The Trials of London: Parts 1 to 4

The Trials of London (Ontario)

Source: CBC program: IDEAS

[Note: this was a four-part series, from October 7, 1994 to May 12, 1995. All four parts are reproduced here.]

Producer: Max Allen

(c) Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

About the Trials of London

I remember when all the press in 1993 hit about the child-pornography ring in London, Ontario. I was working at the prostitutes' resource centre, Maggie's, in Toronto at the time and we really didn't believe it. We decided, since we did outreach across the province of Ontario, to go to London to find out what was going on. Four of us packed up the Maggie's van, rented a cheap hotel room in London and went off to check out Victoria Park, the boys' stroll. It was a fun several nights, walking/working around the stroll, hanging out in the bars. We met quite a few people. By day we hit all the social service agencies and the AIDS Committee of London (ACOL). We weren't warmly welcomed, at first, by the social service "community" (with the exception of ACOL). They were afraid that our prostitute group would further tarnish their town's tattered image.

It was then that I met an aspiring, young journalist, Joseph Couture who told me that he just didn't believe the stories in the paper, or what the police were saying. He smelled a rat. I asked if he was interested in working for the CBC, and told him that I had a friend -- Max Allen, a producer for CBC radio's Ideas program -- who I thought would like to meet him. He accepted and we brought him home to Walnut Avenue.

Joseph certainly earned his his nickname, "Intrepid" on this story (he must have had some incredible luck in tracking down some of those legal documents). Once he came home to find his house surrounded by police cars. The London police were not too impressed with his stories.

"The Trials of London" is probably the most excellent and thorough pieces of journalism I have ever heard. The final part, Part 4, is something to listen to for sure. You should hear the mother's voice as she discovers that it was the police who were lying, not her eight-year-old son.

This stunning expose of possibly the largest sex scandal in North America truly deserves an award. Remember this story when the Federal government pushes through the omnibus bill that will set five-year minimum sentences for procuring someone under the age of 18 years (pimping).

I hope you enjoy! It is still a treat for me -- even as a read.

* Andrew Sorfleet

The Trials of London: Part 1

Lister Sinclair: Pierre Trudeau said, back in 1967 when he was justice minister, that the state had no business in the bedrooms of the nation. He meant that laws controlling consensual sex should be kept to a minimum.

Tonight we go to London, Ontario, for a case of police and social-welfare intervention in sex involving teenagers. And not usually in bedrooms either -- more often in living rooms, parks, and automobiles. We are required, because of court-ordered publication bans, to change some names. Listener discretion is advised; you or your family may not want to hear what's in this program. Gay sex is discussed, and so is the difficult subject of child pornography.

Our program is called "The Trials of London." It was researched in London by reporter Joseph Couture, and is presented by IDEAS producer Max Allen.

Max Allen: It is said that in London, Ontario, there is a subculture of perversion and abuse, and there are videotapes to prove it. It's said that boys have been lured by men to commit unspeakable acts in exchange for money, clothes, and baseball tickets. The story comes from police and Crown attorneys, from social workers, and from the newspaper.

It's called a "child-pornography ring." Sex is involved, for sure, but the boys -- teenage boys, most of them hustlers -- never speak for themselves. Their names are a secret. The men involved are never interviewed. The videotapes cannot be seen, except by the police. The chief of police says:

Julian Fantino: [archival tape]: Pictures don't lie. Pictures tell it all.

Max Allen: A provincial dragnet is established, with head-quarters in London. The province won't reveal what its terms of reference are. Its budget is a secret. Thirty-seven men and boys have been arrested.

On the other hand, it's said that this is a witch hunt; that there is no child-pornography ring; that fear and hatred of gay people is behind the trials in London; that the victims have mostly been created by an official "ring" of police and therapists and the press.

This is London's leading radio station (audio collage of radio newscasts):

...child pornography ring... the perpetrators of this child-pornography ring help ferret out child pornography in this province... enormous reality of the most recent development in this child-pornography ring ...the London police in this child-porn investigation... the latest developments in this incredible child-pornography ring...

Max Allen: IDEAS tonight is about ruined lives, and three institutions -- the police, the social agencies, and the press -- at the centre of a sexual pandemonium.

I've got a stack of London papers here. The story broke on November 11, 1993. The banner headline says: "Child Porn Bust May Be Largest in Ontario." In the year since then, The London Free Press has run over a hundred stories on what they continue to call "the child-pornography ring," most of them written by police reporter John Herbert.

What's been the reaction of people in London to this story?

John Herbert: It's hard to gauge. It goes back and forth. I think that there are those who feel that perhaps the police put a bad name on this thing. It was initially referred to as a "child-pornography ring"; I guess that was from the initial evidence about the first two persons that were arrested and charged.

Max Allen: Even a couple of days ago you had a story called"Porn Arrests Hit 37". The real headline should be "Porn Arrests Hit 2."

John Herbert: Well, I think that the headlines are written by someone here other than myself, as you're probably aware of, being in the media.
Clarence Crossman: Every one of the words in the phrase "child pornography ring" needs to be analyzed very carefully.

Max Allen: Gay community leader Clarence Crossman.

Clarence Crossman: The vast majority of the young men involved are not children; the vast majority were involved in sexual activity over the age of fourteen, which is legal for them to give consent for sexual activity itself. The arrests and the charges had very little to do with child pornography. It's my understanding there were something like two charges out of the many charges that had anything to do with child pornography. The "ring" was certainly not a ring. If there was any ring, it in fact was a ring of boys who were connecting with each other for survival. The men were not connected to each other in any way, for the most part. So every one of those words in that phrase in fact is not the reality.

Max Allen: But child-pornography ring is "an easy label that's been used," according to a Free Press reporter, "out of sheer journalistic laziness."

The videotapes that touched all this off were discovered by accident. After a law was passed last summer making it illegal to possess sexual images of anybody under eighteen, the two London men who'd made the tapes gave them to a friend to get rid of. He threw them in the Ausable River. A boy who was fishing caught a bag of them and took them to his mother, who called the OPP detachment in Lucan. They weren't interested. (See footnote 1.)

But the London police were. The police took snapshots from the videos and showed them to social workers, teachers, and other teenagers, and with special help from one of the seventeen-year-olds they identified twenty of twenty-three boys on the tapes. Those boys were convinced to name men they'd had sex with -- often for money, since most of the boys were in business -- and also to name other boys they knew who were hustling.

The arrests began, none of them having anything to do with pornography. At first, men and boys were arrested mostly for having anal intercourse. The arrests then shifted to teenage hustling. It's illegal to give somebody under eighteen anything -- money, food, cigarettes, anything -- for sex. Some of the charges are for encounters that happened five or six years ago.

David Ashfield's customers and friends have been arrested.

Joseph Couture: Why do you think the police have targeted you guys?
David Ashfield: Everybody? Just 'cause we're gay and they're not.

Max Allen: Men who Scott Baldwin had sex with have been arrested.

Scott Baldwin: I think the police have sort of extended it because of people being gay and not straight.

Max Allen: Veteran homicide detectives said at the beginning of the investigation that watching the fifty-seven home-made videos of boys masturbating or having sex was the worst experience of their lives -- it was morally disgusting, it made them sick to their stomachs. "What I see is kids being ruined," said the chief of police. A therapist I talked to thought that some policemen might be revolted by gay sex because they'd been abused themselves and had repressed it, thus their determination to root out this evil.

I asked reporter John Herbert what his friends wanted to know about the case.

John Herbert: Well, I think what most of them just ask is: have you seen the videos?
Max Allen: Have you?
John Herbert: No. I haven't seen videos. And of course it would be against the law for the police to show them to me.
Max Allen: Why would it be against the law for police to show them to you?
John Herbert: Well, I think that the material they have would be regarded as evidence.

Max Allen :Neither the Crown attorney nor the judge who decided the two porn cases saw the videos either. On the uncontested evidence, Judge Livingston said that the videos were not made for commercial use; there was no violence; and all the sex was consensual.

A therapist told me she'd heard there were two examples of violence on the tape. In the first a teenager holds a knife alongside his penis in what the Crown attorney called "a provocative manner," adding, "he doesn't cause himself any harm." In the second instance a teenager licks semen off a table top.

I'm going to briefly describe one tape, filmed in a residential living room. It's dated 30 August 1993, at 5:27 p.m. According to police, "Mike Newman [who you'll hear in a moment] puts a pornographic video in the VCR. Scenes of masturbation; and then Newman is joined by Randy Flynn. Scenes of mutual masturbation and fellatio. Newman then lies on the floor and Flynn squats over him. Anal intercourse on Flynn, in two locations. Then, ejaculation by each, following masturbation."

Both boys are seventeen. They cooperate with the police, naming at least thirteen other men they've had sex with, all of whom are arrested. Newman and Flynn themselves are not charged for the scene they're in, even though anal intercourse under eighteen is a crime.

The man who made this tape and others like it, with the full cooperation of the participants, and who never so much as touched anybody, is jailed for ten years.

Maureen Reid is head of the sexual abuse unit at the Children's Aid Society in London.

Maureen Reid: I think what the police were watching, day after day, was abuse. They were watching children and adults engaged in sexual activity that could not have occurred with consent because [of] the age of the children, and that didn't fit with how we see sexuality. I mean, young children, when we see them in sexual ways, it really is counter to how we view children. I think they were watching activities and seeing activities that were abusive and that they hadn't watched or seen before. And many of us haven't; I think I've been always more emotionally impacted when I've actually seen the abuse than when I haven't.
Max Allen: Let's be careful about the word child here, and children. The age of consent for sexual activity in Canada is fourteen. Weren't the vast majority of the boys involved in this over fourteen?
Maureen Reid: I think, though, exploitation is under eighteen. I think children can consent to sex with peers at [fourteen]. I think what they were watching were adults orchestrating and exploiting children into having sexual activity with each other while they were watching it. Whether it was criminal in all cases, it was clearly, in my mind, abusive.
Max Allen: That's an interesting distinction between "criminal" according to the Criminal Code, and "abusive,"which is bad. Bad is a different category of thing than criminal is.
Maureen Reid: I think it was abusive because it was coerced, because it was non-consensual, because there was a power differential, there were elements of coercion and enticements, and that to me made it abusive.

Max Allen: For making these videotapes, two men were jailed for unprecedented terms of ten years and fifteen years. The second man, in addition to making tapes, also had sex with six boys aged ten to eighteen. Lawyer Fletcher Dawson has been retained to appeal the sentences.

Fletcher Dawson: I think they're arguably excessive. We don't have a history of this kind of case to compare it to, but I defend lots of sexual cases, many of them serious -- I think of cases of incest and other serious cases of sexual assault -- and these sentences seem to me to be out of line with sentences generally in those cases.

Max Allen: In February, at the time the sentences were handed down, there was another case in London: a twelve-year-old girl, wheelchair bound, with cerebral palsy and unable to speak, was raped by her mother's boyfriend. His sentence was five years. But the porn participants were boys. And the courts, the police, and the press turned up the heat.

Fletcher Dawson: I think it's been fuelled by the police in this case. I always find that a little unusual because the police, I think, would be the first to complain if defence lawyers started trying their cases in the press. We don't do that too much in this country -- it seems to happen quite a bit in the United States. The people in Canada, in my view, who seem to seek the media out first are generally the police.

Max Allen: The great publicity can be prejudicial; it can inflame people. Certainly anyone who was going to have a trial in any of these cases would have to be troubled by the publicity (audio collage of TV and radio stories):

In Ontario police are stepping up the fight against child pornography. -- A lot of these kids get passed around. There's quite a subculture involved here. It's all encompassing. -- They pass these kids around from one another like a piece of meat, and it goes across the country. -- London is certainly where this child pornography ring is centred, but this problem is happening everywhere. -- This kind of activity is taking place just about anywhere I can think of right now, certainly in the province and beyond that we know of. -- The probe into the child-porn ring, to root out the pedophile culture across the province. -- Child pornography on a provincial or even a national scale.

Max Allen: Lawyer Fletcher Dawson:

Fletcher Dawson: It must have been pretty evident from fairly early on in the investigation that there weren't videotapes here being produced for international commercial dissemination. Unfortunately, I think that the public is getting a somewhat different view of it by the media coverage and the way the police have approached it with the media.

Max Allen: If this wasn't a child-porn ring, what was it? It's been called an "adventure machine for teenage boys." Some of the thirty-five men not charged with porn know one or two of the other men; some don't know any of the others who were charged. Lots of the teenage boys, on the other hand, do know each other. They introduce each other to men of all ages, some with money, some with places to stay. Here are some of their stories. Joe Terry:

Joe Terry: My parents threw me out of the house, so I basically had nowhere else to go.
Joseph Couture: Why did they throw you out of the house?
Joe Terry: They found out I was gay.
Joseph Couture: Do you talk to them now?
Joe Terry: Not my father; he doesn't even acknowledge that I exist. He tells people they have two children instead of three.

Max Allen: The London police say they've identified fifty-five boys involved in sex for money. Their identities are protected, but we know who fifty-three of them are. Of the twenty identified boys who had sex on tape, nineteen of them come from what the Crown attorney calls "broken homes," or "dysfunctional homes."

Jack Scott, who's been arrested, gave some of the teenagers clothes, food, and a place to live. I asked him what I'd see if I went to one of their homes.

Jack Scott: You might see a mother, a boyfriend, a bunch of little kids running around with no clothes on, quite a lot of beer bottles, some broken-down old furniture: a maggot-house or a party-house, where there is very little food, no money, and no sense of family unity of any kind.
Or you might have a newly divorced father and mother together, the new woman with her kids; and you might have a fourteen-year-old kid who didn't take kindly to it, who is out of control and was chasing around the half-siblings with a hammer or a knife or something and beating them up and was out of control.
Max Allen: In London there's a tremendous social-service network. It's not that there aren't any services.
Jack Scott: This is true. It's like the story about how the makeup of your average Eskimo family is a mother, father, two children, and one anthropologist. We have one anthropologist for every four urchins. Or maybe one on two, I don't know. Some days it's one on one; some days we've got more anthropologists than we have urchins.

Max Allen: If you mix poverty, drugs, and broken homes, and add a teenage boy who's discovered he likes sex with men, you get the kind of situation that's suddenly become visible in London. Scott Baldwin and David Ashfield are former hustlers, whose customers have been arrested.

Scott Baldwin: When I was possibly close to eight years old, I ended up liking a friend of mine, a boy my age. I'm not sure if it was sexual or not, I probably couldn't say, but we would end up kissing and stuff like that. Family & Children's Services got involved with that and ended up by sending me off to CPRI [Children's Psychiatric Research Institute, subsequently renamed Child and Parent Resource Institute] from nine to thirteen, for counselling and brain scans and stuff like that, to see if I was retarded or not.
David Ashfield: I didn't get in trouble for it, but that's sort of the same thing that went with me. I was eight or nine, too; I got interested in this other boy, you know what I mean? Every kid fools around, you know what I'm talking about? Well, I got to like him for some reason. You know, I'd look at him, and I'd have these thoughts in my mind all the time, like about having sex with him and stuff like that.

Max Allen: Some of the boys call themselves gay; some say they're straight. There are more varied experiences here than we have categories or theories to account for. Randy Flynn, who performed in one of the videotapes with Mike Newman, says he was paid by at least eleven men, and has given testimony against all of them. Now he complains that his business has fallen off. He started in business with a friend, according to George Vaughan, one of the men who's been charged.

George Vaughan: They were lovers when they were very young boys going to school, and that's how they got into this routine together. They'd go off together, the two of them, and perform for someone. That's how they started out.

Max Allen: Later, Randy introduced another friend, Mike Newman, to the scene. Sometimes they worked together, sometimes separately. Mike Newman:

Joseph Couture: How did you get into hustling?
Mike Newman: I had so much problems with girls I just thought I'd go to the other side and see what it's like and if it was any good then I'd stay with it. It wasn't really that good so I just came back to girls.
Joseph Couture: How did the police find out about what you were doing?
Mike Newman: Me and [Randy] walked up to Gary Gramlick's house and they seen [Randy's] picture in one of the videos that were made and [Randy] started talking to [Constable] Mike Crosby and he said, "Is it possible that you can come down and see me some time and bring your friend too" -- because he thought I was involved but he didn't see me in any of the movies, so ...I thought, yeah, okay, I'll go down before they come and get me, I'd go down there and confess about what happened and what I was doing and all that, and so that's what happened.
Joseph Couture: Did the police ever tell you that you could be charged with prostitution for this?
Mike Newman: Yes. They told me the first time I told them about it. They asked me what I did and who I was with and I told them and I said that I was with my friend [Randy], who is younger than I am. They said that if they wanted to they could arrest me, or else if I didn't help them out. If I helped them out they would leave me alone and I wouldn't be arrested, but if I didn't help them out by putting half these guys in jail then I would have got arrested. I said, well, I'll help you out, because I don't want to get arrested right now; I'm too young.

Max Allen: About having sex with Randy:

Mike Newman: We enjoyed it because we were friends at the time and we both didn't have a girlfriend so that's why we did it. But now since I have my own girlfriend I don't do it anymore. I don't know if he still does it or not. As far as I know I think he does, because the last time he was here he tried something on me and I told him I couldn't do it no more.
I was in my room sleeping, even though I did smoke some dope with him -- well, even though I haven't done it for like six months, I smoked dope with him. And he came in my bedroom and he tried some stuff on me. I said, "No, I can't do this." "Why? We were best friends. We did this for a long time." I said, "I can't do it anymore, because I've got a girlfriend now and I love her a lot and I don't want to hurt her in any way. I don't want to start this back up again." He said, "Okay, I understand."

Max Allen: Mike Newman says that, on the advice of police, he's applied to the provincial Victims' Compensation Fund. The maximum award he can get for his "victimization" -- that is, for being paid for sex -- is $25,000. Mike says his friend Randy Flynn has applied for compensation as well. Mike says that he calls one of the police officers now every week, for counselling.

In the series of anal-intercourse arrests that formed the second wave of charges in the London investigation, it was always the older partner who was charged and never the younger, though technically both had broken the law. This strategy preserved and continues to preserve the illusion of boys as innocent victims, always corrupted by somebody older.

