There has to be a better way

So last week, a 23-year-old man named Stephen Anthony Charlie pleaded guilty to procuring a 15-year-old girl for the purpose of prostitution

There has to be a better way

So last week, a 23-year-old man named Stephen Anthony Charlie pleaded guilty to procuring a 15-year-old girl for the purpose of prostitution.  He chose his target well. The girl was a high-risk, vulnerable teen who had already discovered how low some men can go when they have a chance to dominate and terrorize a weaker person.

By all accounts, Charlie offered the girl an opportunity to escape one abusive relationship (the man she was staying with was charged with repeated assaults against her; she was addicted to drugs and alcohol, had no money, job or any parental support) and enter into another.

According to the provincial court records, Charlie wooed the girl and then made her turn tricks via the Internet to support his lifestyle. The story is as old as time and it never gets any better with the retelling. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those morality tales that suddenly gets rewritten with a happy ending. There is no mention of counselling, rehabilitation or mentoring to turn either of these lives around. One goes to jail and the other continues down a path that will in all likelyhood lead to an early grave.

The judge in this case decided three years behind bars was a just sentence for Charlie’s crimes. Although he was sentenced to three years for procuring, three years for aiding and two years for extortion, the last two crimes were freebies as the sentences are to be carried out concurrently.

Pity that instead of the Tories’ ridiculously draconian plan to get tougher on crime, we can’t use the charges that are already on the books to rehabilitate our inmates. If three years is a fair sentence for the crime, fine. Send Charlie to jail for three years and let him experience what lack of freedom is all about. When that three years is up, there is still five years on his sentence. For the second three years, send him to a half-way facility that specializes in addiction, counselling and reintegration. Educate and teach him a needed and employable skill. Through weekly meetings with such groups as PEERS and the Men’s Trauma Centre, show him that women aren’t whores and how his actions affect another human being.

With two years left, depending on how he has adapted and changed, reintegrate him into society. Don’t dump him at the gates of the prison with bus fare, but offer employment and residency and let him walk those first steps back to freedom. As for the girl, patch over those cracks she has fallen into and offer her the same support, education and counselling that society should never deny one of its broken children.

We have failed her. And with our various levels of government spending too much damn money on the wrong things, such as the HST debacle, we will undoubtedly fail even more. We need to stop looking for ways to build more prisons and instead seek solutions that work. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Artist Daniel Cline discusses his sculpture, Harmony Humpbacks, during the June 20 walking tour of Oak Bay’s 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures. Harmony Humpbacks was purchased by Oak Bay as the 2019 people’s choice winner and is permanently installed at the Beach Drive entrance to Willows Park. (Kevin Murdoch Photo)
Influx of donated art a ‘fantastic problem to have,’ says Oak Bay mayor

Oak Bay goes from zero to 10 permanent art pieces since 2015

Tomo Vranjes, a Greater Victoria musician and longtime fan of late rock guitar icon Eddie Van Halen, joins artist Paul Archer behind the latter’s Fort Street gallery. Archer, whose airbrushed paintings of rock greats have made him many connections in recent years, painted a likeness of Van Halen following the guitarist’s death last month from cancer. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Victoria artist’s king-sized tribute to Eddie Van Halen draws on personal connection

Paul Archer had an up close and personal day with the legendary guitarist in 1980

The Vancouver Island Symphony’s Back Row Brass Quintet – including trumpeter Mark D’Angelo, tuba player Nick Atkinson and French horn player Karen Hough (from left) – were scheduled to tour the Nanaimo area with Christmas Under the Big Tent, but the concert series has now been cancelled. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Symphony brass quintet’s Christmas concert series cancelled

Performances were to happen at venues in Parksville and Lantzville next month

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse, near Shirley. (Contributed - Lee-Ann Ruttan)
New book shines a light on Sheringham Point Lighthouse

Publication examines history, lightkeepers, and volunteer society

Victoria-based guitarist Eric Harper performs at the Port Theatre on Nov. 27. (Photo credit Tatum Duryba)
Classical guitarist to play at the Port Theatre

Eric Harper to play new songs composed during the pandemic

A sample of some of Lou-ann Neel’s jewelry.
Lou-ann Neel wins the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art

Originally from Alert Bay, Neel’s family is steeped in renowned Kwakwaka’wakw artists

I-Hos Gallery manager Ramona Johnson shows some of the paddles available at the retail outlet. Photo by Terry Farrell
I-Hos Gallery celebrates 25 years of promoting First Nation artwork

K’ómoks First Nation-based outlet has art from all over the country

Bard to Broadway Theatre Society may stage shows outdoors next summer. (PQB News photo file)
Qualicum Beach’s Bard to Broadway group may stage shows outdoors

Theatre society plans smaller productions due to ongoing pandemic

A new short film festival called MORVENFEST is encouraging B.C. secondary students to step into the world of film during their Christmas break. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
New film festival gives Victoria students exciting opportunity

MORVENFEST is open to all B.C. secondary students over Christmas break

Most Read