On the late David Dewees and trial by sensationalist media


black_ribbon2277879Anyone who knows me, and my story, knows that I have no tolerance for child abuse – with very compelling reasons why. Nothing so horrible was alleged in the case of the late David Dewees. While no doubt serious the charges, which led to him taking his own life long before they would go to court, seemed to have more to do with the question of intent and yet something else about all this has been bothering me. It turns out it was a memory, stuck like food between my teeth. The sudden, widely-publicized nature of his death (usually treated with anonymity in the media) was starkly seen for what it was, at least in part – a direct result of the media’s over-the-top coverage of his arrest.

Back in 1985, when I was a radio reporter in St. Catharines, thirty-two men were charged in a bust of the Fairview Mall washroom. One of the men, a Sunday school teacher, married with two kids, committed suicide when his name was released to the public. What also upset me, however, and the feelings have returned with the coverage of this case involving the Jarvis Collegiate teacher, was that the local St. Catharines newspaper, The Standard, was the only major media outlet in the region not to release all the names to the public – including the man who, on the morning the charges were announced, burned himself alive when he torched his car out in farm country to the west.

Our newsroom had a very vigorous discussion as to whether the names should be released – I was dumbfounded but tried to make my case for the feelings of those involved, their families, and the minor-unless-sensationalized charges involved. I lost and, although I was never compelled to read the names myself, I was deeply ashamed of my boss and his it’s-all-about-the-ratings excuses. I don’t remember much about the follow-up other than most of the accused pleaded out and were given non-custodial sentences.

Back to the now deceased Jarvis teacher – the Sunday evening edition of Global News included a reporter going up to the front door of David Dewees’ parents in west-end Toronto for a reaction to their loved one’s suicide that morning. I don’t know how the person who answered the door maintained her composure long enough to say that, under the circumstances, there would be no public statements. That reporter, Lama Nicolas, probably would have asked next when they might begin to feel a sense of closure – a phrase that should be lobotomized from every reporter’s vocabulary. Such is the calibre of journalism in its ugliest, sensationalist form – television.

Late addition: CTV Toronto reporter John Musselman also knocked (very loudly) on the door of the family home Monday. No one responded and Mr. Musselman is now on my list of media cake-holes, speaking of which The Star’s Rosie DiManno – who I will not dignify with a link (but who is properly handled here) – should be ridden out of town along with the idiot there who incorrectly overstated the charges against Mr. Dewees, which may or may not have influenced his final decision.

Suicide column sparks reader fury – thestar.com

Here’s a link to the shallow, intrusive Global report.

Regardless of how upsetting the now-forever-unproven charges against David Dewees may have been to Global viewers – and the same home visit likely would have been made whether or not Mr. Dewees had ended his life – I fail to see any need to get a comment from a family member in such circumstances. Were “journalists”, whether they be beat or “spot” reporters, to have consciences that they might examine they would know that any thinking viewer, which admittedly might not be among theirs, has no need for first-hand evidence that the accused had a family, much less what they have to say. Getting their refusal to talk on the record merely satisfies the reporter’s ego, cementing the already unsettling report in tabloid form, as if the refusal to answer questions is beneath the morally-bereft urge to ask them.

CTV quoted Jarvis Collegiate teacher Mary Jane Purcell on Monday, speaking of her colleague, “He was an extremely good man and a brilliant teacher — and he was driven to his death. And I’m very sad about this.”

Now I only hope that his family doesn’t have to run a media gauntlet during the next few days of such acute mourning. I found it particularly ironic that the Star was selected to carry the notice of his death but the words are dignified and loving:

Dewees 1569204_20091005204548_000+DP1569204_CompJPG_231445David James Redington Dewees February 16, 1977-October 3, 2009 Born Toronto, February 16, 1977, died October 3, 2009, in Toronto. Beloved son of Don and Ann Dewees; brother of Jonathan (Sarah); grandson of Margaret Taylor; nephew of Don (Lynn), Nancy (deceased) (Greg), Mary Kay (John), Richard (deceased); cousin of Christy (Steve), Katie (Mike), Jamie, Daniel (Karen) and Robert (Shannon). David showed an early love for both language and music, passions he pursued throughout his life. He attended Pioneer Camp as a camper, then served as a leader in various capacities. He graduated from Royal St. George’s College in Toronto and Queen’s University where he majored in English and Classics. He taught English and Classics, first at Etobicoke Collegiate Institute and then at Jarvis Collegiate in Toronto. He was beloved and respected by students and teachers. He sang in choirs throughout school and was a member of the tenor section of the Mendelssohn Choir in Toronto. He devoted his life to teaching and mentoring. His sudden death is a great sorrow to his family, friends and students, both past and present. Friends may call at the Turner & Porter Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor St. W., at Windermere, east of Jane subway from 3-5 and 7-9 p.m. Thursday. Funeral Service will be held at Runnymede United Church, 432 Runnymede Rd., on Friday, October 9 at 11 a.m. If desired, donations may be made in David’s memory to Ontario Pioneer Camp staff bursaries or Toronto Mendelssohn Choirs.

97 thoughts on “On the late David Dewees and trial by sensationalist media

  1. Innocent before being proven guilty? Obviously not in this country. A good man killed himself a short few days ago. Why? Because he was already judged by the police and the media as soon as the accusations arose. You plaster his face in every form of media, across the country, simply because it makes good news. And the man was not even found guilty of anything!!

    To any members of the media reading this: tell me something – how does it feel to be responsible for a man’s death? I don’t know how you can live with yourselves!

  2. I have the same problem with this case. The media in this situation really needs to learn when enough is enough. Whether or not the media drove him to his death, we will never know how much that was a part of it, but we do know that it affects the friends and family of the deceased when reporters press for “personal statements”.

    I wrote to the reporter of the Globe and Mail. In her article, Jessica Leeder stated:
    “It is not clear if Mr. Dewees was married or had any family in Toronto. A telephone call to a city number listed to a Mr. Dewees was abruptly ended by the woman who answered.”

    I wrote to her:
    “Don’t you think this family has suffered enough? Whether that was them or not, just leave them alone! If they wanted to release a statement, then they would contact you. I understand that you’re trying to chase any possible lead, but in this tragic case some distance is necessary. If only some restraint had been shown earlier…”

    She wrote back saying:
    I do think the family has suffered quite enough. But that didn’t change the fact that, last night, I was the Globe reporter assigned to cover the story. No reporter wants to be the one to make a call to a devastated family. The scenario yesterday though was that no one else I had spoken with (or put calls out to) could tell me anything about David’s personal life or had shared any sort of personalized memories that would typically be useful in an obituary.

    As a newspaper, we view giving the family members of victims an opportunity to speak as vital. There are many reasons for this that go beyond “trying to chase down any possible lead”, as you suggest. Sometimes families share powerful anecdotes that become the ingredients for memorial pieces. In other cases, they are frustrated by misinformation and wish to correct the public record. Had David’s family spoke with me yesterday — and I’m not faulting them for choosing not to — they might have altered the tone of coverage to be about him rather than his unproven charges. To be clear, they were perfectly within their rights not to talk. But I called them partly out of duty and respect (just because they have an opportunity doesn’t mean they must take it) and also in hopes they might enable me to write a piece that accurately reflected David’s 32 years rather than the last week of his life.

