April 3, 2003 Updated Feb. 6, 2004
It's said that the Royal Canadian Mounties always get their man -- but in this case justice was delayed for seven years, and the doctor might never have answered for his crimes if it hadn't been for one very determined young woman who knew that her doctor had drugged her, raped her, and somehow had managed to falsify his DNA to escape prosecution.
by Lona Manning
For an instant, Candice Foley didn't know where she was when she woke up that morning. She wasn't in her own bed. Or on a friend's sofa. She was in a hospital bed. And while she was familiar with how it felt to wake up with a hangover, this was also different – she felt spaced out, a little woozy. Had she been in a car accident or something?
What was the last thing she remembered? She closed her eyes tightly and tried to recall all the events of the previous night. She'd been at her job at the gas station, and was in a bad mood, because it was Halloween night and she was stuck behind a counter. Her boyfriend had come by. Something he said caused her to flare up, one thing led to another, and soon Candice had lost her temper completely. She was so angry that she had grabbed her purse and jacket, jumped into her car and screeched away. At the time she had felt she could have killed her boyfriend, but their fight seemed so distant and unimportant now.
Then, not really knowing what she was doing, she drove to the medical center where she knew her girlfriend was working. A nurse there saw the hysterical young woman and paged her family doctor. Candice agreed to wait and see him. She liked Dr. Schneeberger. She really liked him, in fact – he had delivered her baby daughter, and he was so intelligent. He was in his 30s and not bad-looking. And he was originally from South Africa, which in a small town like Kipling made him quite exotic. The nurse led Candice to Dr. Schneeberger's combination office and examining room.
By the time Dr. Schneeberger arrived, Candice was sobbing and still very agitated, face flushed, chest heaving. They talked for a few minutes, then Schneeberger proposed, "Well, maybe I'll give you something to calm you down." He left the room and a moment later, returned with a syringe, closing the door behind him.
Candice eyed the syringe dubiously. "Oh, it's a needle?" Schneeberger murmured a few words of reassurance, then swiftly pushed up her sleeve, swabbed alcohol on her arm, and injected her.
Almost instantly, Candice felt the medication -- whatever it was -- take effect. She felt herself start to go limp, start to go numb. She felt herself start to slump sideways in the chair, but her doctor grabbed hold of her firmly, pulled her up and half led, half carried her to the examining table.
She couldn't speak. She couldn't move. "My eyes were wide open," she later told the Canadians newsmagazine program W5. "They were like, stuck wide open. I couldn't even shut them. It was like I was paralyzed." Like in a dream, her limbs felt rubbery and heavy as lead. She tried to move, but couldn't. She tried to cry out, but couldn't speak. Helpless to resist, through her numbness she felt Dr. Schneeberger unsnap the button on her jeans and pull them down. She felt him pull her panties to one side and enter her.
Her doctor had raped her.
A few minutes later, he pulled her jeans back up and left the room.
As the events of the night before came back to her, Dr. Schneeberger suddenly was at her bedside, looking down at her through his black framed glasses, reaching for her arm to take her pulse.
"What – what was that drug you gave me last night?" Candice demanded.
"Why?" he asked, and smiled gently. "Did it give you wild dreams?"
Oh, God, she had to get out of there. Now. It hadn't been a nightmare, it was true. Her own doctor had drugged her, raped her, and was now lying to her face.
She was still too woozy to confront him then and there, so Candice got herself home. Thinking back to all the crime shows she'd seen, she put the panties she'd worn to the hospital into a plastic bag.
But wait. What would happen when she went to the police to file a charge against the doctor? Kipling was a very small town and Dr. Schneeberger was one of its leading citizens. She expected to have a tough time convincing the police as it was; hell, she could hardly believe it herself. Candice decided to drive to the nearest city, Regina, and report the crime there.
Realizing that her body might also contain evidence of the rape, she decided to have herself examined. She couldn't possibly go back to the medical center where she'd been raped, so she went to a Regina hospital. Candice knew enough about courtroom science to know that if any of the doctor's sperm was on her panties or left in her body, then she had all the proof she needed that he had raped her.