This is former hustler Scott Baldwin and his friend David Ashfield:

Scott Baldwin: I think the police have made a big issue out of, really, nothing. I think it's just a pin-up on gay people in general.
David Ashfield: I think that the stuff they're writing in the papers, a lot of it, is phoney. They're just putting what they think. They think that all the kids were all victims and that they didn't know what they were doing and stuff like that. They knew what they were doing; they're just not putting that part in their paper.
I could see if adults would rape a kid or something, that's wrong. But I'm saying if they are both willing -- even if it was for money, if the kid says yes and says, sure, let's go -- the kid knows what he's doing, obviously, or he wouldn't be there in the first place.
Scott Baldwin: Most of the young boys that I saw were old enough to make their own decisions.
Joseph Couture: How old were you when you got into tricking?
Scott Baldwin: Fifteen.
Joseph Couture: Why did you start doing it?
Scott Baldwin: A friend that I was hanging out with suggested it was a good way of making money.
Joseph Couture: Do you think the prostitution was an exploration of your sexuality?
Scott Baldwin: Yes, I do. When I first tried it out I think I was just experimenting. With me at that time I was really getting -- I just don't seem to really get along with females very well. I don't blame that on them; I just blame that on me, because I don't get them. I just don't.

Max Allen: Scott Baldwin's "experimentation" can be seen from another perspective. What he saw as an opportunity could be described as victimization. I talked with Maureen Reid at the Children's Aid Society about this, and especially about the different dynamics for boys and girls.

Maureen Reid: The key areas around sexual victimization, for boys, that are different for girls, are that boys' sexuality is considered to be something that is readily available and accessible to anyone; that boys welcome sex and that boys should have sex and enjoy it. Boys are to be able to take care of themselves; boys should be able to get out of situations where they would be victims.
So we don't protect our children in the same way; we give them different messages. The other significant difference is, we tell our boys after we identify a problem that they should put it behind them and get on with their lives. We're more able to recognize the need for our female children to talk about and express their feelings; we don't really allow our male children to do that as well.
Max Allen: Your description of boys as being subjected to unwanted advances is at variance with some of the stories that I've heard from the teenagers that I've talked to here.
Maureen Reid: We socialize our boys and girls differently around their sexuality; by that I mean we learn quickly that sex is a power mechanism for boys and men and that they can get power needs met through sex.
Max Allen: But it's also fun!
Maureen Reid: Yes, but I think for females sex is not related to power as much. The most power females have in sex is in withholding it; the most power males have in sex is using aggression. So, yes, I think that we all have sexual needs and we all have desires. We do tell our male and female children much different things about their sexuality.

Max Allen: On Ideas tonight our program is about "The Trials of London." It's part of a series on the regulation of sexual behaviour called "The Bedrooms of the Nation." I'm Max Allen.

This is David Ashfield talking about one of the men in London he made friends with.

David Ashfield: I didn't really do anything with him -- you know what I mean? We just basically went to a hotel; we'd chat, just like all our friends go to coffee and stuff like that. It was just a friendship thing. They were just trying to make it look like this great deal. They were telling me, well, if you testify, here's some of the stuff like we'd like you to say.
They wanted me to say to the judge that I feel I was a victim; they wanted me to say that to give him a greater penalty. They were saying, if we do have to subpoena you we'd like you to say that you were the victim and that what he was doing was wrong and all that stuff. I just told them, no, I'm not going to say that because I don't think it was right.

Max Allen: Scott Baldwin, about being called to testify:

Scott Baldwin: We were all to sit there and listen to the detectives give us lines, like, "we're victims and we're the ones that are hurt by this," and things like that, not thinking that we may not be that stupid, that we know exactly what they're trying to say and they know that we're not victims and that we just happen to be gay. But I could sort of realize that I don't feel like a victim anyway, so I must not be.
David Ashfield: A lot of the younger kids, the ones that were twelve, thirteen or fourteen, I think when the cops were talking to them a lot of them were scared; they didn't know really what to say. So they figured they're going to tell them, well, I didn't really want to do it, and stuff like that. So I think that a lot of the ideas that the cops have is because of all these kids saying, I didn't really know what I was doing, to the cops -- when they did. They're scared, you know. When the cops are talking most kids are afraid of them. They're not going to say I knew what I was doing, because they're scared.

Max Allen: From the coverage of this issue on London radio station AM1410 (archival tape):

Talk-Show Host: One of the biggest problems is that they don't see themselves as victims!

Max Allen: Alan Leschied, director of Young Offender Services for the London Family Court Clinic (archival tape):

Alan Leschied We see them as victims; they see themselves as perhaps being nurtured and cared for in a way that's perhaps better than they've ever experienced prior to this.
I mean, kids that were taken to Canada's Wonderland and treated to a Blue Jays' game, who were getting out of their own neighbourhoods. So they were exposed to that kind of lifestyle, where they were supported and cared for.
Maureen Reid These children did not necessarily welcome our involvement, didn't at all, really. I mean, they don't perceive themselves to be victims.

Max Allen: If that's the case -- and I was told by all the social-welfare people I talked to it was, and we heard the same story from all but one of the teenagers we interviewed -- then how did the London police manage to break through the wall of secrecy?

In several cases they had enthusiastic cooperation, but for the most part they didn't. One fifteen-year-old told us that the police said they'd charge him with prostitution (there's no such charge) unless he cooperated; that he'd be forced to take an HIV test; and that they'd tell his parents.

So he named the men he'd been with. And the police told his parents.

Another case: Mike Newman.

Joseph Couture: How many times have you been interviewed by the police now?
Mike Newman: About ten, eleven times. The police were going to call my mom and tell her, but I said, hey, I'm old enough to tell my parents myself and I don't want you guys to tell her because I know what she'll do, she'll freak and start raving at you guys. I'd rather tell her myself, saying what was going on; even though she asked me before if I was into this stuff or if I was sleeping with guys. I couldn't tell her at the time, until after she heard it on TV. And I told my dad and my dad wanted to beat the shit out of me. So I couldn't help that, but I told him anyways.
Joseph Couture: Why did the police want to tell your parents?
Mike Newman: Because they thought that I'd still be into it and all that stuff, and they wanted my mom to convince me to come down to the police station all the time and to talk to them and all that stuff. If I didn't I would have been arrested like the other guys for messing around just like being friends.

Max Allen: Ray Butler, arrested on six counts of paying for sex.

Max Allen: The charge against you is based on what?
Ray Butler: It alleges food, lodging, and cigarettes, as well as money.
Max Allen: In exchange for sex?
Ray Butler: In exchange for sexual services, yes. How they're going to tie them together I don't know, because there were many instances of times when I gave them enough money for cigarettes without having sex, gave people who I don't have sex with money. There are many -- and how they're going to tie them together I don't know.

Max Allen: In one of Butler's cases, involving a boy named Andrew Cunningham, the exchange consisted of giving him a place to live for five days while Cunningham looked for a job.

I should say that the word "boy" is misleading -- I'm sorry I've had to use it so much. When I say "boy," you probably imagine an eight-year-old. There's no good word for what these young men are. They're, most of them, closer to manhood than to childhood. To call them "children," as the police and the media usually do, is crazy.

From The London Free Press, 24th of November:

"[Inspector Jim] Balmain... said two of the children police had been trying to identify came voluntarily to the police station to give statements."

These "children," I discovered, were both seventeen; one of them was within twelve days of being eighteen.

To get back to Butler and Cunningham: this is reporter Joseph Couture talking with Andrew Cunningham.

Joseph Couture: How many times were you interviewed by the police?
Andrew Cunningham: On the record, once; off the record, probably four or five times.
Joseph Couture: And how did they find you?
Andrew Cunningham: Well, the hustlers that were questioned before me all gave my name, and then they just looked for me from there.
Joseph Couture: So you never sought out the police with the intention of laying charges against these men?
Andrew Cunningham: No, I didn't.
Joseph Couture: Do you want to testify against these men?
Andrew Cunningham: Not really. I don't feel it's necessary.
Joseph Couture: What do you think should be done with the charges that involve you?
Andrew Cunningham: I think they should be dropped.

Max Allen: On Tuesday of this week there was a hearing in the London court house. Three boys had been called to testify against Ray Reed. Colby Lombardo denied that Reed had ever tried to pay him for sex -- that was the charge. Well, the Crown asked, did he ever touch you? At a party once, Lombardo said, he put his hand on my knee, but he took it off when I asked him. In that case, the Crown said, we'll charge him with sexual assault instead. David Ashfield testified that Reed had once put his hand in Ashfield's lap. According to the charge, that's sexual assault. But previously, Ashfield had said there had been no assault.

Joseph Couture: You say that didn't happen. Is that true?
David Ashfield: Mm-mm. Yeah. It's true.
Joseph Couture: He never made any advances to you that were unwanted?
David Ashfield: No, none at all.
Joseph Couture: Nothing resembling a sexual assault?
David Ashfield: No. I drank at his place, but that's about it. You know, I never touched him; he never touched me.

Max Allen: We asked Ashfield to sign a sworn and notarized statement. It reads, in part: "No sexual assault took place between myself and Mr. Ray Reed. There has never been any sexual contact between myself and Ray Reed. I did not discuss Ray Reed with the police, or lodge a complaint of sexual assault with the police."

Only recently in London have men accused in cases like this begun to contest the charges. Of the thirty-seven men arrested, seventeen of them, including the two in the porn case, simply pleaded guilty without a trial. Some pleaded guilty to lists of charges involving boys they say they've never even met. Their lawyers' advice was: "Just plead and take the deal; don't try to nickel-and-dime the police." Another lawyer advised against contesting the charges on the grounds that "It's hopeless."

Some of the charges involved anal intercourse. But the law that makes anal intercourse illegal, if you're unmarried and under eighteen, was struck down last year in Ontario as unconstitutional. If that decision's upheld, it means that the anal-intercourse arrests in London are invalid. One man told his lawyer about the case. His lawyer said: "It's irrelevant. You should plead guilty anyway." (See footnote 2.)

I should say again that for legal reasons we've given fictitious names to some of the people in tonight's program.

This is Andrew Cunningham talking with reporter Joseph Couture:

Joseph Couture: How did you meet the various men?
Andrew Cunningham: Well, sometimes it was at Victoria Park; you stand there and wait for them to drive by. Sometimes it was regulars; or through different hustlers or through different men you meet different people.
Joseph Couture: So you actively went looking for these men?
Andrew Cunningham: Yes, I went looking.
Joseph Couture: Were all the activities consensual?
Andrew Cunningham: Yes, they were all consensual. There was no rape or nothing against my will.
Joseph Couture: Do you see anything wrong with what you did?
Andrew Cunningham: Yes, I see something wrong with what I did because it seems to be socially unacceptable. That's the only reason. You know, it's kind of embarrassing.
Joseph Couture: Do you consider yourself a victim of these circumstances?
Andrew Cunningham: No, I don't see myself a victim. As I said, it was consensual, so if I was a victim it wouldn't have been consensual. They didn't prey upon me; I went to them, sometimes they came to me, but it was all consensual.
Joseph Couture: How did the men treat you?
Andrew Cunningham: With respect. Nice. They were pretty cool, down-to-earth. Some of them were just like me.
Joseph Couture: Did they ever help you out when you were in trouble?
Andrew Cunningham: Oh, yes. They'd let me stay there for free, and sometimes loaned me money when I needed it. Yes, they've bent over backwards to help.

Max Allen: Two men charged in the London investigation told me their side of the helping-out-hustlers story. They're talking about a hustler named Kevin Crosby.

George Vaughan: I bought him a ticket -- physically bought the ticket because I didn't believe that's what he wanted the money for. I actually went to the terminal and bought the ticket to send him home, and at the same time gave him maybe twenty bucks to boot -- as he asked for -- to buy formula for the baby. There was never any sex.
Ray Butler: The minute you'd give him money he wouldn't spend it on the baby's formula, or whatever, so I actually went at one point in time to the IGA and went in and bought four litres of milk, not infant formula -- she was two years old at the time, I believe, two and a half years old -- went in and bought four litres of milk for her and a package of cigarettes for them, and drove him right to his door.

Max Allen: The men talking are Ray Butler and George Vaughan. After I'd listened to about an hour of stories, some of which involved being severely ripped off by one bad boy after another, and subsequently being turned in to the police, I said:

Max Allen: It seems to me, speaking as an outsider, that you guys need a better class of friends. What's the matter with you?
Ray Butler: I have a tendency to agree with you. [laughs] As a matter of fact I've been exactly trying to cultivate that better class of friends now. What's wrong with us? I don't know, we seem to have this masochistic desire to help other people, I guess.
George Vaughan: I would have to agree. I've been like that all my life. I see somebody that's in need of help, I'll lend a helping hand. It takes a few times for me to learn my lesson, and as I'm getting older I'm realizing that you can't save the whole world and you do what you can. But here we are, we've helped people and now look what's happening, we're getting shit on.
And when I reflect back the number of people that I've helped, the number of people that I've met on the street that were homeless, that I've helped, that I've taken into my home and that have lived with me -- and I'm not talking about for a few days or a few weeks -- that have lived with me for a number of years, and they knew when they came there as to my sexuality; there were no rules you must have sex with me or else you can't stay here. It wasn't that kind. It was a friendship. If anything ever did happen it was mutually agreed upon. And I feel that my life benefited from it, as well as they feel that their life benefited from it.
As I was explaining before you got here, friends of mine that I've met when they were fifteen that came to live with me, and if they want to construe it as having given something -- they lived with me, I clothed them, I fed them, and in some instances sent them to school and paid for them to go to school. If that's against the law, well, nobody at this point in time -- and I'm thinking of two people in particular -- nobody wanted them. Their parents didn't want them, their parents turfed them out. They came from B.C. to Toronto because their parents didn't want them. They were abused by their parents there so they came to Toronto to get away from that abuse. And I certainly didn't abuse them.
Max Allen: I think most people would think that it's simply hypocritical of you both to call this "friendship," when what it is is not based in friendship at all but based in sex.
Ray Butler: Well, the same could be said of marriage, I guess, and the same could be said of many different things. It's not based on sex, but at times it involves it.
I think the kind of intimacy that one gets with a sexual partner is a special kind of intimacy, and it's the kind of intimacy which lends itself to being tested severely by some of the emotional trauma that these kids will put you through.
As far as I'm concerned, the only reason why we have anybody who works with kids today it's because of that kind of intensity. Nobody would work with young teenage males unless they had either a deeply masochistic streak or some sort of intense feeling towards them. I think our social-service agencies would -- if every gay man were to leave our social-service agencies, we'd have no help for young teenage males, absolutely none whatsoever.
Max Allen: Having seen some of these guys up close for the first time in my life recently, I've come around to understanding why so many people in the social-control world dislike these boys so much. Boy, are they a nuisance, are they disappointing, are they unreliable, are they full of energy, are they a handful!
Ray Butler: Yes, yes, yes, yes.

Max Allen: But I'm told there are bright spots. For instance, Butler's sixteen-year-old friend Bobby Porter.

Ray Butler: This young gentleman kept returning to my apartment for a variety of different things, mostly for sex. But, I have to confess when he was hungry he would come over and I would feed him even without having sex with him. He brought some of his friends over and I fed them as well, and it almost seemed like a McDonald's at one point in time where people would drop in and be fed.
He's a wonderful kid. I mean, he's polite, he's kind; he says "please" and "thank you"; he asks to go to the fridge to get a pop or something else like that. He is involved in very little criminal activity -- the same kind of juvenile-delinquent stuff that 95 percent of us have done -- a little bit of shoplifting and that kind of stuff, right? He has no drug or alcohol problems that I know of; he certainly didn't evidence them around me. It's a tragedy that he's in the Children's Aid Society because he's definitely no problem to take care of, for a parent who would assume the parental responsibilities.

Max Allen: But like most of the kids turned up in the London investigation there aren't any responsible parents in sight. A policeman says: "We're just trying to get these boys off the streets." The method: put men in jail. But what if the "victims" had been female prostitutes, teenage hookers instead of teenage hustlers?

David Ashfield: If it had been a guy and a girl, I bet you nothing probably would have came of it -- maybe a little slap on the wrists for both of them and that's about it.

Max Allen: There's some evidence for David Ashfield's theory. There have been no reported prosecutions in London of customers of teenage hookers -- girls. And then there's the case of police constable Jeffrey Gateman, who, according to documents from an internal police inquiry this summer, was found guilty of misconduct and demoted. No criminal charges were laid, although what Constable Gateman is said to have done is remarkably similar to what the men we've been talking about are said to have done.

Clarence Crossman: The only difference between what a police officer did with a seventeen-year-old and what some of the men are being charged with with seventeen-year-olds was the fact that the police officer was involved in non-consensual sex, and the men and boys were involved with consensual sex. And the book was thrown at the men involved in sex with boys; the police did not charge the police officer involved with the woman. That's another clear example to me of heterosexism and homophobia.

Max Allen: That was Clarence Crossman, of HALO, the Homophile Association of London, which is Canada's oldest and largest gay community centre.

The Gateman case is hard to talk about because there are so many roadblocks in front of the facts. The police hearing was secret, and so was the police services board review of it. The SIU, the provincial police watchdog agency, has launched an investigation. The woman -- or perhaps I should call her a "girl" since I've been calling the boys "boys" -- has now convinced a justice of the peace to recommend that criminal charges be laid.

The story appears to be this: She was working for an escort agency; was paid to go to Constable Gateman's house to talk; was forced into anal intercourse under threat of being charged with prostitution. She complained to the police afterwards and Gateman was arrested; but the Crown declined to proceed with the charges, she says, because she was a prostitute and probably wouldn't be believed in court. Well, most of the boys were prostitutes too.