    One more point of clarification — the reason I wrote in the piece that the call was ‘abruptly’ ended was to convey that the call was actually so short I truly had no idea if they were indeed family. For all I knew, they could have simply shared the same last name and had their phone ringing off the hook all day long with media calls. The hang-up could have been a frustrated non-relative sick and tired of fielding media calls. Given that possibility, it would have been presumptuous of me to write that they had ‘no comment’ when the phone call hadn’t gone far enough for me to even glean that much.

    Perhaps my word choice was flawed — sounds like I didn’t do a good job of conveying that given your reading of the sentence. But I meant no malice or sarcasm. I simply had no idea if they were David’s relatives. If I had chosen not to write anything about calling them in the story, it’s very likely our night reporter would have been assigned to call — again. I was trying to prevent this.

    I hope this sheds light on the fact that I was trying to be sensitive — clearly it was an imperfect attempt though.

    Jessica

    So apparently there is a sense of “duty” to find out more details about his personal life and share them with the world.

    But it’s not as bad as the Star’s revolting column by Rosie Dimanno
    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/705372 where she says:
    “But Dewees was the author of his own torment because he surely knew the danger of such inappropriate conduct as alleged. This was not some romanticized Dead Poets Society. He was flirting with public exposure and disaster. It must have both thrilled and sickened him.”

    Absolutely horrendous. That is no way to treat the deceased – it’s despicable.

  3. I think the situation was handled very poorly and resulted in a tragic ending. My English teacher, who was close friends with Mr. Dewees, spoke to his family and friends of the family and was told that the police had no evidence, which was why he was arrested and property seized. The whole child exploitation incident arose in the summer, why did they let a man accused of being attracted to young men, go back to a job of teaching the youth. I was a student of his in grade nine and cannot believe what this man has gone through. He was the nicest person you could ever meet, I’ve never seen him once upset at us, and was always optimistic. This shows how powerful the media can be, the way things are worded or even things that are simply shown can have an instant effect on one’s life.

  4. Thanks so much for this lovely blog. I vividly remember my horror at the St. Catharines story all those years ago, when I was young; and have absolutely despised trial by media from that time, and the police complicity with it. Whatever demons the man may or may not have had, he will clearly be remembered as a fine and inspiring teacher.

  5. Many years ago I spoke with a reporter from our local newspaper after the passenger plane crash that killed many in Dryden Ontario. He was one of the first people at the site of the crash. The young fellow now in his 40s (I suspect) told me some thing that is not very well known. He set down his camera and tape recorder and did everything humanly possible to get the living out of that downed aircraft. Dozens of people stepped up that day. He later took pictures of what remained and not the living who were now well on the way to a hospital thanks to him and the good people who stepped up to the plate and did the right thing. What does the death of this young man have to do with the plane crash that could have been prevented with ice removal. Mr Dewees story is a plane crash of sorts. Terrible, tragic, and mournful for all that are living. For the reporters who report this “news” item they have to know when to set their camera down and secure the place for the living.

  6. I don’t know what he did or did not do, but he was the best English teacher I’ve ever had, and I would not be in University if it weren’t for him. He taught Hamlet like noone else, knew it inside and out, down to the specifics of the language used in the book. Good man in my books, a bit strange but what talented person isn’t. At most he talked to some teens and was gay, didn’t have to die. I’m very saddened by this…

  7. Dear Kenn

    thank you so much for posting your thoughts. It is so good to read this after being tormented the past few days by irresponsible media who certainly aren’t reporting everything they’re given, because –perhaps–they just want to feed the sensationalism.

    thank you again.

    -a camp staff.

  8. In some countries it’s not even legal to publish the identity of a person before they’re found guilty. It would be a great step in the direction of true justice for such a law to be in place in Canada. I can’t even think how many times I’ve seen this remorseless trial by media. And it often destroys any hope of a fair trial.

    And what self-serving, self-deceiving self-justification from Jessica Leeder. Might as well be a soldier saying “I was sent to torture him; it was my job; but I did it with humane intent.”

    I knew Dave. He was just as described: a great guy with a passion for knowledge. Not some caricature of a child abuser. Everyone has maladjustments and everyone makes bad judgements, but that doesn’t make them simply one-dimensional evil people. If the charges were true, he certainly made an real error of judgement. IF they were true; the determination was end-run by the media and police. He needed help. That’s not what he got. When I saw his picture splashed all over the news, I thought, “His life is over.” Apparently he thought so too. I’m still fuming. And will be for a very, very long time.

  9. Please take a deep breath, and try to think rationally rather than emotionally. The charges were due to this teacher’s behaviour with children, not consenting adults.

    I believe that his name and picture should be published, it is a matter of public record because the public have a right to know.

    Student A – I do not trust the police myself, but I believe that they had evidence if he was arrested. He may have been questioned due to a complaint, but certainly not arrested. If they needed evidence, they would have simply obtained a search warrant.

    James A. Black – the difference between this story and your own about the crash is that the teacher would be have been the pilot. He decided that, despite his attraction to children, that he would spend as much time as possible with tempting children.

    Shame on The Star for reporting that the arrest was for assault, which they later corrected. That is irresponsible reporting. The Rosie Dimanno from the Star that is linked above, is a good article.

    If David Dewees had been busted having sex in the park with an adult, and had his name, picture and work place published in the news, I would be outraged.

    Different circumstances entirely when children are involved.

    We must protect the children.

    • hello, I worked with David and he was a great person and teacher. What I don’t understand is: if the Pioneer Camp knew about these alleged emails to the two youths and he was subsequently fired from his position there, why did it take so long to charge him with any offenses? Five months passed and he returned to work as a teacher, guiding students and heading extracurricular activities. Did it really take this much time to collect evidence?

      As for DiManno’s opinion piece: sensationalism-filled rubbish. You must love shock journalism. Her response to anyone who disapproved of her opinion piece is that person must be pro-pedophilia. Tell that to the hundreds of students who broke down in the halls of Jarvis and set up their own memorial at High Park station. Are they pro-pedophilia for mourning him? They were crying for him and not the victims. They see him as the victim here.

      • I completely agree with you. I was at the funeral on Friday… I could not believe all the students there. David would have been proud. The principal was amazing! Jarvis CI has made David proud

        • I’m so glad!

          I spent about six days, beginning last Thursday, in the Ottawa area. David’s story wasn’t on the radar up there so, as much as I resented the media coverage, I was unable to see anything about his funeral. How was the coverage down here on Friday?

  10. Er…Wake Up!

    You are stating as fact things which can no longer be put to the test in court, i.e. “his behaviour…”

    You have attributed to the late Mr. Dewees, without any legal basis, an “attraction to children” and a predisposition to “tempt” children.

    Please don’t defend Rosie Dimanno’s slander of the dead.

  11. Agreed. I have taken serious issue with Rosie Dimanno’s slanderous article as well. Here’s my complaint to the Star in regards to it:

    To Rosie Dimanno and the editor of the Toronto Star:

    I have never seen such opinionated “journalism” – and referring to it as such is a big stretch – in all of my days. Rosie Dimanno should be ashamed of herself for the biased, unobjective article she has written about one very troubled man.

