Calgary Herald

Ex-Stamp Childress gets probation


Former Calgary Stampeder Fred Childress will avoid a criminal record — and possible deportatio­n to the United States — for striking a child with a leather belt.

Provincial court Judge John Bascom sentenced Childress to one year of probation on Thursday and gave him a conditiona­l discharge, meaning he won’t have a record if he abides by several conditions during the next 12 months.

Childress, 47, pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon last year for using the belt to discipline a 10-year-old boy, whose identity is protected by a court order. In reaching his decision, Bascom said Childress inflicted little lasting harm on the victim, and that a sentence resulting in a criminal record and deportatio­n would result in disproport­ionate harm to the accused and his family.

“This is a crime involving violence; however, it is at the lower end of the scale,” Bascom said.

In earlier evidence, court heard Childress struck the child five or six times on the arm and back with a leather belt strap on Aug. 8, 2012.

Bascom stressed corporal punishment is no longer an acceptable form of discipline, but he also noted there wasn’t evidence Childress lashed out in anger or intended to harm the child. Mentioning Childress’s considerab­le size — six-foot-four and 345 pounds during his Canadian Football League playing days — the judge said the former offensive lineman was easily capable of inflicting injuries if he wanted to.

“Mr. Childress’s actions were measured; there was no intent on Mr. Childress’s part to inflict significan­t harm,” Bascom said. “His motive was to correct, not harm.”

Defence lawyer Clayton Rice had previously argued for a conditiona­l discharge, telling the court during sentencing submission­s that Childress now understand­s the law does not permit his actions and that the guilty plea was a sign of remorse. Crown prosecutor Kyra Kondro argued for a conditiona­l sentence, and said Childress should have to take counsellin­g, including anger management, and perform 100 hours of community service.

Bascom noted that neither side was asking for a jail term, but said a con- ditional sentence and the resulting criminal record would have placed Childress at risk of deportatio­n. Considerin­g Childress’s extensive ties to Calgary, where his two children, his ex-wife and current spouse currently live, Bascom said a criminal conviction resulting in deportatio­n would have been disproport­ionate to the crime.

As part of his probation, Childress will have to perform 50 hours of community service, report to a probation officer as required and attend counsellin­g if directed. The judge also ordered Childress to provide a DNA sample and pay a $50 victim fine surcharge.

Childress, who played with the Stampeders from 1996 to 2003, was a member of the 1998 and 2001 Grey Cup champion teams.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada