The act of former Calgary Stampeder Jerome Messam secretly recording their sexual tryst will impact his victim forever, she told a city courtroom Friday.
The woman, who can’t be identified, gave a lengthy victim impact statement on how her life has been shattered by the one-time all-star running back’s criminal behaviour.
“The long-term effects of what Mr. Messam did are a permanent fixture on my life,” the woman told a Calgary Court of King’s Bench hearing.
Despite being expected to show up in person for his sentencing, Messam, 37, was permitted to view the proceedings remotely from Ontario.
And after Crown prosecutor Janice Walsh raised concerns by the victim that Messam would be able to tune out her words, Justice April Grosse admonished him to pay attention.
“It certainly is my expectation Mr. Messam that you will listen to this,” Grosse said, before the woman took to the courtroom podium.
“Yes ma’am,” Messam replied.
Messam pleaded guilty in January to voyeurism for video recording a Nov. 11, 2016, consensual sexual tryst he had with the woman in his Calgary home.
The victim told Grosse she is not the person she was before Messam violated her sexual integrity by making a recording of their sexual encounter.
“So when people tell me that I don’t seem like myself anymore, of course I don’t. The person they’re referring to didn’t have any reason to live in fear, to be angry all the time, to feel like she has no autonomy,” she said.
“Who I am now can’t relate to the carefree person I was before this happened.”
Often choking back her emotions, the woman said she had to leave Calgary in order to attempt to put the incident behind her after struggling through her final semester of post-secondary education.
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But she said she hasn’t been able to take the time to recover from the emotional trauma Messam inflicted on her.
“Time stops for no one and I don’t have the luxury of taking time away from all of my responsibilities,” she said.
“I’m a shell of myself.”
At the time of Messam’s guilty plea, Crown prosecutor Janice Walsh read in a statement of agreed facts detailing his crime.
According to the agreed facts, Messam sent the woman “four sexually explicit video clips” via Snapchat, a message service that deletes texts in 10 seconds.
“Accompanying the video clips was a sexually explicit message from the accused,” the prosecutor said.
“Each of the sexually explicit video clips lasted 10 seconds and were permanently deleted once it had finished playing. Recognizing the impermanence of the video clips, (the victim) used another electronic device to record one of the sexually explicit video clips before it permanently deleted,” Walsh said.
According to the agreed facts, Messam never shared the clips with anyone else and has deleted them.
In sentencing submissions, Walsh said while she wasn’t seeking a jail term, the conditional discharge being sought by defence lawyer Daniel Nguyen, which would spare Messam a criminal record, was inappropriate.
She said Messam’s conduct violated the victim’s physical integrity.
“Mr. Messam … decided to take something from the victim, something that cannot be fully replaced,” she said.
The hearing is expected to continue on Nov. 10.
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