Without Fear or Favour: The Life and Politics of an Urban Cop. By Bill McCormack

Without Fear or Favour: The Life and Politics of an Urban Cop

By Bill McCormack

Published in April 1999 by Stoddart Publishing
ISBN 0773731687


An Officer and a Gigolo

p. 205.

Early on the evening of December 5, 1989, a handsome, well-muscled young man knocks on the door of room 130 of the Sheraton Toronto East Hotel. A few seconds later, a woman in her early thirties opens the door and invites him in. For several awkward minutes they sit at a bedside table sipping wine and making small talk. Finally, the woman confesses, "I have to admit this is my first time at this."

"I'm quite inexperienced myself," admits the young man. "It's an all-new experience."

The woman asks him how much he charges for his services.

"Is there anything in particular you were interested in having me do?" he asks.

"NO, just the regular, I assume," she replies.

"Well, if we get involved in getting laid, it's $250," he states matter-of-factly.

The woman asks him if there's a time limit.

"With the massage and that, it'll take about an hour. We'll say $200 for the hour, and anything you want to do we'll basically do," he assures her.

They continue to sip their wine and make more small talk. Presently, the woman hands the young man a neat wad of cash, which he stuffs into a black wallet.

"Sounds like fun!" he says with a smirk.

Unbeknownst to the young man, the woman with whom he has been negotiating is an undercover police officer. She is part of a team of detectives from the force's Internal Affairs Unit. Her partners, Detective Sergeants Neil Shannon and Roy Pilkington, are in the next room recording the entire transaction on videotape. They have seen and heard all the need to and burst through the door.

"Gordon Junger!" barks Shannon at the dumbfounded young man, who acknowledges his name. "My name is Detective Sergeant Neil Shannon of Internal Affairs."

Junger looks as though he might keel over in a dead faint. His previous cool dissolves. He buries his face in his hands and begins to snivel. "Yes, sir. I know who you are," he says shakily.

One of the detectives retrieves the marked bills that the undercover police woman had handed to Junger. They are tucked in his wallet right next to a chrome badge that reads Metropolitan Toronto Police, Constable Number 4681. This hooker is a police officer! Shannon and Pilkington take him to 42 Division. Later that evening, they execute a search warrant on the apartment Junger shares with a female prostitute named Roma Langford. They find and seize a small quantity of hashish and charge him criminally under the Narcotics Control Act.

The detectives knew the hash would be there because the previous evening Langford had come to Internal Affairs to complain that Junger — her lover, the father of her unborn child, and her business partner in the Pleasure Can Be Yours Escort Service — was "getting greedy."

She told Shannon and Pilkington that Junger, who worked plain clothes out of 52 Division, often kept alcohol in his police cruiser, that he'd made frequent visits to bars to meet friends while on duty, and that he had hidden illegal drugs in the house. She also claimed that Junger had used the Canadian police computer network, known as CPIC, to check out people for non-police purposes — a clear abuse of his authority and their privacy.

Roma Langford wasn't the only woman who was mad at Gordon Junger. Langford's mother had secretly complained to Internal Affairs five months earlier because she had suspected Junger of slapping her daughter around. But with no complaint from Langford, detectives could do nothing but bide their time — though they were intensely interested in proving connection between the officer and Langford, who they knew was a prostitute.

When the detectives confronted Junger on the night of his arrest, he began to blubber that he'd only become involved in hooking to extract a promise from Langford that she'd have an abortion. He pleaded with them to drop the drug charge. If they did, he said he'd resign from the force on the spot. Of course, he realized as well as the detectives did that only a federal Crown attorney had the authority to drop or proceed with a narcotics prosecution, but he was desperate.

The following morning, after viewing the videotape of the undercover policewoman's encounter with Junger in the east-end hotel room, I contacted David Boothby, then the superintendent of 52 Division. Dave told me that he was expecting Junger to report to him at any moment, and that he would suspend and re-assign him pending a hearing.

If the offence for which a police officer is suspended is serious enough, he or she may be re-assigned to non-sensitive duties away from the public eye while the case is investigated further or he or she awaits trial. The force doesn't want the public to accuse them of wasting money by paying an officer who isn't working, so the delinquent may be put to work stuffing envelopes or moving boxes around. But this time! When I saw the videotape and heard about Junger's abuse of the CPIC system, I told Boothby that I wanted him to serve his suspension away from the force altogether.

