U.S. fugitive arrested in Placentia

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Rosie Gillingham
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Man wanted in Alabama for alleged sexual assault of 11-year-old girl

An American fugitive wanted on charges of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl in Alabama was arrested Monday in Placentia, where he was living near an elementary school.

John Joseph Banville — a.k.a. Jack McCauley — appeared in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John’s Monday, a few hours after officers from the RCMP Placentia/Whitbourne detachment picked him up at a residence on Swan Street.

It’s believed the 65-year-old had been living in the small rural town since March.

After a short appearance in court, Banville was taken to Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s.

He’s due back in court in St. John’s Sept. 29, at which time extradition proceedings will be discussed.

Banville is wanted in Morgan County in Alabama on charges of sexual assault of a minor, sexual exploitation and failing to register as a sex offender in that state, all stemming from 2006.

A nation-wide warrant for Banville’s extradition to the United States had been issued.

Police say he was known to move around to avoid detection by local police forces.

It’s believed he’s been in Canada since 2007 and relocated at least five times. He reportedly lived in Ottawa for a short time before coming to Newfoundland.

The RCMP Federal Enforcement Section in St. John’s, along with the Placentia/Whitbourne district worked closely with the Canadian Department of Justice and the United States Marshal’s Service to track down Banville.

According to court documents, Banville, who moved from Texas to Alabama in 2004, allegedly sexually assaulted the young girl while babysitting her on Sept. 25, 2006.

Police said Banville took his clothes off, crawled into bed with the girl, fondled her and tried to get her to touch him.

The girl reported the incident to a neighbour, who contacted authorities.

When questioned by police, Banville admitted much of what the girl said he did.

During the investigation, police discovered Banville — a registered sex offender in Texas — had also failed to report as a sex offender when he moved to Alabama, which violated state law.

He was arrested in Alabama soon after the alleged sexual assault. However, he was released under strict bail conditions, including being placed on a $70,000 US bond.

In a statement obtained from court documents, RCMP Cpl. Greg Ford said, “After making it plain to relatives that he was not going back to jail, Banville absconded to Canada. It is apparent that Banville is willing to relocate and hid from authorities to avoid facing prosecution for the alleged conduct.

“I consider his risk of flight to be considerable.”

Ford said he had conducted surveillance on the house on 34 Swan St. on Sept. 16, at which time he saw Banville come out of the house and walk to a van parked in the driveway before going back into the house. A quick check revealed the van was registered in this province under Banville’s name.

Banville has a history of sexual offences.

In 1988, he pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a child in Texas.

James Martin, a prosecutor in Halifax, was in St. John’s to deal with the Banville case Monday. When contacted by The Telegram, he declined comment and, instead, deferred all inquiries to Justice Canada.

Justice Canada spokeswoman Carole Saindon, however, also opted not to comment while the matter is before the courts.

rgillingham@thetelegram.com

Organizations: RCMP, Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court, Department of Justice Justice Canada.Justice Canada

Geographic location: United States, Placentia, Canada Texas Morgan Ottawa Halifax

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