May 11, 1995
Producer: Max Allen
The Trials of London: Part 3Lister 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 radioworks.cbc.ca
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 l8 months, London, Ontario, has been the site of a social and legal experiment, involving a police taskforce, 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.
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 taskforce, 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 thatwere 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?
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:
Q: During the interview there was some mention by yourself that you felt you weren't a victim.
A: I guess so.
Q: Do you feel that you're a victim?
A: 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...
Q: 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?
A: What does that mean?
Q: Well, that you agreed to it.
A: That I...
Q: 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?
A: 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...
Q: Do you understand that the point of the police is not that you didn't agree to it?
Q: 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?
Q: It's not about you agreeing or not agreeing, you understand that?
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. p> 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.
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. LikeI 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 thru 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, (x) used to buy me clothes, take me out for dinner, do all that kind ofstuff. 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 evensuggesting 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 ...to 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...
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: ...at 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 situationreally 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: Thru (D). (D) met Carlos thru (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 toCarlos'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 (...), 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 himover 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 aftereffects 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.
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 PornRing 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.
Andy Oudman: I'm with you.
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.
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 thru 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 radioworks.cbc.ca.
IDEAS tonight was produced by Max Allen, with Joseph Couture. Production assistant: Liz Nagy. Technical operations: Lorne Tulk. I'm Lister Sinclair.
The freedom of information documents show that the Ontario government approved $577,980 for the project. In addition, these were the additional cost estimates:
More in the Trials of London series:
Printed transcripts of the four programmes in this IDEAS series are available from:
Transcripts of programmes 1 and 2 are available on the Internet. Find IDEAS through the CBC Radio's homepage: www.radio.cbc.ca
Our e-mail address is email@example.com
The newsgroup for CBC radio schedules, questions and answers is alt.radio.networks.cbc
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