Rhino's Ramblings: Sexual Misadventures in the Jaw


Robert Thomas

It is the talk of the town and has everyone out wondering exactly what is going on. It is the Downtown Facility and Field House (DFFH) scandal and the growing calls for everyone involved, particularly those on City Council to not only be punished and driven from political life.

It’s a story I wrote about in a column I called "MeToo Hits Moose Jaw. Twice".

The voices are some loud voices out there who want three members of Council (Councillor Crystal Froese, Councillor Scott McMann and Councillor Brian Swanson) to, let’s put it bluntly, be gone. But there is also a growing undercurrent out there saying that the entire Council needs to go with them.

What people are telling me is that you cannot trust anyone who is on Council and that a complete overhaul is needed. It's also not any friendlier for Administration at the present time either. That’s how bad it has become in the Friendly City.

While there are also others I know who say they have always voted for Coun Swanson and will continue to do so. But has the scandal hurt him? Undoubtedly it has. There are some who tell me that they might still vote for him but they would have second thoughts doing so but two years (the time until the next election) is politically a long time and a lot depends on what happens between now and then.

The same extends to the other councillors who were on the DFFH Board. It's a nightmare that blankets them all, no matter how much they try to wake up from it.

People ask me about what really happened at the DFFH? Does this sexual harassment stuff and the seeming cover ups go any further in other City operations than what’s been said already?

I can answer the latter question first and I am sorry to say that yes, there have been complaints from employees about Administration members involved in this type of activity in the past and also concerns about at least one cover up. I have documents which prove it.

City employees have submitted at least one letter in protest in the past but nothing was done as the person accused in the allegations simply decided to hang up the skates. The ironic thing is he was let go by a previous employer for an altercation involving a female employee.

There are two versions of what happened in this incident involving City employees, in the end it seems neither of which can be proven.

So just how deep does this stuff go?

I will admit that former GM Graham Edge told us about it, but his details were scant. He never told us who the alleged perpetrator(s) was/were. just enough to get us asking questions.

Well what I was able to discover as I looked into the entire DFFH affair was that there were two individuals employed there who had sexual harassment allegations at one time in their working careers and one with a user group who was much worse.

One had allegedly quit his previous employment just three days prior to facing an investigation into sexual harassment allegations. Allegations which were never proven and as someone who knew about it said it was a “kangaroo court.”

And a second employee with allegations surrounding him.

And finally I discovered a user group had, unbeknownst to them, a convicted child molester in their midst. This is someone previously convicted of molesting a pre-teen girl who had somehow slipped through the cracks and evaded what looked like appropriate background checks.

I want to be up front and say that there is NO EVIDENCE this convicted child molester had ever DONE THE SAME while with this user group.

When the user group discovered the truth about the molester they immediately terminated him. This individual had hidden his identity by changing his name on multiple occasions and somehow slipped through the cracks.

The user group took appropriate action that hopefully ensures it never happens again and I left it at that. You would not believe how inventive a sexual offender can be to get around roadblocks.

There was also NO EVIDENCE other than the guy looking for a job, as to why he hid his criminal record. With that said though, being around facilities where children are, when you have been convicted of molesting children before is inappropriate, to say the least.

For myself, I was personally disgusted, given my own experiences in Moose Jaw as a child. It’s something I can tell you I don’t talk about much but it haunts me to this day. As a child I still remember a Moose Jaw City Police officer speaking to my grandmother and deciding it would be too hard on me to testify against a stranger.

As a child I would have nightmares about it.

Sadly though it seems to continue as we allow people to fall through the cracks.

Take for instance a recent case where a 20 something Moose Jaw resident had allegations of sexual assault involving a minor out in Chaplin. In late July his lawyer lost track of him and subsequently a bench warrant was issued by the Swift Current judge. The Morse RCMP sent the information to Moose Jaw about the warrant but the last I heard nothing was done about it. There is no media alert or Warrant Wednesday issued as of yet. I ask why not?

It can’t be that simple to evade facing serious sexual criminal charges you are assumed not guilty of until proven otherwise. Is it as easy as simply travelling less than a couple of hours down the road?

But back to the DFFH and the scandal surrounding it. Do I personally believe the three councillors involved in it can survive through the next election? Like it or not, yes I do. All three of them.

When the entire affair was first reported in the media the Province contacted the City. If there were any grounds to dismiss or punish a Council member any further they would have already done so. The Province has yet to step in on anything in any of this and I am wondering if they ever will.

My guess is that the Province will leave it all up to the voters in the next election.

As for myself it’s one vote I am personally not making, as by then I should be in Odessa and it’s doubtful my better half Olya will ever let me come back to this mess.