Whatever sentence sexual predator Graham James received today in a Winnipeg courtroom would never have been enough. It is a travesty, a tragedy and abrogation of justice or whatever ten-dollar words people would like to apply to.
But it is not at the heart of the matter. We need to get that it's not about his ilk, but about stopping the raping of children, the robbing of their adolescence, the retarding of their development into adulthood. There is a lesson from today's news that the former major junior hockey coach will serve just two years in prison — he got concurrent sentences from crimes against two victims — is that awareness equals change. If it won't come from the Canadian justice system, it will come from people being more vigilant about whom they entrust with their children. That is happening, it will happen. Change filters up in society; it's not handed down by a judge.
As Todd Holt, the former Western Hockey League star who was abused by James, put it in a live news conference in Cochrane, Alta., after the sentence. (You may read his joint statement with Theo Fleury here.)
Read More »from Graham James’ disturbingly light sentence for sex abuse is not the lesson
"The saddest part is there are more Graham James out there ... They [child abusers] need to take notice and be scared. There's no place for you to hide anymore, those dark corners where you cower. Theo [Fleury] and I call upon all Canadians, those who have suffered and those who stand with those suffering, to demand that our government to change the laws to empower justice so that it can do what it should be. We're calling out to our politicians to step up for the 1-in-3 girls and 1-in-5 boys who will be sexually offended before the age 18 in our country. We are standing up against the weak justice system and demanding change now.
"Theoren and I are calling out to you, the people Canada and the world, to take this issue to our politicians now and demand change ... My name is Todd Holt and I stand today with Theoren Fleury and all those who have suffered or are suffering, as a victor over sexual abuse and am asking for change."