Tuesday

You either knew or should have known

In January 1999, an unidentified hockey player, who also played on the Swift Current Broncos under Graham James, filed a $650,000 lawsuit against 24 individuals and organizations who allegedly knew, or should have known, that James sexually assaulted some of his players, including him. Among the groups sued were the Western Hockey League and its parent group, the Canadian Hockey League, as well as the Swift Current Broncos and the Sasketchewan Amateur Hockey Association. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/17/99)

Did ya get that? 24 individuals and organizations who allegedly knew or should have known.

It's tough for me not to think about Graham James and his abuse of young hockey players entrusted to him with the Sandusky investigation that's going on. I googled James recently and found this in a Canadian newspaper.

Charges against former junior hockey coach and convicted sex offender Graham James have been remanded to Dec. 1. Last month, it was suggested dates would be set for the case to proceed but that hasn't happened. Instead, court has been told the defence and Crown are continuing their discussions. James has been out on bail for almost a year and living in Montreal after his arrest on new sex assault charges involving young hockey players he once coached as juniors, including former Calgary Flames forward Theo Fleury.
Fleury went on to become a star in the National Hockey League and wrote about the alleged abuse in his book. He then made a complaint to police, which prompted the second investigation after James had served almost two years in jail for assaulting other young hockey players, including former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy.


I was just a kid when I knew Graham James and I knew there was something bad about him. Of course, I was safe as his molestation preference was boys. In fact, I clearly remember the disdain he had for me, his attempts to keep the likes of me out of the picture, to be alone with and everything to his players.

If I knew there was something wrong as a young girl, surely the adults knew. So disappointing, so dangerous, the reverence and blind trust given to sports figures, at all costs, at any cost. The same thing happened in the Sandusky case(s). Why?

Accountability cannot be placed on the young victims. What are they supposed to do? Think about it. This comment made by Sheldon Kennedy was very striking to me.

"'You do not have a clue what to do," Kennedy said. "You tell your mom and she makes you come home. You tell your friends and they will just portray you as a gay guy. It is just a very scary thing.'" (Detroit News, 1/7/97)

It's true, you know. There will always be those around who are less vulnerable, those friends who would never quite understand. Those kids who can somehow just say no, or who aren't even approached. Maybe they have supportive, strong families who have provided a solid start, given them a sense of security, self-esteem. Maybe they just have this natural ability to be strong willed, or just come across as confident. In any case these kids will not be preyed upon, may not even be able to understand how their victimized peers can consider themselves victims.

Nobody held a gun to their head, right? Right, just brought one into the room.

Sheldon Kennedy says of the Sandusky investigation, “I don’t see this as a failure at all — I think if anything this is a success,” said the former NHLer who has dedicated his life to abuse prevention and education. We've got all these victims coming forward against one of the most powerful organizations in that state. To me, that’s what we want — we want people to disclose, step forward and make sure this sort of stuff isn’t institutionalized.”. http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Football/NCAA/2011/11/10/18948771.html

If you're a victim of this kind of abuse, I hope you can find a way to tell someone. It's not your fault.

If you are suspicious or aware that someone in power is abusing children, do something about it and stay on it until there has been a stop put to the abuse.

4 comments:

  1. "If I knew there was something wrong as a young girl, surely the adults knew."

    This comment really stuck with me, mostly because these people (the pedophiles) know how to interact to make adults feel at ease. They envoke trust from the adults and use it against the kids to get them to do what they want.

    This is why it is SO, SO, SO important for parents to talk to their kids about inappropriate touching and speaking up.

    I recently read a comment by a counselor or someone in law enforcement who said one mistake parents make is to force their kids to give hugs or kisses when they don't want to. It sends the wrong message to the kids. Parents shouldn't force their kids to give anyone hugs/kisses they don't want to, but more importantly they need to let the child know it's ok not to.
    Just my 2 cents for the day.
    Cherylp

    ReplyDelete
  2. Could not agree more Cheryl. Excellent advice on forcing kids to hug 'n kiss people. Never did that in my home.

    In talking to my son when he was little I gave him examples of the kinds of things someone might say to him to get him to be silent and that he was never to believe what someone else tells him about me, that he was safe in telling me anything.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post! The worst of these pedophile scandals is the institutional coverups, whether it is sports coach, scout leader, teacher or clergy. These positions of power only deserve respect if the person in them earns respect, and abusing kids should cancel that respect on the spot. Report them to police, fire them, incarcerate them, and make sure they are never in a position with access to kids again. No second chances and no coverups. Believe the victims and toss out the scum.

    ReplyDelete

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