The London Free Press has covered the case extensively, but I asked reporter John Herbert:

Max Allen: Did it come about by plan or accident that you have not, in the paper, drawn the parallel between the activities and the charges against Gateman and the activities and the charges against the men in the "child-exploitation ring"?
John Herbert: It's been discussed, within the newsroom, amongst some of the reporters ourselves that there might be a parallel there, but it hasn't been reported. It's perhaps more of an editorial position, I think, than a straight reporting position. I guess if we're looking for a parallel you were talking about, that the police thought it was okay that a police officer could be involved with a seventeen-year-old --
Max Allen: For money.
John Herbert: For money.
Max Allen: With anal intercourse.
John Herbert: Yes. And versus -- in the child-exploitation or pornography, whatever title you choose, that it wasn't okay there, that they quickly found it wasn't okay there, but in this case they thought it was okay. I guess if that's the parallel, I guess there's some people who feel that's a valid comparison and there's others who might not.

Max Allen: John Herbert's careful distinction between an editorial position and a reporting position I take to mean that the Free Press as a matter of editorial policy has decided not to compare the cases.

I've been told by therapists and social-welfare workers in London that males and females who complain, or on whose behalf complaints are made, about sexual victimization have different experiences in the justice system.

Maureen Reid: I think we might want to speculate that that's our society saying that there's somehow an acceptance of females as victims, and that somehow it's more of an affront to hurt our male children.

Max Allen: Alison Cunningham, research coordinator at the London Family Court Clinic:

Alison Cunningham: You'll find that the police, necessarily, have discretion in deciding whether to accept a complaint as valid or not. Were you to examine that process, you would probably find that they exercise that discretion and choose not to pursue some cases. Now, it would be interesting to find out if in fact there were any biases in that process.

Max Allen: The Family Court Clinic has studied what happens to sex-abuse cases in London -- once they get to court. They looked at 126 cases. When a boy was the victim, there was always a conviction. And the Family Court Clinic reported, "We were alarmed to discover that the victimization of male victims attracted much longer sentences compared with the abuse of female victims." In fact, the sentences were on average twice as long when boys were involved.

And this is not because the abuse of boys is a more widespread or more serious problem; just the reverse is true.

But knowing what happens when boys take the witness stand may have been a powerful incentive for the men in London who have pleaded guilty, on their lawyers' advice, to get it over with -- just by pleading guilty.

Ray Butler has decided to fight, though he's worried about the effect that a trial may have on the mental health of his young friend Bobby Porter.

Max Allen: Where did he live?
Ray Butler: He lived at a group home.
Max Allen: That means that he didn't have a family.
Ray Butler: No, his family lives in London. His mother lives with his stepfather in London. They've given up custody of him.
Max Allen: Why do you think that his health is in jeopardy?
Ray Butler: Because he has no parental support. His stepfather hates him. From what I understand, what he's told me, his mother is not overly supportive as well.
Now, I think he's very afraid that his friends are starting to know all about this. I'm sure everyone in his group home has to know about it; you know, when many people know about this the word starts to get out on the street.

Max Allen: London's Police Chief Julian Fantino, speaking at a press conference:

Julian Fantino: [archival tape] This is not just a criminal enterprise, it's an enterprise that's victimizing the most vulnerable of our society, very young, helpless children, and turning them into a life of crime. We know for a fact that a lot of these kids go on to other activities, and also the well-being of some of these kids in terms of how they feel about the situation, now some of them are indicating that they look forward to suicide. Regardless of how difficult the situation is for us in terms of resources, we feel we're committed to pursue this as we must.
Ray Butler: I think that what the social-service agencies and what the police are doing right now is a far greater injustice. They are going to ruin the young men's lives by making a public display of their sexuality, and I would not be at all surprised to see some of the people who, when they go through these court cases, will commit suicide.
Max Allen: The police claim that the young men are suicidal because of men like you.
Ray Butler: No. They're suicidal specifically because of the fact that society says that the type of sexuality that they enjoy and that they are a part of is repugnant and should be kept hidden. As a result of the glare of publicity, most of them, if you were to interview them themselves, would say, it's not the sex that bothers me, it's the publicity that's going to bother me.

Max Allen: On February 9, 1994, The London Free Press ran a story headlined "Young Victims' Greatest Fear Is of Being Found Out." The story began: "Their reactions range from rage to withdrawal. One child-pornography victim has become obsessed with excelling at school; another boy boasts he used to earn twenty to thirty thousand dollars a year. But all five boys described in victim-impact statements have one fear in common. It's the fear of being found out by family, friends or classmates."

David Ashfield: After I got arrested, and the court met, they told me I had to go see a psychiatrist or whatever, because I needed help because what I was doing was wrong. I was talking to this family services counsellor -- I guess you can't really call her a shrink -- and you know what she told me? She said: All this is confidential, none of this goes to anything. But what happened is when I went to court the next time, they went and told the courts what I'd said. I'm sitting there chatting with these people, thinking, okay, it's not going to go out anywhere; and when I went to court what they wrote down there is: oh, he needs serious help.
I was explaining to them what I thought, like what I thought about being gay and what I did was right. This chick that I was talking to is saying, well, I can understand how you were. And I'm like, how can you understand that? First of all you're a woman and you're a counsellor, of course -- and I told her this too, you know -- of course you're going to say that. I started going on about, you know, what other thoughts I had, and in fact all she did was went and told the courts what I said.
I thought that was bullshit. I called them up, I called the lady up, and I said, "I thought this was supposed to be confidential." "Oh, but if the courts call and ask for the information we have to give it to them."
But they don't tell you that right away.

Max Allen: The pandemonium in London depended, and continues to depend, on the police, the social-welfare agencies, and the press. It depends on certain questions not being asked.

Our examination of the situation continues a week from tonight, with some reflections on the meaning of the London investigations, the social forces behind them, the mechanics of boundary control, and the vexing question of how to integrate homosexual men and boys into society. I'll also tell you what happened in Amsterdam, in the year 1730. I'm Max Allen.


1 There are several versions of this story. The one reported here came from a London defence lawyer. It has been regularly reported that a bag (or two bags) of videotapes were found in the river. Another version, detailed by the London woman who notified the police after the first batch of tapes were found by her son and his stepfather, describes finding a cardboard carton (not one or more bags) containing forty tapes in the week preceeding September 30th.

2 Section 159 of the Criminal Code outlawed consensual anal intercourse if any of the participants were over 14 (the age of consent) but under 18, and unmarried. The law was declared unconstitutional by Madame Justice Corbett of Ontario in July 1992 in R. v. Carmen M. ("The failure of s.159 to afford the accused the defence of consent to acts of anal intercourse engaged in with a young person between the ages of 14 and 18 deprives him of the right to liberty other than in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. This breach of s.7 of the Charter was not justified under s.1 of the charter. The appropriate remedy is to permit the defence of consent"), and again in a separate case by the Federal Court in February 1995. In May 1995 the Ontario Court of Appeal agreed the law was unconstitutional. Writing for a unanimous three-judge panel of the Court, Madame Justice Abella said the section "arbitrarily disadvantages gay men by denying to them until they are 18 a choice available at the age of 14 to those who are not gay, namely, their choice of sexual expression with a consenting partner to whom they are not married." The ruling is binding on all courts in Ontario. The Crown Attorney's office in London has confirmed that no further charges will be pursued under this section.

[End of "The Trials of London: Part 1"]

The Trials of London: Part 2

Lister Sinclair: I'm Lister Sinclair with IDEAS about "The Bedrooms of the Nation." Pierre Trudeau, when he was justice minister back in 1967, said that the state had no business in the bedrooms of the nation. He meant that laws controlling consensual sex should be kept to a minimum.

In London, Ontario, over the past year, those laws have been used with extraordinary force. Tonight we continue an examination we began last week of the situation in London involving gay sex and child pornography. Listener discretion is advised. Also, you should know that we are required, because of court-ordered publication bans, to change some names.

Max Allen: There's an urban legend circulating in London, Ontario. It's one of those stories like the one about alligators living in the sewers, or the woman who tried to dry her poodle in the microwave. Everybody's heard it and it sounds plausible, but it turns out to be fiction.

The urban legend you hear in London isn't about alligators in the sewers; it's about a child-pornography ring that's ruining children's lives. Innocent boys are being given money and food, clothes and drugs, to be videotaped having sex. Huge numbers are involved; thirty-seven men and boys have been arrested already and the problem has spread beyond London to the whole province and probably the whole country. Over a thousand videotapes have been seized by the police. The chief of police says:

Julian Fantino: Pictures don't lie. Pictures tell it all.

Max Allen: But what do they tell? Who decides what they mean? London, Ontario, is in the grip of what sociologists call a moral panic. It was generated by the police, with the help of therapists and social workers, and it's been fuelled by the media, particularly The London Free Press (the only newspaper in town) and London's leading radio station (audio collage of radio reports):

...child pornography ring ...the perpetrators of this child-pornography ring help ferret out child pornography in this province ...[static] is a reality ...[static] development in this child-pornography ring ...the London police in this child-porn investigation ...latest developments in this incredible child-pornography ring --

Max Allen: Only two of the thirty-seven men and boys arrested in London were involved with pornography. The other thirty-five were accused only of having homosexual sex. But that's not the impression created by The London Free Press in the course of 110 stories they've published since the panic began last November. "Child Porn Ring" is the standard headline. Even the newspaper's own library files the stories under the heading "Pornography."

To summarize last week's program: the home-made videotapes of boys, mostly teenage hustlers, having sex, were discovered by accident. After a law was passed last summer making it illegal to have any sexual image of anybody who looks like they're under eighteen, the two men who'd made the sex videos had them thrown into the Ausable River. A boy who was fishing found them, and the London police pounced, first on the makers and then on the hustlers. The boys on the tapes were told they'd be charged themselves unless they named the men they'd had sex with. The teenagers were also encouraged to name their friends who might be having sex with men.

Altogether the London police claimed they've done more than five hundred interviews.

Joseph Couture: Why do you think the police have targeted you guys?
David Ashfield: Everybody? Just 'cause we're gay and they're not.

Max Allen: London gay activist Craig Stainton:

Craig Stainton: The truth is that the police are using everything and anything they can get hold of to attack a certain segment of society, and at this particular point in time that segment happens to be gay men.

Max Allen: The London police named their investigation "Operation Scoop." Throughout this pandemonium the police and the press consistently portrayed the boys as victimized children, in spite of the fact that almost all of them were sexually active teenagers who were having sex for fun or for profit.

In the second week of the investigation, on 24 November 1993, The London Free Press headlined its story, "Girls as Young as Eight Filmed in Sexual Acts with Men, Police [say]." "New evidence in the London child-pornography investigation," the story begins, "reveals that girls as young as eight years old were duped into being videotaped committing sexual acts with men. 'We just began looking at the latest tapes and found evidence of young girls,' Inspector Jim Balmain said."

No girls were ever involved, but the story was never retracted.

Another false alarm was sounded in April; it got national attention. The London Free Press, 8 April: "Police Believe 80 Teens, Adults HIV Infected." 9 April: "Potential for an AIDS Epidemic Draws Alarm from Local Officials." "As many as 160 persons could be at risk of being infected with HIV, following the disclosure a youth involved in the London [pornography] investigation may have infected dozens of teens and adults."

There was no evidence for any of this.

One of the men arrested was HIV-positive, as was one of the fifty-five boys interrogated. These figures are less than the prevalence you'd expect statistically in this population.

The reporting everywhere used words like shocking and desperate. This is from the CTV National News:

News announcer [archival tape]: Officials are now desperately trying to find as many as 140 young offenders who may have been exposed to the HIV virus at a correctional facility. They are believed to have had contact with a young man who was infected through activity in the child-pornography trade.

Max Allen: The CTV reporter says that the seventeen-year-old has "confessed" he's HIV-positive. London's acting medical officer of health speaks:

Medical officer Verna Mai [archival tape]: We're looking at a very -- I think, potentially, an epidemic.
News reporter [archival tape]: London police say the young offender told them he tested HIV-positive when he was an inmate at Camp Dufferin two years ago. The seventeen-year-old, who can't be identified, is being described by police as a victim of this city's child-pornography ring.
Police spokesman Jim Balmain [archival tape]: They pass these kids around from one to another like a piece of meat. They exchange pornographic tapes of pedophilia, and this is how they get to know each other. And it goes across the country.
News reporter [archival tape]: And it's this underground subculture that scares provincial health investigators. They're desperately searching for more than a hundred former residents at Camp Dufferin who may have been exposed to the teen in question.
Medical officer Verna Mai [archival tape]: When you're talking about pornography, sure, it's shocking, but you throw in a deadly disease and it becomes even more shocking.
News reporter [archival tape]: The police investigation is far from over; they expect to make even more arrests. But they're not just dealing with a crime anymore. They're now grappling with a deadly disease.

Max Allen: I talked to reporter John Herbert, who wrote the HIV stories for The London Free Press.

Max Allen:The Free Press made quite a deal out of the HIV epidemic that was going to arise from this situation -- for about a week. And then I haven't heard anything more about it.
John Herbert: I think the first week it was covered sort of from the police side of things, and the original -- the medical-health office held a press conference after that, and it pretty much has been a dead duck since then. I don't think anybody's bothered to pursue it.

Max Allen: On 13 April, five days after the panic started, London's new chief medical officer of health -- who'd been appointed only the day before -- tried to calm the situation. Under the usual teaser "London Porn Probe," the Free Press headline read: "No Threat of AIDS Epidemic." CTV ignored the story, letting their original coverage stand.

Exaggeration and misrepresentation have characterized the London story from day one. There is said to be a child-porn ring, but most of the men who've been arrested don't know each other, and only two of them made any porn, none of which was ever distributed to anyone else. If anything it's a child-porn duet.

Distinctions have completely collapsed. Seventeen-year-olds, at the height of their sexual vigour, are called "children." The reporting makes it sound like these angelic boys were all lured from their well-to-do nuclear families, when in fact they all, with maybe one or two exceptions, come from "broken, dysfunctional homes," to use the words of the court record. They found, usually with each other's help, gay men who would give them money and clothes, and in some cases places to stay.

This subculture of men and boys has been relentlessly attacked in London by three institutions acting in concert: the police, the social-welfare agencies, and the press.

In London, or any other city, you can easily find sixteen-year-old hookers -- girls -- who are never made to reveal the names of their clients and friends, nor are they protected and saved from ruin with anything like the enthusiasm that's being focused on boys.

I told you last week about the case of London police constable Jeffrey Gateman and his involvement with an unwilling, under-age prostitute, a girl, who claimed he'd forced her to have sex. After a police services board hearing, Constable Gateman was demoted for discreditable conduct, but no criminal charges were laid. Compare this case with the thirteen London men sent to jail for consensual sex with teenage boys.

The girl eventually convinced the justice of the peace to recommend that Gateman be charged. Gateman was summonsed to court, not arrested, and released without paying any bail. Bail in the cases involving boys was set as high as $160,000; in thirteen cases it was denied altogether.

Or compare the cases of Constable Alexander McPhee and high-school teacher Leo Brownell. Brownell was caught in the so-called porn investigations and charged with paying teenaged boys for sex. Constable McPhee, who was the charging officer in seven of the sex cases, was himself charged this summer with sexual touching involving a fourteen-year-old . . . girl.

His case is still pending (as is Brownell's), and meanwhile he's been assigned to inside office duties with the London police. Brownell, on the other hand, was "removed from his classroom" as soon as he was charged, and has now lost his job, having, as they say, "resigned by mutual consent."

A woman who works in one of London's social-welfare agencies told me: "It seems more imperative to punish the abuse of boys -- however that's defined -- than it is to punish the abuse of girls; and punishment by the courts for sex with boys is both more likely and more severe."

London police chief Julian Fantino:

Julian Fantino [archival tape]: Once we saw the content of the tapes and the situations that presented there we felt duty-bound to pursue those to whatever degree we could.

Max Allen: The videotapes showed in-your-face teenage sex. The police saw them as evidence of crime, immorality, and victimization. But they were also evidence that contradicted the myth of teenage purity and innocence, and so they had to be confiscated, hidden, and finally destroyed. And the boys they depicted, and their friends, had to be taught the errors of their ways, to be made to confess and repent. This was an uphill struggle, and it involved what one reporter called "ground-breaking interviewing techniques."

Reporter [archival tape]: They've used some perhaps ground-breaking interviewing techniques to get these scared young victims to 'fess up and tell police what's been going on in this community.

Max Allen: The London police threatened to tell the boys' parents unless they cooperated -- and then they told them anyway. They promised the boys would never have to testify in court -- and most of them will have to testify. In Andrew Cunningham's case -- he's twenty-two now -- the police borrowed some clothes from the Salvation Army so he'd look presentable on the witness stand. The court victim-witness program has encouraged the boys to apply for provincial compensation, up to $25,000, for what's called their "victimization." In every case charges have not been laid against the younger partner, in order to preserve the idea that gay sex corrupts the young.

Here's an example from the interrogation of David Ashfield, age seventeen, by Constable Gary Smith:

David:"I'm supposed not to say anything unless my lawyer was here about my case or about anything that has to do with me anyways."
Constable Smith: "Okay. This is not about any charges against you. Okay? I'm asking about the guy you're living with. He was involved with acts of masturbation with you, or fellatio?"

:A: "Mm-hm."

:Q: "What about intercourse?"

A: "Mm, him? No, no."
Q: "You're telling me that he never did -- never had anal intercourse with you?"
A: "No."

:Q: "Why -- why does he -- why does he lead me to believe that you guys have?"

:A: "I don't know. Ask him."

:Q: "I mean, you've committed no offences with him, okay? If he's had intercourse with you, he's committed an offence. Do you realize that?"

:A: "Mm-hm."

(Actually, this is wrong. Both parties break the law when there's anal intercourse under eighteen.)

:Constable Smith: "I'd like to get the truth from you about that, and I've got to ask you, has he had intercourse with you? Simple question."

:David: "Yeah, probably."

:Constable Smith: "And how many times would that have happened over the two years?"

:David: "I don't know."

:Smith: "Like, once?"

:David: "I don't count."

:Smith: "Yeah, but once or ten times or a hundred?"

:David: "I don't know."

:Smith: "Well, could you put a ball-park figure on it?"

:David: "No, not really."

:Smith: "Well, is it more than ten or more than a hundred?"

:David: "More than a hundred? No. I don't know. Say ten then."

:Smith: "Okay, ten."

:David: "What the hell."

