Sentencing rules for pedophiles are inappropriate

JailBy Greg Holden

The two-year penitentiary sentence handed to former teacher Jim Lekavy in a Chatham courtroom on Thursday, has enraged people across Chatham-Kent from young to old. Lekavy was handed the sentence after he pleaded guilty to 13 counts of sexual assault.

If Lekavy had committed his crimes 100 miles south of where he did then he would be looking at a sentence beyond his life span. In Canada, with good behaviour in prison, Lekavy will be eligible for release in September 2015 after serving 2/3 of his sentence.

The outcry on social media ranged from recommended sentences of two years per victim to resignation of living in a rape culture. In the court of public opinion Lekavy fared much worse than in a court of law. The sad truth is, Lekavy’s sentence is to be expected, it is about the norm for people convicted of the crimes he committed. Gordon Stuckless in Toronto also sexually assaulted young boys over a nearly 20 year period, the same as Lekavy. One of his 24 victims, Martin Kruze, committed suicide only a couple of days after Stuckless was sentenced to two years, the same as Lekavy.

Stuckless was sentenced 17 years ago and in that time nothing has changed. Who is to blame for that? Ultimately reader, it is you and me. It is alluring to write a social media rant about it, or an editorial rant, but until that message reaches those whose future depends on our support then it means nothing.

The courts will not listen to the public directly. They take their orders from parliament. Minimum sentences for pedophiles will only happen through new legislation. Politicians are dedicated to one thing only, getting your vote. It is incumbant on the voter to take justice system concerns to those who can enact change. Social media complaints represent time better spent by writing our local politicians with a promise to vote based on sentences for pedophiles that reflect the values in our community.

Until we look at ourselves in the mirror to ask what changes we personally sought and fought for, then it should be of no surprise today that Lekavy will spend just over one month in prison for each conviction. Ultimately the blame lies with the community for not demanding change. If no-one pushes for change again this time, then try to not act so surprised the next time someone sexually assaults children for nearly 20 years and gets a slap on the wrist.

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