    How does Ms. Dimanno justify ‘libel’ of the dead – is there no concern whatsoever for his memory? Likewise, is there no concern whatsoever for the possibility that he was innocent of the alledged charges?

    Rosie brings a strong personal bias into her writing – first in assuming that Mr. Dewees’ actions are proof of his guilt of the ALLEDGED charges, then by making her unsubstantiated, personal opinion on what effect this very paper’s inability to accurately report the charges laid against the accused in Friday’s paper had on Mr. Dewees.

    Ms. Dimanno then states (as if it were a fact) that Mr. Dewees’ “kink” was a sexual attration to boys. I am certain that I am not the only person who has taken the time to complain to the star about this lousy excuse for journalism. I have tried to be professional in my criticism of this article, but am enraged that Rosie Dimanno would have the nerve to write such a factless, offensive, piece…equally, I’m enraged that the editor would publish it.

    The article is inappropriate from beginning to end; from its opinionated slant and blatant disregard for the deceased’s right to be considered innocent until proven guilty, to its fake sincerety for those affected by the death of David Dewees (sorry Rosie, but we’re not buying it…your personal views have already been made crystal clear.)

    Rosie Dimanno should re-write the article, sticking to the facts this time, and issue a public apology – something your paper should be accustomed to by now. For the apology to be sincere, I should note that it should be made by the author of the article, Ms. Dimanno, not by your PR person.

    Rosie Dimanno should then really consider finding a new career. If she wants so badly to express her opinion as opposed to the facts, then perhaps she should start up her own blog. I, for one, will never buy The Toronto Star again so long as she remains on staff.

    Until I see a public apology, I will send this article to as many people as I can – urging them to boycott your newspaper as well.

    I think I’ve said enough and that I have made my views clear.

  12. excellent points. The public is aroused over some of the cavalier insensitive overkill in media coverage of the charges and the story. The Star today said that they were facing a “readers’ fury” over Dimanno’s appalling column yesterday. and U of T law Prof Iaccabucci said it was time to consider re-instituting the law of libel to protect the dead! The Mendelsoohn Choir (of which he was a member) will be singing at his funeral.

  13. I have read a lot about this case for a variety of reasons, but am struck by the fact that no one seems to have any feelings or concern for the boys involved. David’s death has left those boys and that family with the thought that they are responsible. What the boys and their families had to deal with before David’s death, is unthinkable. Now, after his suicide, how can they move forward? His death will most certainly stop other families and children in the same situation from coming forward. Is that what we want? Suicide is a selfish act in any circumstance, but this is even beyond that. Those 2 young boys already have to try and council themselves past the fact that a trusted adult at a Christian camp acted in an inappropriate manner, but now they must deal with the fact that because they came forward, the media went crazy and now this man is dead. Please people, let’s hear a word or two about the future of those families. Not to mention that David’s death will most likely result in a future where children will be afraid to come forward, because they’ll think that if they do, then someone will kill themselves. This is the worst thing of all. David has potentially silenced other children from turning in their abusers. I have a teenage son who attends a Christian camp. If this kind of an email was to surface in our house, I can even begin to describe how my husband and I would feel. The boys came forward in August and the charges were only laid now. We have to trust that there was some sort of investigation. The emails were sent. David’s words to the boys were there in black and white. And did anyone hear CFRB this morning? Apparently (I didn’t hear it myself) another boy phoned in and detailed the kind of messages that he was getting from David. So please, consider all the other people involved in this. David’s suicide did not make him a hero, nor should it bring up the question of whether or not he was innocent. There is evidence. David couldn’t deal with that. It was one selfish act after another on his part. I pray with everything in me that his family, friends and most of all, those poor abused boys, can find some sort of understanding in all of this. It is a tragedy on every level.

    • I do sympathize with the alleged victims (and I wish that I had reported offences against me (sensitive material) and received the appropriate counselling) but these charges did not warrant the media hysteria which ensued and the charges will never be adjudicated. It’s not proper to surmise, as some do, that Mr. Dewees’ suicide was an admission of guilt. An innocent teacher would be equally devastated by these charges.

      The moment the charges were made public the media storm was unleashed on the complainants, too, but the boys will forever be unnamed.

      However, to your point, the Barrie paper carries this story on police seeking other potential victims and a counselor’s take on what I’ll call ‘reporting chill’.

    • Re: Julia:

      abused boys? He was not charged or there was no allegation of sexual assault. You are what makes this society so ignorant.

      You have no idea!

      • Luring and invitation to sexual touching is a crime and most certainly is child abuse.

        You sound like a mean and angry person who should get their facts straight.

        • In the fantasy world of abuse advocates, teenagers are children, living under the thumb of adults, obeying their every command, and understanding nothing of sex. Meanwhile, in the real world, teenagers are more aware of their desire and have greater access to information and pornography than any generation before them. Teenagers are not fragile flowers that wilt when somebody breaths on them. Unless you are asserting that Dewees was a violent, threatening person, nobody in their right mind can believe what these teenagers experienced was “abuse” in any credible sense. If he asked a 15 and 16 year old if they wanted a blow-job, so what? Remember, 1 year ago, that would have been a legal conversation. The only reason Dewees is dead today is because Harper changed the age of consent from 14 to 16. Additionally, because of Internet law, it is illegal to communicate to anyone under the age of 18 (!) for the purpose of meeting them for sex. So the idea that anyone who defends Dewees is pro-pedophile is wrong -he wasn’t a pedophile, but an ephebephile. And, only a year ago his behavior, while frowned upon for various reasons, would have been perfectly legal in other circumstances. Goes to show how crazy can expand at the speed of light.

        • I am angry yes. I was falsely accused of sexual assault and had my life ruined.

          I did not say luring was not a crime. AND it is only an accusation.

          And no I do not agrere with you, luring is not child abuse in the physical form. It is against the law because of the implications of what luring is.

          I have my facts straight, exactly straight. May you need to ‘wakeup’ Wake Up.

  14. It’s all very sad. His suicide is not an admission of his guilt, but the evidence in emails and on facebook isn’t something that can be disputted. He had contact with more than just the boys who came forward. I know this. The evidence exists. Unless someone else wrote emails under his name. Seems unlikely though. I just don’t want to lose sight of the real victims and the future vicitims who will now be even more scared to come forward. The media played their role, and they were out of line, there is no doubt. But David is ultimately the person responsible.

    • No he isn’t “ultimately” the person responsible. This society has decided that teenagers are innocent little flowers who never think of sex except when evil men force their evil desires onto them. While this may be true in some cases, it isn’t a rule. Nevertheless, we have laws that act as if it was a rule, and Dewees was hounded as a predator because of it. People need a good shake if they can’t distinguish sending emails and rape.

      • I don’t believe that anyone has used the word “rape.” That is not what Mr. Dewees has been accused of.

    • Julia,
      you write as though you have the “in” on this story. Sadly, you seem to be jumping on the media band-wagon and using the “news” to formulate your opinion. You didn’t know Dave, I assume, and you don’t have the facts on this story. Sadly, the press is missing several important factors here which would vindicate David.

      We knew Dave. His legacy will speak for itself.

