Former CFL player Jerome Messam gets 18-month suspended sentence in voyeurism case

Former CFLer avoids jail

CALGARY — A former running back with the Calgary Stampeders who filmed a sexual encounter with a woman without her permission won't be going to jail but will have a criminal record. 

Jerome Messam, 37, received an 18-month suspended sentence Monday after pleading guilty earlier this year to a charge of voyeurism. 

Court heard Messam and the woman followed each other on social media while he was a running back for the Canadian Football League team and, in November 2016, they had dinner together then consensual sex at his apartment. 

Three months later, Messam sent the woman four 10-second video clips of their sexual encounter on the social media platform Snapchat, which deletes videos after they are played. 

The woman made a formal complaint to police and the CFL in April 2018. Messam had his contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders terminated after he was charged in July 2019. 

Court of King's Bench Justice April Grosse said Messam didn't share the video with anyone else or attempt to profit from it, but it was a serious violation of privacy. 

She said Messam has also openly acknowledged to the court that he thought his actions were blown out of proportion. 

"I find that Mr. Messam accepts that what he did was wrong, that it caused material harm and that he is genuinely sorry," Grosse said Monday. 

"While he genuinely accepts these things, I find that he does not have insight into the full extent of the seriousness of what he did or the harm caused."

At his sentencing hearing last month, Messam apologized for his behaviour but also expressed some anger at all he had lost.

"I see that all this happened in a time when there was so much nuance and all these MeToo (movements) and all the things. They just threw me to the wolves. No due justice, no due process," he said Nov. 10. 

"I take pride in what I've done on the football field. It sucks that my career was cut short. I made a bad choice. Do I feel the punishment fits the crime? No. I lost everything in a span of 48 hours.'' 

In a tearful victim impact statement last month, the woman said she had considered ending her own life, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has moved away from Calgary. 

Grosse said Messam has done many good things for his family, friends and community. She also said having a criminal record could affect his chances of continuing to be a role model to children through sport or becoming a college football coach.

"He must bear full responsibility for the attitudes, assumptions, beliefs and whatever else may have led him to believe he could record sexual intercourse without his partner's knowledge or consent. This is a serious offence," she said.

"I am satisfied that a conditional discharge is not appropriate. It would send the wrong message to the public. It would also send the wrong message to Mr. Messam, who is still coming to terms with the extent and seriousness of what occurred."

Messam joined the CFL in 2010 and played for British Columbia, Edmonton, Montreal, Calgary and Saskatchewan.

He became the seventh Canadian running back since 1955 and the first since 2000 to rush for more than 1,000 yards, while also winning the CFL's Most Outstanding Canadian Award. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2022.

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