Thursday, Aug. 27, 1992
Police sting on constable led to scandalIn the early evening hours of Dec. 5, 1989, Gordon Junger, policeman and prostitute, walked into the Sheraton Toronto East Hotel with business on his mind. Fingering a box of condoms in his pocket, he made his way to Room 180, knocked and waited.
A stocky woman in her mid-30s answered the door and Junger hurriedly stepped inside -- into a police sting operation -- and into one of the most sensational scandals in the history of the Metro police force.
By June, 1990, the scandal had cost Junger his job and had sparked a public inquiry into the conduct of Metro's internal affairs unit, the most secretive of all police squads.
The inquiry, convened by the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services heard a compelling, confusing and often seamy tale, one that attracted dozens of reporters, including some from television tabloid A Current Affair. (It aired a piece entitled "The Secret Policeman's Ball.")
Sex -- for -- hire "sting" led to police scandal
The commission's panel of inquiry was to release its report today. It will be the culmination of more than 60 days of colorful acrimonious public hearings that stretched over two years. Toronto lawyer Frank D'Andrea was chairperson of the inquiry and co-author of the report, with Justice of the Peace Jean Beauprie and law professor Julio Menezes.
The inquiry was called in June 1990, after The Star revealed that Junger, a nine-year officer, had resigned amid allegations he ran an escort service. A subsequent investigation by the civilian commission confirmed the existence of a written resignation agreement. The deal raised troubling questions.
In the two-page document the police agreed to destroy "all physical evidence" related to Junger's personal and business activities with a call girl, Roma Langford. It also seemed to bind the police to withdraw hashish possession charges against Junger, while keeping the deal secret.
Metro police Chief William MaCormack said he never saw a copy of the deal before approving it, even though the internal affairs unit was then reporting directly to the chief. Upon reviewing the deal, MaCormack said he was unconcerned by it, believing it to be a labor relations matter. Nonetheless, he ordered that all future agreements be reviewed by the force's legal adviser.
Detective James Shannon, who signed the agreement "as per the chief" called the deal little more than a game of words. "This paper (agreement) was nothing more than a vehicle to facilitate Junger's resignation," Shannon testified during the inquiry. "I was willing to do whatever I had to do within the law to facilitate Junger's resignation." Shannon's boss, Inspector Aiden Mahar, said the agreement was a "con" of Junger.
Much of the inquiry panel's time was spent trying to unravel the meaning of the agreement, trying to understand how and why it came to be signed. In doing that, the inquiry gave the public an unprecedented glimpse at the inner workings of the internal affairs unit.
The eight-member unit is charged with the responsibilities of maintaining morale and investigating criminal allegations made against police officers. Its members boast a reputation of being tough, tight-lipped and relentless.
As Metro Staff Sergeant James Shail testified: "They (internal affairs) tell you what they want you to know, and what they don't tell you is not your business." It was this unit that received a phone call from a worried mother on Aug. 4, 1989, triggering what would become known as the Junger affair. The woman said her daughter, a prostitute named Roma Langford was living with an officer. Detective Sergeants Neil Shannon and Roy Pilkington were assigned the case.
The detectives opened a file, but their investigation went nowhere until Dec. 4, 1989, when Langford herself entered police headquarters. Langford's appearance was such a break that "I thought I should buy a Lotto 6/49 ticket," Shannon testified.
Langford, a sultry, high-priced call girl, was Junger's lover and roommate. She told internal affairs that Junger was also a business partner in the jointly operated Pleasure Can Be Yours Escort Service, advertised in NOW magazine.
Shannon and Pilkington quickly went into action. A sting operation was arranged for the following night. An undercover policewoman posing as "Sarah," an out of town businesswoman, called Junger from a hotel room at the Sheraton Toronto East on Kennedy Rd. on the afternoon of Dec. 5, 1989. That night, Junger appeared at her door, armed with a freshly bought package of condoms and a bottle of baby oil.
A videotape of the ensuing events, played at the inquiry, show Junger and the woman sitting at a table, sipping glasses of red wine, making small talk. Finally, the conversation turned to business: "I have to admit this is my first time at this," the woman conceded. "I'm quite inexperienced myself," Junger replied, "so it's an all new experience."
She inquired about prices and Junger asked: "Is there anything in particular you were interested in having me do, having done?" "Just the regular, I assume," she said. Junger explained the drill. "If we get involved in getting laid and that, it's $250." " Is there a time limit?"
"With the message and that, it will take an hour," he said. "We'll say $200 for the hour and anything you want to do we'll basically do." The woman handed the cash to Junger, who stashed it in his wallet. "Sounds like fun," he is heard saying as he moves toward the queen-size bed. The videotape then jumps to black. Shannon and Pilkington viewing the proceeding from an adjoining room, moved in and arrested Junger, charging him with living off the avails of prostitution.
