Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jerry Sandusky, The Legal Circus south of our Border and Restorative Justice Week in Canada and Peterborough

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Today’s Blog Post

Jerry Sandusky, The Legal Circus south of our Border and Restorative Justice Week in Canada and Peterborough

Together with a host of my friends we are watching closely what is happening in the USA with the charges that have been laid against Jerry Sandusky. It appears at this stage that Jerry has been charged, tried and convicted of horrendous sexual acts against children that he had contact with over the years in the Public Court being conducted by the Media.

Numbers are quoted like 20 kids here and another group over there. I am not accurate in even quoting that, but the inaccuracy on my part comes from all the Media reporting and me trying to interpret what I am reading from outside of the USA… and as an outsider that doesn’t really understand the many different legal systems in each state of the US.

One report that surfaced and perhaps is the one that caused it all to come down around Jerry’s ears is the violent rape of a 10 year old boy in the showers – witnessed by a fellow coach. That was reported by this coach to other coaches, when he stated that he walked in on the horrific scene.

The man that reported what he has witnessed those years ago states that he told his coaching staff above him but not the police. This man is Mike McQueary. This happened in 2002 from what was reported.

The first question in my mind that has not been asked is… “What didn’t you immediately run into that shower and pull off Jerry Sandusky off the innocent child? Why did you watch and not do something?”

It seems from the sketchy reports that we read that Mike was in too much shock and didn’t know what to do or who to speak with. Jerry was important but he wasn’t. Should you report what important men are doing an illegal ways… when your job is on the line… your degree is possibly threatened… and the “Holy Game” of Football could be marred?

We all know in Canada that Football is “Holy” in the USA – far more Holy and Revered than in Canada. And people that play and coach in this Holy Game are almost untouchables. Their status is God like in their culture.

To have a threat to the “Holy Game” be revealed at this time of the year has made me think – “Why now?” This is the Holy Game’s ultimate time of media and power. Even Canadians will hang on each Televised Game from the USA as they head into the major NFL season and all the College/University Games that come up in the new year.

Is there a reason that all this stuff comes out now? Who wants to be re-elected in their political system?

The horror that is being reported is not about the boys (or rather the young men now) – but about image and Universities firing people. Typically they are more interested in what people and dollar support might think – than what has happened to the kids.

Kids that were ignored, that were victimized, that hid from view, that went into major depressed stages of their lives were never cared for. After all they can’t be telling the truth! A football demi-god could never do this kind of thing!

A Catholic Priest might – but not a big named coach! NEVER!

But where are the parents of that 10 year child that Jerry had in the shower that day, when Mike watched and didn’t report it? Surely they saw that their son was acting very different that day he came home and then in the days to come???

So much about this story irks me… makes me so angry that I want to spit.

This story is so much about Media, about Football subculture, about funding, about protecting image, about elections of legal personages, about making big names for yourself in either the legal or football world. So much is just plain horrible to view… but very little is about the potential victim of the crime.

In Canada we are about to celebrate “Restorative Justice” again. Celebrate is not a good word used here. There is little to celebrate when it comes to the victim of the crime. “Community Awareness” is likely a better term.

I received an email yesterday from Ms Lori MacDonald that reads as follows…

“Beginning November 13, 2011, the Correctional Service of Canada will be observing Restorative Justice Week, and participating in a variety of activities in promotion of this important week. This year’s Restorative Justice theme is “Re-visioning Justice.”

Restorative justice is about establishing and maintaining safe and healthy communities. It is how people relate to each other and the necessity for accountability, recognition, inclusion and dialogue in a process of healing from harm. Its application is not limited to the criminal justice system and it can be applied to a multitude of situations and systems, and in a variety of methods to address the individual and unique needs of those impacted by crime and/or conflict.

“Re-visioning Justice” asks us to envision how restorative justice approaches can be used in important areas such as health care systems, educational systems and any other levels of government that can face challenges of “justice” by using a restorative justice lens in creative and innovative ways.
Many of our sites will be hosting Restorative Justice Week events and I encourage you to take the opportunity to learn from what they have to offer. These events will raise your level of awareness about restorative justice, and demonstrate creative and innovative methods of dealing with issues and challenges you face.”
End quote.

Ms Lori MacDonald is the Regional Deputy Commissioner for Correction Service Canada. She is also a person that I have come to respect. What she is asking us to do and consider is so important.

Reading this email over and thinking of the horrible circus of events that are taking place around Jerry Sandusky and Mike McQueary – the various Universities and the big money involved… we are so far removed from this kind of thing happening now.

In Canada we are working hard to do something positive.

In Peterborough, the Peterborough Community Chaplaincy and Chaplain Dan Haley(along with his community partners) are working hard to see us consider Restorative Justice in a new light.

On Wednesday, November23rd, they have invited Mark Yantzi to speak at their event at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 7 PM. Mark Yantzi is one of the founders in Canada of what we know as Restorative Justice.

Mark Yantzi holds a BA in sociology and MA.Sc in Human Relations and Counselling and is currently a professor at Queen’s University in their Restorative Justice Program.

Mr. Yantzi spearheaded the first official victim offender mediation case in Canada over 30 years ago. Since then he has been passionately working on restorative initiatives, gaining awards and recognition along the way. He has written three books on restorative justice and founded Community Justice Initiatives in Kitchener.

As much as I loth the reports coming from the Media almost daily, and how much I wonder about the young potential victims of these crimes, I am thankful at the same time for what we have here… and for groups like Peterborough Community Chaplaincy and Dan Haley… who are doing something to make a difference.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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