Saturday, October 10, 1998

Harold Levy

p. A6.

Madame guilty in sado-sex trial

Dominatrix kept common bawdy house, judges decide

Terri-Jean Bedford, the dominatrix known as Madame de Sade, has been convicted of keeping a common bawdy house despite her defence that she was only catering to harmless fantasies. The Thornhill woman was found guilty yesterday in a Newmarket court.

Prosecutor Peter Westgate said he will ask Judge Roy Bogusky of Ontario Court, provincial division, to sentence her to nine months in prison.

The case was expected to set a precedent determining whether indulging sadomasochistic fantasies for money should be deemed prostitution.

However, in his ruling, Bogusky said common sense told him it wasn't necessary to deal with that issue -- which remains unresolved in Canada -- because the case was clearly only about sex acts for money.

Sexual arousal, not mere 'escapism,' at play, Judge Roy Bogusky ruled

"Common sense allows no other interpretation for a scenario involving a naked male with a rope tied around his penis being attended to by a female; even more so when she is wearing lingerie," he ruled.

Bedford, 39, was charged Sept. 15, 1994, after 15 York Region police officers raided her Thornhill bungalow and carted away several truckloads of the tools of her trade, including a jail cell, coffin, throne and assorted whips and restraints.

Bogusky described moods in the nine-room bungalow -- called "Madame de Sade's House of Erotica" -- as "ranging from the Satanic, where articles of torture and death were present... to the burlesque, where a small stage was erected for the crossdresser."

One of the centres of activity was an erotica room served by female employees dressed in lingerie, in which "a strong sexual and erotic mood would be created."

Although Bogusky noted Bedford had ordered her staff not to perform intercourse, oral sex or masturbation, an employee named Princess testified that during "erotica sessions," some clients were masturbated.

Bogusky also based his decision on a video that showed Bedford "stimulating" a man wearing a mask. Bedford testified in August that the session on tape was a private birthday present for an elderly friend.

While Bedford maintained sadomasochism was "simply escapist recreation," Bogusky found sexual arousal was at its core.

He referred to testimony by Princess that many customers who requested an erotica session "were already in a state of arousal."

Before convicting Bedford, Bogusky dismissed a motion to stay the case. Alan Young. Bedford's lawyer, said the manner in which the search of the bungalow was conducted violated her constitutional rights.

The judge excused police rowdiness as the actions of 'young bucks"

Bogusky acknowledged there was "overkill" on the part of the 15 officers. There was no reason to submit Bedford to a body search and "she was not well done by."

However, he excused the rowdiness of officers who donned wigs and had mock whip fights as the understandable actions of "young bucks" exposed to an unusual environment.

The judge also found substantiated evidence about a police officer who had inexplicably "punched" Bedford and ordered her to call him "master" during the search was not enough to shock the public and warrant staying the conviction.

Outside court, Bedford said she was "very upset" because Bogusky "condoned" the conduct of the police.

Young called the search "a disgrace... (There were) 15 officers conducting a swat-type raid on a home, assaulting individuals in the home, stealing money from the home, and strip-searching people unnecessarily," he said.

Young says he will appeal the verdict following sentencing. Bedford, who has 13 previous prostitution-related convictions -- and says she became a dominatrix to escape that lifestyle -- will be sentenced Friday.

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Created: October 12, 1998
Last modified: October 12, 1998

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