      It’s too bad you didn’t know him. Your life would be changed if you did.

      • I have many family and friends who did know David and are very close to what has gone on. Don’t assume that you know about me or where I’m at in terms of my relationship to this story. David was very blessed with people who share great memories of him. I think that’s wonderful. You should hang on to those memories in honour of your friendship with him.

      • Jodi,

        My life has changed because of David. Awesome friend, person, mentor, teacher. Some people will talk poorly of David, but in the end they didn’t know him so they are the ones missing out. We are lucky!

  15. by Ray Collingham

    So much can be said about the circumstances surrounding Mr. David Dewees’ suicide. Was he guilty and felt depressed over his actions or was he innocent and could not face his peers, family, friends and students after the media labelled him a sex offender?

    Should ones identity be made public when faced with an allegation of a sexual crime? On one hand, yes, the public should be made aware that if there is a previously convicted sexual predator out on bail or roaming the streets, as a parent I am sure you would want to be informed. On the other hand, what about those people who are not guilty and have never been previously charged. False accusations are real and are becoming more frequent as people realize that nothing happens to you after falsely accusing someone. Once accused of a sexual crime you are stigmatized, possibly for life. Contrary to Canadian law, you are immediately labelled and at least, suspected of being guilty. The realism that you might be innocent rarely crosses your mind as you read titles in the newspaper like “accused pedophile” or “Acclaimed Sex offender”. But the truth is that false allegations are very real and are extremely destructive to the person accused and to his/her family members and friends.

    When I was arrested in July of 2007, my name and picture were publicized throughout the Canadian news. I was front page news in many cities. Headlines with words such as ‘pedophile’, ‘sex offender’, and ‘child predator’ have all been associated with my name and my picture. I had no history of sexual assault, I had no complaints of sexual misconduct, there was no reason to make my identity known. The police will tell you that the public needs to know if there was other ‘victims’. They needed to inform the public so other children, if any, could come forward.

    Having said that, there is a time and a place for everything. The time to make some one’s identity known to the public, in some circumstances, should only be made if there is an admission of guilt or the court have found the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Once this decision is made, only then should pictures and names become available. Then the time for other victims may come forward.

    Publishing an accused person’s identity, when there is no history and only one complainant, is an injustice, not only to the accused but to the accused person’s family, friends and peers. My family was devastated. I was ‘fired’ publicly. The organizations I was involved in all suspended my memberships publicly. Facing everyone I knew was very difficult. I was embarrassed, humiliated and depressed. I lost my career, as did my partner. I lost my life savings, everything I owned. I lost the innocence I had with working with children. My actions were/are almost always analyzed. Did I stare to long, where was I looking, should I hug my nephew, how long should I hug him, it was terrible.

    I was acquitted in July 2009. I thought after my acquittal I would feel some sort of mental relief, in some aspects I do. The uncertainty of not knowing whether or not I was going to be spending the next few years in prison was relieving, but the feelings of wondering what people still really think, the feelings of mistrusting people and their motives all remain. The after math psychologically has had a tremendous effect on not only myself, but all of the people closest to me.

    For Mr. Dewees, we will never know if he is innocent or guilty. But if we believe in our system of justice he must remain innocent. It is his family that will now have to face all the feelings of humiliation and the wonderment of what happened or didn’t happen.

    Did David Dewees commit suicide because his identity was made public? Could he face his students, his co-workers and friends, knowing the stigma attached to being accused of a sexual crime? We will never know but I can sure tell you I had thought about ending it all. Following through with it may be a different story, but I can sympathize with Mr. Dewees in his feelings.

    Our laws need to reflect the sensitivity of sexual crimes against children and the person accused. Guilty or innocent, this crime is life altering. Society has a role in protecting the innocent against further injustices.

  16. Re: julia

    where can i find this evidence?
    i’m sure if there were other boys involved, they will not be afraid to come foward, provided they do have evidence. Right?
    and yes, it is not just these boys who are victims too. the students of jarvis are victims too. do you know how much grief we’ve experienced as his students? no, i don’t believe just anyone could understand.

    the media killed him. where do you draw the line with the media? i don’t believe they should have made his name and photo public to everyone — if he was INDEED innocent. the media ruined his life even before he got a chance at trial.

    i’m furious. what’s with all this “it was my duty” bullshit? does your conscience not affect you, or do you not have a conscience at all?

    i bet if you had your face plastered around the media — on tv and on headlines — you’d think your life was over too.

    mr. dewees was great. he was inspirational and he never gave up on me. he tries to make school a great place to be, and that’s what a teacher is all about: finding sucess in your own students. he’s changed my life a great deal, and you won’t believe how saddened i feel when i read articles like those by Rosie. yeah: freedom to the press, right? WRONG. things need to change.

  17. Rest in peace, gentle soul. You were loved, perhaps more than you knew, by people who would have stood with you against the outrageous media onslaught. How I wish there had been someone there to listen to you, hold you, remind you of your gentle nature and interupt your urge to end.

    Those who would prejudge you as guilty “because there must have been evidence” – well God help us all if they ever get called to jury duty. Evidence is a very broad term. And who among us has not had an innocent email misinterpreted in a completely unintended and unforeseen way? I know that I have. Do they want to arrest me? Lock me up? Phooey on them. They weren’t worthy of your worry man, they just weren’t worthy. I wish to God you had known that.

    Everyone who knows you wishes that you had believed that.

  18. Sad to say that another boy has come forward in this case. Unfortunately, I know of even one more who has not come forward. To the students who knew and loved him, I know your loss is great. You have lost not only a teacher you loved, but you have lost your ability to trust and you have lost your ability to have faith in our system. The media gave this a great deal of hype, and I’m not agreeing with how they handled things, but if you were a parent, with a child at this camp, or with a child who was in contact with David, you might think differently about whether or not the public should be made aware. There were emails sent that have been read. That we know. It’s horrible to imagine that someone with so much to offer could possibly have a side that the people who loved him didn’t know about. I truly feel for your loss. Without doubt it is devastating. It’s not that there “must have been evidence” but that there was indeed evidence. That’s what people don’t understand when they act impulsively on the internet. It’s not like misinturpreting a conversation. The words are in print. And I think that we as adults are all savvy enough to know the difference between an “innocent” and not so innocent email. At some point, the truth needs to be accepted, no matter how painful. We all must learn from this. The world is a place full of disappointment, but we must teach our children to protect themselves. I too wish that David had not given up. The God he believed in is a god of love and forgiveness. It seems like he was surrounded by people who loved him. I, like all of you, wish that he would have made the choice to move forward with his life. With God’s love and the love of his family and friends, and an honest repentance, he could have turned things around for himself.

