Scheduled address by convicted killer at teachers convention cancelled

CALGARY — The president of the Alberta Teachers' Association has apologized to the family of a British Columbia murder victim and cancelled a scheduled panel discussion with her killer at a convention.

Andrew Evans was found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2007 strangling of Nicole Parisien, who was a sex-trade worker at an illegal massage parlour in Vancouver.

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Evans, a former drug counsellor, was given a life sentence but was paroled and moved back to Calgary.

He has been working as a quality assurance co-ordinator with the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre and was to bring a message of "hope" during a discussion on addictions at the Calgary city teachers convention next week.

"I want to reiterate what we have said all along: Mr. Evans committed a violent and heinous act and we do not condone his actions in any way. We also continue to express sincere condolences to the family and friends of Nicole Parisien," association president Greg Jeffery said in an emailed statement Thursday.

"To the family of Nicole: We are sorry for the additional hurt this story has caused."

Concerns surfaced publicly this week about Evans's participation at the convention.

"The decision was made to continue with the session in hopes that by sharing the story, future tragedies could be prevented. That decision was wrong," said Jeffery.

"I am sorry for this mistake. We are committed to reviewing practices so this does not happen again. We will do better."

Parisen's body was found in bushes near her Vancouver apartment in August 2007. Evans turned himself in to police in Calgary the day after she was discovered and confessed. He told police he was high on drugs and alcohol and strangled her because he couldn't get an erection.

Jeffery said Alberta teachers are committed to fighting against sexual violence and want justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

He said the Alberta Teachers' Association will be making a $5,000 donation to the Stardale Women's Group, which offers services to Indigenous women as well as to women in poverty.

Requests for comment from Evans and Parisen's mother were not immediately answered.

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

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