Junger was stunned. "I'm going to kill myself," Shannon quoted Junger as saying. "How could I be so stupid? It's all over." Junger was then escorted to the house he shared with Roma Langford, where police executed a search warrant. They found a small quantity of hashish and Junger was charged with narcotics possession.
The constable, police officer of the month in July, 1986, was suspended from the force that same night. For his part, Junger told the inquiry he agreed to take part in the escort service in order to persuade Langford to have an abortion. She was three month pregnant at the time. As part of his attempt to appease Langford, Junger said, he arranged to act as a male prostitute for the woman staying at the Sheraton. (Langford would later give birth to a boy; she is now suing Junger for child support)
Two weeks later, Langford met with Junger's lawyer, Kenneth Byers, and told him the hashish belonged to someone else, a football player. Langford would later claim she was coerced into lying by Junger.
On Jan. 19. 1991, after learning of Langford's recantation, Shannon and Pilkington met with Byers. They left his office that afternoon with the infamous resignation agreement, which bound police to destroy evidence, including the damaging videotape. Shannon, however, said he never had any intention of destroying evidence. The deal, he said, related only to the videotape, which would have been used as evidence to support a Police Act charge of conduct unbecoming an officer.
Once Junger resigned from the force, Police Act charges couldn't be brought against him. It meant the videotape was no longer evidence and did not have to be destroyed, he said.
Questions were also raised about the police services board's role -- or lack of -- during the affair. The former board chairperson Toronto Mayor June Rowlands, testified that she was never shown a copy of the agreement by McCormack.
MaCormack disagreed, saying he presented Rowlands with the agreement in April, 1990. Earlier, McCormack had given a synopsis of the case to the police services board. The board did not pursue the matter on its own and none of the officers involved in the Junger investigation was ever disciplined.
Junger has since launched a $4.7 million lawsuit against the force for wrongful dismissal. The lawsuit is on hold pending the outcome of the inquiry. As the inquiry delved into the Junger case, it stumbled upon some unexpected information about the way Metro police handled other public complaints.
Evidence at the inquiry revealed that the internal affairs unit withheld 192 files from the office of complaints commissioner Clare Lewis over a five-year period. (The files have since been turned over to Lewis.) An internal affairs detective testified it was his opinion the cases did not fit the definition of a public complaint because they were criminal in nature.
However, a lawyer for the complaints commission said the legislative definition of a public complaint is clear. And other cases began to surface that raised still more questions about the conduct of internal investigations.
The inquiry heard about the experience of a former prostitute, identified only as Jane Doe. The woman complaint to internal affairs in November, 1989, alleging that Sergeant Brian Whitehead extorted sexual favors from her by threatening her with arrest.
After an internal investigation, Whitehead pleaded guilty to Police Act charges of corruption and deceit. He was demoted to constable.
Jane Doe testified that she initially wanted to bring Police Act charges against Whitehead. Later, she changed her mind and told police she was willing to testify at a criminal trial. Metro police, however, told her the matter was best handled internally.
The inquiry itself had moments of high drama. During her testimony, Langford began to explain that she knew several senior officers -- and was about to begin listing them -- before being cut off by the panel chairperson D'Andrea. Langford would later make a dramatic exit. During a recess while giving her testimony, Langford collapsed in a staff room at the Elmwood fitness club, where the inquiry was held. She was removed from the Elm St. building on a stretcher, her face covered by a blanket, and taken to hospital, where tests showed she was suffering from an irregular heartbeat.
At another point, commission counsel Graydon Sheppard accused internal affairs lawyer Eddie Greenspan of launching a public relations campaign on behalf of the police force. "It must be obvious by now that some of the parties are not interested in assisting this inquiry, but are interested in pitching knives at each other, " Sheppard said. "It's a public relations battle here."
Greenspan responded angrily to Sheppard's accusations, saying the police need all available evidence on the record to show they acted "properly, appropriately and that the system does work." "We didn't start the war; they did," he said, gesturing in the direction of counsel for Junger and Langford. It was one of the few times that a simmering animosity between counsel exploded in public.
The eminent legal trio of Eddie and Brian Greenspan and Richard Shibley represented police interests; Dianne Martin, Dan Brodsky and Peter Rosenthal made up what could broadly be termed the reform-minded opposition.
Rosenthal, who represented Junger, said in his final submission that an inquiry should be held into the dismissal of McCormack, saying the chief bears full responsibility for the Junger affair.
However, the inquiry's last police witness Deputy Chief Peter Scott said the inquiry has left an "indelible scar" on McCormack and the force. Said Scott: "He (McCormack) is a very proud chief and I assure you that you will be seeing very direct actions, and there won't be too much problem with this type of situation occurring again.
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Created: March 25, 1998|
Last modified: March 25, 1998
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