      • Hello again Jodi. I hope you find peace in all of this. You have no way of knowing how I am related to what has happened, so you cannot assume the worst of me. We all know about fraudulent emails, but some boys had in-person conversations which are backing up those emails. And Jodi, I think that some people are less than smart — that’s how trouble starts. But unless you know or have talked to the families involved, perhaps out of respect for everyone involved, you should keep an open mind and heart. I am deeply saddened by David’s loss of life. It seems obvious that he was surrounded by love. I understand all the anger from the people who were close to him. This is not the first time my family has experienced this kind of thing. Unfortunately, if you raise children, you find that there is a lot of this, true or not, in the world. It is devastating to everyone. It is especially difficult when the person being accused is not there to defend himself or to ask forgiveness. My kids once had a coach who was accused of a similar thing. We had never had anything but love for this coach, and couldn’t believe that the accusations were true. He was an AMAZING person. When he confessed, we were still in disbelief, but we could move on, and he moved on. I’m not saying it would have been the same for David (in other words, I’m not suggesting that he had something to confess to), but hearing a statement from the mouth of the accussed certainly helped everyone involved to come to grips. I wish with all my heart that he had felt the courage to face what was happening. I’m not the bad guy here. Just someone who is experiencing the other side, and is hoping that the boys who came forward or felt in any way affected will get the help they need. I would have wished the same for David. I did wish the same for David. And that is not a comment on whether or not I think he was guilty. He would have needed a great deal of help, regardless. And it’s good to know that he would have had the support of friends such as you. David would have needed your love no matter what.

        • I guess I know how you are related Julia. It is not hard to guess that probably you work for BOOST. I have a question for those boys inviolved – I still cannot see them as victims in this case. Why David sent e-mails particularly to them? What did they do to encourage in-person conversations with him? Why didn’t they let David know that they would like him to stop those conversations straight? Why there were “brave” enough to go complain behind his back, but didn’t tell him straight in person? Julia, those boys are quite mature teenages, and we can see that 16teen years old person can act completely maturely. Please have a look at David’s students – they maybe understand that possibly he had different sex orientation (see last facebook entry in their group dedicated to the memory of their teacher.

          • My mother, all 80 years of her and a retired teacher, when I told her about this case wondered if homophobia had played a role – by which she meant that the guys might have been turned off by any perception of homosexuality and turned him in to relieve what that other fellow who called in to CFRB referred to as being “creeped out”.

        • I agree that those boys probably need help – just have a look at consequences of their cowardly behaviour. I have difficulty to feel sorry for them…..

        • I was trying to imagine the distress David must have been feeling. It probably seemed to him that, no matter the outcome of a trial, the damage to his reputation would be too much to revive his career. That plus all the stigma attached to the charges – again regardless of the outcome of a trial. Add all this to having been processed through his arrest proceedings and bail hearing with little or no sleep and I can understand how he might think this was the only solution.

          I just cannot stand people assuming he was guilty. The desperation in his suicide would only require the root of the word – despair.

      • Manufactured emails were the cornerstone of the evidence in my case. I will still charged, arrested and altimately acquitted, thank God.

        It could have went the other way and I could be in prison for a crime that was never even committed.

    • If this had been anyone else, we would all have been outraged by the behaviour of a man abusing his position of trust and authority. There would have been NO doubt that other victims should be sought for and helped, I find it outrageous that Mr. Dewees is being portrayed as a martyr and that a shrine has been set up at the school. The well-being of children comes first. He should never have been allowed to begin the academic year at his high school while the issue was under investigation. This man sat at a staff meeting on Sept 2nd and had the gall to ask the principal of his high school (in front of the entire staff) whether it was OK to e-mail students. [He was told that this was a bad idea.] He asked the question after he had been fired from the pioneer camp and while he was under investigation. We know that the most dangerous to children are always the most liked by them. That is what makes them so dangerous.

      My heart goes out to the two boys who had the strength to come forward; and who now have to live with the guilt for the rest of their lives. I also am scared for future victims who will be even more reluctant to come forward when adults act inappropriately, The message they have gotten is that teachers will stick together. How appalling.

      • Thank you Appaulled. And for Annette, I’m not sure that the age of the boys makes any difference. If, as an adult at my place of work, my boss was sending me emails detailing his sexual exploits, and then begging me to do the same, and then coming to me in person to bug me about giving him details, wouldn’t that be sexual harrassment? David was in a position of authority, and we all know that it’s not always easy to stand up to someone you are supposed to be following. And to your other point, whatever David’s sexual preference was, I don’t know, nor do I really care. It’s not the point.

        • Julia, I wish you’d leave what ifs and comparisons elsewhere – like in the Star, Sun or Newstalk 1010 if you must. We’ve been bombarded with all too much speculation and libel of the dead so, if anything, let’s examine with a critical eye the behaviour of the media.

          • You are right Kenn, we can leave out what ifs, but then everyone on both sides of this story must leave out what ifs. Like, what if someone manufactured emails. So, I suppose everyone on this site has had a “what if” moment. It’s part of the sadness of both sides. I don’t need to be singled out, although I’m sure that making me the bad person has relieved some frustration for people. But I am appreciative that you have opened up this page for discussion for those of us who hurt in different ways for different reasons, and for those of us who are personally connected either through family or friends. I have learned something, and hope that others have also. I am very sincere in thanking you for allowing the discussion.

          • I apologize, but I still want to comment on this, because I want to clarify the extent of responsibity of so called “victims”. What had they done to encourage those e-mails from David? Doesn’t it look strange that out of hundreds and maybe thousands of adolescents those two had been chosen? Isn’t it right to call them “victims’ or do they deserve another, more appropriate for them name?
            And the last point. It is a significant difference between the age when the child is not able to defend her/himself and a 15-16 old teenager, who is perfectly able to stand for himself, and commit a crime – as we recently saw in Rengel case.

      • Guilty as charged, eh Appalled? The shrine, as you call it, is from kids who loved their teacher – who knew him to be decent in their experience and who seemed to instill a love of learning. You have accepted the charges as fact and that has been the case with a lot of people who don’t seem to want “innocent until proven guilty” to prevail. He wouldn’t have to be guilty – not by a long shot – to feel that this publicity had ruined his teaching career and taken a rash step to a sad end.

      • You know I agree with the fact that if there was an investigation he should not have been at work. On the other hand his name should not have been made public.

  19. On Monday, MANY Jarvis students and teachers cried their eyes out for the death of Mr.Dewees (including myself, and honestly I don’t really know Mr. Dewees). And I finally stopped crying yesteday after the attending Mr. Dewees memorial, which we Jarvis hosted for him, because I really believe and felt that this great man can finally rest in peace (the media can finally stop bugging him). I was also glad to see how many former and current Jarvis students attended to show their respect this man. Later on after i went home and decided to go online to comfort and talk to a few of my friends who were still really devasted by the fact that he is gone. Then the first thing I received from my friend was the link to read the “Rosie” girl’s journal, or article, or whatever. While, reading it, I began crying again, harder than any other times because of fustration mostly. I disagreed with her saying how he committed suicide just to get sympathy and pity, EVER SINCE THE DAY WE ALL FOUND OUT ABOUT HIS ALLEGATIONS WE WERE ALL REALLY UPSET AND DEVASTED.

    I am trying to not be biased, but I actually been to camp with Dewees for twice, first time was last May, and second was JUST THAT WEEKEND before he committed suicide. Throughout our experience together, all that i have witness was his passion for training the future leaders of Jarvis to make Jarvis a better school, his sense of humor which brought many laughters, and his serious and strict side while lecturing us on important aspects of trust and teamwork. And trust me, it was mainly BOYS who atteneded that camp, but we have never heard a single complaint, rumor, gossip, or any dislike of Mr. Dewees. Not trying to state that he is 100% innocent. But what is making me even MORE mad is that where are all these “EVIDENCES” coming from that determines Dewees is GUILTY?!? BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT?!? did the police publicly announced anything about that? or are PEOPLE just making up more BS?

