Here’s a keynote speaker for the next meeting of your earnest community group: Richard Raymond Babinski, unrepentant rapist and murderer.
A National Parole Board hearing for Babinski, who raped and killed 27-year-old Windsor native Eva Marie Mead in 1988, was shocked to learn recently that he has been speaking to community groups.
Babinski, a lifer at Pittsburgh Institution near Kingston, plans to speak at schools, too, he told the hearing, all the while blithely denying or saying he couldn’t remember sexually assaulting and strangling Mead.
Let’s look at the gruesome details of this case.
Babinski broke into Mead’s apartment in Toronto and sexually assaulted her at gunpoint, in front of her son, Jeremy. He was only six. He still remembers the gun pointed at his head, Babinski’s face, even what Babinski was wearing.
Three days later, Mead was supposed to take Jeremy to hockey practice when she returned home from her job as a stenographer and customer relations officer at the Bank of Nova Scotia. But she never came home. Jeremy, now 27 and living in Windsor, also remembers that long night.
Babinski, a 28-year-old maintenance mechanic from near North Bay, abducted Mead when she left the bank. Her naked, skeletal remains were found seven months later in a marshy field behind a factory where Babinski worked. Her ankles and one arm were bound with black wire. She had been raped again and strangled so violently that her larynx was broken.
Babinski, who had been charged after breaking into Mead’s apartment and already had a long criminal record, had been out on bail.
Jeremy, whose father had died 18 months earlier from a reaction to a prescription drug, was left an orphan, to be raised by his grandmother and uncle.
Tried three times for first-degree murder, Babinski, who had lived in the same apartment building as Mead and had stalked her for months, was eventually convicted of second-degree murder. One of the judges called it a cold-blooded, brutal and heinous crime.
Now 49, behind bars for more than 20 years, his appeals exhausted, no one fighting an alleged wrongful conviction for him, Babinski still doesn’t admit he killed Mead. Over and over at his parole hearing in Kingston, says Heidi Illingworth, executive director of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, Babinski either denied or claimed he couldn’t recall abducting, raping or killing Mead.
Is this the kind of person you want speaking to your community group?
He told the parole board he has spoken to 300 or 400 people at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. These meetings are filled with vulnerable people.
He also attends AA conferences and native powwows and cultural events.
And he plans to speak to schools. Can you imagine? “Hello boys and girls. My name is Richard Babinski…”
What does he tell people?
He’s probably not telling them he raped a mother in front of her young son, that he held a gun to the little boy’s head. He’s probably not telling them he abducted, raped and murdered the young widow and dumped her body in the reeds, leaving her son an orphan.
It can’t be one of those sobering I-turned-my-life-around speeches because he doesn’t even admit he did it.
Who made the inane decision to allow Babinski to speak to community groups? Wardens can grant escorted temporary passes, but acting warden Cathy Gelineau wouldn’t discuss the Babinski case because of the privacy law. She wouldn’t say what other groups Babinski might be addressing or what he’s telling them.
The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime wants to know.
“It’s very concerning to us,” said Illingworth. “We want to know what he’s saying when he goes out. Why is this man permitted to go out and speak to vulnerable people?”
“We find it very offensive that an offender who accepts no responsibility for his actions is allowed to speak in public forums,” she wrote in a letter to Pittsburgh warden Lynne VanDalen this week. “Our agency firmly believes that given the nature of Mr. Babinski’s crimes, he should not be given the opportunity to negatively impact any more lives.”
Jeremy never even knew Babinski was speaking to the public. Next time your group arranges for a speaker, better check references.
The parole board denied Babinski’s request for three-day unescorted passes. Somebody should scuttle the speeches, too.