A convicted sex offender running in the Saskatoon Catholic school board election is no longer on the ballot after dropping out of the race.
Denis Robert Hall announced his decision to withdraw his candidacy late Monday in a letter to the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Board.
He stated media reports describing his previous sex crimes “misrepresent me and my ancient past in the worst possible light,” adding it prevented him from continuing as a candidate.
“The use of the terms ‘pedophile’ and ‘sexual assault’ used by mainstream media are completely and categorically false,” he wrote.
Hall mentioned pleading guilty on July 10, 1981 to actions that happened during the 70s when he was the coach of a 16-and-under girls community-league basketball team sponsored by Holy Rosary Cathedral in Regina.
According to a Saskatoon StarPhoenix story from 2003, Hall pleaded guilty to two charges of having intercourse with girls aged 14-16, as well as two counts of indecent assault.
He was sued by one of the girls, who became pregnant. He settled for $3,500 with the girl after she signed not to pursue further legal action.
Hall was sentenced to 18 months in jail. In the letter, the candidate said he served one year in the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre.
Hall wrote even though the offences were not related to his teaching duties, the then Minister of Education thoroughly reviewed his case.
“I was found guilty of ‘conduct unbecoming of a teacher’ and my teaching privileges were temporarily suspended,” he said, adding he later returned, “corrected,” to a career as a teacher, principal and accomplished post-secondary student.
Hall received a full pardon in 1994. According to the 1985 Criminal Records Act, this means the Parole Board of Canada believed he was “of good conduct” and the conviction “should no longer reflect adversely on the applicant’s character.”
According to Hall, most of his efforts over the last 50 years have been focused on helping indigenous youth through sports and community programs.
In the letter to GSCS, he noted “none of the offences to which I pleaded guilty involved youth of indigenous or otherwise disadvantaged circumstances, but rather youths from strong and well-established families.”
Hall said running for school trustee came about because he wanted to shape educational environments to include stronger cultural supports for indigenous students.
Due to the recent attention on his past crimes, Hall said his candidacy—and the goals he had with it—is untenable, as might be his residency in Saskatoon.
“Just like I have been throughout these 36 years, I am so sorry for the duress and pain my candidacy has caused anyone,” he wrote.
“I never foresaw that after all these years and my work to rehabilitee and be a valued contributing member of society.”
Hall ran for trustee in 2003, finishing ninth in the official results. He received 3,762 votes.
Despite dropping out, Hall will still be listed on the official ballot on Oct. 26. With advance voting already underway, the ballots are printed and cannot be changed.