:Smith: "So I know this is embarrassing for you, but I don't believe you had a choice in the matter. I believe that he manipulated you into these acts."

:David: "No he didn't."

:Smith: "You don't think so? I mean, he's a man of how old?"

:David: "I could have said no if I wanted to."

:Smith: "Yeah, but he's twenty-eight."

:David: "Yeah. So?"

:Smith: "And you're a kid of what? Fifteen? Sixteen? Seventeen?"

:David: "Yeah."

:Smith: "Do you not think it's weird for him to be having sex with a person of your age?"

:David: "Mm-hm."

:Smith: "That's what I'm getting at. You know, he's twenty-six, you're sixteen, or seventeen, at times fifteen. It's, you know, to me, like, he's used you for these acts. That's what I'm getting at. Did you ever feel used by him?"

:David: "Sometimes, I guess."

Max Allen: The social-welfare agencies, especially the Children's Aid Society and the London Family Court Clinic, cooperated with the police to establish the meaning and significance of these events. Maureen Reid is director of the sexual-abuse intervention program at the London Children's Aid Society.

Maureen Reid: Early on, when the police identified that they had tapes with children on them, they joined with us to try to identify who some of those children were. We haven't done joint interviews with the police too often; we're beginning to do that in this case, but we were sort of collaborating and sharing and talking about mutual concerns around some of the children who were being identified.
Max Allen: And then they made a surprising discovery.
Maureen Reid: We had identified pretty quickly that -- I believe at the time there were fifty victims identified and we knew half of them. This was before the discovery of the additional 850 tapes, and the whole investigation changed again after that.
Max Allen: But those 800 new tapes are all commercial tapes [not made in London].
Maureen Reid: Yes, they are. And I think that the police have now sort of recognized that. But when the tapes were discovered and they didn't realize that, that's when there was the additional manpower [added], and the manpower from our agency was put in place as well.
But we had identified early on that we knew approximately twenty-two of these families that we had been involved with for other reasons. We didn't realize that this activity was going on.

Max Allen: So, all of the twenty-two boys known to the Children's Aid Society had kept quiet about their sexual activities. But after the discovery was made, the social-welfare people went into action. One of their jobs was to help the police and the courts by preparing what are called "victim-impact statements."

The statements that are usually seen in court are written by the victims themselves and describe how they've been affected by crime. These are public documents, sometimes read out in court. But in London an innovative new kind of victim-impact statement is being used, written not by the victim but by therapists and other professionals, who listen to the victim's version of the story, and then write down what they think it means. Alison Cunningham, research coordinator at the London Family Court Clinic:

Alison Cunningham: There's two types of victim-impact statements: the kind that we do here are different. They're done by clinicians who have a lot of experience in child development and child victimization. They would talk with the kids about their impressions of what happened to them and then they would put a clinical interpretation upon what they were told.

Max Allen: The psychological analyses and interpretations in the victim-impact statements are often quite lengthy. Here are excerpts from two of them, from boys caught up in the London investigations. This is from the victim-impact statement prepared about Randy Flynn, age eighteen.

"Randy is acutely aware of his role [in the police investigation] and feels ambivalent and fearful about the implications for himself as a victim. He estimates that he made on average between $15,000 and $20,000 a year, for the first two years, with his primary contacts being Mr. G. and Mr. J. Randy suggests that one motivation for his continued involvement was the economic hardships that his family faces. He says that although he was careful never to hand over enough money to arouse suspicion, he frequently helped his parents by giving them small sums of money.
"Clinical findings: In order to safely address the impact of the extensive sexual exploitation and abuse to which he's been subjected, Randy would require long-term therapy.
"Randy appears to have an intense need to attempt to normalize the activities in which he's been involved for the past four years. He is a tall, slim, attractive young man, with shoulder-length, layered, slightly wavy, fair hair. He describes himself as a hustler, who has sex with males for money. He rejects any suggestion that his own orientation would lead him to choose same-sex partners, saying that he would never voluntarily have sex with another male unless money was involved."

Now, it's not the job of the therapists who prepare these statements to cross-examine the boys about the stories they tell, but those stories are sometimes questionable. This is Randy Flynn's friend Mike Newman. They've known each other for thirteen years.

Mike Newman: We'd enjoy it because we were friends at the time. And we both didn't have a girlfriend at the time, so that's why we did it.

Max Allen: "It" is the sex Randy and Mike were having together.

Mike Newman: But now that -- since I have my own girlfriend I don't do it anymore. I don't know if he still does it or not, but as far as I know I think he does, because the last time he was here he tried something on me and I told him I couldn't do it no more.
I smoked dope with him and he came in my bedroom and he tried some stuff on me, and I said, "I can't do this." [He said] "Why? We were best friends. We did this for a long time." And I said, "Well, I can't do it anymore, because I've got a girlfriend now and I don't want to start this back up again." He goes, "Okay, I understand."

Max Allen: I'd like you to hear excerpts from one of the other statements. This one concerns Jason Springer, who was the second youngest of the boys involved in the so-called pornography ring.

"Jason's family has had a lengthy involvement with the Children's Aid Society. His mother was apprehended and made a ward of the Children's Aid Society when she was thirteen, as a result of physical and sexual abuse within her own home. Jason was born when his mother was seventeen; his brother was born two years later.
"Jason's mother, Ms. B., was concerned about over-disciplining the boys and losing control on occasion. In November 1992 Jason and his brother were apprehended by the Children's Aid Society and placed in a foster home for a short period of time, as a result of their mother's intoxication and her partner's violence.
"Clinical findings: Jason is a well-spoken, attractive youth who has experienced a chaotic family background, characterized by turbulent parental relationships, alcoholism, and financial stress. This family has required the intervention and ongoing involvement of the CAS over many years.
"Jason is quite guarded in talking about [his sexual activities with men and boys] and attempts to distance himself from the memory of these events. He can recount, in an emotionally detached manner, the circumstances of the abuse ... [but] his coping strategy for dealing with his trauma is to block any affect, which in turn allows him to avoid the pain.
"A boy looking to older male figures for emotional support and reassurance was clearly victimized by men who used him sexually. ... A danger for a boy like Jason is that he could identify with such men and assume similar emotional attitudes and characteristics with respect to other persons in his life. His relationship with his mother has been further eroded by [his sexual exploitation] and she is currently the brunt of most of his angry feelings.
"The corruption of this young boy's moral attitudes and values has directly resulted from sexual victimization and it will require extensive 'reprogramming' of his belief system in order to change his views about relationships."

Max Allen: There is a contest in London over what the experience of these boys means. Often the boys are on one side and the professionals on the other. Often the boys refuse to talk, which is interpreted as denial, depression, or victimization.

John Ferguson: I think the police are intent to discredit gay people in every possible way.

Max Allen: That was John Ferguson, one of the men charged in London for paying a hustler. This is former hustler Scott Baldwin:

Scott Baldwin: I think the police have sort of extended it because of people being gay and not straight.

Max Allen: Ray Butler, arrested for giving young men food, shelter, and money, in exchange for sex:

Ray Butler: In any city in Canada the bond between men and boys will continue, and boys will seek out what they need from older men.
Max Allen: But in this case men and boys both are in jail in large numbers.
Ray Butler: Yes, but they will be replaced by another wave of boys and another wave of men. Society should realize right now that they're never going to change human sexuality through law.

Max Allen: The prosecution of homosexuality has a very long history. In Europe and North America, repression and tolerance follow each other in waves. But tolerance never means approval, only turning a blind eye, a sort of social contract "not to notice."

And then, usually in times when the world is being turned upside-down for other reasons, and the social contract is being revised, homosexual behaviour is suddenly in the spotlight; activities that were going on quite undisturbed are jerked into prominence.

Toulouse, in southern France, 1318: The Inquisition, which is in place to enforce religious orthodoxy, is surprised to find out about a subculture of men having sex with each other. It's estimated there may be a thousand of them -- in a city a tenth the size of London, Ontario.

Amsterdam, 1730: Homosexual activity comes to light. The provincial court of Holland declares it's necessary "to exterminate this vice to the bottom, following the most extraordinary and accidental discovery of a tangle of ungodliness." Between 1730 and 1732 at least seventy-five men are put to death.

The Dutch system was very much different from ours, but a man with a kind of "chief of police" power is behind one of the great investigations. In 1731 he has more than thirty farm men and boys arrested on sodomy charges. Twenty-two of them are condemned to death. The means of execution in Holland include "hanging, garroting, decapitation, breaking on a wheel, and drowning in a barrel of water."

The drama requires a public spectacle of denunciation and repentance. Men have to plead guilty before they are killed. Torture is often required to get them to do it.

What's happening in London, Ontario today is small potatoes compared to the pandemonium in Amsterdam following 1730, but the impulse behind it is similar. It's to suppress, in the words of the court of Holland, "a tangle of ungodliness."

The concept of adolescence hadn't been invented in 1730, so the Dutch investigation didn't separate its targets into men and boys. Teenagers and grownups were all of a piece. We, on the other hand, think of teenagers as a distinct kind of people, and we categorize them either as adults or children, depending on whether we hate them as offenders or love them as innocent victims. Calling them "children" in London means they're going to symbolize innocence, which will be handy in mobilizing feelings against anybody who threatens them. In Europe, gypsies were feared because they might kidnap children. Jews were feared because they might kill them. And in our time, homosexual men are feared because they might defile them.

The American historian Estelle Friedman has written about the "invention" of a kind of criminal called the sexual psychopath [see link to download below]. In the thirties, forties, and fifties the sexual psychopath (driven by uncontrollable urges -- and of course male) became what Friedman calls "a malleable symbol for popular fears about the consequences of the new sexual values." That role -- and you see it clearly in London -- has been taken over today by men whose sexual interest and behaviour crosses the fluid boundary of adolescence.

Of course, there are real criminals who brutalize children too young to resist, too naïve to know better, too trapped and disempowered to have any say in what happens to them. The Mount Cashel disaster comes to mind. And residential schools for aboriginal children. And young people everywhere -- girls mostly -- with no place to turn when what passes for their family turns them into playthings.

These disgusting situations are not, as far as I can tell, what's going on in London.

There's a search in London for reasons, external reasons, why kids might engage in gay sex, reasons like a child-pornography ring, which serves as a kind of creation myth explaining how all this happened.

Ontario, 1994: Teenage sex, here as everywhere, is out of control; and gay sex is breaking new ground as well. This summer a bill is narrowly defeated in the Ontario legislature that would give same-sex couples some of the same rights held by male-female couples. A very old boundary, carefully maintained and policed, was about to disappear. A line between acceptable and unacceptable sex was in danger of dissolving. Where could it be redrawn?

And how can the recent emergence of homosexuality into public life and public discourse be controlled? Can all these now visible men and boys be integrated into society without having everything collapse?

In London the public agencies face a hard question: Are the boys really, "underneath it all" -- that is, underneath their behaviour -- really pure and innocent, and it's therefore up to the therapists, our new priests, to get them to confess and to get them back to a state of grace? Or are the boys actually just what they appear to be, and the therapeutic objective is to change them? If so, how much force can be applied?

Picture this. London police chief Julian Fantino calls a press conference. He peers out from behind stacks of videotapes piled up like mountains around him. The child-porn investigation has pretty much run out of steam; they say they're about to wrap it up. And then, suddenly, as they go to arrest a high-school teacher for paying for sex, they discover this mountain of porn. It's May 31, 1994.

Julian Fantino: And as a result of that particular arrest we have seized over 800 video cassette tapes. Everything has to be as yet investigated; all these tapes and all these photographs and all these records have to be meticulously examined so as to identify the victims, the people involved, and then begin a process of locating them and interviewing them, and then proceeding further. So this is a very, very labour-intensive, very time-consuming kind of an initiative.

Max Allen: The media reaction is what you'd expect (audio collage of radio reports):

"...Calling for a province-wide crackdown on pornography ...and the seizure of 800-plus! -- 800-plus more videotapes -- more than 800 more videotapes have now been seized in this child-pornography ring ... Fantino told a news conference, carried live here on AM1410, that this problem is more widespread than communities want to believe. It doesn't just happen in London!..."

Max Allen: Two problems have been gnawing at the London police. First, they've been working day and night for months on the sex investigation and thousands of hours of unpaid overtime have accumulated -- unpaid because Ontario's new social contract legislation strictly controls the budgets of public agencies.

The chief of police also has a public-relations problem. The relentless publicity about the cesspool of porn that London has apparently become has civic leaders concerned. The Free Press headline reads: "Fantino Worried That City's Reputation Has Been Unfairly Tarnished by Arrests."

There's a solution: recast the London situation as a child-exploitation ring; call it a province-wide issue; and convince the province to pay for the investigation ("exploitation" being a nearly limitless problem). Ontario's solicitor-general announces he'll act. A provincial group with at least ten police officers will be set up in London, with secret terms of reference and a secret budget, headed by a policeman well-known to many in London's gay community.

It's those 800 tapes seized from teacher Leo Brownell that did it.

The trouble is, they weren't child pornography. What they were, an inside source tells me, is mostly Hollywood movies, National Geographic specials, and programs taped off television.

None of the 800 tapes has been charged. What has been charged in the haul from Leo Brownell's house is one eight-millimetre film, some albums of snapshots, and some gay magazines of the sort you can buy in bookstores.

What touched off "Operation Guardian" -- that's what Project Scoop was renamed after it got provincial funding -- was not pornography but rather a public-relations image: a picture of a mountain of tapes.

A friend of mine asked me the other day to "synthesize" the London story for him. "Tell me what it's all about in a few words," he said. I couldn't. There's nothing simple about it. Telling a simple story is what the police, the press, and the social-welfare people have been trying to do. It seems to me that the resulting story -- the urban legend about a child-pornography ring -- is radically incomplete. It doesn't help anybody understand what's going on: that in London there are good boys and rascals, kind men and scumbags, honest professionals and opportunists, just like in the rest of the world.

The real picture of London is still grainy and indistinct, a kind of inkblot test that you can make up all kinds of stories about.

Lister Sinclair: These programs about The Trials of London are part of an IDEAS series about the regulation of sex and images called "The Bedrooms of the Nation". The producer is Max Allen, with research by Joseph Couture. Series consultant: York University historian Jay Cassel. I'm Lister Sinclair.

[End of "The Trials of London: Part 2"]

The Trials of London: Part 3

Lister Sinclair: I'm Lister Sinclair, with IDEAS. This program is about victims. It's the third in a four-part IDEAS series called The Trials of London.

The first two instalments were broadcast last October, and transcripts are now available on the Internet. Look in the IDEAS section of CBC Radio on the World Wide Web. Our http address is <a href="">

In making these programs we are under a number of constraints. We have used pseudonyms, bleeps, and in one case an electronic voice disguise because of requirements of the Young Offenders Act, various court ordered publication bans, and a concern for the safety of one of our informants. The interview with London police chief Julian Fantino, who declined to speak to us directly except under conditions unacceptable to the CBC, was conducted by Gerald Hannon for an article in the Globe and Mail.

The Trials of London is based on the work of journalist Joseph Couture, and is presented by IDEAS producer Max Allen.

Max Allen: Over the past 18 months, London, Ontario, has been the site of a social and legal experiment, involving a police task-force, the press, and various social work agencies. The experiment involves arresting men -- 55 so far -- in what was originally called a child-pornography ring. Two of the men were convicted of making videos of mostly teenage boys having sex. The arrests of the other men have been mostly for paying teenage boys for sexual services, and other forms of what's now called child exploitation. All of the arrests, with one possible exception, involve gay sex.

This is by far the biggest sex scandal in North America.

Because the London uproar is about sex and perversion, it threatens to forever tarnish London's image as a sedate -- and solidly heterosexual -- city, the jewel of southwestern Ontario, a city of 300,000 with the most progressive and extensive social service network in the country.

The pandemonium began in November 1993 when some discarded homemade videotapes were fished out of the Ausable River. London police chief Julian Fantino has pursued the case with great energy and conviction.

Julian Fantino: When I saw what was being portrayed on those tapes, it was obvious that there was a much greater need to investigate beyond just the child pornography situation.
So we began the investigation in earnest to try and identify the people who were portrayed on the tapes.
And as time went on, we became more and more aware of how pervasive this problem is and how difficult the whole thing is because young people who are victimized, etc., because of so many dynamics, don't come forward normally. Therefore we went forward and put this Project Guardian project together. So Project Guardian is really an evolution of a whole lot of things.

Max Allen: Throughout the Guardian investigations (at first it was called Operation Scoop) there have been recurring themes of concealment and uncertainty. The budget of the 15-person Guardian task-force, funded by the province of Ontario, is secret. (See footnote 3.) The social workers who are dealing with a dozen of the boys in counselling say the outcomes are highly uncertain.

The child service agencies in London together command an overall budget of just under $100 million dollars a year. But a study released on March 7, 1995, by the London Coordinating Council for Children and Youth says the children's services sector has "very limited or no research on outcomes realized for the investments being made."

It's never easy to figure out whether legal or psychological interventions actually do any measurable good; in the Project Guardian cases this problem is compounded, because many -- possibly most -- of the victims refuse to admit that they're victims. This is especially true of the teenagers who were in it for the money and other benefits.

A section of the Criminal Code makes it illegal to "compensate" anybody under l8 for sex. And compensation means any benefit whatever (in one case, a glass of beer). At the time it was enacted in 1986, it was thought this law, section 212(4) of the Criminal Code, would "protect" minors. But there have been so few cases nationally that there's never been the kind of study that most new laws are subjected to, to see whether they're working as planned. The London situation now offers a test case.

We can contrast the situation in London with Calgary, where police have become nationally known for their aggressive approach to teenage prostitution (by girls, not boys). The 1986 law against "compensation" for sex has rarely been used in Calgary. Instead, the police have simply swept juvenile hookers off the street under the child welfare regulations.

At the University of Calgary, Augustine Brannigan is a professor of sociology. He's one of Canada's leading experts on prostitution. Most prostitution, he says, is policed at the point of contact, usually on the street. This is unlike the situation in London, where the acts were only revealed on videotape.

