Thursday, August 24, 2006

Frost case promises to get ugly

It's been an ugly story already, but with former NHL agent David Frost now facing charges and with a court case on the way, it will only get more so.

Expect sordid details in drips and drabs, leaking out through the media in sensationalistic splashes that will only cast a darker cloud around 'Frosty' and all those who have played under his watch the past 10-plus years.

As it appears now, for all we'd suspected up until late last year, it essentially took an extensive expose by the CBC to uncover some of what was there, ask questions that needed better answers and prompt a public outcry for someone — anyone — to do something.

If any good was to come from Mike Danton's incarceration, that story and these charges, indirectly, are it.

Yesterday afternoon, Frost made one of what will eventually be many appearances at a Napanee, Ont., courthouse, where he was released on $10,000 bail. The former agent, looking plump and dishevelled, briefly proclaimed his innocence in front of a huge hord of media and onlookers.
“I hope you rot,” Jesse Wansborough yelled yesterday as Mr. Frost, wearing a blue T-shirt, khaki shorts and a set of handcuffs, was escorted by police to the courtroom.
The atmosphere was not, to say the least, a loving one.

The road to these charges being laid — 12 for sexual exploitation and one for assault — is a long one, and according to today’s article by The Globe and Mail’s William Houston, the investigation likely received a kick start from The Fifth Estate program that aired in November, 2005.
“I do believe the fact that our piece was as detailed as it was and was so obviously supported by the public did have an impact,” [Bob] McKeown [the CBC journalist behind the expose] said yesterday. “It was also heartening to see the police take on, if not a cold case exactly, certainly an old case and a very sensitive one.

“Convincing those young women to come forward and talk publicly in a court of law would not have been an easy thing. And, to do it properly, as they say they believe they have, that’s pretty reassuring for a cynical journalist.”
It's that work that led to yesterday, and a front page, full-length photo of a handcuffed Frost. The accompanying feature article details the length to which detectives went in order to bring charges against the former coach/agent, as Ontario Provincial Police travelled throughout Canada, the U.S. and Europe to interview Frost’s former players, asking questions that weren’t always easy to answer:
“My lawyer sent him packing three-quarters of the way through it,” said Ian Larocque, a former Hawk who was visited by the detectives in Texas, where he played professionally for the minor-league Austin Ice Bats until 2002. “[The detective] gets up and turns his tape off and says, ‘I’m out of here.’”
Given the number of charges laid, however, enough players said what police were searching for.

One who hasn’t talked, as far as we know, is Danton, who has spent more than two years now as inmate No. 10096-111 at a low-security prison in Fort Dix, N.J. There, he’s reportedly teaching English as a second language and working out in the jail's recreation centre.

Presumably, he was also talking to, and receiving guidance from, his old friend Mr. Frost.

Until yesterday.
Mr. Frost is scheduled to appear in court in Napanee on Sept. 19. While out on bail, he is required to meet with the lead OPP investigator once a week and is also forbidden from contacting a number of people.
Who that ‘number of people’ includes wasn’t something made public, but it’s surely a safe bet that, for the first time in a long time, Danton — and any others the former agent still corresponds with — won’t be hearing from Frosty any time soon.

And that can only be a good thing.

12 Comments:

At 7:07 AM, August 24, 2006, Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

Given the number of charges laid, however, enough players said what police were searching for.

It's cute that you believe this. I'm taking a wait and see approach - these events supposedly took place 10 years ago and no one could be bothered to tell the cops until there was a fifth estate story? Smells like reasonable doubt to me.

 
At 8:10 AM, August 24, 2006, Anonymous Lyle Richardson said...

I agree that we must not rush to judgement but controversy has swirled about Frost for years now. The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons has been following Frost's career for some time now and he was raising questions about Frost's treatment of young player since the late '90s.

Don't forget, it took years until Graham James was brought to justice for sexually abusing young players. Kids are scared to speak out against abusers, especially when they're supposedly respected adult whom they've put a lot of naive trust in them. Most of them don't get the courage to speak out until they reach adulthood, which is what occured with James, as well as the case of several Christian Brothers abusing young boys at the Mt. Cashel orphanage in St. John's throughout the 1970s and 80s.

As you noted, James, this will probably get ugly long before a verdict is reached.

 
At 12:35 PM, August 24, 2006, Blogger BlackCapricorn said...

If this has really been in the works for years and especially after the Danton thing- why the hell is this guy still around hockey???

 
At 1:20 PM, August 24, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

It's cute that you believe this. I'm taking a wait and see approach - these events supposedly took place 10 years ago and no one could be bothered to tell the cops until there was a fifth estate story? Smells like reasonable doubt to me.

All I'm saying here is that police found enough to lay charges — there's no assumption of guilt here, at all. Thanks for the cute comment.

 
At 1:49 PM, August 24, 2006, Anonymous grace said...

Cute? Reasonable doubt? It's "cute" how you obviously know very little about sexual assault.

If you've ever sat in a courtroom and listened to the testimony of someone who was sexually assaulted long after the event took place and listened to how it affected him, there would be no doubt in anyones mind what happened.

Must I also bring up the residual effects of residential schools on this country's First Nations population?

If he did this, may he rot in jail.

 
At 9:17 PM, August 24, 2006, Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

Must I also bring up the residual effects of residential schools on this country's First Nations population?

Boy, Frosty is getting blamed for everything here.

Cute? Reasonable doubt? It's "cute" how you obviously know very little about sexual assault.

I thought that it was cute that James thought that the number of charges laid was indicative of anything. It's easy to lay charges - there hasn't even been a preliminary inquiry yet. It's a lot harder to get convictions beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecuting it ten years or more after the fact is just going to make it more difficult.

 
At 10:51 PM, August 24, 2006, Blogger sager said...

mudcrutch79, with all due respect, do you realize how many sexual assaults are NEVER reported?

There are enough examples from the past couple decades to show that the amount of time that has passed in sexual assault cases almost no impact upon "reasonable doubt." In many cases it's not until people are adults that they can come to grips with what was done to them.

Just off the top of my head:

-- The current Project Truth inquiry in Cornwall (priests and children)

-- Mt. Cashel orphanage in Nfld.

-- In Kingston, there were separate sex-abuse scandals in the '90s involving a choirmaster and a high school teacher. In both cases the victims who came forward had it happen in the '70s, and in each instance the men were convicted.

 
At 11:01 PM, August 24, 2006, Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

There are enough examples from the past couple decades to show that the amount of time that has passed in sexual assault cases almost no impact upon "reasonable doubt."

You social conservatives just kill me Sager, what with your willingness to ignore the rights of the accused.;)

In terms of proving the case and getting a conviction and in terms of getting solid evidence, the passage of time is a relevant factor. I'm not saying that it's necessarily relevant as to the truth of the allegations, only that it makes things harder to prove. Memories are less fresh and it essentially eliminates the possibility of physical evidence. In fairness to the accused who is presumed innocent, it's harder for him to put together positive evidence of his innocence when the acts are alleged to have happened well in the past. I have a hard time remembering what I did last week sometimes, let alone ten years ago.

Your examples are all fine and well and speak to the fact that people may well be generally truthful about these allegations (as I believe they are). They shouldn't be allowed to speak to the truth of this particular set of allegations though, beyond the very general "Passage of time does not necessarily mean that the allegations are false".

I think that this guy is as much of a creep as the next guy, but he's as entitled to the protections of the criminal justice system as everyone else is. My whole comment to this was based on Mirtle's (presumably throw away) comment about enough players saying what the cops were searching for. It could have been one player, denied by others...who knows. You can't infer much from the decision to charge someone.

 
At 12:44 PM, August 26, 2006, Blogger sager said...

So we pretty much agree, it seems.

No one is saying the passage of time isn't relevant, but in and of itself, it won't hold up as reasonable doubt.

You are right to note that Frost is, like anyone else, innocent till proven guilty and deserving of his day in court. Unpopular and loathsome as he is, he still has his rights.

 
At 12:46 PM, August 26, 2006, Blogger sager said...

Just to clarify, I wasn't saying that those past instances speak to the truthfulness of those allegations against Frost.

It was just cited to show that A) it often does take victims a long time to come forward about past trauma and b) passage of time is not necessarily going to sink a prosecutor's case.

 
At 7:07 PM, August 30, 2006, Anonymous MikeP said...

mc79, my wife was sexually assaulted several times through her life, mostly greater than 10 years ago, and recalls each incident quite clearly. I think if you'd been attacked a week ago, you'd remember that.

I assume that was a throwaway comment, but as you called Mirtle out on his, I'm calling you out on yours. You've got the law training and I don't, so I'll take your word that it may cast reasonable doubt on it, but since all of us are lacking details beyond what has been published, I think it's foolish to comment either way anyway.

 
At 2:49 PM, September 05, 2006, Blogger Desdemona said...

According to the Associated Press, "David Frost has been charged with twelve counts of sexual exploitation and one count of assault, all related to alleged incidents from 1995 to 2001 involving four boys and three girls between the ages of 14 and 16."

 

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