Click here for the Magazine. Updated May 24, 2013
Last year a Pierrefonds man was arrested on charged of possession, distribution and production of child pornography. He entered a plea of guilty. When police seized his computer they found over 5,000 images meticulously filed and categorized based on age and type of abuse.
Many of the revolting images involved sadistic abuse of young children in bondage. The kicker, in this case, was that the man’s wife ran a daycare from her home.
After one paltry year in prison the courts are reconvening to determine whether or not the man should spend any more time in prison. His defence attorney, playing the world’s smallest violin, claims that since he has lost his family, home and reputation there is really no reason for him to spend any more time behind bars.
Wait, I think I just got whiplash.
This man produced child pornography, shared it on-line for other vile predators and we are supposed to join the pedophile pity party? I’m not sure if I find the man or the system more repellent. Light sentences doled out to perpetrators of crimes against children, particularly those of a sexual nature do not seem to match the gravity of the act. The mandatory minimum sentence for crimes against children of a sexual nature is 14-45 days while the average time spent behind bars is three years.
Three years hardly seems a fit punishment for the immeasurable damage caused to these young lives, particularly when rates of re-offending are examined.
In the three years following their release, one third of all sexual offenders released into society will re-offend. Pedophiles are among those most likely to re-offend and given that 88 percent of sexual offences go unreported I think we can safely assume that the actual number is quite high.
Bill C-10 was tabled to introduce stricter measures and harsher prison sentences under the Safe Streets and Communities Act. The Canadian Criminal Justice Association however, does not support increasing the minimum mandatory sentence because they claim that time spent behind bars does not seem to act as a deterrent for re-offending. Well, that may be true but at least while they are interred they cannot re-offend. According to Statistics Canada, sexual offences against children are on the rise. While I don’t have any steadfast answers I think that longer prison sentences coupled with better tracking and monitoring may make up part of it. Surely the lives and innocence of children is something that needs to be granted greater worth by our justice system.
Late last year the Tory government introduced tougher measures against “white-collar” crime in the wake of the Earl Jones scandal. Perpetrators of fraud over $1 million are subject to a minimum two-year prison sentencing. Not to take anything away from the victims of these schemes, many of whom were left penniless, but I make the point to illustrate the value of a dollar in our society versus the protection of children.
Growing up on a small island off the coast of B.C., the only danger-alert I was ever given was for cougars swimming between the islands maiming the occasional bystander. Stories of boogeymen were fabricated by evil cousins to delight in my fear, but the concept of stranger danger was never broached.
Strangers, however, are not necessarily your biggest concern. With 60-70 percent of sexual abuse perpetrated by an acquaintance of the child, educating your child on what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate behaviour is key. This should be enforced within the context of whether the person is known or not.
Discuss the risks of the Internet, the importance of not sharing personal information on-line and monitor as much as possible. Until our justice system determines a method of drastically reducing crimes against children, parental vigilance is the best line of defence.
Ana Tajuelo is an entrepreneur, mom and highly opinionated individual. She can be reached at email@example.com
Prominent lawyer Roy L. Heenan will be honoured by Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW) Montreal, in collaboration with Galerie de Bellefeuille, at their upcoming art auction on Wednesday, October 10 (6:30 p.m.) at Espace Reunion (6600 Hutchison).
Featuring over 40 artists in a variety of mediums, the cocktail dinatoire preview and sale evening promises a selection of highly sought after art through both silent and live auctions. This year’s auction will feature some internationally renowned artists such as Jim Dine, Dale Chihuly and Hunt Slonem. Other Canadian favorites include previous honourees Yehouda Chaki and Norman Laliberté, plus the works of Paul Béliveau, Joshua Jensen-Nagle, Jacques Payette, Darlene Cole and Ingrid Harrison to name a few. The auction will be led by professional auctioneer Neil Horowitz. Event co-chairs are Sarah Hutman and Lianne Routtenberg. Tickets are $100 each. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org or via www.chw.ca/montreal
HANDICAPPED TO BENEFIT: Registration is underway for the annual Running Room race that takes place November 4 at Oka National Park. This event to benefit the West Island Association for the Intellectually Handicapped. WIAIH raised almost $19,000 last year at the third annual event, a best-ever result for the event. In 2011, more than 1,800 enthusiastic citizens ran the course, and over 100 volunteers gave their time to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience with the opportunity to learn more about WIAIH's mission: to provide support, services and leadership to people with intellectual disabilities and autism and their families. The West Island is home to the largest percentage of families facing these challenges in Quebec. The funds are generated through registration fees, donations, and sponsorships. Info: www.events.runningroom.com/site/?raceId=7911.
ELDERCARE HONOURS: The Jewish Eldercare Centre in Côte des Neiges recently honoured 12 residents who celebrated 1,219 years of accumulated birthdays in 2012. Each of these 12 residents reached the centennial milestone, with three residents who were celebrating their 100th birthday, four their 101st while two are in their 102nd year. One resident turned 103 and two fêted 104 birthdays!
STE. SOPHIE-NEW GLASGOW: As part of the 100th anniversary celebrations the Jewish community of Ste Sophie / New Glasgow, an extensive web page has been created at www.jewishfarmers.ca and a Facebook site atwww.facebook.com/jewishfarmers.These sites provide a background to this region, upcoming events, and new developments related to this project. A monthly electronic newsletter is also available free of charge by sending your request to Howard Gontovnick at email@example.com. Anyone who has lived in Ste Sophie or New Glasgow or spent time at one of several summer hotels like Kottenbergs, Pines, Goodz and others can send their memories to Howard.
COURSES FOR SENIORS: E.N.C.O.R.E., a non-profit organization for seniors, is offering a dynamic collection of non credit courses. Their fall program includes courses in Montreal theatre, history, travel, art, music appreciation, computer gadgets and gizmos, drawing, painting, film documentaries, 20th century cinema, bridge, yoga and tai-chi. For complete information and registration, log on to encoreseniors.com.
If you have something to talk about on the Community Scene, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for the Magazine. Updated May 24, 2013
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