Augustine Brannigan: That's an extraordinary situation. I gather in London that the materials were discovered on videotapes that had been discarded. This is a most unlikely site for a systematic police investigation. I think it's a one-off situation.
Max Allen: Well, what's happened beyond that is that the adolescents on those tapes were asked to give the names of any other adolescents they knew that were in the business, and the police went to them also and said, "Give us the names of your customers, or else." And the "or else" varied a good deal. But it was through that kind of investigative technique that the names of the men were brought to the attention of the police.
Augustine Brannigan: From what I know in the area of female prostitution, it seems to me at least in the first instance that prostitutes are very protective of their customers. And the question that is raised by the London example for me is what the incentives were, or what pressures were brought on the practitioners to breach a relationship which under normal circumstances they would be very reluctant to disclose.

Max Allen: In London, David and Scott are 18 and 20. They're involved as "victims" in a number of cases. They're talking to journalist Joseph Couture:

Scott Baldwin: It looks amusing when you watch the police on TV but it's not amusing when they're harassing you.
Joseph Couture: And do you feel that what they've done to you is harassment?
Scott Baldwin: Yep. They just non-stop continue to get information out of me which I don't want to give.
David Ashfield: Can they make you take an AIDS test?
Scott Baldwin: Yeah. They told me, "You should take an AIDS test," because they thought I was into anal intercourse. Which, after a while I guess they didn't do the same thing to me because they never could prove I was into that. Because I've never been in a situation like that.
Joseph Couture: They made you take an AIDS test, didn't they?
David Ashfield: Um-hmm. The week they first called me they said, well, you don't have to but it would be a good idea. And then I said, no, I didn't want one. A week later they called up and said we'll have to ask you if you would come in and take that AIDS test. If not, then we'll have to send an officer to your house to bring you here and they'll have to hold you down if you don't, like, cooperate. And shit like that. And so I said, well, when do you want me in, you know. I might as well go, so...

Max Allen: The police made transcripts of their numerous interviews with the teenagers, and -- it's standard police technique -- then repeatedly questioned them about what they'd previously said.

David Ashfield: They called me down, like, I don't know, probably about seven times now, and asked me about mostly the same people.
Scott Baldwin: I don't remember myself saying things weeks later because they -- it's almost as if they've worked their way somehow of getting you to say something which you weren't planning on to say, and then later on you don't remember what you said because it wasn't important to you, and then they use that against you. You know, well, "You said this. You know, you could get charged if you hold back information."
Joseph Couture: Did they tell you that you could be charged if you didn't give them the information that they wanted?
Scott Baldwin: Yeah.
David Ashfield: Well, they didn't say it like that to me. They just said: You know it will help you out a lot more, the more information you give the less you're going to get in trouble, you know, and all this shit.
Scott Baldwin: They said I could be charged.
Joseph Couture: Did they say with what?
Scott Baldwin: I think it was prostitution.

Max Allen: But nobody in London has been charged with prostitution, since it's not illegal. Selling sex, per se, is not a crime. It's only a crime to buy sex from somebody who's under 18.

Mike, who's now l9, is involved in cases against at least six different men.

Mike Newman: They said I could be charged with prostitution, but I never knew there was no law about that.

Max Allen: What there is a law about is being a party to an offense, which technically could be used to lay charges against the boys. But that's never happened. If the teenagers were charged it would destroy the image -- constructed by the police, the social agencies and the London media -- of the boys as innocent victims.

Scott Baldwin: The police make, well they try to make everyone think that, they want us to feel sorry for ourselves, you know, so it helps them out in their case. The more sorry we feel, the more hurt we feel, the more anger we feel against these people, the more the police can get out of us.

Max Allen: These cases rest entirely on the shoulders of the boys, not one of whom as far as we have been able to determine initiated any kind of complaint, though some of them do seem to enjoy their new friendship with the police. What odd bedfellows they make, I think as I watch them testify. But others find the cases unpleasant.

Mike Newman: I hate court because it feels like one of these days I'm gonna be in court for something I did wrong or something. And it just makes me nervous,because I've never been in court before in my life. Every time I go there I get nervous and I smoke almost a half a pack of cigarettes or a pack of cigarettes because I'm so nervous, I don't know what to say. Even though I am a witness, I still don't know what to say. Because like half the time you hear one thing or you tell your Crown attorney one thing, and then the prosecutor or whatever the heck -- the defendant -- like says something else, calling you a male prostitute and all that other stuff -- how are you going to handle that? You can't. Like, when everybody tells me I'm a male prostitute, I feel like jumping over the counter and beating the shit out of them, but I can't do that in a courtroom, and I don't want to do that outside because if I do that I'll get arrested, and I don't need that right now.

Max Allen: Some of the teenagers have also found the police on their backs for speaking to the CBC. Mike was taken for police interrogation twice after he appeared on IDEAS last October. The second time he was questioned, he said, he was taken from work and was subsequently fired.

Scott was also interrogated by the London police after we broadcast an interview with him saying this:

Scott Baldwin: We were all to sit there and listen to the detectives give us lines, like: "We're victims and we're the ones that are hurt by this," and things like that, not thinking that we may not be that stupid, that we know exactly what they're trying to say and they know that we're not victims and that we just happen to be gay. But I could sort of realize that I don't feel like a victim anyway, so I must not be.

Max Allen: Scott was subsequently questioned by Project Guardian officers Mike Crosby and Dan Maloney. This is an excerpt:

Officers: During the interview there was some mention by yourself that you felt you weren't a victim.
Scott: I guess so
Officers: Do you feel that you're a victim?
Scott: Well, when I look at the people in the past, I do, people that I've run into in the past, but in the present I sort of, well, I sort of look at it as, as, I don't know, just not all, quite, while we were there, so, you know...
Officers: Are you confused about what's happened to you in the past? You know that some of that confusion stems around the fact that sex you were involved in was consensual, is that where the confusion, you think, comes from?
Scott: What does that mean?
Officers: Well, that you agreed to it.
Scott: That I...
Officers: You participated in it and it was not forced on you in most cases, that actually you agreed to participate in the sex for money or whatever. Is that where the confusion stems from about being a victim?
Scott: Well, I think it's the reason I started agreeing with Joseph because it sounded at the time right, it sounded, yeah, that I did make my own decisions, so it was my fault, because...
Officers: Do you understand that the point of the police is not that you didn't agree to it?
Scott: Right.
Officers: The fact that the law prohibits people of that age, meaning you know older adult men, having sex with teenagers, whether it's consensual or not -- do you understand that that's what this is about?
Scott: Right.
Officers: It's not about you agreeing or not agreeing, you understand that?
Scott: OK.

Max Allen: This is Clarence Crossman, one of a group of people from London's gay community who have been meeting with the police.

Clarence Crossman: One of the main arguments the police gave us for their whole investigation was that, to quote Detective Sergeant Balmain, every one of the teenagers involved in the investigation, he asserted, had been sexually interfered with when they were 8 or 9 years old. And then after that exploitation, they started to steal, be involved in break-and-enters, and other kinds of anti-social behaviour.

Max Allen: This leaves open the question of just who did that interfering and exploitation. This is Rhonda Hallberg who's chairperson of the London and Middlesex Child Abuse Council, talking on London radio station AM1410:

Rhonda Hallberg: One of the things that we've discovered is that the majority of these young people were abused in previous situations by other caretakers, by other adults that are in a position of trust and authority. That already then gave them a number of struggles, a number of problems to be dealing with, which of course in its own, without having had a chance to really recover from that, leaves them more vulnerable for being manipulated and abused again.

Max Allen: But in none of the Guardian cases have any criminal charges been laid against these parents and caretakers. Instead, the gay and bisexual men caught in the Guardian dragnet are being prosecuted.

Clarence Crossman: It's very tempting for people to think, well, if we throw these men in jail for what they did with a 15, 16 or 17 year old, even if it was consensual, somehow we have had some kind of justice for what happened earlier.
Rhonda Hallberg: We know that some of the children are now certainly young men and they are definitely at the age of, you know, they're 18 and a bit older. But we know from even understanding some of their past history, that they also came from situations that gave them a lot more to be struggling with. These kids are not people who are in a position to be making free choices with a lot of skill and a lot of backing to help them make a choice that's free. And so that, we still see, as continuing to keep them in a victim role.
None of the kids that we've dealt with, or any of the children who are struggling with their role as having to testify in court, are people who are saying, yes, I made a careful decision about this.
All of the kids we're dealing with are struggling with depression, feeling guilty, feeling anger about what's happened to them. Anger at the system for things getting caught and things kind of falling apart. So they're all dealing with many, many different feelings and behaviours.

Max Allen: As mayor of London, Diane Haskett is a member of the board that oversees the police.

Diane Haskett: There obviously are a couple of troublesome issues that are raised and that we'll be wanting to look into at the police services board, and we will do so. At the same time we are hearing from the very well respected members of our social services community that in fact there have been some serious problems that are being addressed by Project Guardian and that they wholeheartedly endorse the project.

Max Allen: Jeffrey Montgomery is president of The Triangle Foundation in Detroit. The Foundation works to protect homosexuals against violence and discrimination.

Jeffrey Montgomery: We've seen with this London situation and many of the young people involved in that, that their lives have been unalterably changed. Obviously. In many cases they seem, from reports I've seen, to have been destroyed to one degree or another. It's not uncommon that laws that try to regulate sexual activity end up really doing a lot of destruction.
I think that we so often want to think for young people and tell young people what is best for them. Obviously there are some cases where that is an important thing to do if it involves a matter of dire, immediate personal safety. But I think that one's sexuality, regardless of the age that person is, is a very fundamental part of who that person is. Most gay people that I know, when asked, will tell you that they knew they were gay as young as11, 12, 13 years old. They knew they were gay. They may not have known that it was called homosexuality, they may not have known what it all meant, but they certainly knew where their desires and their attractions were. Just as those who are heterosexual understand and know what their desires and where their attractions are.

Max Allen: Richard Hudler in London has written that he thinks the police and the social workers should stop treating these kids as if they were just, in his phrase, "damaged heterosexuals."

Jeffrey Montgomery: I couldn't agree more with that statement. Homosexuality is a common sexual identity.
By the same token when we talk about these kids, they're damaged now because of heterosexuals, in this case the police authorities. Most of the time most of these people use laws like those that are in place in Ontario and many places here in the United States that appear to be somehow general laws dealing with sexual activity. But in reality they are ways to further repress and further punish those people, usually men, practising homosexual activity.
The disproportion between when these laws are used to regulate sexual activity in general, versus when they are really used to control and punish homosexuals, leaves little doubt that these are really laws directed against gay people.

Max Allen: We have to be careful in the London situation to distinguish between "gay people" and "homosexual activity." Many of the boys -- and the men too, for that matter -- don't describe themselves in any simple way. It seems to me this is less a matter of concealing their feelings than it is of discovering that reductionist, bipolar categories just don't fit.

Scott Baldwin: I've changed my mind so many times about who I am, and I've come up with the conclusion that I'm nobody, like I'm not gay, I'm not straight, I'm not nothing, I'm just whatever I do the next day. Like I mean I do like men, and I like women. I don't like animals but...

Max Allen: This kind of open-mindedness can lead to experimentation. You've heard people say -- perhaps you've said it yourself -- that young people are vulnerable to perverse desires and suggestions, and need to be protected from them until they settle down. Sex is a powerful force that needs to be contained and normalized. Sex simply let loose -- which is what looks to be happening on the prostitution strolls -- will likely cause misery.

Another view is that prostitution, especially for boys, can be an adventure: whether you're part of a group of friends, or you're working the park and the streets. Here's what the police found out in Calgary. Professor Brannigan:

Augustine Brannigan: The police engaged in undercover sting operations on the gay stroll. They intercepted the customers of the boys, and they discovered that the male and female strolls were radically different.
The motivation for engaging in prostitution in the two strolls is quite different. The females are financially motivated. They're very concerned about making money very quickly, and transacting the date with the utmost haste and the maximum amount of return.
On the gay strolls, many of the young men who engaged in hustling activity are doing it not so much out of financial pressure (that's there, I don't want to deny that) but they're also doing it because they're working through their sexual identities. Many of these young guys have bisexual feelings or gay feelings and gravitate to the stroll because that's where you meet other guys with the same inclinations. That's also where you can meet other men who are cruising these areas.
One of the things that made it difficult for the police to succeed in making arrests is that when they would pick up some of the young boys, the young boys would check them out, show some attraction to them, and offer in many cases to have sex without money. To have sex for affection. So the police after about 1988 simply stopped policing this stroll, and we find that the arrests have been confined to the heterosexual strolls.

Max Allen: That's in Calgary. In London, police developed a powerful lever to pry apart the connection between boys and boys, and boys and men. Starting from those videotapes found in the river, Project Guardian say they've now conducted more than 1600 interviews.

Clarence Crossman:

Clarence Crossman: I think that for the youth to sort out for themselves whether the experiences they've been involved in are actually exploitative or not, there needs to be support given to them that is emphatically nonjudgmental and that honours their perception of themselves at any one time.
Maybe someone who says that they don't feel exploited right now, if they felt like they were honestly respected for who they were and their own perception of themselves was honoured and recognized, they might sometime later change their mind and decide in the future that they were exploited, but that wouldn't automatically or necessarily happen.
The whole point of anyone not being victimized is that they be heard, their perspective be acknowledged, their understanding of themselves be acknowledged. That's not happening from what I can see with the interventions that are now happening. I've heard from many different sources that the social-service workers who are involved with the boys are distressed when the boys do not see themselves as victims. And many of them have declared it as their agenda to make the boys see themselves as victims, as a starting point for helping the boys.

Max Allen: In London, with its $100 million children's services budget, there is no gay-run agency serving gay youth.

This is Joe Terry, who's had the kind of street and neighbourhood experiences common to many of the teenagers caught in the net of Project Guardian:

Joe Terry: I knew what I was doing. I went into it with my eyes open. I wanted it, you know. It wasn't something I was forced into or bribed or bought.
Joseph Couture: Do you think all 16-year-olds or 17-year-olds are capable of making the same decision?
Joe Terry: Yeah. I mean if you're straight you are capable of making sexual decisions at 14. It shouldn't take you the extra four years to make the big leap and decide that you're -- if you know you're gay, you shouldn't have to wait four years before you can have sex.
I think that society really ought to take a look at it and realize that it's not a recruitment thing, it's not that you're forced into it. It's something that's as natural -- when you're 14 and gay it's as natural to want to be with a man as it is when you're 14 and straight and want to be with a girl. So they really need to think about that.
I mean, kids 8 and 9 years old, that is gross. That is a problem. They should go to jail. But once you're making more adult decisions with your life, I mean when you're 14 you do make a little bit more decisions for yourself, so I honestly believe the age should be lower than 18.
Joseph Couture: What about the money?
Joe Terry: I think the money's just a perq. I mean, you're getting what you want and you're getting paid for it, too. It's like the ideal job. You know, you're getting paid to do what you want to do. I know there are a lot of street kids out there who do it to survive, and prostitution is what they do to keep themselves alive. But I think that for lots of people it's a bonus. I mean, [a certain man] used to buy me clothes, take me out for dinner, do all that kind of stuff. And that's the same thing, it just wasn't cold hard cash. But I mean, I was getting what I wanted, so it was just extra.
Joseph Couture: Who's seducing who in this situation? Are the boys seducing these men, or are the men seducing these boys?
Joe Terry: I think it's a little bit of both. I know a lot of men who have been seduced by boys. I mean let's face it, when someone who's 17 and good-looking is putting the moves on you, most guys wouldn't say no. Or they wouldn't before all this started. I know a lot of guys who're scared and would think twice about it now. But I mean it takes two. No one gets forced into it. If they're doing it, they're doing it because they want to, especially if they're 15 or 16. They know what they want. And they're going to get it. So I think it's both sides. I'm sure the guys can entice, but you can't rape the willing. It's two-sided.
Joseph Couture: What do you think of the label "victim" being attached to these boys?
Joe Terry: Umm, no. The ones that are really too young, yes. Those are victims. I mean that's child abuse just like any other form of child abuse. But when you're 17 years old, or even 14 -- like I was doing it when I was 14. I was out there, I was picking up the guys. It wasn't them picking me up. And you can't be a victim unless you're forced into something. So no, I don't think they're victims.

Max Allen: Joe Terry, in London, talking to Joseph Couture.

This is Clarence Crossman:

Clarence Crossman: Sexual involvement with teenagers between 14 and 18 for consideration or for money is illegal. And the touchstone for whether or not that should be pursued seems to me to be whether or not the youths themselves feel like they're being exploited or misused. And in fact without my even suggesting it, that's something that the police said from their perspective should also be a touchstone.
They emphasized more than once that they had discretion as to whether or not to lay charges. And they stated quite clearly that if there was a 17-year-old hustler who said, "I'm not being exploited, this is my business, this is my work," they did not have time to switch them around. So they were only, from their perspective, investigating teenagers that had felt exploited. And they believed that the victim impact statements that would be read into court proceedings would justify their investigation.
Joseph Couture: How do we reconcile statements such as the police have just made with the stories that the boys themselves are telling?
Clarence Crossman: From what I understand their assessment of themselves as not being victims is being discounted by professionals, and in fact causes some professionals a lot of distress. And so there appears to be a declared agenda to make them into victims when they do not perceive themselves to be such.
Some of them may feel victimized when they look back, others will never feel victimized. And if some of those teenagers at a later point feel like they have been victimized, that perception at that point needs as much respect as the respect that should be given to their perception now that are not victimized.
One of those issues has to do with boys not feeling victimized until the whole investigation started, and charges were laid, and the police became involved in their lives, and then the Crown, and then the Children's Aid Society -- that it was the whole criminal proceedings that caused them to feel victimized or caused damage to their lives, not the sex trade working that they were doing.
Joseph Couture: You two were interviewed a couple of months ago for a program called The Trials of London. What happened to you after this program was broadcast?
Scott Baldwin: The police questioned me and asked my why I had did the show, and what my reasons were for saying what I did.
Joseph Couture: Did it sound to you like they were angry at you because you did this?
Scott Baldwin: Umm, yes. It sounded as if they had lost one of their useful tools, I guess, or something. That's the way they look at people, as a tool.
I don't sort of look at it as the police doing their own work. They seem to get everyone else to do their work for them. And that sort of makes them a lot like the people they arrest. Like a drug dealer, for instance. A lot of drug dealers don't do business themselves, they'll have someone else do their business so if the other person gets caught, you know, it doesn't get them in much trouble. It's sort of like the police. If the police make a mistake, well, it's everybody else's fault, not theirs.