Candice knew that just like fingerprints, every person's DNA is unique to that person (with the exception of identical twins). In fact, 99.9 of human DNA is identical from human to human, and individual variation accounts for only 0.01 percent. But that 0.01 percent has become vitally important in crime detection. If the ejaculate on Candice's panties could be compared to a DNA sample from Schneeberger, then, Candice figured, it would be case closed. No matter what he said, he couldn't explain away his DNA on her clothes. His own body fluids would testify against him.
Almost every day brings a sensational new headline announcing that a criminal has been exonerated after a lengthy prison term, or that DNA has helped to bring a felon to justice. Deoxyribonucleic acid is a complex molecule that contains the genetic code for every living creature. Our DNA is our genetic inheritance from our parents, which combines to form our own unique blueprint. DNA is found in the nucleus of every living cell.
DNA evidence was first used in the United States in 1987 to obtain a conviction in a rape case in Orange County, Fla. It has revolutionized the justice system in a few short years. To date, over 100 people have had their convictions overturned as a result of DNA evidence that wasn't available to them at the time of their trials, with hundreds more prisoners petitioning for DNA tests. DNA captured the public imagination in the O.J. Simpson trial, which also demonstrated that the jury's confidence in the DNA profile was only as good as their confidence in the law enforcement officials who handled the evidence.
The doctors at the Regina hospital examined Candice and contacted the Regina police on her behalf. Soon the news of her accusation traveled back to Kipling and to Dr. Schneeberger.
Lisa Schneeberger was a lucky woman, and she knew it. She was happily married to one of the most respected men in town. It seemed almost every time she went downtown, someone told her how kind her husband was, what an excellent doctor he was.
They'd built their own spacious dream home with his-and-her home offices, and lots of room for Lisa's daughter from her first marriage and the children they were planning to have together. Her husband also turned his energies toward fundraising for community projects, like the new swimming pool. At home, he definitely wore the pants in the family, but that was what had drawn her to him when they first met. He was so self-confident.
Her reaction, therefore, when her husband came home and told her that one of his patients had accused him of rape, was understandable. Who was this girl, to say such things about her husband? Was she crazy, was she obsessed with him, or was she trying to make a quick buck by dragging her husband's name through the mud? Lisa's faith in her husband never wavered; her contempt for Candice was palpable.
Unlike Dr. Schneeberger, Candice Foley could not be called one of Kipling's leading citizens. At 23, she looked even younger and was given to emotional outbursts. She was an unwed mother. The petite brunette had a reputation as a party girl. In the court of public opinion, as conducted in the coffee shops and sidewalks and backyard fences of Kipling, there was no contest: popular Dr. Schneeberger had the support of his patients and the community as he went through the indignity of giving a blood sample to defend himself against this ridiculous charge.
Candice lived with a noticeable chill towards her, waiting impatiently for the DNA results to come through. She knew that she would be vindicated. But she wasn't happy that the Regina Royal Canadian Mounted Police had turned the investigation of the case back over to the local detachment in Kipling. She was worried that the local police weren't necessarily objective when it came to building a case against Dr. Schneeberger. In a town of 1,000 people, everybody knew everybody, but whom could she trust?
After several months of waiting, Candice got a call from Constable Russ Bevans, who told her that the doctor's DNA had been compared to the sample she provided, and there was no match. Candice had obviously had intercourse with someone on Halloween night, but it couldn't have been Dr. Schneeberger. The tests cleared him completely.
Candice was stunned. And furious. She suspected that there was some kind of a conspiracy, and the police were protecting the doctor. She knew the truth – she knew that Dr. Schneeberger, who'd been walking around free for months, going about his life, had raped her and gotten away with it. She knew that friends and supporters would come up and slap him on the back, and urge him to "hang in there," then maybe they'd lean in a little closer and whisper something only the doctor could hear, something about her, and then they'd laugh and roll their eyes. The rage boiled inside her. She knew she was right. She knew she was telling the truth. At least her parents stood by her, even if some of her so-called friends had turned away. They didn't want to hear about it anymore. But Candice was not going to give up. And so, she demanded that Schneeberger provide another sample and that another test be done.
