Canada returning sex offender to U.S.

A Nevada sex offender with a history of escaping mental facilities is scheduled to return to the U.S. from Canada after a judge there, citing a technicality, threw out charges against him in the rape of a young girl 30 years ago.

Canadian authorities are making arrangements to return Wilbur James Ventling, 64, to the U.S., said his Canadian defense attorney Ray Dieno.

Ventling's DNA was found to match the suspect's in a 1979 rape of a 9-year-old girl in Vernon, British Columbia. He was arrested outside his August Drive home in Carson City in October 2007 and extradited to Canada in February 2008.

In 1978, Ventling escaped from a Colorado psychiatric hospital, where he was serving time for a Colorado sexual assault.

In 1979, he was arrested in

Canada under an assumed name on

suspicion of a series of child rapes. He was sent to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation, and escaped from there.

Ventling next turned up in Las Vegas in October 1979, when he was arrested and later convicted for kidnapping, lewdness with a minor under 14 years and attempted sexual assault. He was released from prison Sept. 1, 1997.

According to the U.S. Marshals Service, in 2003 Canadian police sent evidence from the 1979 rape investigation for analysis and found that the samples matched Ventling's DNA.

Dieno successfully argued in a British Columbia court last week that Ventling's rights were violated because Canadian police investigators waited 10 years after Ventling was released from Nevada prison to bring him to Canada to face the 1979 charge.

According to Dieno, since his release from Nevada prison in 1997, Ventling contacted Canadian authorities at least twice to determine if there were charges pending against him, and was told each time there were not.

"Ventling was released and entered society as a rehabilitated registered sex offender," Dieno said in an e-mail after the hearing Friday. "He participated in ... treatment programs and entered society whereupon he built a normal life with various careers, never violating his release conditions nor committing further (offenses)."

Reached at his office Monday, Dieno said: "He is not facing any further charges. He will return very soon. Immigration has a hold on him and they will be sorting out how to deliver him to the U.S."

Carson City marriage records indicate Ventling was married in December 1982 while he was incarcerated.

At the time of his arrest in Carson City in October 2007, Ventling's wife Pam told the Calgary Sun newspaper she had no idea of the Canadian rape allegations against her husband.

She could not be reached for comment. She still lives in Carson City.

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