There are so many moments in hockey that make me yell "Come on! What were you thinking?" but I think today all hockey fans can join together in disgust.
What am I talking about? No, it's not Mark Giordano's iffy hit on Ryan O'Rielly and no, is it any of my past UTP posts. I'm talking about the decision announced today in Todd Holt and Theo Fleury's trial against Graham James.
I'm sure none of you have been living under a rock today and have at some point heard the news that James only recieved two years of lock up for his crimes. Unsurprisingly, the public out cry on Fleury and Holt's behalf has been overwhelming. Everyone seems to have a comment about this, unfortunately, historic decision and it seems unanimous that the justice system has failed.
After checking in with Up The Pucks' friend Jen Conway, she had some things to say about this in what it means for future victims of similar crimes:
It means a couple of things. It means there will be advocates for better sentencing, there will be those who won't come forward because they don't trust the system (which is really bad for an underreported crime), and those who do press charges are likely to feel victimised by the courts as well which means they're less likely to press charges in some cases, thinking it's not worth the disruption and painful memories. It also means that how people understand the crime has not fundamentally changed. People like to think it's an aberration; it's not. That particular behaviours mean you gave permission for it to continue, etc. And for some reason, people want to believe that people can change on their own. They won't. Ever.
She also has comments on trusting people with children:
We also, for some reason, tend to trust people who are in positions of leadership. So a lot of people hand their kids over to coaches, not realising it could be dangerous.
Miss what Fleury has to say about the decision? Check it out here.
A glimmer of hope for future victims? There's no statue of limitations in Canada for a crime like this. Meaning victims can come foward years later, when they are no longer a child. The down side? Every moment they don't say something is a moment their abuser is free to find a new victim. The cycle is tricky, nearly impossible to break. But with some brave people coming forward, not just to tell their story, but to support those who do, progress can be made. Justice can be served. It is disappointing that it couldn't happen for Theo and his cousin.