The Current

Shannon Moroney examines how crime hurts families of perpetrators

When Shannon Moroney's husband was charged with a violent sexual assault and kidnapping two women, she became a pariah... blamed and shunned. Today, we bring you the stories of those thrust into a world of victimization and judgement, and look at the consequences faced by families of perpetrators.
Shannon Moroney's own story of being married to a man who committed a violent crime lead her to discover a group of women in Windsor, ON who gather weekly for support because they too have family members who committed crimes. (Anka Czudec, Studio Anka)

It was one month after her wedding in 2005, that Shannon Moroney's life changed in a way she never could have imagined.  She was away from her Peterborough, Ontario home at an out-of-town conference when she learned from police that her new husband, Jason Staples, had sexually assaulted and then kidnapped two women.

Suddenly, the life she knew was shattered -- Her husband in custody, her house a crime scene, and herself a target of blame, judgment and scrutiny.  Jason Staples plead guilty and was declared a dangerous offender. After that, Shannon Moroney began writing and speaking about her experience. 

I was in desperate need of help at that point. So I went to victim's services at the police station. And when I arrived at victims services I was greeted by the counsellor who looked me up and down and said 'what are you doing here? You need to understand how serious this is.' As if for one second I didn't ... I knew all the brutal details. I'd had to clean up the crime scene in my own home, so I knew how serious it was.- Shannon Moroney on The Current in 2011

In 2011 she published her memoir,  "Through the Glass." (read an excerpt). 

Anna Maria's conversation with Shannon Moroney in 2011:

After one month of marriage, Shannon Moroney's husband was charged with violent sexual assault and kidnapping of two women. She shares her story.

​Today, as part of our new series, Ripple Effect … we're looking at the powerful impact of crimes -- not only on the community, or on victims....  but on the family members of those accused, and convicted. 

Shannon Moroney joined Anna Maria in studio.

The documentary "In Harm's Way" was produced by author Shannon Moroney with The Current's executive producer, Kathleen Goldhar. Joan Webber is The Current's documentary editor. 

In the documentary, chaplain Rielly MacLaren said that he and his colleagues are committed to helping these family members....  even if the Federal government doesn't value what they do. So we did request a response from the Department of Justice... and we received a statement which reads in part:

Funding is available each year to provinces, territories and non-governmental organizations whose projects, activities and operations support the objectives of the Federal Victims Strategy. While none of this funding is earmarked specifically for the families of perpetrators of violent crimes, they may be eligible for support provided by our provincial / territorial / non-governmental partners.

If you've been affected by crimes of a family member or friend, get in touch.