A Calgary judge on Monday said it would send the wrong message to the public and former CFL all-star running back Jerome Messam refused to grant him a conditional discharge and spare him a criminal record.
Instead, Court of King’s Bench Justice April Grosse gave Messam a suspended sentence and 18 months’ probation for recording a sexual attempt with a woman at his Calgary home six years ago.
Messam pleaded guilty last December to voyeurism in connection with the Nov. 11, 2016, incident that occurred shortly before he and his Calgary Stampeders teammates played and lost in the Gray Cup game.
Messam was playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders when he was charged in 2018, and was subsequently permanently banned from the league.
Defense lawyer David Nguyen sought a dismissal, which, if Messam met certain conditions, would result in the Toronto native not having a criminal record.
Nguyen argued the massive media attention his client’s crime attracted, coupled with the professional consequences Messam suffered, had already punished him severely.
The lawyer also said a criminal record could have a serious effect on Messam in the future, as he now coaches and trains athletes, including youth.
Messam said he would also like to coach high school or college football, perhaps in the U.S., which can be significantly affected by a criminal record.
But Grosse said the need to send a strong message about Messam’s behavior is more important.
“Crimes of this nature must be significantly (denounced) and deterred,” Grosse said.
“I am satisfied that a conditional discharge is not appropriate in light of the nature and seriousness of the offence, the significant consequences inherent in it, and the extent of what was taken from (the victim) or the need for strong allegation and deterrence,” she said.