Violent rapist denied parole for fifth time

James Armbruster is serving a 20-year sentence for raping an Abbotsford woman in 1998

Mountain Institution in Agassiz

A man convicted of the violent rape of an Abbotsford woman has been denied parole for the fifth time since 2011, with the parole board saying he is likely to cause “serious harm” to another person if released early.

The decision was made late last month in the case of James Ernest Armbruster, 50, who has been in prison since 1998, serving a 20-year sentence.

His mandatory release date is March 11, 2018.

Armbruster had been released from Mountain Institution in Agassiz in January 1998 after serving seven years for nine armed robberies, with a condition that he reside at a halfway house in Abbotsford for three months.

Five days later, he was armed with a knife when he walked into a vitamin store on Bevan Avenue and raped the sales clerk while threatening to kill her.

At the time of his sentencing, Armbruster had 63 prior convictions for crimes such as theft, break and enter, and the sexual assault of his 83-year-old grandmother.

The victim, who has publicly identified herself as Beulah (she doesn’t want her last name used), sued Correctional Service Canada (CSC) in 2001 for failing to protect her from the violent offender, and a $215,000 settlement was reached.

Armbruster first applied for parole in March 2011, but was denied due to his high risk to reoffend violently and his refusal to participate in programs, according to parole board documents.

He was again denied parole in January 2012, January 2013 and December 2013, when the board concluded there was “not sufficient new information to indicate (Armbruster) had mitigated (his) risk to any sufficient degree.”

Documents following his recent review indicate that Armbruster has completed a sex offender program, in which he “acknowledged the harm” he caused the victim, but he is still considered a high risk to re-offend.

He has not discussed the specifics of his case or his release plans with his case management team and has refused to participate in a psychological assessment since 2009, the documents add.

“Your case management team believes there are still grounds to believe you are likely to commit an offence causing death or serious harm if released at this time.”

Last year, Beulah expressed concerns that Armbruster, who is originally from Manitoba, was being transferred from the maximum-security Kingston Institution in Ontario to the medium-security Mountain Institution in Agassiz.

She said she was worried about him being released into the Fraser Valley at the end of his sentence and she was shocked the CSC would transfer him to this area.