  20. Some people may think that I am stubborn, but i NEVER believe anyone (no matter if i know them or not) is guilty for “their act of the crime.” Unless if they are 100% proven guilty. THAT IS WHAT I BELIEVE.

  21. Another boy came forward? Well, people came forward for different reasons – to seek revenge, financial compensation or fame and so on. let us not forget that those “boys” are 15 and 16 years old, can they really be called boys?
    Didn’t we see people coming forward with accusations and blaming innocent people?
    Didn’t we hear about false e-mails sometimes sent from the absent at the moment person’s computer?

  22. I did not know this man, but from the first time I saw coverage of this story and his photo, I knew it was over for Mr. Dewees. I teach media studies. This story was sensationalized from the very beginning. I am angry, sad and disturbed that a man’s life would mean so little to so many people. It really is shameful. In the future I hope that there is greater sensitivity given to those who have not yet been found guilty of alleged crimes.

  23. Question 1: Should it be a crime to communicate to someone for a sexual purpose who is above the age of consent? At least one of the boys was 16 at the time of the communication, and 16 is the age of consent. Does it not seem a bit absurd to charge people for communicating via the Internet when it is not illegal via other means –letter, telephone, face-to-face conversation?

    Question 2: Should the age of consent be 16 or 14? Barely a year ago the age of consent was 14. Did something magical happen in 1 year? Did 14 year olds suddenly go from being sexually aware individuals running on their own steam, to being fragile little flowers who know nothing about sexuality? In Spain the age of consent is 13. Are the Spanish evil?

    Question 3: Were these boys victimized? Nobody knows what the communication was, whether it was threatening, weird, funny, annoying, or boring. The boys were, apparently, not interested. But we do not know how or why they told this to a camp counsellor. Were they crying, laughing, annoyed, bored? Did they mention it by accident, not thinking it was that big of a deal? The camp counselor they told was legally obligated to report it to the police, no matter the nature or circumstances of the disclosure.

    People will accuse Dewees of doing wrong, if in no other way, by abusing the power of his position as camp counselor and teacher. While it is true people who are in positions of influence and power can exert that position to obtain favors that are not due to them, it is not true that everyone in such positions will do so. There is no reason thus far to think Dewees used his position to obtain favors, by, for example, using threats of withholding benefits to campers or students. While I agree that there ought always to be a barrier of sorts between teachers and pupils, the idea this barrier should be absolute, on pain of death, is the return of fundamentalism in the West. History is replete with examples of students and teachers/mentors engaging in more than studies. It is only in the past 30 years that this has been increasingly viewed as a metaphysical evil. I would say, let us judge each relationship on the basis of mutuality, friendship, and openness. And let us enable people to live according to these virtues, rather than threaten them, force them into hiding, then lash out at them when their secret lives are exposed. Maybe then we will be able to accept the men for whom education is an aesthetic experience, not merely a duty to be done diligently.

    I think we should spend a few moments thinking about how sexually abusive it is to forbid the existence of people with different sexualities, and enforce it with train tracks. Sexual abuse of children is a real thing, but we have lost our ability to make reasonable judgments on these matters. The fact that a man has killed himself after being hounded and humiliated before millions of people all because of CONVERSATIONS with teenagers is the firmest proof yet.

    • I very much appreciate your contribution.

      Your nickname “talktalk” reminds me that it is “Newstalk 1010″ (CFRB) which spoke to a young man on Tuesday who claimed that he had been “creeped out” by Mr. Dewees at camp. It’s going to take some discerning ears to follow up on such reports which fly in the face of what Dewees’ students are saying about him. But you’re right, I believe, about where the specific charges laid would be placed on the continuum of sexual offences.

      What follows is the headline/summary on CTV’s web site. I’m afraid the best I can do is direct you to the site and you will find the report beneath their media player.

      “Teen claims Dewees was inappropriate with him
      A teenager phoned Newstalk 1010 Radio Tuesday to say that David Dewees, who committed suicide after being charged with sex offences, had acted inappropriately towards him at summer camp.”

    • Thank you talktalk. I think you’ve said nearly everything I would have wanted to say, and you’ve said it brilliantly. I did not know David Dewees, though I know someone who did, but I am suffused with anger over this grotesque injustice and the disgusting self-justifications in the media that followed. I think the police behaviour here also needs to be reviewed: the whole business of trolling the country for ‘other victims’ should be forbidden. And as for publishing the email addresses of a man whom the media have falsely accused of sex crimes against children–you need no trial in court when every self-righteous ‘anti-pedophile’ gobbler of Rosie What’sername’s contemptible blather can share their opinion with him directly. What contribution did that make to David Dewees’ terrible decision, and where was the Data Protection Act when the police made that decision? Are we to understand that a citizen of this country loses all his rights the moment a particular kind of accusation is made? The law needs to be changed. The police need to be more strictly and robustly overseen. And we’ve got to stop making pedophiles the legitimate target of all our collective repressed viciousness.

    • I totally agree with you talktalk and thank you for bringing some clarity.
      As you read here Julia’s e-mails you can imagine that the “poor” victims are boys from 3 to 11 years of age, but not 15 or 16 old teenager who can easily father a child. Also it would be very interesting to know what those teenage boys actually did that had provoced Mr. Dewees to e-mail them (IF he really did that), but not the many others. Until we really know the answers to all those questions I see here only victim – David Dewees and his poor parents. I hope those people who drove Mr. Dewees to his death will bear this guilt to the rest of their of their lives.

  24. Thank you very much for writing this article. Rosie Dimanno’s grossly unsubstantiated comments sickens me. I was a regular reader of thestar, but I’ve come to realize that some media outlets have simply degenerated to the level of gossip and sensationalism. The media isn’t reporting facts anymore, they’re just taking stories, twisting it into something else and then presenting it to us.

  25. I am so happy someone finally has sensitivity to the family. I have been a long time friend of David’s and sang in the Mendelssohn Choir with him. He was loved by all. He will be missed!

    • I’m very sorry for your personal loss. I hope that the family has been spared the worst of the media coverage, although it’s difficult to avoid completely. If you are in touch with the family please let them know that many, many people are part of an outer ring of support.

  26. I just listened to the CTV report on the teen who was at camp and felt “creeped” out by David Dewees. Is it totally insensitive of me to consider that it is very possible for a teen who is at an age where sexual identity is being formed to misinterpret the attention received from an older male?

  27. thank you for this, I was a student at Jarvis, it was very upsetting the way that the reporting of that was handled for me. The way they used that awful picture of him and used his name at the very beginning was awful, and the reporters going to his family only days after it happened was just plain awful. As you’ve probably seen us students held a memorial for him, at that a camera man interrupted a story about Mr. Dewees and pushed students out of the way so he could get a better shot of our flowers and letters and after that he was complaining loudly about us, I may be a teenager but I know that was extremely rude and disrespectful and very unprofessional.

