Canada-wide warrant issued for sex offender missing from Vancouver halfway house

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Vancouver police ask members of the public to call 911 immediately if they spot a high-risk federal sex offender who failed to return to his halfway house earlier this week.

Jonathan Cardinal, who has a history of targeting women, has been missing since Tuesday, officers said in a statement the next day.

Corrections Canada has issued a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest.

The 29-year-old is considered high-risk and is currently serving a long-term supervisory order, VPD said.

LTSOs are options available to the courts to extend the length of time Corrections Canada will supervise an offender in the community, particularly if they're considered to pose a significant risk to re-offend. The orders begin after an offender has completed their sentence, and can be in place for as long as 10 years.

In Cardinal's case, the LTSO was issued followed a conviction in two violent sex assaults that occurred in 2010. Cardinal is bound by several conditions including a curfew.

Court documents show a man with the same name and age pleaded guilty in relation to two sexual assaults that happened in the Yukon the same year. 

The sentencing documents note Cardinal had “forced sexual intercourse” with one of his victims outside a bar in May 2010. The woman fought back, but the documents note Cardinal continued choking her until she stopped resisting.

Cardinal’s second victim was also held down, sexually assaulted and choked in Dawson City in July of 2010. 

The reasons for sentencing also note “there is a substantial risk that if Mr. Cardinal reoffends sexually the harm to the victim could be significant.”

The judge in his case gave Cardinal a seven-year long-term supervision order.

"In the case of Mr. Cardinal, given my view that the LTSO should serve a significant rehabilitative and reintegrative purpose, I am hopeful that if a breach should occur it will not automatically attract additional jail time or a long period of incarceration," Judge Michael Cozens wrote in the 2013 ruling.

"Obviously, the appropriate disposition will depend on the nature of the breach, but it is absolutely not my intention to have Mr. Cardinal spend many of the next years of his life on an installment plan in jail because he is having difficulty complying with an abstain condition, for example," Judge Michael Cozens wrote.

Cardinal was given a 52-month sentence at the time.

According to the court documents, Cardinal has ties to several areas of B.C., including Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

"We're currently trying to locate him. We're asking for the public's help," Vancouver Police Sgt. Jason Robillard told CTV News Thursday.

Police are searching for signs of the missing man through other investigative avenues as well, he said.

"We really want to find him, locate him, arrest him and bring him back to jail."

He's described as Indigenous, 5'8" and about 165 pounds. He has short brown hair and brown eyes.

Cardinal has a tattoo on his upper back, and was last seen wearing a blue T-shirt, blue jeans, white sneakers, a backpack and black-rimmed glasses.

"He does pose a risk to women in the community, so we want people to be aware of that, and we are asking for anybody with any information to please come forward and help us arrest him," Robillard said.

Anyone who sees him or knows where he may be is asked to call 911 or Crime Stoppers anonymously.