Day: November 14, 2019

‘He now feels he carries a heavy stigma,’ parents of St. Michael’s victim say

TORONTO — The parents of a teen boy who was sexually assaulted at a prestigious all-boys Catholic high school in Toronto say their son still can’t address what happened to him.

Crown attorney Erin McNamara read the parents’ victim impact statement in a Toronto court today at a sentencing hearing for three former students of St. Michael’s College School.

The three pleaded guilty to sexual assault with a weapon and assault with a weapon against two victims.

Another teen also pleaded guilty to making child pornography for recording the sex assault with his phone.

McNamara says one of the victims couldn’t bring himself to provide a statement because it would force him to relive the experience.

But his parents said the teen is struggling.

“He now feels he carries a very heavy stigma,” they wrote. “We have had to carry this burden alone.”

They said they can’t tell what’s normal teenage emotion or related to the trauma of being sexually assaulted.

The parent said the teen’s sibling has also been affected by what happened. “They feel very helpless,” the parents said through the prosecutor.

McNamara said the other victim and his family declined to give a statement.

The Crown said time in custody is on the table for the three boys, calling their acts violent offences.

The allegations surfaced last year and sparked a national conversation about bullying.

The charges stem from two separate incidents that happened in October and November of last year. None of the accused or the victims can be identified due to provisions in the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Court heard at the guilty plea that the three boys were part of one of the school’s football teams. In one incident on Oct. 17, 2018, court heard the boys took down their teammate in the school’s locker room, ripped his pants off and inserted a broom handle into the boy’s anus.

A similar incident occurred on Nov. 7 after a football game when a teen who wasn’t on the team came into the locker room looking for a ride home and was jumped by a group of boys.

The group pulled the teen’s pants down and two teens sexually assaulted him with a broom handle. That incident was captured on video and shared widely on social media.

On Thursday, the judge viewed the video in a separate courtroom with the Crown attorney and the lawyers of the three teens.

“The recording of the event is an aggravating factor,” McNamara said.

The sexual assault and assault charges against a fourth student were withdrawn in August.

The cases of two other students accused in the scandal have concluded, but the Ministry of the Attorney General has refused to disclose those outcomes.

A seventh teen is set to go to trial next March.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 14, 2019.

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Ontario court says Syria lacked jurisdiction to grant couple’s divorce

An Ontario court has ruled that a divorce granted in Syria to a couple who had not lived there in two decades will not be recognized in the province, in part because divorce proceedings in that country are unfair to women.

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Wake up, America! The Impeachment Show is on

Crooked Hillary couldn’t do it.

Big Jim the G-Man couldn’t do it

Neither could slow-talking Sideshow Bob, nor Weepy Lawyer Michael, nor dozens of Donald Trump’s other felonious friends. Nor Stormy Daniels. 

In three wild years of White House whiplash, witlessness and unhinged twittery, none of these notables was able to chase the 45th president back to his gilded tower high above Gucci’s, rather than allow the American voter to exercise his precious franchise next November and maybe even re-elect him—quite possibly, given The Donald’s advancing age, as President For Life.

Now, on a frigid Hump Day in November, the Demorats were trying yet again to rid themselves of the camel-complexioned 73-year-old whose removal they have coveted since before he was even installed. After Hillary Clinton and Daniels and James Comey and Robert Mueller and Michael Cohen couldn’t find a deep-enough vein in the tawny billionaire’s flesh in which to thrust a fatal dagger, they have turned to a bullpen of obscure, purportedly deep-state diplo-crats—a Bill, a George, a Masha, an Alex, a Fiona—to provide the ways and means to finish the task.

RELATED: Impeachment vote is a ‘sad day’ the Democrats can’t help celebrating

But the first public hearing of what is likely to be a two or three or four-month marathon of quid-pro-quotidian blah-blah in the House and Senate was so predictably partisan, and scorched so little new first-hand earth, you needed Waze to find a route out of the meanness.

“We know how the impeachment show ends, but we’re still watching,” throbbed Politico‘s print edition to its captive capital-region readership on Wednesday morning, predicting “non-stop, white-knuckle impeachment action.” Hundreds lined up in the hallway outside the hearing room, as they always do. But out in the wintry hinterlands, few crystal sets were tuned to the droning drama. A survey by Emerson Polling last month found that only seven per cent of voters in Iowa—America’s own fertile, black-earthed little Ukraine—rate Donald Trump’s impeachment as the “most important” issue facing the nation. At dozens of town halls in the Hawkeye State, the New York Times reported, candidate Elizabeth Warren has heard barely a peep from the public about dumping The Donald.

While one witness was claiming that Donald Trump cared more about Joe Biden than about Ukraine, pollsters were discovering that people in Iowa care more for Pete Buttigieg than they do for Joe Biden.

But the District ain’t Des Moines. So, Washington bars opened early to serve Subpoena-Coladas and James and the Giant Im-peach-ment cocktails, and the president, whose itchy Twitter finger has gotten even more impulsive in recent weeks,  tweeted READ THE TRANSCRIPT! and NEVER TRUMPERS! as the self-selected Select Committee on Intelligence  got down to business in the plushest abattoir they could rent by the hour.

“Watch live! Impeachment goes public!” all the major web sites ballyhooed, but the fact was that, since Inauguration Day 2017, every Congressional hearing, every confirmation of a nominee, every byelection in every state, and every case that has been before a court of appeals or the jury of public opinion has been a public airing of Donald Trump’s insurgent disruptions and supposed sins.

RELATED: What will happen if Trump is convicted in an impeachment proceeding

On Wednesday morning, in the very first seconds of his very first statement of the very first hearing of a very long process, committee chairman Adam Schiff, Democrat of California, uttered the words Yovanovich, Taylor, Giuliani, Trump, Biden, Burisma, Zelensky, Kent, Sondland, Mulvaney, Crowdstrike, “the energy sector,” Bolton, “drug deal,” and the Office of Management and the Budget.

The essence of the case, Schiff said, addressing Trump’s now-infamous quid pro quo with Ukraine’s comedic new president, is “whether such an abuse of his power is compatible with the office of the presidency.”

“The matter is as simple and as terrible as that,” the chairman expounded.

But it is not as simple as a break-in at the Watergate, or as salacious as a sex act in the Oval Office—it is about delayed security assistance to a distant country that the vast majority of Americans—maybe even their president—could not find on a map.

“Not watching. He’s working,” Trump’s press secretary testified while Schiff was speaking.

“New hoax. Same swamp,” the president tweeted at the same moment.

Back in the Capitol, an inaugural address by the current senior American representative in Kyiv was so interminable that even Ambassador William Taylor himself admitted that it was “a rather lengthy recitation.”

“I think it’s crazy,” Taylor recalled of his contemporaneous attitude to the president’s midsummer request for “a favour” from the novice Ukrainian leader.  “Beginning to fear a change of policy … extremely troubling time …  if our policy changed, I would have to resign,” Taylor said, as if his own careerist fears and feelings were the focus of the whole affair.

RELATED: At long last, Donald Trump is on the road to impeachment

The West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran stated—it was received as the morning’s bombshell—that one of his staffers recently had told him that, back in July, this eavesdropper had overheard Donald Trump grunting into someone’s cellphone about “the investigations” into the Biden family.

By this point, the correspondent sitting beside a Maclean’s reporter was fast asleep.

When the Republicans’ turn came, their team captain, Devin Nunes of California, characterized the July 25 Trump-Zelensky call as “a pleasant exchange between two leaders.”

“We’re supposed to believe that the president committed a terrible crime that never actually occurred and which the supposed victim admits never happened,” Rep. Nunes contended.

Still ploughing the field in which Hillary Clinton was buried 36 months ago, the Republican side tried to get Ambassador Taylor to confess that Ukrainian officials were contemptuous of candidate Trump the instant he descended his golden escalator in June 2015.

Shot: “Mr. Taylor, you can appreciate President Trump’s concerns.”

Chaser: “I don’t know the exact nature of President Trump’s concerns.”

Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio: “You’re their star witness!”

Ambassador William Taylor: (Smiles.)

RELATED: Donald Trump made an offer that Ukraine couldn’t refuse

And so it went for hours on the first day of at least 14; more, should the White House let any of the administration officials who have been subpoenaed out of the corral of “executive privilege.”

Two kilometres west at the White House, with Recip Erdogan in town from Ankara, a bellicose autocrat was sitting down to a meeting with his Turkish counterpart. Again, as in Ukraine, the effects of electing a Manhattan playboy and high-riser to decide the fate of nations were on vivid display.

For 70 years, Donald Trump had little cause to concern himself with the internal boundaries of the Soviet Union, or the still-fractured legacy of the Ottoman Empire after defeat in World War One shattered it into a shrapnel of hating fiefs. But now it was the Syrian Kurds and his alleged words about Ukraine that were closing in on his presidency.

That July 26 call that Taylor’s guy overheard with its emphasis on the Bidens “never happened,” Trump said in a press conference with Erdogan to his right. It just “more second-hand,” he snapped, though with all his first-handers ordered not appear, once-removed may be as close as the Democrats will get.

“A lot of Kurds live in Turkey and they’re happy,” the president said, demonstrating his deep knowledge of the region. “They have health care and education,” he added—exactly the issues that matter far more to far more Iowans than the impeachment of the man in the long red tie.

The impeachment hearings will continue daily until neither side can stand another sound bite. Meanwhile, Hillary Rodham Clinton was telling the BBC that “many, many, many, many people” were pressuring her to join the Democratic cavalcade.

“Well you know, I never say never,” Hillary said. “To anything.”


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Woman shocked to learn she owed $15,000 after breaking mortgage agreement

An Oshawa woman said she was “shocked” to learn she would need to pay more than $15,000 for breaking her five-year mortgage agreement.

Jill Groves said she knew there would be some kind of penalty to pay, but she said she had no idea how much it would be.

“I was shocked, because breaking the mortgage wasn’t in my thoughts. I had no intention of breaking the mortgage when I signed up for five years,” Groves said.

Groves said she owned the house with her husband, but was forced to sell it when the relationship ended suddenly.

“I wouldn’t have refinanced for five years if I had known my life was going to fall apart months later,” Groves said.

She told her bank she planned to buy another home, but was going to live with her parents for a few months while she looked for one. Groves said that because she did not have another mortgage during the search, she had to pay a charge to break her mortgage, which is called the interest rate differential.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada defines interest rate differential as “the difference between the interest rate on your current mortgage term and today’s interest rate for a term that is the same length as the remaining time left on your current term.”

In Groves case, her penalty was determined to be $15,092.


“This could be for my closing costs, this could be for my furniture. I have nothing. I’m starting fresh,” she said. “I just want to be able to use that money to start over again.”

Most major Canadian lenders charge penalties when you break a mortgage early, but the amounts can vary.

A spokesperson for TD Bank group, of which Groves is a customer, told CTV News Toronto they are “sympathetic and are trying to help with her situation” and that “we are working with her to move (port) her existing loan to another loan with us, which would make the penalty no longer applicable.”

In the interim, Groves decided to try and buy a property right away and just told CTV News Toronto that she has been approved for a new mortgage with TD. This means she now won’t have to pay the $15,092 penalty.

More people are breaking mortgages because of job loss, divorce or illness. The Ombudsman for Banking Services says the huge penalties are a growing consumer complaint. To avoid them, homeowners can also consider variable rate mortgages or shorter mortgage terms. 

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Family of two-year-old girl killed by falling air conditioner hires lawyer

TORONTO — The family of a two-year-old girl who was killed by a falling air conditioner say they’re “struggling to cope” with the loss, and have retained a lawyer to figure out exactly what caused the tragedy.

Slavko Ristich, a personal injury lawyer representing the family, says Crystal Mirogho was being pushed along in a stroller by her mother and siblings when the appliance fell directly on her Monday afternoon.

Police say the unit fell from the eighth floor of a Toronto Community Housing building on the city’s east side, and the toddler was rushed to hospital where she died of her injuries.


“Our family has lost our precious baby girl Crystal. We are devastated,” the Mirogho family said in a statement provided by Ristich.

“We wanted to thank the public for the outpouring of support for our family while we are struggling to cope with this is tragedy.”

A crowdfunding page set up to cover funeral expenses and help the family relocate had already raised more than $12,000 of its $30,000 goal by Wednesday morning.


The page, which listed Crystal’s father, Mujibrahmon Mirogho, as the beneficiary, said the family “cannot bear to go back to the same building where their daughter was killed.”

Ristich said the girl’s mother and siblings were particularly traumatized after witnessing the incident.

“They were not only witnesses, but they were right in the zone of danger where this incident occurred,” he said.

“The mother and the children were right beside Crystal when this actually happened.”

apartment building

Ristich said he was retained by the family Tuesday night and will initially try to establish exactly what happened in the incident.

“At this point we have a lot of questions,” said Ristich, adding he wanted to know who was responsible for maintenance and inspection of air conditioning units at the building.

“We believe this was an entirely preventable incident,” Ristich said in a separate statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 13, 2019.

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