Won't be an easy week

STEVE SIMMONS,SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

A disconsolate Steve Jefferson walked out of the house Wednesday night, wandered into his garage, and needed to be alone.

When his wife came looking for him, he asked her to go back in the house. He needed that time, to sit, to think, to calm down.

"Just watching The Fifth Estate again, it brought back all these emotions," Mike Danton's father said. "It has been a long time, living through all this. Sometimes you put it out of your mind. Sometimes you just try to go on with your days. But to see it all -- again -- the whole thing made me sick."

This will not be an easy week for what is left of the Jefferson family, formerly of Brampton. But it is, after all these years, a part of what they have been hoping for.

"How long have I been waiting for this?" Jefferson repeated the question. "I guess it's about seven years. Tom (youngest son) was 14 when we found the pictures. He's now 21 going on 22. With all that has gone on, we've been waiting a long time for this."

This is the trial of David Frost, beginning this morning in Napanee, two years after he was charged with 12 counts of sexual exploitation by the Ontario Provincial Police. Four years after Jefferson's oldest son, the estranged Danton, plead guilty to a clumsy murder-for-hire plot that landed him with a 71/2 year sentence in the United States.

The toll on one family has been enormous. One son lost and imprisoned. The other still trying to find his way.

"You grow up hoping the laws of the country protect you and your family," Jefferson said. "But the way this country's laws are, who knows anymore? I try not to get too emotional about this, but I can't help myself. All I keep thinking about is walking in to court and spitting in his (Frost's) face. Spit at him like he spit on the pancakes he made Tom eat."

Most of the 12 counts of sexual exploitation against Frost have been dropped. A variety of provincial prosecutors have passed this case around like it's a bad penny.

Nobody was willing to determine they could make the charges stick. In the end -- or in this case the beginning of the trial -- there remain just four charges of sexual exploitation against Frost. The numerous prosecutors who played hot potato with the case finally condensed the charges to those they believe have a reasonable chance of conviction.

But this won't be an easy case to make.

The charges date back more than a decade to Frost's involvement as coach of the Quinte Hawks, a Tier-2 junior team in Deseronto, Ont., where he not so conveniently lived at a local motel in the same room with a number of his players. Mike Danton, now in prison for attempting to have Frost killed, was one of those players. The victims in this case, all of them male, cannot be identified under publication ban.

Many of the prosecution witnesses, we are told, adult woman now, voluntarily came forward to tell their stories after Danton went to prison for attempting to have Frost killed and after the Canadian investigative program, The Fifth Estate, aired its first of numerous versions of Frost's murky story in the hockey world. This case could well come down to he/said, she/said, with credibility of the witnesses being paramount. Today, legal arguments will be heard regarding admissibility of certain evidence: This may be a hint by today or tomorrow of how strong the prosecution's case is. Veteran prosecutor Sandy Tse is trying the case; Eddie Greenspan's former sidekick, Marie Henein is acting for Frost.

Steve Jefferson, not surprisingly, hopes for a conviction, a jail term, something to bring some kind of satisfaction to a family that has had little.

"If he's convicted, maybe something good can happen with Mike," he said. "Maybe they'd send him back to Canada. I wrote him a letter recently. He didn't send it back the way the other letters were sent back. It made me optimistic. It would be to nice to see him, sit down and talk to him one day. I don't think that's too much to ask for, is it?"


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