Kingston – Jackie Laronde is a prominent member of Kingston’s LGBTQ community — heading up Pride events. She was also an active participant in several demonstrations around Kingston… including this vigil for Orlando shooting victims last summer.
“People want to create fear, want to create animosity and problems and we have to show them that we’re not afraid of them.”
Now the 46-year-old is in custody facing charges connected to a historical sexual abuse case involving a child in London Ontario. Arrested in Kingston on Wednesday, she was taken to Toronto to face charges of sexual assault and sexual interference. Police allege the incident occurred before Laronde’s sexual transition — when she was known as Sean O’Toole…. his image already on file with Toronto police.
The investigation dates back 12 to 14 years ago — it’s alleged Laronde and her co-accused, a London photographer named Martin Galloway, arranged online with another couple to sexually abuse their own child. Police believe Laronde and her co-accused attended a London address and committed the sexual acts.
A serious allegation for many to comprehend.
Elaine Furoy/Sexual Assault Centre
“I really hope that people do not take this as an opportunity to kind of paint the members of the trans community in a negative light.”
Elaine Furoy is the executive director of the sexual assault centre in Kingston. She’s known Laronde for a number of years through her support of various community initiatives and was shocked to hear of the disturbing allegations.
“We don’t want the actions of one person to reflect poorly on those agencies who do really good work in the community so I think it’s important that people try to remember that. There’s no way anybody could’ve kinda known or screened for something like that in a persons history.”
Prior to her arrest Laronde was co-chair of Kingston Pride….and she also worked as the gender and diversity co-ordinator at the Canadian Mental Health Association…. which was closed today.
However, in an email statement to CKWS the Association’s executive director told us,
“The primary concern for CMHA Kingston is the safety and security of our clients and we are taking appropriate steps to meet their needs at this time.” Judi Burrill, Executive Director, CMHA KingstonMeantime two executives with Kingston Pride have stepped down.
Meantime two executives with Kingston Pride have stepped down.
The secretary-treasurer Steph Shangraw who also happens to be the spouse of Laronde stepped down due to health issues. The co-chair Daryl Fraser resigned earlier today.
On Pride’s Facebook page, Fraser wrote,
“It has been my pleasure to serve on the board but I feel I must step down now due to personal reasons.”
Fraser couldn’t be reached for comment.
As for the status of Kingston Pride — CKWS has learned that members of the organisation were considering a re-brand for many reasons… even before criminal allegations against one of their senior executives.