By Kathleen Martens
Residential school survivors are being reassured that they’re safe now that a convicted murderer is back behind bars.
The notice comes from the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat (IRSAS).
The federal government agency posted the information about Ivon Johnny of British Columbia on its website Monday morning.
It says: “The Supreme Court of British Columbia has ordered that Ivon Johnny cannot participate in the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) in any way…Johnny is no longer on parole and is back in prison.”
The brief notice doesn’t explain why Johnny’s parole was revoked last month, but suggests the action was ordered after complaints surfaced about his involvement with compensation claims.
The compensation claims are for serious physical and sexual abuse inflicted on students forced to attend residential schools.
APTN National News first reported the story last Friday, based on information obtained through parole board documents.
An IAP spokesperson confirmed that the notice had been posted on the IAP website.
“(We) have issued a notice that is being distributed to community organizations and claimants in the affected area of British Columbia,” said the spokesperson.
The spokesman, however, did not identify the specific community or communities involved.
Parole board documents obtained by APTN Investigates say Johnny worked for an unnamed lawyer recruiting survivors as IAP claimants. They say he travelled in a truck purchased for him by the lawyer and helped survivors fill out IAP forms that he delivered to the lawyer’s office.
But once the settlement funds arrived, the documents say survivors complained that Johnny pressured them into handing over a cut of their compensation award.
In the parole board ruling that led to Johnny being returned to prison, it is alleged “you were involved in extorting substantial sums of money from successful IAP applicants, counselling former residential school students to file false claims to obtain greater financial compensation, and intimidating/threatening of First Nations members.”
Johnny says he was involved with 275 claims and denies any wrongdoing. He has not been charged with any new crime.
IRSAS told the parole board it had to act to protect survivors’ safety, noting it was concerned if Johnny was free he “will impair any further investigation and will place at serious risk several former claimants.”
“The court also ordered that any claimant who dealt with Mr. Johnny does not have to pay anything to him or to anyone who is trying to collect money for him,” the document states.
The parole documents say five of six chiefs representing affected communities are concerned about Johnny remaining free.
“The board also notes that many of your victims were described as allegedly being vulnerable and in some cases cognizant deficient,” says the document.
The parole board agreed to revoke his parole on Jan. 23.
Johnny was deemed a “moderate risk” to reoffend when he was released in 2005. He served 21 year for first-degree murder after fatally shooting a man outside a bar in Kamloops. He had spent some of his time working with youth in the communities, carving and making drums.