P.E.I. family says more needs to be done after East Coast Forensic Hospital patient exposes himself on day pass

A Prince Edward Island woman says no one has been held accountable after a man exposed himself to her two daughters.

CTV News is not identifying the woman to protect her daughters’ identities. The family was at a Charlottetown store, doing some shopping.

“I went in to use the washroom and my oldest daughter was sitting down, and she happened just to glance over and she seen a man expose himself,” she says.

As they were waiting for their mom, eventually both girls say they noticed a man masturbating, while smiling at them.

“When I was coming out of the washroom, I said ‘okay girls, let’s go’ and I kept walking, and then the girls started to panic and grab the back of my shirt, because I was walking ahead of them, and told me what they had seen. I said ‘What!’”

They left the store, and saw the man going into another store. The woman called the Charlottetown Police.

“My youngest, she’s 15. We went into different rooms and I was standing behind the glass where I could hear and see her and he was asking about what happened,” she says. “She said, ‘Well, I don’t think I should be walking around in public anymore with shorts on.’”

Police say the man was Mark Jason Murray, a patient at the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth. He hadn’t returned from a day pass a few days before. He also has a history of this type of offence.

Murray, along with other patients at the hospital, has been found not criminally responsible by the courts. He’s not the only patient who hasn’t returned from a day pass.

The most high profile case was that of Andre Denny, who, while out on a pass five years ago, killed gay rights’ activist Raymond Taavel.

After Taavel’s murder, the hospital conducted an extensive review of its policies and practices. It put stricter measures in place. But even since Andre Denny, there have been several other missing patients.

Vladimir Trubman didn’t return from a day pass for over a month in late 2013 and made it to the Canadian border.

Maxim Baril-Blouin was absent without leave for four days in January of 2014.

In January of 2015, Mark Baltzer left the hospital without permission and was unaccounted for, for 24 hours.

And Mark James Murray didn’t come back from his day pass on June 6, and was arrested June 10, in Charlottetown, P.E.I., after allegedly masturbating in front of two girls.

“I feel really horrible. I can’t believe, especially with me being there…I was only gone for two minutes and it’s something that they’ll never forget,” she says.

Staff at the East Coast Forensic Hospital say the vast majority of their patients return from day passes on time and when expected.

The Hospital’s clinical director says there have been major improvements since Denny. In order to leave the hospital unescorted, four different groups of experts must sign off on a day pass, even if it’s for as little as three hours.

“We look at how stable their mental state has been, how their behaviour’s been in hospital, have they been taking their medication regularly,” says Dr. Aileen Brunet.

She says the patient’s mental state is checked by a nurse before they leave. They also must hand over an itinerary and are monitored while in the community.

“There’s obviously limits to how much we can know about where they’re going, but everybody usually goes out and has a cellphone that they’re required to keep on and answer if we call,” she says.

“And we have a new position that was created a few years ago called the community monitor. Someone who’s role includes going out and checking on where people are during their pass.”

Those patients who do not come back in the allotted time are immediately considered ‘absent without leave’ or ‘AWOL.’

Number of AWOLS:

2013: 42

2014: 40

2015: 43

2016: 47

However, Dr. Brunet says the majority of those cases were patients who were late only by a couple of minutes.

The number of AWOLS who were still missing four hours after they were supposed to come back:

2013: 10

2014: 3

2015: 7

2016: 4

“Ultimately, we’re dealing with humans. Not everything can be predicted,” she says. “We do want to try and balance their rights to liberty and the needs to reintegrate into the community and get better with the risk piece. It’s a constant balancing act.”

Dr. Brunet says she is sorry for the experience the P.E.I. family had. She says clinically, doctors felt it was appropriate for Mark Jason Murray to be granted a day pass.

She also says they’re constantly reviewing and evaluating their policies.

But the family has a message for the hospital:

“Don’t even take the chance of them messing up, and ruining other people’s lives,” she says.

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