'She's been through enough': Residents protest release of man who allegedly assaulted Edmonton girl
EDMONTON -- A protest took place on Saturday in the west Edmonton neighbourhood of McQueen after Wade Stene was released on bail.
The demonstrators are upset not only that Stene, 37, has been released, but that he’s living a short distance from his alleged victim, an eight-year-old girl.
Stene has been placed on house arrest, and he's under a number of conditions, including:
- Required to wear a tracking ankle bracelet
- Remain at his identified residence 24 hours a day
- Any travel for medical and legal appointments must be pre-approved by his bail supervisor
- No contact with anyone under the age of 18
- Refrain from the purchase, possession, use or consumption of alcohol and/or any non-prescribed controlled substances within the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA)
“We’re a quiet community. Up until this heinous crime was committed you would have never even heard anything from this neighbourhood,” said Melanie Depalma, who organized the protest.
“She’s been through enough and I just think he needs to be relocated somewhere else,” said McQueen resident Lesley Tost.
Residents are upset that Stene was granted bail in the first place, given the allegations.
“That is why we are so passionate about the removal of this individual, not just from our community, but that he not be in any community until his trial,” said Depalma.
In addition to the protest, a petition has also been started in hopes of getting the attention of Alberta Justice.
“How is this right? They’re afraid to be in their own home. I get he has rights but when did the victims’ rights matter?” said protester John MacEachern.
“Hopefully the legal system changes.”
Depalma told CTV News Edmonton she is afraid to let her kids out of sight.
“This has been especially hard on our family having to explain to our child what happened to her friend is a conversation that no parent should ever have to have with their child,” she said.
On Friday, Edmonton police posted on Facebook that releasing information about Stene was not intended to encourage vigilante action, and several officers watched over the protest to make sure it remained peaceful.
“From the time the crime was committed until now have nothing but look out for the safety and security of the victim and her family and this community and we are all so grateful to the Edmonton Police Service for doing so,” Depalma said.
None of the allegations against Stene have been proven or tested in court.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Amanda Anderson.