Lisa Schneeberger and her husband were amazed to hear that Candice Foley and her accusations were not going away. There was nothing Lisa would have liked so much as to tell this girl, to her face, what she thought of her. But it was best to maintain a dignified silence, and for her husband to submit another blood sample.
The second test came back negative as well – no match. Candice argued and pleaded with the Kipling police not to close their investigation of the case, but after Dr. Schneeberger passed two DNA tests, there was nothing else they could do. They closed the file in 1994, and as far as the Schneebergers were concerned, that was the end of it. Candice moved away from Kipling, to the city of Red Deer, in the neighboring province of Alberta, away from the whispers, the frowns and the gossip. But she didn't forget and she didn't give up.
Larry O'Brien, a 25-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, hadn't spent much of his career wearing the famous red serge jacket and wide brimmed hat. He'd done a lot of undercover and intelligence work in southern Ontario, going after the Mafia. But as he neared retirement, he accepted an offer from a lawyer to go into private investigation work. Eight years later, the law firm representing Candice in her efforts to get justice contacted him and asked him to meet its client. O'Brien agreed to the meeting, bringing one of his assistants along. "She was at a dead end," O'Brien recalled on television's W5 newsmagazine program. "She told us that we were probably her last resort. If we couldn't accomplish things for her, she didn't know which way to turn."
O'Brien liked Candice's straightforward manner, and her careful recall of details. "Without a doubt, I was convinced that she had been sexually assaulted, and most likely by Dr. Schneeberger." The only problem was how to prove it.
"Knowing the circumstances, how could it be that he had fooled the police?" O'Brien wondered. Was Dr. Schneeberger tampering with the DNA tests, and if so how? "I thought he was actually switching blood in test tubes. There was talk about a refrigerator with test tubes and it was taking place in the hospital. I think that was the only logical conclusion at that time. [But] the only way we were going to get to the bottom of this was with DNA evidence." This meant O'Brien had to get close enough to Schneeberger to somehow get a sample of his blood, hair, or saliva. He soon brainstormed a way to do just that. His assistant talked his way into Dr. Schneeberger's office with a story about a radio station contest and got his target to fill out an entry form and lick the envelope.
Unfortunately, O'Brien explains, "somehow or other the envelope became contaminated. It was an envelope randomly selected out of a brand new box. It should not have been contaminated." But as he had learned about DNA testing, "a flake as miniscule as possible from your skin could fall onto it and contaminate the item [being tested]." (Recently, for example, an audit of the police lab in Houston, Tex., revealed that leaks in the roof could allow rain to come in and contaminate the samples. Because of this and other problems with the testing procedures at the lab, the DNA tests will be re-done. The re-testing will affect as many as 525 convictions in Houston, including seven death-row cases.)
In O'Brien's next effort to obtain a sample of Schneeberger's genetic material, he broke into the doctor's car and plucked a hair from the headrest on the driver's seat. This effort failed as well, when the laboratory told them the hair sample was unusable because the hair lacked the living root bulb at the base of the strand.
The hair that we style, curl, color and fuss over with shampoo and conditioners isn't alive. The hair shaft is a dead protein strand that lacks the living nucleus that contains nuclear DNA. More recently, hair strands have been used to extract mitochondrial DNA. If the nucleus of a cell can be compared to the yolk of an egg, then the white of the egg is the body. Floating in the body of every human cell are tiny particles called mitochondria, which provide a power source for the cell and which contain a different type of DNA – the mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA, is not unique to each person, rather it traces his or her female line of inheritance. That is, a person's mtDNA is inherited from his or her mother, who inherited it from her mother, and so forth.
DNA identification has been made using mtDNA, most famously to identify the bones of the murdered Romanov czar, Nicholas, and his family, but wasn't used in a trial setting until 1996. Mitochondrial DNA testing came too late to help Candice.
As Candice absorbed this latest setback, the Kipling gossip mill kept churning. O'Brien checked out rumors that Dr. Schneeberger had rented a house to one of the local policemen – could this prove a conspiracy between the doctor and the police, born out of friendship? But the rumor turned out to be false.
Meanwhile, the friendly neighborhood spies were working on behalf of the Schneebergers as well. Lisa Schneeberger's cleaning lady knew Candice's parents and learned that the family had hired O'Brien. She relayed this information to Lisa. The feud escalated as Candice's parents received a letter telling them that they were not longer welcome as patients at the Kipling Medical Center. This meant that the entire medical community of the little town had turned its back on Candice and her family, along with a good many of the other residents.
Refusing to give up, O'Brien broke into Dr. Schneeberger's car again and spotted a tube of Chapstick in the car's ashtray. "I opened [it] there and I could see that it had been used lately. The edge on it was no longer sharp. We had some window-type envelopes with us, and I smeared Chapstick on the inside of the windowpane envelope. We sent it off for analysis." The laboratory in Regina analyzed the minute trace of saliva or skin cells left on the surface of the Chapstick. The sample was enough to compare with the semen left on Candice's panties. "About two weeks later, I heard from the law office that it had analyzed positive."
And Candice's reaction? "She was at a dead end," O'Brien recalled on television's W5 newsmagazine program. "She told us that we were probably her last resort. If we couldn't accomplish things for her, she didn't know which way to turn." At last, after four years, she had succeeded against the odds. Or had she?
Now it was the Schneebergers' turn to dispute the results of the DNA tests. Dr. Schneeberger agreed to provide a third blood sample, right in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police forensic lab in Regina, while being videotaped, with witnesses watching. That ought to settle the question once and for all.
At first, the technician sought to obtain a small blood sample, which is all she would need, by pricking the doctor's finger. He refused, claiming that he had a rare disease that would cause his skin tissue to spasm and die if he were pricked in the finger. He rolled his sleeve up and offered his arm, instead.
The video, made on Nov. 20, 1996, shows the technician swabbing his arm while he held it steady with his other arm. She went to push the needle into the vein, but the needle wouldn't go in. Perplexed, she tried another needle and after some difficulty, drew a small sample of blood, which she noticed looked odd. It was thick and brownish and looked like old blood.
The Mountie watching the proceedings grew a little suspicious and asked her, "Yeah, that was a little strange, that one, eh?" Stranger still, the blood was submitted for analysis and the lab was unable to extract the DNA. "Poor quality sample," they explained.
Now Candice was certain that something was going on at the lab. "Oh, I was angry," she later explained to the news program W5. "I was writing letters to prosecutors, phoning them, yelling and screaming, swearing: 'What the hell is going on? Are you guys stupid? This was your last chance probably to get a sample from him. How can you not get enough blood? How can you not pull enough blood out of somebody's arm?'
"I mean, we have lots of blood rushing through our system. How can you not get enough blood out of somebody's body? Give me a break."
On an April afternoon in 1997, Lisa Schneeberger's 15-year-old daughter Lydia asked her if she could go and see her father, her mother's first husband, for the weekend. Lisa was surprised because the family had already made its plans for the weekend, and she knew her daughter had a babysitting job. Her daughter looked pale and upset, and as Lisa gently questioned her, the girl dissolved into tears.
"Mom, I have something I have to tell you," she said hesitatingly.
"Well, what is it? What do you want to say?"
"Come with me. I want to show you something." Lydia led her mother back to her bedroom, flipped back the covers on her bed, and pointed to a condom wrapper.
"Mom, he's done this before."
Lydia scanned her mother's face anxiously. She knew that her mother was deeply in love with her stepfather. But her mother didn't hesitate. In that moment, Lisa knew with horror and conviction, that "he" meant her husband, Lydia's stepfather. "It was," Lisa said later, ''the day my life changed forever.''
Lisa comforted Lydia as best she could, helped her pack an overnight bag, and sent her to her boyfriend's home. She knew that her husband was driving home from an out-of-town medical conference. She had the presence of mind to tell him to pull off to the side of the highway when she reached him on his cell phone.
"Lydia's told me what you've been doing to her. I know. You've done it to Candice too, didn't you?"
"I'll be home soon," her husband responded. "Of course this isn't true. I'll explain everything."
The adrenalin coursed through Lisa's veins as she gathered up her two youngest daughters, the children she'd had with Schneeberger, trying to smother her emotions as she herded them into the family mini-van. She pulled out of the driveway and parked up the street, staking out her own house as she waited for her husband to come home.
The girls were asleep by the time her husband's car pulled up. Lisa and the girls returned to the house. Few words were exchanged; Schneeberger was slurring his words and appeared – to Lisa – to have taken drugs of some sort. He went to sleep on the sofa and she spent a sleepless night, still coming to terms with the fact that her marriage, her life, her daughter's innocence, had turned to ashes. "What part of it was real?" she later wondered, "Was any of it real?"
As the sun lifted over the prairie horizon, Lisa woke her husband up, and told him to get out.
The next day, she searched through his home office, which was right next to Lydia's bedroom. High on a shelf, she found a box containing gloves, syringes, vials of medicine, and condoms. Lisa looked at the syringes and she felt sick. Her husband used to treat the children for ordinary ailments with injections instead of with a pill or a liquid. She had questioned whether this was necessary, but had acquiesced with he told her that injections were an accurate and quick way of delivering medicine. He was the doctor, after all, and the man of the house.
But there was the time that her daughter had awakened one morning, crying and acting groggy, and complaining that her stepfather had given her an injection in the middle of the night. When her husband came home that day, Lisa remembered asking him: did you give Lydia a needle last night? Yes, he explained. She was coughing. Didn't you hear her coughing? She hadn't, but dismissed the incident.
Now, she realized with horror, her husband had been drugging and raping her daughter a few feet away from her. Candice, a woman Lisa Schneeberger had despised, had been right all along. And if she had only listened to Candice and believed her when she first made her accusation, maybe her daughter would never have been assaulted.
She phoned the RCMP and reported her husband for rape.
The news went through Candice like an electric shock. She had been waiting so long for Dr. Schneeberger to be caught, but not like this. "I'll never forget the day I found out it happened to [Lydia]," Candice told the Calgary Herald. "I bawled and I screamed and I freaked out. It happened to someone else and I was fighting all along
John Schneeberger had to provide another blood sample, and this time the police weren't listening to his claim that he could only provide blood from his arm. They pricked his finger. They swabbed the inside of his cheek for skin cells. They took a hair sample. His DNA – his own DNA – matched the Chapstick sample that O'Brien had taken from his car and the semen stain from Candice's panties.
The DNA-doctor had finally been caught.
In September 1999, Schneeberger faced his accusers in a court of law. He was charged with aggravated sexual assault on his stepdaughter and one count of sexual assault on Candice, two charges of administering a noxious substance to commit an indictable offence, and one count of obstruction of justice.
The "noxious substance" was the anesthetic Versed. When Schneeberger told Candice on Halloween night seven years ago that he was giving her something to calm her down, he was in fact injecting her with a powerful anesthetic that created amnesia. Medically, Versed is used for patients who are undergoing painful and unpleasant procedures like colonoscopy. Most patients will have no memory of the period of time while the drug is in their system. Lydia may have been semi-conscious and aware of what was happening to her when her stepfather made his nocturnal visits to her room, but lost all memory in the morning. She had a memory of being given the injection, but once the powerful drug entered her bloodstream, she was completely helpless. This amnesiac effect does not work as powerfully for everyone, which is perhaps why Candice recalled the rape, which her doctor tried to pass off as a dream. The manufacturers of Versed warn that a rare side effect of the medication brings about respiratory arrest, and persons being administered Versed should have their breathing monitored. This was not a service that the doctor provided to his victims.
When Schneeberger took the stand, Lisa saw the full extent of the twisted deceit her husband was capable of. In the months before the trial he had begged for her to stand by him. He had wept copious tears and even tried to bribe her with presents. He could not admit to her, or perhaps even to himself, what he had done. In court, he continued to proclaim his complete innocence. Even with the DNA evidence against him, Schneeberger continued to deny that he had raped Candice or his stepdaughter. He believed that he could explain away the condom wrapper in his stepdaughter's bedclothes, the sperm on Candice's panties. But how could he explain the DNA tests?
He told the court that he had been framed: someone, either Candice or an accomplice, had stolen some of his ejaculate, probably by breaking into his house, and used it to accuse him of rape. Because DNA evidence is so powerfully convincing to a jury, Schneeberger explained, he knew that he was effectively trapped. "The only way I could distance myself from the complaint. . .was to provide a false blood sample," he testified.
He had done this, he admitted, by stealing blood samples from one of his male patients. Then he operated on himself, inserting a slender, six-inch long plastic tube filled with the pilfered blood in his arm at the crook of his elbow. Lisa Schneeberger recalled a day when he'd come into the house from the garage with his arm wrapped in a towel. "It was his left arm. And he had said that he had been lifting up some glass to move and the glass had slipped and cut his arm. And I believed his story."
When Schneeberger gave his blood samples for the investigation, he always offered his left arm, only rolling up his sleeve just enough to expose the inside of his elbow.
But, as he explained to the judge, he faked the DNA tests not to cover up his crime but because he had no choice: An unscrupulous woman was framing him.
Lisa Schneeberger, as she listened to her husband's testimony, wondered if it was possible that her husband could talk his way out of trouble, as he had before. Would the judge fall for his lies the way that she once had?
The prosecuting attorney described Schneeberger as a cold-blooded predator who took what he wanted without regard. When Candice had come to the hospital looking for medical care on that Halloween night, "…he injected her with a potentially dangerous drug, raped her, and left her alone in a darkened room." As for Candice, so far she had gained nothing and lost a lot because of her pursuit of justice from the doctor, so "[w]hat did it get her? She was socially ostracized. She was forced to leave her community, the community she was born in. She was the subject of malicious rumors."
Judge Ellen Gunn found Schneeberger guilty, explaining that the DNA doctor was an "inventive, fanciful and imaginative" witness. "However, an adjective that does not apply is credible."
As Schneeberger was led away in handcuffs to await a sentencing date, Candice told reporters, "I just want to say this is a glorious day that I've waited for seven years. And that's all." Supporters of Lisa, Lydia and Candice laughed, clapped and called, "Bye, John" as Schneeberger was driven away.
Following his conviction, the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons stripped Schneeberger of his medical license.
The sentence when it came was lenient, even by Canadian standards. Judge Gunn found Schneeberger guilty of assaulting Candice, but because Lydia couldn't remember the assaults due to the anesthetic, Gunn dismissed that charge. She found Schneeberger guilty of injecting Lydia with the anesthetic, but his total sentence amounted to just six years, meaning he could possibly be out on parole in two.
And so began the next phase of Schneeberger's story – his demands for visitation rights with his two daughters from his marriage to Lisa. Lisa was aghast at the idea that she could be forced to take the two little girls, aged 5 and 6, to a medium- security prison so that a convicted rapist could visit with them. She figured the courts would see it the same way. But they didn't. Even before his final sentence, Lisa had been handed a court order to take the girls to see their father in jail and she had paid a $2,000 fine for refusing to do so. She had appealed the decision to a higher court, and lost again in 2001. The judge told her that she must take the children to the prison or face the consequences.
By that time Lisa's plight had drawn a lot of sympathy and attention, including from an opposition party politician who vowed to draft a new federal law guaranteeing that no child would be forced to visit a parent convicted of a serious crime. "What [it will do] is provide clear direction to judges that Canadians do not accept forcing children to visit pedophiles, to visit sex-offending parents in prison against their will," Bob Mills explained to reporters. But in the meantime, Lisa's battle to protect her children from trauma came down to a showdown at the prison gates. On the appointed day, a crowd of around 100 protestors showed up to support Lisa. As they approached the interview room where their father waited, the little girls began to cry hysterically, clutching at their mother's legs. The court-appointed social worker relented and let Lisa take her daughters back home. Lisa had used up all her savings and couldn't afford to fight the matter anymore, when Schneeberger finally broke the stalemate by agreeing not to insist on future visits.
In June of 2001, Schneeberger's case came up for parole. Perhaps sensing that he would be denied parole, Schneeberger chose not to appear before the parole board, and let his case be decided on the basis of his court and prison files. Candice was disappointed because she had geared herself up to go before the parole board and tell her story again. "That's just so unfair," she told the Calgary Herald. "This is so typical. He just gets his way all the frickin' time." Parole, however, was denied.
