Moncton man who kidnapped woman, held her captive for nearly a month, released from prison

·6 min read
Romeo Cormier, pictured here in 2013, is now 74, living at an undisclosed community-based residential or psychiatric facility. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press - image credit)
Romeo Cormier, pictured here in 2013, is now 74, living at an undisclosed community-based residential or psychiatric facility. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press - image credit)

A Moncton man who kidnapped a woman at knifepoint and held her captive for nearly a month while he sexually assaulted her has been released from prison.

Romeo Cormier was sentenced in August 2011 to 16 years, seven months and five days in prison, after a jury found him guilty of kidnapping, sexual assault, forcible confinement, robbery with violence, assault with a weapon and uttering threats to cause injury or death.

He served two-thirds of his sentence and reached his automatic statutory release date, according to a Quebec Parole Board of Canada decision obtained by CBC News. Offenders must be released into the community under supervision at that point and follow certain conditions.

Cormier, 74, is living at a halfway house. The location has not been disclosed.

A parole board spokesperson directed inquiries to the Correctional Service of Canada, and CSC spokesperson Jean-François Mathieu declined to release any information, citing the Privacy Act.

"Ensuring the safety and security of the public is a CSC priority," he said in an emailed statement.

"CSC promotes safe reintegration of offenders through risk assessment, community supervision, appropriate accommodation, and effective correctional programs and interventions.

"A comprehensive period of pre-release planning is undertaken before an offender is returned to the community. A community supervision plan outlines the measures required for the safe return of offenders to the community."

Cormier will continue to reside at the undisclosed facility until the conclusion of his sentence on March 22, 2028, known as his warrant expiry date, according to the parole board's Aug. 25 decision, which wasn't released until Sept. 16 "due to the translation to English," a spokesperson said.

Special conditions to protect society

The board has imposed special conditions to Cormier's statutory release. It may do so when it considers it "reasonable and necessary in order to protect society and to facilitate … successful reintegration into society."

The board based its decision on Cormier's record, which includes two previous federal sentences, his risk factors for reoffending and a statement by the victim, dated June 15, 2022.

The woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, was in her 50s when she was abducted from a busy downtown Moncton mall after work on Feb. 26, 2010.

During the trial, she testified Cormier held her captive in the basement of a rooming house for 26 days, forced her into daily sexual acts and repeatedly threatened her before she managed to escape.

When he left her alone, bound and gagged, she freed herself and flagged down a truck driver, who drove her to a police station, the courtroom heard.

Victim still afraid of 'bad' man

In her statement, she "describes the serious consequences with which she has had to live for over [12] years following your criminal actions against her," the parole board told Cormier in its written decision.

"She is afraid to cross your path again, because when you confined her, you told her that you would get your revenge if you went to prison.

"The victim considers you a 'bad' man, with no empathy. She believes that you never took responsibility for the situation, but rather put yourself in the position of the victim. She is also convinced that if she had not managed to escape, you would have killed her.

"She finished her statement by saying that she would have to deal with considerable stress the day you are released, and asked the board to impose the necessary conditions to ensure that you are closely monitored at all times."

The board felt Cormier demonstrated "a concerning capacity to weaponize violence in order to subdue and even psychologically destroy the victim."

Special conditions

It ruled he must return to the halfway house nightly, have no contact with the victim or any of her family members, and immediately report any intimate sexual or non-sexual relationships or friendships with females to his parole supervisor.

He must not associate or communicate with any person involved in criminal activity; not consume, purchase or possess drugs, other than prescription medication taken as prescribed and over-the-counter drugs taken as recommended; not to consume, purchase or possess alcohol; and not enter establishments where the primary source of income is derived from the sale or consumption of alcohol.

Cormier does not plan to work, according to the parole board. "Rather, you wish to fill your time with volunteer work and leisure, such as walking, biking and going to the movies."

Psychological reports have described Cormier as a "spiteful person, who takes pleasure in killing animals and beating people until they lose consciousness."

According to his case management team, his criminal behaviour is associated with "a need for immediate gratification and thrill seeking behaviour, and is closely linked to [his] marginal lifestyle."

Although Cormier claims to have several children, he does not have a relationship with them. "You describe yourself as a criminal, not a family man."

His "egocentric, antisocial and narcissistic personality traits" have had a negative impact on his capacity to develop deep relationships with other people, the board states.

"The offences associated with this sentence also show elements of control, sexual deviance, anger and resentment."

Risk of sexual recidivism 'low'

The statistical information on recidivism (SIR) rating scale indicates that two out of three offenders with comparable characteristics to Cormier will not reoffend within three years of release.

His risk of sexual recidivism is considered "low," largely due to his age.

Cormier has had two previous "successful" statutory releases following federal sentences, the board notes.

During his periods of incarceration, he has never had to be disciplined or failed a drug test.

He has been the victim of at least three "violent incidents."

Lengthy criminal record

His adult criminal record begins in his late-20s and includes convictions for mischief, assault, armed robbery, use of a firearm, confinement and pointing a firearm.

It also includes an incident where he "terrorized" his former in-laws, while masked and armed with a machete, the board said.

"You uttered death threats and told them that you liked blood."

One of the victims was injured with a knife and required medical assistance.

"On another occasion, armed with a stolen .22 pistol, you committed theft in an alcohol retail establishment. You fired a shot at the ceiling of the establishment and threatened a number of customers by pointing your loaded weapon at them. Several were afraid for their lives."

The psychological reports indicate Cormier has said armed robbery is his "strength and … passion."

He committed the majority of his offences armed. Some were planned, others impulsive, and sometimes committed while intoxicated and unemployed, according to the decision.