Cornwall ON – Project Truth. Say those two words together and a lot of emotions come to the surface.
Over $50 million dollars was spent on the enquiry that in the end didn’t really find any truth. Depending on whom you speak with there wasn’t any truth to find or that all that money wasn’t really being spent about finding any “truths”.
Richard Dyde committed suicide on December 9. Most of us have never heard of that name. He was named in another “Project”.
Project Sanctuary is another project; this time going after those with Child Pornography on the net. He was one of 57 charged and on December 9th he took his life.
There is virtually no way for the public to scrutinize the conduct of police in this investigation or the validity of the charges. Publication bans intended to protect victims also prevent a meaningful grasp of the subtlety and nuance of these cases. When police say they’ve laid charges, media sensationalizes, names are named, much is assumed, reputations are forever stained and stigma is assigned. But when charges are dropped, or wrists gently slapped, it rarely makes the papers. A public, prone to hysteria when the victimization of young people is at issue, is called upon to invest blind trust in the criminal justice system. People are apt to assume the worst and are rarely given any reason to believe otherwise.
And that’s the reality. Even with all the advances in communicating on the net the old ways of having just a few sources of information have diminished. We all are inputted info from different sources and sometimes that info can be the exact opposite of the reality. Even in “Old Media” retractions are rarely on the same page and same size as the story that warranted them.
The story of Project Truth in Cornwall, Ontario, is eerily similar. It dragged on for 14 years with tales of orgiastic ritual victimization conducted by otherwise trusted citizens. It turned out to be complete fiction, but the damage was done, and the lives of many of the accused were forever destroyed.
Remember also the case of David Dewees. He threw himself under a Toronto subway train last year.
The biggest “Project” ever was the “Red Scare” of the Fifties where literally thousands of lives were damaged or ended by the brutally of a US government with an agenda as it hunted for Communists.
Nobody wants people to get away with crimes, but surely there have to be better ways for people to be brought to justice without having innocent people injured to the degree that some have?
We in the media have a role to play. Of course we have to report on certain issues, but maybe, just maybe we can do so in ways that don’t impact people’s lives the way it has to some? I know recently someone tried to have me arrested wrongly. Luckily for me I was at a public food court with an awful lot of witnesses at the time this person claimed I was doing what they charged.
If I had been in bed at home with no “Alibi” and charged my life would’ve changed. I would no longer be able to travel to the US. I would be judged harshly in the public eye and my business would probably have ended.
The Truth can be a funny thing. Interestingly it’s mostly confronted with hostility….
Jamie Gilcig- Editor – The Cornwall Free News
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