04:56 GMT20 January 2021
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    Karla Homolka, a Canadian woman who was convicted of the serial murder of three teenage girls in the early 1990s, has resurfaced -- as a volunteer at her children’s elementary school.

    ​Homolka was convicted of manslaughter when she was found to have been complicit in the rape and murder of three girls: Leslie Mahaffy, Kristen French, and her own younger sister Tammy Homolka. Homolka told investigators that she was an unwilling accomplice to the crimes, and that she had been threatened by her accomplice Paul Bernardo, who had forced her to help him rape and murder his victims.

    In a controversial decision, the court offered Homolka a plea and a much lighter sentence than Bernardo, who received life in prison. Homolka spent twelve years in prison and was released in 2005. 

    Homolka retreated from the public eye after her release, but has been seen volunteering at Greaves Adventist Academy in Montreal. Homolka's three children reportedly attend the school.

    Many expressed concern or outrage that Homolka, a convicted murderer and rapist, be allowed near young children. "How would you feel knowing that your child is interacting with a person who is a serial killer?" one parent told CityNews. "It's not right."

    The Academy claimed that Homolka was not a regular volunteer, but she had chaperoned a school field trip. They added that she was never allowed to be alone with the children.

    "The school has been here for a long time and we have never been involved in anything contrary to the proper norms of the students," school superintendent Marc Bouzy said in a May 17 statement. "There is no reason for anyone to be concerned about the way we do things right now for the benefit of the students in our community."

    Tim Danson, a lawyer representing the Mahaffy and French families, told the Canadian Press that they considered Homolka's freedom and quiet life with her husband and children a "kick in the gut."

    "These are joys the French and Mahaffy families will never enjoy because of Karla Homolka's participation with Paul Bernardo to murder their children," Danson said.

    "I think she's dangerous and I certainly wouldn't take the chance with my kids to be around her," he added.

    But others have come to Homolka's defense, most notably Tom Mulcair, the leader of the far-left New Democratic Party in the House of Commons. "If you're ensuring the safety of the kids, beyond our revulsion at the horror of the crime, is there any room for atonement and forgiveness?" Mulcair asked Wednesday, adding that Homolka had "paid her debt" to society.

    Homolka has seemingly not enjoyed her sudden re-entry into the spotlight. She refused to speak to reporters who swarmed around her when she recently went to pick her children up from school. 

    Former FBI profiler Gregg McCrary told USA Today in 2015 that while Bernardo was a serial rapist before he met Homolka, his crimes became more intense and violent after they became attracted to one another.

    "He was a serial rapist before, but she was sort of good with that," McCrary said. "When he asked her, 'What would you think if I was a rapist?' she said, 'Well, I think that would be cool.' Not the response you would expect to get, necessarily."


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    school, Arrest, rape, serial killer, Tom Muclair, Paul Bernardo, Karla Homolka, Quebec, Montreal, Canada
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