Wednesday, September 17, 1997

Tracy Nesdoly

Ex-chief rued lack of warning

'Should have been' Balcony Rapist alert, trial told

Former Metro Police chief Jack Marks admitted in 1986 that no general warning was issued in the Balcony Rapist case and "one should have been," court heard yesterday.

A 1986 police commission document entered into evidence yesterday showed that Marks promised warnings would be given in the future to people at risk, and said "in the case at hand, women living in highrise buildings in the downtown area would be targeted as a high-risk group and requiring extra efforts to bring the potential risk to their attention," the Jane Doe trial heard.

Marks wrote the lack of warning "is not only a matter for concern and regret, but action has already been taken to prevent a similar break-down from occurring in the future."

He was responding to proposals from a group called Women Against Violence Against Women, of which Doe was a member, which formed to alert police and others to the issue of violence against women, especially rape.

In August 1986, Doe became the fifth known sexual assault victim of Paul Douglas Callow. She is suing the police department for $1.2 million for its failure to warn her of the danger while police were trying to catch the man known as the Balcony Rapist.

Under cross-examination yesterday, Doe admitted she was aware there had been attacks on women in the downtown area that summer.

She contradicted her earlier testimony and admitted her brother had warned her about attacks in the Yonge-Bloor area and urged her to keep her apartment secure.

Doe also backtracked on earlier testimony she had bolted her balcony door and kept a window open only partially. She admitted yesterday her balcony door was locked but not bolted, and the window was wide open and overlooked the balcony.

Doe said it was "possible" she had seen news stories about the attacks and that she knew about public meetings held by women's groups to warn of the dangers that summer.

Lawyer Bryan Finlay, acting for the police, showed her more than 40 newspaper clippings, many about a serial rapist who targeted the Yonge Bloor area, not to far from where she lived and worked.

Doe maintained that "inadequate attention" was paid to the rapes by the police and because "they were certain the man who raped me lived in my area," they should have told her specifically of the danger she was in.

"If I had received that warning, that my life was in a lot of danger, I may have stayed with friends or I may have a friend stay with me," Doe said, adding that her life has been shattered.

"Balcony Rapist" case... [Fiona Stewart]

Created: March 6, 1999
Last modified: March 8, 1999

J.D. Jane Doe, c/o Walnet Institute
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