Max Allen: One of those mistakes, the police now say, was that for seven months they called the London situation a kiddy porn ring, and even long afterward they didn't object to local coverage which continued to use the term. This, for example, is from London's most listened to radio station, AM1410 (audio collage of newscasts from AM 1410):

"...child pornography ring... the perpetrators of this child-pornography ring help ferret out child pornography in this province... enormous reality of the most recent development in this child-pornography ring ...the London police in this child-porn investigation... the latest developments in this incredible child-pornography ring..."

Max Allen: London police chief Julian Fantino:

Julian Fantino: Why are we so preoccupied with what label we put on this and we don't focus on the damage, the trauma, being caused to people? Whether we call it child pornography, sexual exploitation, or whether we get technical and quote a criminal code section, what is the difference?
Gerald Hannon: I think there is a fear with the suggestion of "ring", that there was an organization...
Julian Fantino: ...And there was...
Gerald Hannon: an organized level far beyond what I understand to be really only two men who knew each other.
Julian Fantino: No, I'm sorry. There was just not only two men. There was a whole lot of boys who...
Gerald Hannon: ...Boys, yes...
Julian Fantino: ...who networked amongst themselves. So we can, like I say, we can put whatever definition we want on it. I take nothing back of what I said, at any time, because I said what I said on the basis of my belief at that time.

Max Allen: As far as I can make out, the fundamental belief among London officials is that boys are "innocent" in both the legal and moral senses (though Chief Fantino does say that the "ring" was a ring of boys).

In order for any series of events to make sense, they have to be shaped into a story, a narrative, an explanation. The official explanation for teenage homosexual activity in London is now clear. This is Rhonda Hallberg speaking on AM 1410:

Rhonda Hallberg: I know that "victim" carries a connotation to it of being somebody who is weak and someone who is unable to stand up for themselves and be independent. The use of "victim" in this situation really is much more complex than that. What the investigation for the Children's Aid Society has been able to reveal is that these young men, these boys, these children, were already kids who already had a number of struggles and difficulties in their lives, who were really at risk already in our community. And that there were then adult men who had taken specific steps to try to seduce these kids. To get them involved in activity that was not healthy for them, that did not increase their self-esteem. And that they then became enticed into a different kind of lifestyle. So really it is not related to them having a responsibility to it. So when we use the word victim, that's more of what we want to emphasize is that these children are not responsible for what happened. They did not go out looking for this. They did not ask to have... to participate in any of these activities.

Max Allen: Mike Newman, talking about his experiences with a man whose case is now in court:

Mike Newman: He treated you pretty good. Like he gave you dope when you wanted it. He gave you food when you needed it. Let you have a shower and all that stuff and whatever. He took you places if you wanted to go, or if he asked you, he'd take you somewhere. And the same with the other guys.

Max Allen: Please be warned that the following discussion, which describes a common way that the men and boys in London met each other, involves language you may find offensive. Certain sections are masked in compliance with publication bans.

Joseph Couture: How did you meet Carlos?
Mike Newman: Through (D). (D) met Carlos through (E), and talked to him and (D) told him that he had somebody that he should be able to meet and he told Carlos what I looked like and how big my dick was and all this other stuff, and so Carlos said OK, bring him up, I'd like to meet him. So when I went up to Carlos's house, and I started talking to Carlos and started carrying on, and the next thing you know he's sucking me off. And then we smoked up and he sucked me off some more. And then [a certain other boy] and we smoked up and we started screwing around, and that's how I first met him. (D) was 17 and I'd already turned 18 in September and that's when we first started seeing Carlos.
Joseph Couture: What's your birthday?
Mike Newman: September 12th, '75. And now I'm 19. So I got myself a nice girl, and a nice home, and a baby on the way, so I can't be bothered with the homosexuals anymore. So I guess I'm doing pretty good.
Joseph Couture: How did the men that you were with treat you?
Mike Newman: Well, some of them treated me pretty good. Like, a lot of them did, actually. They gave me anything I wanted.
But the thing was, it's just all the stuff they wanted me to do. Like, when I first started, I thought well, all I was supposed to do is just lay there and guys give me head, instead of me giving them head. And I thought, OK well, I'll just lay there and get money for letting them give me head. I thought, OK, that's no problem, I can do that, 'cause I don't mind if a guy gives me head.
Well, I didn't at the time mind if a guy gives me head. But nowadays I can't stand if a guy comes up and asks me, well, I'll give you some money to give you head or something. I'm like, well, I don't think so, and I walk away. Any other homosexuals, they don't bother me. As long as they don't try nothing on me, then I'm all right. Other than that, if they try something on me, they're gonna get hurt.
Like this one guy did, I went to a bar one day and this homosexual, like I was in a straight bar and this homosexual came on to me and I threw him over a table and hurt him, like he got back up and come at me and I hit him again, and he went flying over this one table and he didn't get back up. And I hurt him pretty bad. And I felt sorry for it, but I told him I was straight, and he kept on coming. Like grabbing my ass, grabbing my dick, and all that other stuff, and so I had to hurt him.

Max Allen: Mike Newman's remarkable story is just one of hundreds you hear from the boys of London. The Guardian dragnet has brought all these young men, and their customers and friends and maybe in some the cases their "abusers" as that term is commonly understood, into a system of interrogation and confession and squealing, a system of punishment and therapy, humiliation and incarceration. And at least symbolic salvation.

London's police chief, Julian Fantino:

Julian Fantino: We don't coerce, we don't intimidate people, we don't threaten people into becoming victims. Victims come forward on their own, they're reported to us by parents, by child care workers. We deal with the aftermath.

Max Allen: Chief Fantino's list is incomplete. The main -- and possibly the only -- source of victims' names so far has been other boys.

Julian Fantino: We deal with the after-effects of the victimization. And some of these people are traumatized. And it's quite conceivable that there's mixed feelings and mixed reactions to the situation. Absolutely. That's a given. Take the spousal assault situation. How many times have we gone to a home where we were called on a domestic assault, and the mother, the wife or whatever, she's been beaten, she looks obviously beaten; the husband or whoever is there, the significant other, and she doesn't want to complain. And so we've had to develop a totally different attitude.
And these victims are victims, they're victims, they're victims. I don't know what to tell you.

Max Allen: London's victims are all boys. What happened to the girls in London? Astoundingly, not a single one of Project Guardian's 55 cases has involved girls. And it's not because there aren't young girls in the sex business in London. This is Jane Sutherland, who lives in the heart of downtown London.

Jane Sutherland: I had an apartment that was right on the corner of Dundas and Talbot. And I could sit in my apartment window on a Friday night or Thursday night in the summertime, Saturday night, and I'd watch younger girls who were made up to look 15 or 16 get in a car, disappear for an hour, come back, get out, a half hour later get into somebody else's car, come back an hour later working the same corner.
And with my next door neighbour -- our apartments, we didn't have air conditioning, it was really very hot. So after the last bus left at midnight we would take coffee and cream and sugar on a little tray and we would go sit downstairs at the bus stop on a little bench, and we would sit outside and have coffee. It was kind of like our little balcony. And I don't know how many times we got questioned by the police for sitting on this bench with a tray, china cups, service of coffee, and asked what we were doing there. And yet during the busiest hours, like between 10 and midnight, there was never a policeman in sight to talk to these kids. The really young ones that I knew of were girls, they were not boys.

Max Allen: Herman Gooden, editor of the London weekly paper Scene:

Herman Gooden: I think that what we have here is an unequal application of justice. I don't believe that there is more homosexual sex going on between minors and men than there is heterosexual sex going on between minor females and men. So I think there's, as I say, an unequal application of justice.

Max Allen: I'm talking to Augustine Brannigan:

Max Allen: Your city, Calgary, has probably the best known operation to police prostitution in the country.
Augustine Brannigan: I think that's probably fair.
Max Allen: How do police decide what to focus on?
Augustine Brannigan: In Calgary the external pressure has come from communities who have been alarmed by the presence of prostitutes in their neighbourhood.
I believe that we have some influence from the social-service sector in helping to reshape the nature of the problem, but I think probably it reflects primarily the diagnosis, if that's the right term, of the police officers themselves.

Max Allen: Reporter Alastair Holloway, whose articles in Scene magazine have called into question the uncritical mainstream coverage of Project Guardian:

Alastair Holloway: Until you start calling this investigation what it is -- and for so long it was not being called that by being labelled a child pornography ring -- you can't even start to ask questions about the issues behind it: Questions about prostitution amongst 15, 16, 17 year old boys. Whatever your views on the subject, that in itself is a topic for legitimate discussion. Or the fact that it appears that the police have been targeting specifically gay men and gay male prostitutes when it's quite simple to go out and find female prostitutes the same age -- for some reason they haven't been doing that.
These questions have been expressed by people like Richard Hudler who's a leader of the gay community here in London. There are so many issues around it, it's such a wide, vast investigation. But you can't even start discussing this if there's a great big smokescreen thrown up by the media, just hiding the specifics behind it.

Max Allen: A climate of opinion has formed in London, shaped by the police and the media, by spokespeople for the child protection agencies, and by people's own deep-felt desires to protect their own children.

So when the Toronto Globe and Mail published an article on March 11th headlined "The Kiddy Porn Ring that Wasn't", the London media hit the roof:

AM 1410 Radio news:"Project Guardian, the London-based police investigation into child sexual exploitation, is under fire in the national media. Phyllis Bennett has this report:
"The Globe and Mail's Focus section printed an almost two-page long analysis headlined "The Kiddy Porn Ring that Wasn't." In it Gerald Hannon, who is described as a journalism professor who often writes on gay issues, contends Project Guardian is based on a lie...."

Max Allen: AM-1410's hugely popular Andy Oudman Show is a good place to measure London's pulse. Mr. Oudman invited author Gerald Hannon on his show, and then spent most of the interview talking about Hannon's views about sex, not the questions he raised about Project Guardian. This was the introduction:

Andy Oudman [AM 1410]: Something that is smutty, something that is sooty... If you thought some of us were repulsed by this swingers' convention in the London Convention Centre, let me tell you about something that the swingers can't hold a candle to for sheer deg-ruh-daaaaay-shun.
Like, I don't think there are words to describe how perverted these people are. Later this hour we'll be talking to the author of a huge article, don't know if you saw it, in the weekend edition, Saturday edition, of the Globe and Mail, huge page and a half article entitled "The Kiddy Porn Ring that Wasn't", referring to our child... well, call it what you will, child-exploitation, child-porn ring, kiddy-porn ring in London, whatever you want to call it. This guy thinks boy-man sex, man-boy sex, is great. It's wholesome. In fact he compares it to hockey! And argues that we ought to change our laws! to allow it.

Max Allen: Afterwards came the call-in section, where most people made very brisk statements.

Andy Oudman: Does it seem reasonable to you? That we change the laws to allow man-boy sex? Let's hear from you. First caller, go ahead John.
John: I don't believe this, Andy. I am sitting here and I am sweating, and I am shaking with anger. I have never in my life been so angry. I, I, Andy, I could go vomit right now, that's how angry I am. I can... Is he... Is he human?! Is this man real?
Andy Oudman: This man's real.
John: This man needs his head read! The garbage that come out of this man! I'm not even going to call him a man! I'm not... he's not even a man. This "individual" -- I can't believe the trash that come out of his mouth.
Andy Oudman: Oh my goodness, look at those lines lighting up, people wanting to comment on the issue of man-boy sex. Let's start with Dave. Dave, go ahead.
Dave: I think the most important thing in the interview is that we know he's out there, and I just hope he doesn't decide that he likes your son or my son to make into a friend so he can justify the type of behaviour that he thinks is good.
Andy Oudman: Appreciate your call, Dave.
Dave: OK
Andy Oudman: I'm with you.
Dave: Right.
Andy Oudman: Let's go to Guy. Guy, go ahead.
Guy: Hello Andy?
Andy Oudman: Yup.
Guy: Yeah, I was just listening to your show there. All I really got to say is I think the same people that want to push this are the same people that want to take away our weapons, and I know that sounds really strange and really right-wing, but if you sit back and think about it, they push this stuff at us and then they don't even want to give us any way to defend ourselves from what's going on here, it's just wild. It just blows me away, I can't believe it.
Andy Oudman: Sounds like you're upset Guy.
Guy: Huh, yeah, kinda sorta. A guy like that come near my kid, I would kill him.
Andy Oudman: Guy, thanks for your call.
Guy: Alrighty.
Andy Oudman: Bill, go ahead.
Bill: Scum. (click)
Andy Oudman: Scum... Thank you, Bill. You're very succinct. Let's go to Herb. Herb, go ahead.
Herb: Well, I just think the whole thing is just strictly appalling. And myself if it was my son, or my grandson, I would put a bullet right through their head.
Max Allen: Now, in that climate of opinion you can see why there might be an unfriendly reception for the Globe and Mail article, which questioned the whole basis of Project Guardian. Over at the Free Press they got a call from Joan Hempson...
Joan Hempson: So when I got through to them in the newsroom, I told them that I was a resident of London and had just finished reading the Globe and Mail. I asked them if they had read it. And I wanted to know if they were going to have any form of rebuttal, or any kind of a comment to defend or support the comments made in the Globe and Mail.
And then I said if you turn to section D on the front page, the whole front page and page D-5 of today's edition of the Globe and Mail talked about the kiddy-porno ring that is not. That apparently The London Free Press and the London police department had created this story. And here I'm finding out that there's a possibility that this whole story was in fact drummed up, and a slap against the gay community, because I felt they were making it into quite a gay issue.
And his response to that was, he said look, he said, the Globe and Mail have always been -- now, how did he say it -- he said that they have, the Globe and Mail had a social agenda. And because they have a lot of gay editors working for the Globe and Mail, of course they were going to be protective of, and supportive of, gay rights. After all, they do have several writers, gay editors with the Globe. He then proceeded to say: take a piece of advice, view it with a critical eye and remember that they do have the social agenda.

Max Allen: And it's not one widely shared in London. When a delegation from the gay community met with the London police, to see how they could work together, they thought they had a sensible suggestion. Betty Ann Thomas and Craig Stainton went along.

Joseph Couture: I understand it was suggested by a member of the delegation that a gay or lesbian officer be placed on the Project Guardian team. Their response?
Betty Ann Thomas: They were extremely uncomfortable because they said that then a police officer would have to come out to them. And that was not something that they felt was appropriate.
Craig Stainton: They obviously have not made a very warm and open atmosphere, or else they would have some of their gay police officers coming out to them. They would know who was gay. Why would it be that in a police force the size of the city of London, that there are no openly gay officers? You must have some kind of homophobic atmosphere around here.

Max Allen: There's more about The Trials of London tomorrow, when our series concludes with an exposé of three spectacular symbols of London's agony: a massage parlour, a mountain of videotapes, and the 8-year-old victims who represent London's worst nightmare.

Lister Sinclair: You can access previous Ideas programs about The Trials of London on the Internet. Our World Wide Web site is

IDEAS tonight was produced by Max Allen, with Joseph Couture. Production assistant: Liz Nagy. Technical operations: Lorne Tulk. I'm Lister Sinclair.


3 On July 25, 1995, Greg Van Moorsel of The London Free Press reported that "records obtained under Ontario's freedom of information law show that approval for [Project Guardian] was based on a cost-estimate of $1.57 million." (Other requests for Project Guardian budget information had previously been met by written refusals from the Solicitor General to release the information, and by an affidavit from the London Police that no budget request to the province had been made and that the London Police themselves had no budget for the Project.)

The freedom of information documents show that the Ontario government approved $577,980 for the project. In addition, these were the additional cost estimates:

London Police: $698,770
Metro Toronto Police: $112,320
Ontario Provincial Police: $112,320
Overtime estimate: $ 70,720
Overall total: $1,572,110

This total does not include court costs, costs of social work investigation and intervention, legal aid, and incarceration costs (in Ontario an average of $48,000 per person per year).

[End of "The Trials of London: Part 3"]

The Trials of London: Part 4

Lister Sinclair: I'm Lister Sinclair, with IDEAS. Tonight we have the fourth program in our series called "The Trials of London." You can access transcripts of previous programs in this series on the Internet. Our World Wide Web site is at this address: <a href="">

In London, Ontario, fifty-five men have now been arrested in what was originally called a child pornography ring. It's the biggest sex scandal in North America.

It turns out that there was no ring, and after the first two cases, little or no child pornography. But a police task-force called Project Guardian has been arresting men for having various kinds of homosexual sex, mostly with teenage boys.

In Canada, though the general age of consent is fourteen, it's illegal to pay anybody under eighteen for sex, or for anybody under eighteen to have anal sex. (See footnote 2.) The Guardian project has focussed on these two crimes. There have been no heterosexual cases; all the arrests have been for gay sex.

IDEAS tonight is about the impact Project Guardian has had on people's lives. "The Trials of London" is based on the work of journalist Joseph Couture, and is presented by IDEAS producer Max Allen.

Max Allen: The word conspiracy means, literally, breathing together. And when I suggest that in London there's a conspiracy between the police and the press, I mean it in that sense: not some kind of criminal scheme, but a shared view, an endeavor in common, a breathing together.

The result has been, to use a term from sociology, a moral panic. The impression you get from local press coverage is that the city of London is strewn with victims, innocent boys dragged into sin by insatiable perverts.

To reinforce that view, two images have been central. One of them is a physical image and the other is mental.

The physical image is of a mountain of video tapes, over 800 of them, presented by the London police at a press conference, and implied to be "child pornography."

The mental image is of "victims as young as eight," whose existence is often evoked. You'd have to have a heart of stone not to respond.

But what, exactly, was on those tapes? And who were those eight-year-olds? We set out answer those questions.

