Friday, August 21, 1998

Harold Levy

p. A3.

'Treat me like a fly,' client told dominatrix

Accused giggles as she tells court of bizarre acts and odd requests

A dominatrix described some of her more bizarre clients yesterday, including the fly, Mr. Floor Tile, the straitjacket and the food fighter.

Terri-Jean Bedford, who is charged with keeping a common bawdy house in her discreet Thornhill bungalow, giggled frequently in the witness box.

Bedford said the fly was a young law student who would buzz around her home and pretend to stick to the wall. She was the spiderwoman who tried to find him.

'I would talk about how I would find that fly and remove his wings, pull off his legs'

In a book she has written, which was filed as a court exhibit, Bedford wrote: "I would pretend I didn't see him as he clung to the wall and I would talk about how I would find that fly and remove his wings, pull of his legs, and generally dismember him."

"That was a lot of fun," she told Judge Roy Bogusky of Ontario Court, provincial division, yesterday. She said she charged the fly $150 an hour and it took quite a while to find him.

Did he ever tell you what law school he attends?" defence lawyer Alan Young, a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, asked rhetorically.

Mr. Floor Tile was a client who asked to be bound by the hands and feet with leather restraints and laid out naked on the kitchen floor, where he would act like a floor tile, showing no emotion, Bedford testified.

"The girls would step over him, kick him, wash him, and vacuum him, just like a floor tile. "That session probably cost him $500 by the end of the day."

Bedford recalled another client , called the "straight-jacket," who had fantasies of being locked in a mental hospital. "He would be locked in a cell all weekend and if he escaped I would punish him."

There was also the food fighter," who devised a fantasy in which mistresses would pelt him with whipping cream, chocolate syrup, meringue pies, chocolate cakes, jellies, ice creams, "and every kind of sweet you can imagine." "The girls like this one," Bedford said with a giggle. "I don't know if he was a lawyer or not."

That client paid $300 an hour for the session, which lasted for several hours, she said.

Bedford testified repeatedly that she imposed strict limits on the fantasies that were played out in her establishment, including prohibitions against sex, cruelty, hurting, maiming, upsetting clients, and breaching high standards of hygiene.

As Bedford is charged with keeping a common bawdy house, prosecutor Peter Westgate must prove that the service she was selling constitute sex in the eyes of the law.

Bedford maintained throughout her testimony that she did no more than provide her clients with escapist recreation through the use of the mind, which she called "the greatest sexual organ."

Acknowledging she was a prostitute for several years, Bedford said that some time in 1992 she decided that what she had been doing was "repulsive and repugnant."

So she chose to establish herself as a dominatrix in a career where "I was in power position, in control, with no one touching me."

Late yesterday afternoon, Westgate began his long awaited cross-examination of Bedford, who made clear from her demeanour that she was not pleased at being forced to submit to his questions.

At on point, Bogusky suggested a five -minute recess so Young could explain cross-examination rules to his client. Bedford apologized to Bogusky for her conduct and answered Westgate's questions, but with little enthusiasm.

In his cross-examination, Westgate tried to assail Bedford's credibility by pointing out contradictions in her testimony, and suggesting she had knowingly allowed members of her staff to perform overtly sexual acts on clients.

Confronting her with written, sexually graphic fantasies requested by clients, Westgate tried to get Bedford to admit she was in the business of providing sexual gratification and sexual arousal.

'They are putting together a family reunion, and I'm going to meet everybody'

But Bedford forcefully maintained that she was not a criminal, that she had not authorized her employees to perform sexual acts, and that clients whose proposed fantasies violated her rules were told to go elsewhere.

In an odd twist to the case, Young told Bogusky that the trial has, in some sense, brought his client good fortune.

After reading an article on the trial, Young said, one of Bedford's aunts phoned him from British Columbia to say that her family had been looking for Bedford for about 20 years.

Bedford, who had been put up for adoption when she was 6 years old, had been trying to find her family for years. A day later, Bedford's older sister, who lives in Toronto, called her and they have met.

"Apparently they are putting together a family reunion, and next month I'm going to meet everybody," she told The Star outside the court.

"They said the case had no bearing on how they felt about me."

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Created: August 24, 1998
Last modified: August 24, 1998

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