Owolabi Adejojo, a Nigerian man who somehow managed to illegally enter Canada despite having recently been charged with assault in the United States, will be spending at least the next four years of his life in prison.
Adejojo was sentenced to 52 months in prison this March for committing sexual assault in a psychiatric ward in Montreal, one that officials say they are unsure how he ended up in.
The assaults took in in February of last year, only one month after entering Canada. Adejojo also filed a refugee claim.
Only months prior, Adejojo was accused of assaulting two men in Baltimore, this time with a beer bottle.
“Highly unusual and somewhat unsettling”
Quebec court Judge Dennis Galiatsatos sentenced Adejojo, calling his behaviour “despicable.”
Galiatsatos also says that the lack of information known about Adejojo was “highly unusual and somewhat unsettling,” as it’s not clear how Adejojo entered the country or was able to be admitted to the psych ward.
“The court is left completely in the dark about who he is and what his personal circumstances are.”
The victim was unable to consent
Adejojo assaulted a 57-year-old woman who was admitted to the ward by court order.
“Imagine the irony of going to a hospital for help—desperately needed help—only to be harmed instead,” said Galiatsatos.
“Now compound that irony exponentially. Imagine being forced to remain at the hospital against your will, by court order no less, on the basis that it is in your best interest. Only to get violated in the most opportunistic fashion, falling prey to a man who capitalized on your weakness and vulnerability.”
“It is, to borrow an expression, ‘the stuff of nightmares.”
Adejojo committed his crimes three times over the course of two days, assaulting her in the cafeteria. The victim was unable to consent, and was largely passive while they occurred. She did ask Adejojo to stop during the first assault.
Adejojo was then discharged from the ward, but the staff allowed him to stay for lunch due to extremely cold weathers.
If it weren’t for one doctor on staff, one could only imagine how many more times Adejojo would have been able to commit such crimes.
“Due to her mental illness and her significantly distorted cognitive abilities, [the victim] was unable to realize that she could decline to participate. Her state of vulnerability was manifest,” Galiatsatos said.
“The accused’s crime ranks sky-high on the repugnance scale. His predatory behaviour was as despicable as possible.”
Not much is known about him
Judge Galiatsatos told CBC that the information known about Adejojo is limited. He was born in Nigeria, and has a wife and three children in the United States, living there with no status for three years before leaving them to seek asylum in Canada.
He has no job, family, or ties to Montreal.
Although Adejojo has no official criminal record in the U.S. He was arrested and charged with assault in October of 2017 for attacking two men he’d been staying with in Baltimore with a broken beer bottle.
The charges were suspended, meaning that they were set aside for a year but prosecutors have the option to reopen them if desired.
Slipping through the cracks
Background checks are typically necessary for any and all asylum seekers. Bill Blair, the federal Border Security Minister, was asked about the case Tuesday.
“Every individual who comes into this country, regardless of how they crossed the border, they’re subject to a very rigorous background check, and that means police, the RCMP and CBSA check all available data,” Blair said.
“We’ll have to ask them what was checked in these circumstances and whether or not that data was available. If it was, it should’ve been known to them.”
According to Radio-Canada, Adejojo continues to be a problem for officials, even while in custody. According to Galiatsatos, Adejojo was also charged and convicted of assaulting a correctional officer at a detention centre.
Adejojo also throws a milk carton at another officer. He then threatened to find her family and kill them.
Adejojo will reportedly be released from prison in just over two and a half years, with the decision noting that he will “almost certainly” be deported once released.
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