Two key players in the London drama were the eight year old boys who, police said, were forcibly abducted and sexually assaulted. Charges were laid. The story has been repeatedly published and broadcast. But here's what one of them, who we'll call Tommy Eberts, says about his interrogation by the police:

Joseph Couture: So what happened when you sat down in the room?
Tommy Eberts: They just asked me questions. They asked me if I remembered anything, and what happened. I said I couldn't remember anything, and it didn't happen to me.
Joseph Couture: So you're saying no one ever assaulted you sexually.
Tommy Eberts: Right.
Joseph Couture: What do you think of what the police said?
Tommy Eberts: It's not right, 'cause it never happened. I'd never go down Adelaide on my bike. I go to the park behind the apartment building; that's all.
Joseph Couture: Did you ever tell anybody that nothing happened?
Tommy Eberts: Yeah. I told the police that nothing happened, and it's the truth.

Max Allen: We'll come back in a few minutes to the eight-year-olds.

In the London cases, everything depends on what people say. In the first two cases there was concrete, visual evidence on tape of underage sex. But otherwise it all comes down to whose story you believe: Was there payment? Was there consent? What kind of sex took place?

After the first two cases, there came a stampede of guilty pleas. Eighteen men, one after another, pled guilty to some of the charges against them, out of embarrassment and "wanting to get it all over" some of them said, or because the charges and the publicity had ruined their lives anyway.

All of these cases involve gay sex. During eighteen months of work, Project Guardian, remarkably, has laid no heterosexual charges.

They could have. Guardian officers could be charging lots of men with illegal sex involving girls, instead of just boys.

An example: Last November the owner of a massage parlour in London -- a former policeman -- was arrested by the London vice squad, not Project Guardian. He was charged with a string of sex offenses involving girls under eighteen, including, in the old-fashioned words of the Criminal Code, "keeping a common bawdy house." That's a place where customers pay for sex. This woman, Miss X, applied for a job at the massage parlour.

Miss X: When I got there I asked him, "How old do you have to be to do this?" He said, "Well, labour laws say twelve. But I wouldn't hire anybody under sixteen."
Joseph Couture: What did he say the job entailed?
Miss X: To give massages; that was it.
Joseph Couture: With your clothes on or off?
Miss X: It had to be either topless or nude.
Joseph Couture: How much did they charge an hour for this?
Miss X: It all varied. A half-hour, topless was $50, an hour $75. If the lady's nude, a half-hour is $75, an hour is $100. We also have reverses. A reverse is where you get to massage the woman as well. A half-hour is $100, an hour is $125. Can you tell I do this a lot on the phone? I go through this day after day after day, saying this on the phone. There are a lot of customers who call about it.
Joseph Couture: Who's the average guy who comes to a place like this?
Miss X: Forty. Married. Fat, basically.
Joseph Couture: How old were most of the girls that you worked with?
Miss X: That I knew of, I was aware that I was the youngest there. I thought I was. There was a girl who was a couple of months younger than me. I thought we all -- little did I know that there were, like before the place got busted the first time I found out there was a seventeen-year-old working there. I didn't know there were a sixteen and seventeen-year-olds working there until after the place did get busted. But the one girl who was sixteen, she just told everybody she was twenty except for [the owner], because she didn't want any of us to treat her different.
Joseph Couture: Did you ever see police officers in ExecuStress?
Miss X: Yeah. [The owner] was an ex-cop. I've seen uniformed cops walk in there, sit down and have a coffee with him. But they probably didn't know half of what was going on.
Joseph Couture: So did a lot of the men who came there think there was more sex involved?
Miss X: Basically, anyone who walks in there and thinks the place isn't sexual is full of it, because 98 percent of the men masturbated during the massage. During the reverses, what is not sexual about a man masturbating while massaging my breasts? What's not sexual? There's nothing therapeutic about it; like he's not trying to relieve the tension from my breasts or anything. It's totally sexual, 100 percent.

Max Allen: A list of customers was seized during a police search of the premises. It includes the names of "prominent media people and politicians." A London lawyer told me that "it wouldn't be much trouble to prosecute the customers in a case like this, and there's a real chance of success in obtaining convictions -- if a decision was made by the police to go ahead."

But unlike the Project Guardian cases involving gay men and boys, here (with straight men and underage girls) no charges have been laid. Maybe it's a case of special rights for heterosexuals.
In the Guardian cases involving men and boys under eighteen, the mainstream London media have been uncritical. Clarence Crossman, a prominent London gay activist:
Clarence Crossman: Part of my concern in the media reporting is that there have been a number of charges reported as being laid. But when the charges are withdrawn then that does not get reported in the media. The whole implication is that those charges are still pending, still being taken seriously, when they are very damaging charges -- and, in fact, were very questionable from the very beginning.

Max Allen: London writer Alistair Holloway:

Alistair Holloway: Very often, in fact, the media will not tell things, so they can keep perpetuating -- and I saw this particularly in the early days -- the myth of a child-pornography ring.

Max Allen: Brian Hinchberger, a board member of London's gay community organization, HALO:

Brian Hinchberger: The way it seems to working is, the police issue a press release; they don't bother giving as much detail as they should; that press release is usually the only thing that ever really takes place. The local media is not renowned for going out and doing any follow-up. So if anything changes in the courtroom, it's not reported.
On the other hand, the police don't bother retracting anything, or saying, "This charge was dropped." So The London Free Press, not knowing any better, they just keep the statistics up. In my opinion it's beneficial for both of them. It sells newspapers and it renews police budgets.

Max Allen: Two examples of trial by media: The first is the case of Buryl Wilson, a high school teacher who was "invited" to resign after police charged him with paying boys under eighteen for sex, and for possessing child pornography. It was the Wilson videotapes that were piled up in that mountain at Police Chief Fantino's press conference, a press conference that was followed by additional funding for Project Guardian.

Peter Wilson: What was on the tapes was Hollywood movies that, having owned a satellite dish for many years, I'd taped for him off of HBO -- they're mostly American movies -- Showtime, Cinemax, a lot of channels that we don't get up here. Julian Fantino, when he seized these tapes, used the 850 to 875 tapes as a basis to get his extra money. These are not child-pornography tapes.
Joseph Couture: When they searched the apartment and took the videos, what happened there?
Peter Wilson: What they went in and did was, they trashed his apartment. And it was trashed. They took videotapes, his journals and his photo albums.

Max Allen: For the police perspective on this case, we turn to an interview with Chief Fantino and Superintendent Jim Balmain, who were interviewed by Gerald Hannon for an article in The Globe and Mail. Superintendent Balmain speaks first:

Jim Balmain: When we seized the Buryl Wilson tapes, there was about 875 tapes; there was about 800 or 1,000 photographs, Polaroids. When that seizure was made, myself and the co-ordinator went to the chief and we sat down and projected months and months of work just reviewing this material; and then, after we'd reviewed it, putting the stuff together and then getting out and making arrests and charges. We could see just a pile of stuff here. It was at that time that the chief decided, and said that he was going to do something. And you can tell what happened then. But that was the reason that we took it into the chief and said, "Look, do you want us into this?" This is months and months of work here.
Julian Fantino: It became a very labour-intensive, very demanding work for us. We obviously needed to get to the bottom of things as best we could. I just didn't see that we should be filing this stuff as a done deal knowing, as we knew, the debilitating, very damaging situations that prevailed, as was obvious to us.
Gerald Hannon: So you, I think, held a press conference, in which you had a lot of the tapes around you, did you not?
Julian Fantino: Yes, we did.
Gerald Hannon: Had you seen any of them at that point?
Julian Fantino: I had seen some, yes.
Gerald Hannon: How many, can you think, of those 800?
Julian Fantino: I have no idea.
Jim Balmain: We only showed the boss a couple of tapes. We had not reviewed them at that time. But the issue here was not that every one of those tapes was child pornography; the issue was that it was that many tapes that had to be reviewed. It wasn't the fact that there were 800 tapes just jam-packed full of child pornography, per se. It was the fact that there was pornography and they all had to be reviewed. So by the time of the press conference we'd only had those tapes, I think, for about a day and a half.
Julian Fantino: Yes, just a short time.
Gerald Hannon: How many of them do you think finally were pornographic?
Jim Balmain: Pornographic? Just pornographic?
Gerald Hannon: Yes.
Jim Balmain: Oh, I would think most of them.
Gerald Hannon: Most of them?
Jim Balmain: Yeah.
Gerald Hannon: Well, I have a list here. Can I show it to you?
Jim Balmain: Sure.
Gerald Hannon: This is allegedly a list of all the tapes seized by the police I've gone through it; it seems to me that they're almost all commercial films.
Jim Balmain: From the titles? I couldn't tell you from the titles. There are a number of times where we opened up a box and there was one title on the outside and something entirely different on the inside. It just goes on forever. That was why I said before, we put absolutely no faith in what was on the outside. And even when we started watching it, we had to watch the whole thing.
Gerald Hannon: So you've now watched them all, have you?
Jim Balmain: In fact, we just finished not so long ago. On the Buryl Wilson tapes. We've watched all of the tapes.
Gerald Hannon: And so you would still say that the great percentage of them were, even though they have something different on...
Jim Balmain: I have no idea. I didn't watch all of the tapes myself. I'm told that a lot of them were pornography tapes.
Gerald Hannon: He wasn't charged on any of the tapes, though, I believe. Was he?
Jim Balmain: No, probably not.
Gerald Hannon: So they were all legal pornography, then, if they were.
Jim Balmain: Yes. If they weren't, they would have been charged.
Gerald Hannon: Right.

Max Allen: "Legal pornography" is the stuff that you find in the "adult" section of video stores. So there were no children in that mountain of tapes.

How about the photographs? What was on them? This is Jane Sutherland, a longtime volunteer at London's gay organization, HALO, who was asked to help identify the men in the photographs:

Joseph Couture: You were recently brought in for questioning by the police. What happened in that interview?
Jane Sutherland: I was shown approximately 400 pictures of naked men, varying in ages anywhere from fourteen to -- probably the oldest I saw was about thirty -- and asked to identify the people in the pictures to the best of my ability. Out of the 400 there were probably fifteen that I actually recognized (by first name only).
Some of the pictures were Polaroids; some were actual photographs; some were magazine photographs. But there were only about six photographs that actually depicted a sexual act. These were adults. I could not see faces. The rest were just single shots of a person with no clothes on. Some of the people have passed away since those pictures were taken; and some of them were high-school pictures, fully clothed, which I thought was very strange.
Joseph Couture: Like yearbook pictures?
Jane Sutherland: Either yearbook or somebody's high school -- like when you go and have your photographs done every year? One of the pictures was that of a friend of mine. I couldn't understand why that particular picture was in the book.
Joseph Couture: You said that the age ranges of the boys were fourteen to thirty. How many were teenagers and how many were older men?
Jane Sutherland: Very few were under the age of twenty.
Joseph Couture: How did being shown these photographs make you feel?
Jane Sutherland: Nervous. Tense. Afraid of actually seeing somebody who was close to me. Afterwards, it was very difficult to actually come down to a club that I've been part of for twenty years and see faces that I knew to party with on weekends or speak to during the week, but not on an intimate level. And suddenly I've seen these men with nothing on. It made me feel very uncomfortable for quite some time. I was embarrassed, very embarrassed.

Max Allen: Other people have been embarrassed in other ways. In some countries, the names of people accused of crimes are never published; only convicted people are named. But Canadian policy (and that came under fire just this week by judges in Prince Edward Island) -- our policy is to publish accusations. London's Project Guardian issues press releases about their charges, and the London media publicize them: names, addresses, and often occupations.

What results is a public trial before the criminal trial.

Two of the most recent Guardian arrests were for possession of child pornography and "possession of narcotics" (as the papers said). The men arrested say they'd been warned nine days before that a former friend with whom they'd had a falling out was planning to turn them in for kiddy porn, which they say they had none of. The information used as the basis for the police action says that the arrests resulted from an anonymous tip to Crimestoppers.

The two men were handcuffed and marched out of their house in full view of the neighbours. Their colleagues at work read about the charges in the paper, and heard about them on the radio. And there's always the looming danger of vigilante action.

John: Since this has all happened, every time I go out I look to see if there's somebody sitting out there, watching. When I get in my car, I look and see if we're being followed.
Patrick: We went out the first night and had a bite to eat. We got enough cigarettes and we stayed in the house, basically, three days straight.
John: I had a great deal of respect for our police force. I know they have a job to do and I admire them because it's not easy; I wouldn't want it. But I feel that it is getting to the stage now that it's becoming out of hand. They're losing the whole idea of what it's all about.
Patrick: The whole concept of Project Guardian...
Joseph Couture: Does it look to you like the police are targetting the gay community?
Patrick: Yes, they are.
John: It does to me.
Joseph Couture: Had you heard about Project Guardian before?
John: Yes. And I support it. I supported it 100 percent -- if it's involving children.
Patrick: If it's not just a witch-hunt.
John: But to me, to what I've heard and spoken to other people, they've lost their concept of what Project Guardian is all about.

Max Allen: I want to go back now to the eight-year-olds. They were featured in two cases. One, the case of Alan Seymour, who was eventually jailed on other charges, took place on the banks of the Thames River in London, and allegedly involved spanking. The other, the case of John MacEachern, who was eventually jailed for sex with his seventeen-year-old boyfriend, was said to involve the abduction and sexual assault of the eight-year-olds. Many months later, the mother of one of the boys was told to bring her son to the police station.

Janet McLean: My back was actually to the interview room. There was only a wall separating us, although they closed the door. I believe there were two officers; sometimes a third officer would come in. They told me they were taping what was going on and I couldn't be there, because then I couldn't go in the courtroom.
During the interview I would hear the odd banging, and I could hear a kind of crying. One officer came out during it, and I asked him, "Well? Well?", still expecting to hear that this was all a tragic mistake; they had got the wrong kid. He said that it was very slow coming, but he was coming around. And as I sat there for all those hours I continued to hear banging once in awhile. That's something that concerned me, because that's something [Peter] does when he's very frustrated.
You can really make them say what you want them to say if you play with words long enough, and I'm wondering if that's what [Peter] was getting frustrated at, at this point. Or he was frustrated at having to discuss what happened. I want to know the answer: which was it?

Max Allen: This is the story of a discovery. It began with a statement made by a person with inside information. This led to a search for inaccessible police documents, finding a misfiled court record, and following what turned out to be a very long trail.

That trail ended when we found Janet McLean, who has five children, owns her own home and is the manager of a London business. One of her children, though never publically named as such, turns out to be the invisible poster child of Project Guardian. This is the famous eight-year-old in the oft-repeated phrase "victims as young as eight."

Just minutes after we'd located her, Joseph Couture was at her door. Janet McLean had no idea why we'd be interested in something that happened over a year ago. But she invited Joseph Couture in to her house, and told him how her involvement began.

In what follows, some names, particularly of Janet McLean's son, who we'll call Peter, have been electronically masked.

Janet McLean: I just got a phone call from the police last February. They asked me if I'd heard, at that time I think it was called the child pornography ring, they asked me if I'd heard of the child pornography ring. I said yes. Over the phone they told me that my son was identified as a victim, and then asked me to go to the police station, set an appointment to go to the police station the next day.
Joseph Couture: Can you tell me about it?
Janet McLean: First of all, I think if your child's been victimized and you're going to find out about it, I don't think you should find out about it on the telephone. Prior to me getting home they had called three times, said they were police officers and were trying to reach my son, who at the time had just turned nine. So when I got home from work the kids had already been teasing [Peter] that the police were looking for him, and what did he do wrong? So there was already an atmosphere that he was guilty of something, because the police were calling. I just think the whole thing was handled very wrong.

Max Allen: So Janet took her son to the police station, where she was told he'd been "identified," and:

Janet McLean: And that they would have to talk to him. I wanted to go in with him; they wouldn't allow me. They said that if, after their investigation, I had to be in court, I wouldn't be allowed to be in court because I would have already heard what [Peter] said in the room. So they made me sit outside. I'm not exactly sure of the time, but I got there at five, and it was after nine pm when they came out.

Max Allen: Was Janet given the details of what was supposed to have happened?

Janet McLean: No. At this point I'm not l00 percent sure of what happened.
Through talking to [Peter] there was a lot of denial...
Joseph Couture: What do you mean by denial?
Janet McLean: I said, Did some bad people touch you in places? And he screamed at me, "I was only a little kid! How do you expect me to remember anything?" And he stormed off. That was my kind of, okay, he's confirming. He didn't say "No, Mom, this didn't happen." He already had his "I was just a little kid, they can't ask me questions, I just can't remember anything." So he had already sort of confirmed the fact that he had been carrying this.
I still don't know what I'm dealing with with this child. I tried to take him to counselling, and he became very depressed, very aggressive. During the counselling session, myself and the counsellor were talking and he was drawing pictures, and when she looked at the pictures afterward he had drawn himself in black, and knives going into him. He's talking about suicide. They said that if I forced him to go to the counselling I could have a serious situation. He began to hurt himself, physically. He would smash his head on walls, on floors, and try to cut himself.
Joseph Couture: Why was he doing that?
Janet McLean: I'm not sure. They tell me because he doesn't want to deal with it at this point. I'm not sure.
Joseph Couture: How do you feel about the charges being dropped? In both cases the charges were dropped against the men.
Janet McLean: In both cases?
Joseph Couture: Both cases.
Janet McLean: I wasn't aware of that. I was told that Mr. Seymour got two years.
Joseph Couture: Oh, he went to jail, but not pertaining to an incident with your son. It was withdrawn in court.
Janet McLean: They're never made me aware of that. That makes me really angry. That makes me really really angry, because they told me he got two years for that.
They never once have told me that they dropped those charges. That's disgusting. I can't believe that. I was under the impression that he had two years, or two and a half years. Wow. They never told me that. This is the first I'm hearing that. I don't understand. Why?

