Being accused of a crime can be life altering, and can ruin someone’s life. Once accused, the notion is that they must be guilty. People are stigmatized with this bad reputation before they are given an opportunity to prove their innocence. Since April of 2017 According to Vox dot com, 252 different celebrities, politicians and famous business owners have been accused of sexual misconduct. 147 of them have occurred in the last 10 months. Although the majority are men, there have also been 6 celebrity women accused of this.
Former Toronto Blue Jay Pitcher Roberto Osuna was arrested and charged with domestic assault on May the 8th of 2018. He was immediately forced to take an administrative leave.
On June 22nd of this year, he received a 75 game suspension without pay and yet no verdict on whether he was guilty or innocent, but still more punishment nonetheless.
Just over a month later, Osuna traded to The Houston Astros.
Previous to this matter, Osuna was having one heck of a start to his pitching career. When he made his debut in 2015 he became the youngest pitcher to play for The Blue Jays. 2 years later he became the youngest All-Star for the Jays. This year he became the youngest player EVER to record 100 saves.
On September 25th he made his return to Toronto. Although he was initially greeted with a mix of boos and cheers as he was introduced, only boos followed. Boos rang out on every single pitch afterwards.
The following day Osuna was in court and the prosecution withdrew the assault charge due to a lack of evidence. They withdrew the charge in exchange for a one-year agreement that prohibits him speaking to the mother of his child, and that he continue his counseling. That same day Osuna made another appearance in Toronto and was treated exactly the same. Londoner, Randy Wright tells us that people don’t change their mind. “People will be divided, even when you’re proven innocent, people still think you’re guilty.”
Now that Ontario has legalized marijuana, drivers may face penalties when using it. It’s hard to determine how high somebody is, especially since marijuana can stay in your system for up to 90 days depending on frequent you are to its use. Nurse Melissa Milner from the Middlesex Health Unit adds that people need to be safe when they use marijuana. “It’s not just not driving for half an hour but it’s increasing that time so that you’re not driving for quite a while, to make sure everyone stays safe.” Middlesex health unit recommends that you wait at least waiting 6 hours to drive, after using cannabis.
John Stopyra is an army veteran who recently got accused of being under the influence and his whole life changed for the worse, because of it. “After working all day on very little sleep and moving to my new place all afternoon and evening I finally arrived at my new place. I parked my car and fell asleep from exhaustion. I got woken up by 6 cops in total”, Stopyra recalls. The police were called because Stopyra’s new landlord noticed someone sleeping inside a vehicle in her parking lot. She saw this out her window and from a distance was unaware it was him at the time. She was concerned for the well-being of the unknown person and thought they may need some medical attention.
This whole ordeal may have been resolved if it wasn’t for the alleged actions of a 911 operator. The 911 operator asked Stopyra’s landlord to go outside and give her the licence plate number. As she approached closer, she said she recognized him and told the operator that he was her new roommate who was moving in today. The operator demanded that she step away from the vehicle, that she not approach him and to go inside. Stopyra is shocked by these actions because he does not have a criminal record, or at least he didn’t at the time. Had she been able to wake him up this situation may have been avoided.
Stopyra says “Instead of asking if I was okay, I was bombarded with questions and asked if I was under the influence right away. I explained my situation and offered to do a sobriety test. I walked a perfect line and never fell or even almost fell. I counted correctly, everything. Stopyra thought this was the end of this ordeal and that he would be sleeping in his new home moments later. This was not the case. Minutes later I was told by one of the cops that he had decided that I was high. When asking what drug, I was ignored.”
Stopyra was arrested and charged with Care and Control of a vehicle while under the influence. This was the just the beginning of the horrors to come for Stopyra. In the following weeks, Stopyra’s life would continue to get destroyed, as a result of this situation. His car was then impounded, costing him over $730 to take out. If he did not have the money at the time, it would be an additional $100 per day. Stopyra had no choice but to ultimately plead guilty so that he could keep his full-time job, which he now needed more than ever, because of this conviction. His licence was suspended for a year and he will have to pay a $1000 fine before receiving his licence.
Stopyra feels the first moments of when police arrived may be the reason why they assumed the worse.
“Who is going to be mentally prepared to answer questions seconds after you wake up? No one. You’re still half asleep. But because of that moment of confusion, they assume you’re under the influence”, says Stopyra.
We now look at anybody with an accusation as being a horrible monster but the reality is this could happen to anybody you know, including yourself. All it takes is for someone to speak up and claim it.