    • Thanks for writing and, as I’ve done with others who were close to Mr. Dewees, I’d like to express my deep sadness for the loss of your teacher and mentor. Please write back with any future plans the student body, alumni and/or school administration may have. I’m sure you will be giving some thought to a lasting memorial of some kind. From what I gather there better be some Latin on any plaque!

      • We’re planning a school memorial assembly, probably next week sometime… As well all of his students are invited to go to his funeral this Friday

        Thank you for your writing this, we will miss him. And a friend of mine is planning to sing Mr. Dewees’s favorite opera song in Latin (he was such a cool guy he managed to get an opera club started and 15 kids joined it too)

        • That’s pretty amazing. Thanks for letting me know. I’m sure you’ll make him proud at the funeral. Can you maybe get the football team to block TV cameras outside? :-)

          • unfortunately Jarvis doesn’t have a football team, but some of the larger guys did stand in front of cameras at our memorial on Monday

            • Well I wouldn’t want it to get ugly but you can count on a lot of so-called journalists there on Friday. Take care. As terrible a situation as this is the outpouring of support is a great tribute to Mr. Dewees.
              I’m leaving town in the morning but I’m keeping the comments section open and I’ll want to catch up when I get back!

  28. The handling of David Dewees’ story is proof that traditional media is dying. The comments I have read in reaction to his story are more humane, relevant and insightful than the speculation, allegations and sheer garbage published by the paper. We can’t bring David back, but maybe we are learning that the traditional newspaper is losing its foothold in our lives — rapidly.

  29. I live close to High Park station, so David likely lived not far from my house. This whole affair is heart-wrenchingly sad. To David’s family and friends and students I would like to extend my deepest, most heart-felt sympathies on your terrible loss. Would to God David would still be alive!! David, may you rest in peace with the angels!!

  30. As someone who knew the late Dave Dewees, I can only attest to his good character. Regarding whatever he may or may not have done, I think that speculating will do no good at this point. As for those who would wish to deny friends and family the opportunity to mourn this tragic loss, I would ask that you allow us to remember the many, many good things that Dave accomplished in his time here – his legacy will not be soon forgotten. Yes, we all have darkness in our lives, for no one is perfect – so let us not be quick to judge others’ faults, but rather encourage the good we see within those around us. Let us continually uplift and foster growth in each other. And may our hearts be open to receiving the love and healing that is offered by Christ and that we may pass on that love to the world.

    “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
    (John 1:5)

    I pass on these wise words that I received:
    “Any good deeds that Dave did, which seem to be many, are not extinguished by any dark deeds he may or may not have done. The darkness doesn’t put out the light, the light puts out the darkness.”

  31. I came to the visitation, and I have never seen so many people and visitation like that before. I think it lasted well after 9 p.m., because people kept coming.
    As I think about all circumstances that had impacted David’s decision, I can’t stop wondering what happened at the time when he was under arrest…
    He knew about those accusations before, and probably he might have been aware what is coming, but he decided to end his life after he was released on bail…. Ray’s youtube videos with description how he was treated after his arrest bring many thoughts….

    • Well it’s good to know David’s family will be well supported.

      Ray thank you so much for posting the YouTube videos. Your story is very compelling and tragic and I would really like it if you stayed in touch. You have obvious gifts and I hope your advocacy pays off.

      I have added Ray’s great web-site. It’s definitely worth a good read/listen and is very relevant, I believe, to the tragedy which preceded David Dewee’s death – at the very least in the way these kinds of cases are handled.

      • Thank you Kenn, I really appreciate it. I hope my experience as fresh as it is, will help people understand what happens in real life to real people.

        I hope something good comes out of these bad situations.

  32. Reading Mr. Dewees’ story is heartbreaking. I know people try to think about what process he must have taken that took him to the subway tracks. I wonder – lets just say he was guilty of chatting with some teens on the net, the conversation got sexual. Ok – the teens were 15. Maybe the conversation went to far, maybe he was trying to relate to them in some way and it became inappropriate. OR. Maybe Mr. Dewees was gay, was not out publicly and engaged in some sexual inappropriate conversations with some teens. OR. Maybe this didn’t happen at all. Maybe the teens made it up. If the first two events did happen, well as inappropriate as it is chatting with 2 teenage boys with sexual overtones, I am sure the teenagers will see the light of day. Come on they probably chat about worse things with their friends.

    What ever he was thinking, I can certainly relate to the first few days of being arrested. The police said to me, “I bet you feel like your life is going down the toilet.” When I was read off my charges I thought, this is a mistake, it’ll be okay. Then I was interrogated for 6 hours. I then realized this was very serious. That I wasn’t going home and that OMG I think my life and everything I have accomplished was going to be gone once this hits the media. I now figured that it didn’t matter if I was innocent or not, my reputation was ruined. It hit me in waves and I think those waves were anxiety and depression attacks. I had these in the confines of my cell, where I was kept, not being able to shower or talk to anyone I knew. Not knowing what my family or friends were going to think.

    I read the papers too, I know what I think when I read articles about someone accused of a sexual crimes against children. I had my own opinions. I don’t read the newspaper the same way anymore.

    Mr. Dewees was certainly feeling like his public reputation was ruined. He was certainly embarrassed, humiliated and feeling depressed. He certainly felt like his life was ‘going down the toilet.’ He was certaily questioning what everyone he had ever known thought of him. We know he felt all these emotions.

    This is the heartbreaking part.

    Mr. Dewees guilty of inappropriate conversations or not felt those things, I can tell you that for sure. Either way his reputation and career as a teacher were definitely over and that was obviously reason enough for him to end his life.

    I have started writing on various stories that I feel relate to my case. If you would like to check it out here is the address:

    http://thefalseconfession.blogspot.com/

    • Not only his reputation was ruined, but I am sure he was in despair about his family. His parents are very well known and respectable people, father is a professor and the whole staff of UofT came to the funeral. His brother is a wonderful man as well. OMG, the heart is breaking to think what he was going through. Probably he thought that he had no other choice. May he rest in piece, and we all will love and remember him.

  33. I read an article about the suicide, sadly skimming it over until I saw the mention of OPC. After that I woke up and started to try and figure out what happened. Because of the ‘camp name’ system, I couldn’t instantly recognize who it was. I was both a camper and staff at OPC while David was there and knew him in passing. There is no doubt in my mind that he was innocent and simply misunderstood, then vilified. So many people knew what type of man he was, knew he was a good man. How often do we see outpouring of support, love and respect for the person who has had charges placed against them? At least, for those who ‘matter’, we know the truth. My heart and prayers go out to his family, friends, coworkers, students and campers. My deep anger goes out to some despicable members of the media. If one good thing can come from this, perhaps it will be a change in the attitude and laws regarding aspects of this sort of ‘case’.

  34. What should be stopped by society?
    A. The teacher predator that abuses children.
    B. The educationally authority that allows the predator to target children.
    C. The educational legal authority that claims to protect children and don’t.
    D. The silent acceptance of administrative abuse of power.

