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Former John Howard Society worker in N.L. accused of demanding sex for urine test

May 5, 2023
The Canadian Press

A former employee of a national non-profit organization for incarcerated men has been accused of demanding a sexual favour in exchange for a clean urine test.

Newfoundland and Labrador provincial court documents show Rodney Harris was charged March 31 with one count of extortion for allegedly threatening to fail a man’s required urine test if he didn’t provide him with “sexual gratification.”

The incident is alleged to have occurred on June 14, 2021, and the alleged victim’s identity is protected by a publication ban.

Harris was an employee with the provincial branch of the John Howard Society at the time, Crown prosecutor Renee Coates said in an email. A government report listed a Rod Harris as the contact for Howard House, a 16-bed facility run by the organization for men on parole, probation or statutory release.


When asked about the case, the province’s John Howard Society said that it was aware of the charge and that “an employee” left the organization in the summer of 2021.

“While we cannot comment on the details, we can say that any breach of the (John Howard Society) policies or code of conduct by any person is taken very seriously,” executive director Cindy Murphy said in an email. “We became aware of such a breach and acted upon it immediately.”

Jonathan Noonan, the accused’s lawyer, said in an email that his client is “presumed innocent, and allegations are based on witnesses whose reliability and credibility have not yet been established in court.”

The court documents show Harris is due back in court on May 31.

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