When CJ LaFrance had a chance to hang out with the Syracuse football team last August, he was nine years old, he was battling cancer, his parents were having a hard time paying for treatments, and the whole situation tugged on everyone's heartstrings.

Nearly one year later, we learned the reality: It was all a lie. According to a report by Syracuse.com, a four-month investigation by the Cayuga County Sheriff's Office concluded the parents faked the cancer diagnosis to snag an exclusive, up-close-and-personal invitation to attend a Syracuse football practice, and they also bilked people out of thousands of dollars. Now, the parents, Martin and Jolene LaFrance (below) face a May 16th arraignment.

Credit: Cayuga County Sheriff
Credit: Cayuga County Sheriff

The extent of their charade, and the people they duped, is sickening on a number of levels.

Orange players posed for pictures with young CJ. Head coach Dino Babers donated some of his time. CJ was allowed special access to a huddle of players and coaches.

A GoFundMe page brought in over $3,000 (spent on God knows what), and the boy's father oozed sincerity and gratitude at the kindness of the donations. Acting, as it turns out, befitting the derelicts on the Jerry Springer Show.

Justin Roe, the boy's uncle, had also provided vivid details about the young boy's "illness" that were reported in Syracuse.com--CJ's condition was "upgraded to Stage 3," the malignant growth was located "in CJ's abdomen," and he "wasn't getting better."

One aspect of the case that's not clear is whether Roe was in on the hoax, or maybe was victimized by the same lies the LaFrances were telling others.

And, if it's true that CJ LaFrance's parents convinced their young boy he had cancer in order to bolster the ruse, the potential psychological damage they inflicted on him should be reflected in the severity of their eventual punishment.

The real-life cancer trials and tribulations of truly good people have been reported often on our websites. It's a shame that their genuine stories of pain and heartbreak and recovery have to compete for our sympathies and interest against the pitiful sham that was apparently perpetrated by the LaFrance family.

As far as this case is concerned, the Cayuga County sheriff's office is asking anyone with information to contact detective Nicole Stewart at 315-294-8093 or leave a tip at www.cayugasheriff.com or on the sheriff's Facebook page. The investigation into the matter is ongoing.


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