Denise Harvey, 45, molested a 16-year-old Florida boy.
Denise Harvey is from Indian River County, the same community that is also home to notorious sex offender Kaitlyn Hunt. Some people may think exiling criminal perverts to Canada would be adequate punishment, but Florida officials want her extradited:
Vero Beach fugitive Denise Harvey is claiming refugee status in Canada, saying the 30-year sentence she received for having sex with a 16-year-old amounts to “cruel and unusual punishment.”
An hour-long private “detention review” was held Monday in Saskatoon, the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, for Harvey, 45. She was released from Royal Canadian Mounted Police custody late Monday afternoon on a $5,000 bond, Harvey’s lawyer Chris Veeman said.
“I think she’s relieved to be out of jail,” said Veeman, a Saskatoon immigration law specialist.
Harvey plans to remain with husband, Charles, at their home in Pike Lake, about 18 miles south of Saskatoon, where they have lived since fleeing Florida nearly a year ago, Veeman said.
Harvey was convicted in 2008 on multiple counts of felony unlawful sex activity with certain minors. The charges stem from sexual encounters with her son’s then-16-year-old baseball teammate and friend. . . .
Details of the case aside, Veeman said a 30-year sentence is grounds for a refugee claim. It’s not a “classic” claim under the United Nations convention that usually pertains to political prisoners from Third World dictatorships. He acknowledged a refugee claim from an American might seem unusual, but it is valid nonetheless.
“Thirty years is too high. It’s way out of whack. I think there is merit to her (refugee) claim,” Veeman said.
The refugee claim could take months — or longer — to resolve. Harvey has 28 days to file her reasons for the claim and a multi-step process will follow.
The refugee claim is one of several intriguing legal possibilities the case raises. Harvey was arrested last week on the request of U.S. Marshals and Florida justice officials, who want her extradited to serve her time. But Canada does not extradite people unless the incident is a crime in both countries, according to the Department of Justice website — a principle known as “double criminality.”
Having sexual relations with a 16-year-old is not against the law in Canada, unless there is a power dynamic such as teacher-student.