Editorial: On guilt and innocence

Two men charged with sexual assault had difference outcomes

How much do we really ever know about anyone? Sooke residents have been rocked by allegations of sexual misconduct/assault by two people well-known in the community. In one case it was a Catholic priest and in the other a unassuming hermit living alone in the woods.

Both of these men had charges brought against them, one had the courts decide guilt or innocence, the other was being judged in the court of public opinion.

What needs to be understood is that charges of sexual assault are never easily laid and are rarely retaliatory. For kids to come forward and tell “what happened” is traumatic for them and everyone involved.  Young children rarely misunderstand what is happening to them. Sometimes it is just a “feeling” that something isn’t quite right. We all use our intuition as protection. Sexual predators are master manipulators and they choose their victims very carefully.

Bonsai Bob is now neither innocent or guilty. He himself took away the possibility of proving his innocence and left a big question mark among his friends. They rallied around him, refusing to believe what he had been accused of. Was he misunderstood? Probably. Was he frightened of being incarcerated? Probably. All there is now is probabilities, the possibilities are gone.

But the police and prosecutors would never put out a request for assistance if they didn’t think there were other victims — kids. They would have no reason to persecute an innocent man but they do have reason to protect innocent children. One side of the story will never be told. But we do have to believe the children.

It’s a sad ending to a sad tale.