A biological man who raped a three-month-old infant has been moved to the mother-and-baby unit of a Canadian women’s prison.
Adam Laboucan was the youngest person to be criminally convicted as a violent sex offender in Canada’s history. Laboucan, who was 17 at the time of the 1999 attack, currently identifies as a woman and uses the name Tara Desousa. Laboucan underwent sex-alteration surgery in 2018 while incarcerated.
The infant, who then-15-year-old Laboucan was babysitting, had to undergo reconstructive surgery as a result of his injuries.
During the trial, Laboucan reportedly confessed to drowning a three-year-old boy at the age of 11 after becoming angry. Canadian law does not permit children under the age of 12 to be criminally prosecuted and, therefore, Laboucan was never charged with the murder. Laboucan also has a history of abusing younger relatives.
Laboucan has been repeatedly turned down for parole because of his criminal history and “bizarre sexual behaviour” while behind bars.
“Mutilation of your penis has also occurred, with you claiming [you] want to be female,” noted a parole board in 2010. The board said Laboucan lacks self-control both sexually and emotionally.
“In the 12 years he has been in prison, Desousa has been caught prostituting himself to other prisoners, using drugs and threatening to kill a female guard,” reported the CBC at the time. “He was also found with a homemade knife and was stabbed by another inmate.”
Laboucan’s gender identity was noted at every parole board hearing. Laboucan has had multiple sexual partners while incarcerated and married a male inmate in 2008.
The Correctional Service of Canada changed its gender identity policy in 2017. It required male prisoners who identify as transgender women to be moved to women’s prison even if they have not undergone any surgical alterations.
According to TNC, Laboucan has lived in the Fraser Valley Institution for Women mother-and-baby unit for several years. Newborns and children up to age seven can live with their mothers in the unit.
Heather Mason, an advocate for incarcerated women with the organization Strength In SISterhood, discussed Laboucan’s presence in the facility in a 2021 brief submitted to Canada’s Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. Mason wrote that “the issue of transgender transfers from male prisons to women’s prisons became particularly significant and severe in recent years” with increasingly frequent reports of “assault and harassment.”
“That women have reported such an extreme increase in the abuses they have suffered by transferred transgender individuals suggests that the issue of transfers to women’s prisons is not an issue of transgender rights and is instead an issue around the entitlement criteria for transgender transfer to women’s prisons,” Mason wrote.
Mason also stated that “several women have reported that while imprisoned, they were the subject of sexual harassment by a transgender individual.”
“One of these women reported that while in the mother-child program, two transgender individuals with convictions for pedophilia, Madilyn Harks and Tara Desousa, would loiter near her and her child, making sexist and inappropriate antagonizing comments,” wrote Mason.
A psychiatric report from August of 2019 found that Laboucan “posed a relatively high risk of future violence.”
“In that report, the psychologists deemed release on day or full parole would be premature, but was supportive of Desousa participating in escorted temporary absences in order to attend group or trauma counseling,” per the Vancouver Island Free Daily.
Lawyers for Laboucan, who is of Indigenous heritage, have argued that their client had suffered from intergenerational trauma, spent time in foster homes, been sexually abused and consumed drugs and alcohol at a young age.