    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20061101/whistleblower_teachers_061115/20061115/
    http://canadians4accountability.org/cases/cases-e.html#jb
    http://freethroughtruth.blogspot.com/2009/09/oct-blackballs-jim-black.html
    http://tomorrowstrust.ca/?p=7202

  35. i knew Dave personally, we met at pioneer camp while he was a counselor there and in my 6 years there as a camper there me and a fellow camper who was a close friend of mine from home became quite good friends with Dave. in our time at camp and even in the years following we kept in contact with him he was always there for us when we needed him when we needed advice or just needed a friend to talk to. he was a good man a great friend and an excellent mentor. i know that Dave was innocent but was found guilty by a trial of his peers, not in a court of law but in the court of the media a court which sadly today bears more weight in the eyes of this countries citizens then the laws and establishments that are meant to uphold our freedoms and liberties and everything that we as Canadians stand for. i doubt that anyone will read this and if someone does i hope that you are smart enough to know when the media is trying for a quick buck instead of reporting the truth which is their duty. so i close with this, to the journalists, the newspapers, the blogger’s, commenters, and everyone else out there who did not know this man but based their oppinions on half truths assumptions and lies, his blood is on your hands and that is a stain that does not come out.

  36. I thought about Mr. Dewees today and cried quite a bit. I always found him odd as a teacher, I just couldn’t relate to him as a friend or mentor. But I did see him as an amazing teacher; one very passionate about sharing his knowledge especially Latin. I remember when I was in grade 10 we watched an episode of Rome and when it began to go to a sex scene he would stand up and cover it from our eyes. I can’t remember what he would say but I’m sure he threw in a joke. It makes me smile looking back. I remember he caught me copying someone’s homework which was a translation from Latin to English which I forgot to do, anyway he was so disappointed, and I turning red as tomato promised I wouldn’t do it again. I kept my promise. He was always friendly, always smiling, always optimistic, it makes me sad that I never got to “hold his hand” and reassure him everything was going to be okay. My heart and mind agree that Mr. Dewees is a victim.

    Try to live by this quote:
    ” Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”
    Og Mandino

    Thank you Mr. Dewees for making a foot print in my life.

  37. i spent a all of 2009’s summer and half of 2008’s summer with dave i cut so deep into my back that i needed stiches to pull my mussel back together i’m 18 now i met him when i was 16 and he was the kind of person who i always wanted to be around his sence of humor was so strange but always positive. i spend at least 6 hours in the emergency room with dave. we watched a movie, we teased the nurses and the doctors, we made nonstop jokes and absolutly made some fake fart noises. when i had to get my stiches he made sure he was in the same room as me. he even insisted 2 weeks later that he was with me when i got them out he was such an amazing person.
    so i don’t want to hear anymore opinions of what happend or who’s fault it is, if you have a memory share it if you have support share it i think thats what dave would like us to do remember the positives

    dear Dave i miss you everyday

  38. Dave was my moral compass, life long friend, and brilliant and talented beyond belief. I can say with 100% certainty that he was not gay, he did not intend to hurt or mislead or make those “boys” uncomfortable in any way. The emails were tacky at the worst. But they were not from a sick, demented, cruel person trying to take advantage of anyone in any capacity. It has been over a year now since Dave took his life and I still struggle everyday to make peace with it all. His family is still struggling and his Mom has become an empty shell. I am mad not only at the media and Toronto police, but at Pioneer Camp, and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship as well. Nobody handled this situation well. Dave was not only scorned by the camp he had freely dedicated his summers to since he did the LIT program in ’93 but by the christian institution that backs them. He was told by his lawyer that nothing would come of the investigation and to not reach out to anybody. I only wish I had know what he was going through so I could have been the first to stand up beside him and say I believe you. He was not a criminal. I miss him everyday and wish he was still here. The world lost a true hero on October 3, 2009. It’s a bit darker now for everyone who’s life he blessed…which is more than anyone I know.

  39. Dear Heat3,
    I am a little bothered by your comment, ” I can say with 100% certainty that he was not gay”. I am not sure why you added that in there. If he was gay or not, his sexuality has nothing to do with this. If in fact if he was gay,(which no one really knows) still doesn’t mean he is guilty or not guilty.
    Making reference to the gay issue, in my opinion, drudges up stigma and predudice. As soon as someone is labelled “gay” in a sexual assault senario with “boys” it is automaticially assumed that the gay guy is guilty. So to say “I can say with 100% certainty that he was not gay”, does not make him innocent.

  40. Dear Ray Collingham,

    I am very sorry for offending you…it was not my intention. I simply meant to address the previous mentioned comments about him luring or having inappropriate contact with the young men who came forward. It would be like me being accused of stinging someone. Everyone who know’s me know’s I’m not a bee so I couldn’t possibly have stung anyone. I was speaking from the heart and didn’t have my social filter’s on and working to capacity. I miss Dave very much to this day.

  41. This man taught me grade 10 English. He was a great man and I give him credit to my passion for reading fine literature and my ability to deconstruct it and understand it with my own thoughts and not the ones pre-assigned to it.

    I only have one thing to say in regards to the allegations made against him and his tragic death. I hope that for the sake of the children who accused him of misconduct that they were being truthful. It is one thing to carry the burden of shaming one into an early grave when they wronged you. It is a completely other thing if it was a lie cooked up due to someone’s prejudice against this man.

  42. It is touching to read so many of these comments and know that we were not alone, and to see so many more being posted. Mr Dewees was my Grade 9 English teacher and without a doubt one of the best and most influential teachers I’ve ever had. Ms Purcell, who you mentioned above, was my English teacher at the time and I will never be able to forget her coming into class the day of these allegations.

    The media response around this was absolutely revolting. First, the Toronto Star’s total and dramatic misprint of the charges against him, for that matter the publishing of his identity. I will forever hold them responsible for his death and the lack of apology or accountability has forever tarnished the media in my eyes. Yes, Mr Dewees was ultimately responsible for the decisions he may or may not have made and made the decision not to live with it. Who could? Even if the allegations had proven false, to have your life so brazenly and inaccurately published to the entire world in this age of global media, who can reasonably say they would not have had the same idea? Mr Dewees was a brilliant and wonderful person and even if he was not innocent (which I could never believe) he would have let himself be held accountable and given the system its due process. When the entire city knows your face, your name and the allegations against you, it changes everything.

    Rosie DiManno is a terrible human being, who should have been sued for slander and at the least lost her job with the Star. She has lost all journalistic integrity in the eyes of many in this city, and I hope she remembers his suicide before going to bed each night.

    Equally horrifying and completely unpublicized was the media’s response at school. Many students did not come to class that Monday morning after his suicide on Saturday. For those of us who did it was painful and we went to school to seek comfort in each other. At lunch I was shocked and disgusted with the media yet again for approaching students, including many close friends of mine, at many local spots where students were buying their lunches. I remember many students coming back into the school in tears over the media’s insensitivity and crudeness. To corner grieving high school students that went out for lunch that day and question them they way they did shows a complete lack of morality or empathy. Our principal was thankfully quick and harsh in dealing with the media, barring media from school property, reminding students that we have the right not to comment if we are not comfortable and to continue to make complaints if anything should happen.

    The school’s reaction throughout the entire process was responsible, yet protective of Mr Dewees and always putting us students first. I am very thankful to Jarvis for this and have been at no point around this any less proud to call myself a Jarvis-ite.

    This is sad chapter in our city’s history, for the allegations, the media response and the amends that were never made to anyone.

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