Meanwhile Lisa decided to fight back on other fronts. First, she divorced him. Then she went to work to get him deported. She knew her husband, an immigrant from South Africa, had received his Canadian citizenship after the rape on Candice. If he hadn't deceived everyone with the stolen blood sample, he would have been exposed as a criminal and denied citizenship. On that basis, she argued to the Immigration authorities, his citizenship should be revoked and he be forced to leave Canada.
Bob Mills, the politician who championed her cause, has drafted "Lisa's law," a law that would ensure that children are protected from being forced to have a relationship with a parent convicted of a serious crime. Mills is currently working with the Justice Committee of the Canadian parliament, and lobbying all five political parties in the legislature, to endorse his bill.
In 2002, Schneeberger was in the news again when he was transferred to a minimum-security prison in British Columbia, a province on the west coast of Canada, hundreds of miles away from the scene of his crimes. Ferndale Prison, dubbed "Club Fed," because it houses federal prisoners, features a nine-hole golf course for inmates. Mills pointed out that when he had proposed that Schneeberger be taken out of the frightening atmosphere of Bowden prison for the visits with his daughters, prison officials told him that the doctor was too much of a security risk. "I was told by the attorney general that the reason the kids had to go to the prison... was because this man was too dangerous to be brought out to [a] hotel... [s]o how can he now live in Club Fed and golf and fish and not have any fences?"
"I can't even read the paper or watch the news anymore without getting angry," Candice told reporter Deborah Tetley. "Every time I see his face it just reminds me of the fact that so many people never believed me." She still feels unwelcome in Kipling, where many people still support Schneeberger and believe that Candice framed him somehow. She says that a Hollywood producer has taken an interest in her story and is looking for funding.
Lisa, no longer named Schneeberger, has made a new life for herself and her children but dreads the day when her ex-husband is let out of prison: She told the Canadian newsmagazine program W5 that her ex-husband "has no remorse for what he's done. He was a doctor when he was at the office, and he was husband and father when he came home -- and then he was a monster when he wanted to be."
John Schneeberger was denied parole on April 17th, 2003. His ex-wife testified at the lengthy parole hearing. Schneeberger admitted to "crimes and deceits," calling the scar on his arm from where he inserted the tube of someone else's blood "a badge of dishonor," and apologized for his "denial." The parole board expressed concern about letting Schneeberger into the community. One member of the board judged that the DNA doc was "shallow and self-serving."
Schneeberger will return for his next parole hearing in November, by which time he will have met the statutory requirement that he serve two-thirds of his six-year prison term.
In August of 2003, a Canadian federal court agreed that John Schneeberger had lied to obtain his Canadian citizenship. Schneeberger became a Canadian citizen during the time he concealed his crimes by substituting another person's blood for his own. Schneeberger could face deportation as a result.
Immigration officials filed a claim in March alleging Schneeberger lied to a Canadian citizenship judge in 1993 when he denied having been the subject of a criminal investigation. In a written ruling, Judge Eleanor Dawson concluded Schneeberger obtained his Canadian citizenship by concealing information or making false representations.
Bob Mills, a member of Parliament from the opposition Alliance party, continues to lobby for "Lisa's law." Canadian Immigration authorities began legal proceedings to revoke Schneeberger's citizenship last October but have declined to discuss the progress of the case with Mills or the media. Schneeberger's lawyer also declined comment. Production of I Accuse, a feature film based on Candice Foley's ordeal in bringing Schneeberger to justice, is currently underway.
Schneeberger was reportedly stripped of his Canadian citizenship in December of 2003 and could be deported. Candice Foley's ordeal became a made-for-television movie, "I Accuse," which first aired in November, 2003.
More about DNA:
- Candice's last name has been changed.
- The name of Lisa Schneeberger's daughter has been changed.
- Some of the quotes used in this article originally appeared in Canadian television and newspaper accounts of this case, notably the CTV newsmagazine program W5 and articles written by Deborah Tetley for the Calgary Herald.