Max Allen: Three months pass since the police questioning of Janet's eight-year-old son. And then:

Janet McLean: Again a phone call. "We believe your older son's been identified."
Joseph Couture: How old was he?
Janet McLean: He's just turned seventeen, so he was sixteen. They made arrangements to come out -- no, I was to take him there. Every time I was to take him there, he'd disappear. Like, there was no way he was going to a police station.
Joseph Couture: He didn't want to cooperate?
Janet McLean: Not at all. Then they finally called and said that they would come pick him up. Now, he was only gone a short time; maybe just over an hour or so. Then they brought him back, and they said that he denied having any, whatsoever.
Joseph Couture: What incident was this supposed to pertain to?
Janet McLean: These were supposed to have pertained to some -- this is what I got from the police: It was an incident at Aberdeen School with a guy who owns a duck. It's a weirdo who lives over by Aberdeen who owns a duck.
Joseph Couture: So when they took him into the police station, he denied everything?
Janet McLean: Yes. As far as I know. Now, again, the police never ever talked to me. I called them, maybe a week later. Because I said to him, "What went on?" "Those guys are nuts." That's what he told me, right? Then I finally called -- McReary? I'm trying to remember the officer's name. Mc-something, I think. I can't remember. And I said, "Hey, what happened?" And he said, "We still have suspicions, but your son said nothing happened; that he wasn't involved."
Well, they left me with, "We still have suspicions, but...". And that made me think -- during that week, I thought, "Okay, did my older son bring my younger son in on this?" Because my older son would have been -- was he one of the teens that was out there getting money, drawing my younger son into this? The thoughts that went through my mind. To this day, he says, "The police are nuts. They're nuts; it never occurred."
So how did the police connect those two? I don't know. And how is it I get called for two sons, and all these different -- I don't know. I don't understand. I've been trying to deal with this for a year now, and I just don't know what to do. I find myself second-guessing myself: when [Peter] does something, did he do this because this happened? Or is this just a normal thing that a ten-year-old's going to do? I always find myself second-guessing myself. Even with discipline; should I discipline him this way? Or, no, that might tip him off. It's like I'm wearing kid gloves around him.
I just don't know.

Max Allen: The conversation with Janet McLean we've been listening to was taped in her home early last week. Joseph Couture brought along a stack of documents, and Janet McLean read them carefully. She found something she hadn't noticed before.

Now I want to take you forward a week (we'll come back to the developments as they occurred in a minute).

There was a second boy said by the police to have been forcibly confined and sexually assaulted in the MacEachern incident. We're calling him Tommy Eberts, and he's about the same age as Janet's son Peter. Through a combination of persistence and sheer luck, we tracked this family down too. And as Janet McLean discovered -- and told Tommy's parents -- there's a problem with just when the assaults on their sons were supposed to have happened.

[sound of paper shuffling]

Janet McLean: "The four charges, involving two victims; and these events" -- and they talk about the offences and so forth. Okay, when did you guys move out of Nelson Street?
The Eberts: Two years ago. May.
Janet McLean: May of '93? Okay, so you weren't in the area when these were supposed to have happened either. This is when it was supposed to have happened. These are official court records.
I had been moved out of the area for over a year when they said that this took place. I didn't realize it, because I just found out from court records when this was supposed to have happened. It was supposed to have happened between 1 September '93 and 3 November '93.
Mrs. Eberts: Have you seen -- these are court records?
Janet McLean: I've just seen them recently.
That's what drew my attention to it, specifically: what are these police talking about? I had moved a year earlier. Then I started to wonder: when did you guys move? So you were already moved out of the area at the same time, too.
Mr. Eberts: We were already gone. Yeah.
Janet McLean: So how did our two children connect when we both know that they haven't seen each other since they moved? And how in the hell did they both get over to Terrence Street? They couldn't.
Mr. Eberts: They couldn't. We've never gone back.
Janet McLean: Us neither.

Max Allen: We back up now to our first conversation with Janet McLean, and what her life has been like this past year.

Janet McLean: Okay, just an incident: this is what I mean. [Peter] does something wrong, and maybe Mom doesn't come down as hard on him as hard as she would one of the other kids. My thirteen-year-old will say to him, "Mom treats you special 'cause you got raped."
It's affected every one of the kids' lives in this household. Because, yeah, [Peter] does get preferrential treatment sometimes, because I look at him and I think, Oh my poor baby boy; you've endured so much.
Maybe [Peter]'s scamming me too. [laughs] Actually, no; because he's always said that nothing ever happened. I've tried to sit down and talk to him, and what I get from him is the same answer I got the first day: "I was just a kid. How do you expect me to remember anything?" I always took that as a confirmation that it did happen, and that was his way of not dealing with it.
Joseph Couture: But maybe it's the truth.
Janet McLean: That's what I want to know now. Because if I've gone through all these months of this bullshit -- I mean, it's been far-reaching. I have one sister who looks at [Peter] like, "Oh, he's going to be funny when he grows up." What does "funny" mean? What does "funny" mean? You know what I mean? And then a girlfriend says he's going to be a pedophile. Don't give me that crap! But people look at [Peter] differently now.

Max Allen: There were two boys allegedly involved in the MacEachern incident. London police officer Mike Miletich testified at MacEachern's bail hearing on 14 February 1994, and described that incident in these words (I'm leaving out interruptions by the judge and the lawyers):

"The [two victims] both approximately eight years of age at this time, were playing in the area of Adelaide Street and Terrence Street. And at the corner of the intersection was an apartment building, or apartment house, with the address of 27 Adelaide South.
"The boys entered this building and were playing in the hallway when suddenly, while in the hallway, both boys were confronted by the accused. Without warning the accused pushed the boys from the hallway into apartment number three. Once inside the accused blocked the doorway and refused to let the young boys out.
"The accused approched [instead of his real name, I'll call him Tommy Eberts here] and pulled down his pants exposing his genital areas. The victim tried to push the accused's hand away, but the accused told the victim to stop. The accused then fondled the victim's genitals. During that time he had also pulled the pants down of the second boy [Peter McLean], and did the same to this Peter McLean.
[Both of the young boys were afraid and did not resist any further while they stood there with their pants down and they were being fondled.]
"This behaviour continued for approximately four minutes. When the accused was finished both boys pulled up their pants and the accused warned them not to tell anyone what happened (and they were allowed to leave the apartment).
"From my recollection speaking to the victim, Peter McLean, the accused told them 'Don't you tell anybody this or I'll be back'.
"The boys were afraid as a result of this warning and there was no mention made to their family or anyone with regard to the incident. Until sometime later the police found out about the incident and then interviewed the boys subsequently."

Max Allen: The London Free Press reported this story a number of times, and the eight-year-old victims (never named of course) became a kind of horrid symbol of the perversion of what was still being called a kiddy-porn ring. The incident was never, as far as I know, described in anything like the detail that was given in court; it existed as a kind of shadowy nightmare in the public imagination. On the first anniversary of Project Guardian, in September 1994, a London Free Press article was headlined: "Work with young victims will last for years, extent of damage to them remains unknown." ... "Investigators, too, have become victims in the case that has rocked London."

Max Allen: Later on in the story the reporter writes:

"The children have been at times the forgotten victims -- like the eight-year-old who was dragged into an apartment and assaulted; the boy who was fondled while he was fishing in the Thames; or the others who lost their childhoods in other way, either by choice or for money."

Max Allen: Peter McLean's mother Janet, and Tommy Eberts' mother Geraldine were reading these stories too. They knew each other slightly because their sons were friends, and early on in the press coverage they talked on the phone. Geraldine said that her son insisted that there was no assault.

Janet McLean: She said that he totally denies that it ever happened. When he was taken to the police station, again he totally denied that anything had happened. But she, like myself, fully believed that it happened, because of the things that the police said; because of the way it was handled. When it came out in the newspaper, she called me: "Did you read about [Tommy] and [Peter] today?"
When you get it from the police and then you get confirmation by reading it in the newspaper -- she had no idea it was going to be in the newspaper either -- that to her confirms it. [Tommy] said that nothing happened, but she's saying that she's having the same behavioural problems with [Tommy] as I am with [Peter].
But if it didn't happen, [the behavioural problems] could have been brought on by the police involvement, the questioning. I'm not sure how long [Tommy] was questioned. I heard crying when [Peter] was questioned; I heard banging.

Max Allen: After talking with us at the beginning of last week, Janet McLean did some research. She questioned her son again, calmly as usual. Then she talked to us again, three days later.

Joseph Couture: You've been spending some time thinking about the incidents that your son was involved in. Where are you coming from on that?
Janet McLean: What is my mind-set on that? I'm believing more and more that my original reaction -- that nothing happened -- I'm believing more and more that that's exactly what occurred: nothing.
Joseph Couture: According to the time-frame that the police say the incidents happened in, you weren't in the area.
Janet McLean: If the MacEachern charges were from September of '93 til November of '93, I was not in that area. I'd been gone for a year and had never returned. Nor have my children ever been near that area.
Joseph Couture: So at this point you're saying you don't believe them anymore.
Janet McLean: No.
Joseph Couture: And [Peter] himself has told you a much different story than the police are telling you.
Janet McLean: Just recently, yes.
Joseph Couture: What do you think of the justice system?
Janet McLean: I think it stinks. I don't see a justice system. If this really didn't happen, I don't see where there's any justice at all in this. At all.
I don't.

Max Allen: The charges in both incidents supposedly involving Peter McLean were dropped. This was never reported, anywhere.

The eight-year-old victims have continued to this day to fuel the fires built by Project Guardian. "Victims as young as eight" has become a mantra, heard over and over again.

On the evening of May 3rd, Joseph Couture talked to Janet McLean on the phone:

Janet McLean: I talked to my older son today. I didn't tell him anything; at this point he had no idea of what's going on. I said to him, Remember when the police called you down there and you said they were nuts? Can you tell me what they did when you went there?
He told me that when they went down there, they took him into an interview room and they named off a couple of kids' names that he knew, and said that these two gentlemen had said that [Terry] was involved in some sexual stuff with a gentleman who owned a duck. And "you might as well tell us, because your buddies have already told us." They were very nice about it but very pressuring, that "you might as well tell us because we already know."
Having no fear of the police, he said, "You guys are nuts. None of this stuff ever happened." So I talked to him, and he wants to talk to you about that.

Max Allen: Janet McLean also talked to her younger son, and this time told him she believed his story, that there'd been no assault:

Janet McLean: I kept him home from school because he was out very late last night and I figured, after talking to him and all the stress he's been through, just keep him home for the day and spend some special time with him.
He's been jumping and skipping and actually hugging me. This is a kid who stopped hugging me last year. I was sitting by the table, just in thought, not really doing anything, just sitting at the kitchen table, and he came up behind me and he's got his arms all over me and he's draped on me. He's like the old [Peter], who left last year when all this stuff occurred. He came to my office with me today. We actually had discussions, we talked. I just cannot believe the change in this kid's demeanour. He's so happy. Even his older sister, who's thirteen, said today: "[Peter], what's wrong with you today? You're laughing at everything. Mom, did he bang his head?" So not only did I notice it; his brothers and sisters have noticed it. His younger sister said, "Mom, [Peter]'s acting silly today. He's laughing at everything."
Joseph Couture: Why do you think this is?
Janet McLean: I asked him earlier today, because he actually got me giggling, because he was giggling (over I'm not sure what) while eating french fries, and he just said he felt so much better. I said, Why do you feel better? Because you finally got to talk to Mom about this (meaning what took place at the police station)? And he said yeah, that that was it. He just felt so much better since he could finally tell me the truth.
Joseph Couture: So what's going through your mind at this point?
Janet McLean: A lot of anger. At myself, and especially at the police, because, believing what the police said, I reinforced that. Every quiet moment we got, I asked, Okay, honey, do you want to talk about what the bad guys did to you? Do you want to talk about what happened at the apartment? So I was basically reinforcing the fact that I had never believed his initial story that nothing happened.
So I feel that I am partly responsible, because I feel that fifteen months of this kid's life he's been angry and depressed. And now all of a sudden I have back the old [Peter] that I had before. I don't know how to express the change in him, and I can't believe it's so radical in one day. But he's just totally different.
Now, he also expressed to me today -- I did not realize, when I took [Peter] to court with Officer Crosby, and he saw that MacEachern did in fact get two years less a day, [Peter] was under the assumption at that time that Mr. MacEachern got that because of what happened to [Peter]. [Peter] informed me today that that was partly why he was afraid to tell me what happened at the police station: because he thought he was going to jail because he had sent a man to jail who didn't really do anything.
I broke down, and I said, Mr. MacEachern didn't go to jail because of your charges. So I then had to explain it all to him. I think a big part of his guilt was that this man was sitting in jail because of him. He was blown away -- he was scared to tell me because this man was already in jail. I said, But honey, he's not in jail because of you. And he said, "But Mom, we were at the courthouse." And I said, Yes, but he went away for other things that he did, nothing to do with you.
Then I felt compelled to explain to him the situation: how the police dropped the charges, so [Peter] wouldn't have to testify. And he said, "So he didn't go to jail because of me?" And I said, No. And it was like -- just the look on his face. He was excited. Because I think he's been walking around all this time thinking that this man is in jail because of him.
He thought he sent an innocent man to jail by agreeing with the police officers during the interview.
I myself, if I heard through the media or whatever that this took place, I would have a hard time believing it. If I wasn't the one living it, I really would. It would be like, "Yeah, right; I don't think police do that." But I'll tell you: I have second thoughts now. And I'm angry at the media for the way they portrayed things as well. I don't think they were fair at all.
Since all of this, I've gone back through the media; and reading some of the stuff through the media, I'm seeing them portraying one child as though he were two different children; they really spectacularized and centred on [Peter]'s story. That was the heart-gripping one. I feel angry that they did that. I think they've made a circus out of this whole thing.
I cannot believe it happened, after talking to [Peter]. I believe that that child was most sincerely scared, going into the interview. I asked him, at what point did he become scared? He told me he was scared as soon as he knew that he had to go to the police station, that he had the interview. He was more scared when Officer Maloney took him into the interview room alone. He said that he decided he was going to do anything they said when Officer Maloney told him that four of his friends had already told them this story, and the involvement with [Peter] at the apartment, so he might as well just tell Officer Maloney. There was no sense lying. At that point, that's when the second officer came in with the tape recorder. But before the tape recorder had even gotten into the room, and while Officer Maloney was the only one in there, he'd already told [Peter] the other kids had said this had happened, "so you might as well just tell us."
In all fairness, I believe I need to hear the tapes. But from what [Peter] was telling me, most of the conversation that took place was the police telling him a series of events, and him agreeing to them.
Joseph Couture: Did he say any more about the photographs?
Janet McLean: I asked him again about the photographs, and he again told me that he had been asked during the interview if Mr. MacEachern had zits all over his face, acne on his face. When they asked him if this man did in fact have this, [Peter] automatically said, "Yes," feeling that that's what they wanted to hear. So when they brought in the photographs -- he's told me on a couple of occasions now -- it was very easy to pick out the gentleman, because he was the only one in the lineup who had zits on his face.
Actually, the way he described it to me was: "Mom, how dumb do you think I am? They brought in these pictures, and I looked for the one with the zits."
Joseph Couture: Did you say anything about the car ride they took him on?
Janet McLean: What he told me was, they did take him to an apartment and asked him, "Is this the place?" [Peter] said he didn't even know where the place was; he just told them, "Yes."
He also told me that when he pointed out the picture, one of the officers jumped up, banged the desk, and said, "Yes! We've got him!" I said, Oh, I bet that kind of made you feel good. And he said yeah, because it made him feel like he did a good thing.
My second son's story was so similar, except that my second son was much older.
Joseph Couture: Who were they trying to say he was a victim of?
Janet McLean: My second son? I'm not sure of the name. He was the gentleman with the duck; that's all I know. But my second son's more than willing to talk to you.
Terry McLean: My mom got a call from the police that they wanted to interview me about the child-pornography ring. I went in for the interview, and as soon as I got in the room there were two officers -- and the interview was supposed to be about me, but the first thing they said to me was, "We know what happened with your little brother, and we really want to get these guys. And we want you to help us out." Sort of making it seem like I would be helping my brother out if I said anything happened to me. But nothing had happened to me.
And the questions they were asking me: they asked me about a man who lived on Grey Street, and he had a duck in his back yard or something like that. They were trying to convince me into saying that it had happened, but I knew it hadn't.
Joseph Couture: What happened?
Terry McLean: They said that me and three other guys were going over to the man's house, and they wanted to know what happened in the man's house. But I had never been there before. They said, "We already have people who have told us this, and they've said that you were there" and things like that. I just kept saying no, nothing happened. And every time I'd say no, they'd come back to: "You know you want to help your little brother out, don't you? You want to help him. You want to get these guys because of what they did to your brother." But I've dealt with the police before; after a while they just stopped bugging me, because they knew that I didn't know anything. Nothing happened. I told them that right from the start when I went in there, but they just kept going back to my brother: "We need to get them, because they did this to your brother. Don't you want to help your brother?" Things like that.
The way that they questioned me, I know that if I was [Peter]'s age I know that I would have just went along with them, because -- like just the way they talked and stuff. I would have went along with it, if I never knew better.
Joseph Couture: Do you think that's what [Peter] did?
Terry McLean: I think so, yeah. Because he was really scared. He thought that maybe he would get in trouble if he didn't help them.

Max Allen: Police interrogation techniques were in the news last week, when the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal overturned the conviction of a young woman in what's come to be known as the Martensville case. She'd been jailed on the basis of stories told by two young "victims" of sexual abuse. The Court of Appeal, in a blistering judgement, criticized police investigators for improper treatment of the children by using leading and suggestive questions which "did not comply with techniques recommended by experts to get accurate responses."

In Toronto yesterday, Janet McLean filed a request with the Ontario Police Complaints Commission, asking that the treatment of her son by the London police be investigated, and that she be given the tape recording of his interrogation.

I'm Max Allen.

[End of "The Trials of London: Part 4"]

Lister Sinclair: "The Trials of London," from Ideas. You can access previous Ideas programs about "The Trials of London" on the Internet. Our World Wide Web site address is:

IDEAS tonight was produced by Max Allen, with Joseph Couture. Production assistant: Liz Nagy. Technical operations: Lorne Tulk. The executive producer of IDEAS is Bernie Lucht, and I'm Lister Sinclair.


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External links

Desires": The Response to the Sexual Psychopath - Estelle Friedman


The Trials of London: