June 27, 2008 - Regina - Convicted sex offender Brian Solberg is to be back in court today. Solberg was arrested Feb. 29 for a breach of conditions from both his probation and one-year recognizance. Solberg was at the centre of a controversy after he moved to Regina, when some residents of his neighbourhood demanded his eviction because of his past.
Sex offender back in jail
Regina judge sentences convicted sex offender Solberg to 14 months for breach
Heather Polischuk, Leader-Post
Published: Tuesday, March 25, 2008
REGINA -- A convicted sex offender was looking to get a flu shot last month, but instead ended up with another 14 months behind bars.
During his appearance at Regina Provincial Court on Tuesday, Brian Keith Solberg, 57, pleaded guilty to a breach of his one-year recognizance for being in the building housing the Regina Mental Health Clinic without first getting permission from his probation officer to attend other services in that building.
He has been on strict court-imposed conditions since his release from prison in 2004 after serving the entirety of his 10-year sentence for a brutal sexual assault in British Columbia.
At the time of his release, B.C. police issued a statement warning the public that Solberg was a high risk to reoffend, a warning repeated by Regina police when Solberg moved here in 2005.
Despite that, Solberg -- who has been subject to recognizances since his release -- has not been accused of any serious offences since then.
He has, however, found himself back behind bars on occasion for breaching conditions of those orders. In January, Solberg was handed a sentence of six to nine months time served after pleading guilty to breaching his order by not participating in sex offender counselling in a "full and sincere manner," and being dismissed from a sex offender program -- charges that stemmed from inappropriate behaviour and evidence of escalating sexual fantasies.
Solberg was released on conditions, one of which was that he not go to the building that houses the Regina Mental Health Clinic. On Tuesday, Crown prosecutor Jeff Kalmakoff explained that service providers at the mental health clinic had asked for that condition as they found Solberg "aggressive and violent" when speaking about those he felt had wronged him. Staff had concerns Solberg wanted to retaliate against them, Kalmakoff said, leading to the condition being added.
The prosecutor said a probation officer had twice explained that condition to Solberg in the time period leading up to the Feb. 11 breach.
Legal Aid lawyer Tony Orlowski said that on that date, Solberg had been trying to get a flu shot. He'd tried a different clinic first, but was told they were out of the shots. When he learned the public health office might still have some, Solberg went there next -- despite the fact it was in the same building as the mental health clinic.
Staff at the public health office recognized Solberg and reported his presence to police.
"It's hard to imagine a less-serious breach ..." Orlowski said in court. "He just didn't get the permission ... It was an oversight on his part."
However, Kalmakoff said Solberg told police he was aware the two clinics were in the same building, also telling police he "sometimes enjoys living on the edge."
Judge Murray Brown was also not convinced.
"There is no question in my mind this was not an oversight on your part ..." he told Solberg. "It seems clear to me you just aren't listening."
Brown said Solberg doesn't appear to be taking the order seriously and is even prepared, on occasion, to "play games" with it, making any breach serious and therefore requiring a tougher sentence. In handing down the 14-month sentence, Brown took into consideration the 26 days Solberg has spent on remand.
Convicted sex offender can stay, rentalsman rules
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 7, 2006 | 2:03 PM ET
Saskatchewan's rentalsman has ruled that a convicted sex offender can remain in his Regina condominium.
Fifty-five-year old Brian Keith Solberg has been at the centre of controversy since he moved to Regina last fall.
Solberg has a history of violent sex offences and has spent more than 20 years behind bars. Police issued a public warning last fall that he was in the community.
His landlord, James Ripplinger says he received hundreds of complaints from residents living in the condo complex in the northwest corner of the city.
Ripplinger served Solberg with eviction notices. This week, the case went to the Office of the Rentalsman.
On Wednesday, a rentalsman's tribunal ruled there is not enough evidence to support Ripplinger's bid to have Solberg evicted.
Solberg said he felt "very satisfied" with the ruling.
"I feel that I was dealt with fairly," Solberg said. "I'm glad that their decision was on my behalf because I have family nearby, I have a church within two blocks where I'm starting to feel more and more comfortable."
During the hearing, Solberg's probation officer said he would be more likely to reoffend if he had to move.
The decision says that was one of the most compelling reasons to deny Ripplinger's request.
Ripplinger does have a right to appeal the decision.
Solberg hoping to stay in condo
Other residents admit they're scared
Angela Hall, Leader-Post
Published: Monday, May 01, 2006
A convicted sex offender is facing an end-of-May eviction notice from his north Regina residence, as many of his neighbours continue to object to his presence there.
Brian Solberg was originally told he would have to leave his rented condominium by April 30, but said Sunday he's glad to have another month in the residence he had hoped to call home long term.
But some neighbours want a moving truck at the Cedar Meadows compound as soon as possible.
"To be perfectly frank, we're scared when we leave here, we're scared to come home when it's dark," said a single mom who declined to give her name.
She said the situation has been difficult for her school-age daughter, who doesn't have friends come over to visit anymore. She also had an alarm system installed to help lessen her daughter's worries.
"Our lives have been so greatly affected, and we've tried to live our life properly and are affected by somebody who chose an entirely different lifestyle."
She said she understands Solberg has to live somewhere, but thinks it should be a self-contained house somewhere, not a compound where there are a number of single women.
But Solberg said he's working hard to keep his life on track in Regina. "I'm staying clean and I'm realizing in the short term and in the long term I'm accountable for all my behaviours."
Regina police issued a public alert about Solberg when he moved to Regina last October, and again in the Lakewood area when he moved from central Regina to his current home earlier this year.
Solberg has served a total of 21 years in prison for violent sexual offences.
His landlord issued an eviction notice last month in response to pressure from residents. At the time, James Ripplinger told the Leader-Post that Solberg has a great family and lots of support from people who want to help him, but felt he had to ask him to move out.
The original eviction notice indicated he would have to be out of the residence by April 30. That date is now for the end of May.
"I'm going to play it one day at a time, play it by ear, and at the same time ... look out for another place," Solberg said Sunday.
"I've got a few of my COSA (circle of support and accountability) group members that are willing to maybe help me out and help me look."
One member of that support group, Anglican priest John Gardner, said he feels Solberg is doing "extremely well," in part because of the support circle and his family members, who have helped furnish his apartment, as well as because the landlord was willing to rent him a place.
Gardner said there is the chance Solberg could be forced out of his next home, but they hope he can get into a place from which he can't be evicted and that public concern will settle down.
Solberg's probation officer must also approve where he goes. "The last thing they want to do is put me in a high risk area," said Solberg. "I came out here on my probation officer's okay ... I talked to so many people before I made this move."
But it's a move some say they're just not comfortable with.
"I think the media is portraying him as 'I'm really a nice guy, I'm a good guy. I'll change,' " said a senior citizen who lives near Solberg. "And nobody is getting our point of view at all of what our women feel like. They're scared," said the woman, who spoke on the condition her name not be published.
"Another thing that really bugs me, if we want to sell our condos now who is going to buy them?"
Another man living in the compound said that "secretly dropping" a man with a past as a violent sex offender into the neighbourhood violates the rights of other residents.
He said he's acting as a "security guard" for two female residents afraid to walk alone.
Last Updated: Friday, October 21, 2005 | 7:38 PM ET
Last week, Regina police took the rare step of warning the public about sex offender Brian Keith Solberg, releasing his name, photograph and some of his criminal history.
Police said Solberg, 54, has a history of committing violent sexual offences against females, with the youngest victim being 15.
He was released from prison last year after serving a 10-year sentence for a 1993 attack on a young B.C. woman. The charges included sexual assault with a weapon, unlawful confinement and robbery.
On Friday, Solberg broke his silence, phoning CBC News to say the public shouldn't be afraid of him. He said he's "a new man" and he has people in the community he can turn to for support.
According to documents obtained from the National Parole Board, Solberg had "an extremely serious history of sexual offending over many years." He's been sentenced to a total of 21 years for "offences involving sexual deviancy."
The May 13, 2004 report referred to Solberg's "lack of progress" in his sexual offender program. The parole board report also referred to Solberg's anger, absence of insight into his behaviour, self-centred thinking, and failure to take steps to reduce the risk of re-offending.
"Your compulsive and violent sexual behaviour has caused profound harm to your many victims," the report said.
Solberg confirmed he didn't complete his sexual offender treatment. However, he says he considers himself rehabilitated.
The parole board decided in 2004 to keep Solberg in detention, saying it believed that if he was released early, he was "likely to commit an offence causing serious harm to another person" within a matter of months.
"You represent a high risk of re-offending sexually," the 2004 report said.
The report also said Solberg's sentence would expire on Oct. 30, 2004.
Solberg is described by the police as Caucasian, 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 180 pounds.
Police said Solberg is under a court order until Oct. 8, 2006 that requires him to live at a residence approved by his parole officer, abstain from alcohol and drugs and stay away from any work that would put him in contact with females.
The police said it was releasing the information so members of the public could take suitable preventative measures. Police spokesperson Elizabeth Popowich said that means people should be aware Solberg is in the community and should be careful about walking alone at night and where they go.
Police also warned people against embarking on any kind of vigilantism.
A spokesperson for the John Howard Society said he was concerned the publicity would fuel public hysteria and make make Solberg's rehabilitation more difficult.
"This kind of publicity will harm or raise risk of this offender," said Mike Dunphy, the society's executive director. "Many of these offenders don't have a coping strategy that's positive and they react in a negative manner, which may raise or elevate their risk."
Dunphy says people like Solberg have to go somewhere once they've served their time.
He said he understands the police decision, but it's always a difficult balancing act.
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