitchhiked out of town or taken a bus. He could be staying at a lower-rate hotel or motel, Bobrowich said. Police warned those staying or working at those accommodations to be wary.

Bobrowich worries that Zimmerman may con his way into a woman's life, get her to let him stay at her house or apartment, groom, then rape her. "His violent sexual offences have been as a result of him associating with women. It's very much a power and control, and slow manipulating and grooming process," he said.

Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said every police officer in the department has received information on Zimmerman. “I would imagine given the nature of the crime we have a major crime detective who is liaising with other police agencies and an intelligence officer disseminating information,” said MacDonald.
Officers have made attempts to speak to various people in Abbotsford and check last known addresses for the offender, he said. He would not say if any of Zimmerman’s victims were still in the community or seeking police protection.

“We’re fully aware of the background and potential dangers that exist, and are conducting the appropriate inquiries, but due to the nature of his background we won’t be going into details.”

Calgary and Abbottford police are in contact working to apprehend Zimmerman. He is described as an extremely high risk to offend. He is bald, white, 5’9” in height, and weighing 205 pounds. Anyone spotting Zimmerman is urged not to approach him but to call local police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

(Update 6-25-10) Zimmerman was caught in Abbotsford, BC on December 7, 2009, carrying restraining devices (shoelaces which could be used as a ligature to strangle), and  was brought before Provincial court Judge Gerald Meagher Tuesday, June 22. Zimmenman admitted breaching six conditions of his peace bond, which he signed September 29. Those conditions were not abiding by a curfew, not living at a designated Calgary residence, not reporting to his probation officer, possessing a knife, possessing a weapon dangerous to the public peace and possessing shoe laces tied together that could be used as a ligature.

He was sentenced to 40 months in prison by Judge Meagher, who was concerned about the convicted rapist "continu[ing] to be a high risk for violent recidivism and sexual recidivism." Meagher's assessment of Zimmerman continues below.

  The breaches of the reporting, residency and curfew conditions were serious breaches, because they were part of the framework of supervision to manage the offender's risk to the community. His degree of violence appears to be escalating and he appears to be ambivalent to accepting responsibility for his offences and his victims...These same items, a knife and restraining devices (shoelaces tied with slip knots), had been used on his most recent victim who had been repeatedly sexually asaulted over a period of approximately nine hours of confinement. For these offences Zimmerman served his full sentence, the National Parole Board refusing to grant him parole because of the danger or risk that he presented to the community."

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