"The guy's a security risk and I don't want him around! Get him the hell out of here!" I said.

Boothby pointed out that suspension and banishment from the force had never before imposed on any officer. I had just watched a videotape of a young man casting contempt on his badge and the police force it represented, and I was in no mood to have my order questioned. Consequently, when Junger reported to his superintendent later that morning, Boothby sent him packing. Maybe we had to pay him, but there was no law that said we had to look at him. After Boothby dealt with Junger, I gave the Police Commission a synopsis of the case.

Much of Internal's case against Junger would rely on the testimony of Roma Langford — a leggy and flamboyant call girl who favoured eye-catching hairdos, short skirts, and dark glasses with enormous frames. She was the one who could give the lowdown on the escort service she and Junger operated. And it was she who told Shannon and Pilkington where to find the hashish Junger had hidden. Thus it came as very bad news when, a week and a half after the sting operation, Langford called Neil Shannon to say that she'd been mistaken, that the hash found in the apartment actually belonged to a football player, not Junger. She told the same story to Junger's legal counsel, Ken Byers, who not surprisingly, was utterly delighted. The lawyer suddenly had some leverage. He called Shannon and Pilkington with a proposition: Junger would resign if no charges were pursued against him in court. The detectives consulted a federal Crown attorney about the drug charge and were advised that if Roma Langford's initial claim that the hash belonged to Junger could no longer be relied upon, they had no case — never mind that they strongly suspected she was lying. (She would later return to her original story!) Of course, they also realized that any evidence she might give concerning the escort service she ran with Junger and his abuse of the police computer network would also now be considered unreliable. As if that weren't frustrating enough, the investigators were faced with yet another complication. Due to an ambiguity in Canada's prostitution laws, there was no assurance that Junger would be convicted under the Criminal Code for attempting to sell sex, even though the entire transaction had been videotaped. It was looking as though the best Shannon and Pilkington could hope for would be a conviction for discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act of Ontario. They had a decision to make: take Junger to court knowing their star witness had already bailed out on them, or rid the force of an undesirable character in the fasted, least expensive way they could.

Shannon tried to reach me, but I was away from my office. He gave a synopsis of the case to another senior officer, who caught up with me later that day and broad-brushed the situation for me. At that point I wasn't given, nor did I feel the need to ask for a copy of the two-page agreement that had been fashioned by Junger's counsel, Ken Byers, and signed by Neil Shannon "as per the Chief."

It had been relayed to me that if the force tried to have Junger prosecuted in criminal court we'd be blown out of the water. Shannon had reluctantly agreed to Byer's saw-off and accepted Junger's resignation.

Approximately six weeks passed before I actually read the specific terms of the agreement. When I did, I came to the conclusion that it was weighted too much in Junger's favour. Moreover, it called for the destruction of evidence that might have been used in criminal court to prove that Junger had both a personal and a business relationship with Langford. Though Shannon had signed the agreement, he did not destroy any of the evidence, save for the hashish, which was properly disposed of through the normal channels. The rest of the evidence — the videotape of Junger and the undercover police-woman, and Roma Langford's witness statement, for example — was retained by Internal Affairs. Since it was understood that there would be no criminal proceedings, it was reasonable to assume that these no longer had any evidentiary value.

Though I found no fault with the way in which Internals had conducted the investigation, I was disappointed, as I know Neil Shannon and Roy Pilkington were, that the unreliable testimony of a Crown witness had made it possible for Junger to slither out from under a criminal prosecution. I must confess that I was also concerned that in signing the agreement, Neil Shannon had appeared to agree with Byer's demand that he destroy evidence, even though he had no intention of doing so. In my opinion, such a demand was reprehensible and ought not to have been made by Byers. To prevent this sort of thing from happening again, I issued an order that all agreements to terminate an officer's employment for offences against the Criminal Code or the Police Services Act were to be vetted through the force's legal department and its command officers before being signed.

That ought to have been the end of the matter. And, had the New Democratic Party under Bob Rae not ousted the Peterson Liberals in the September 1990 provincial election, it would have been. But Rae and senior members of his caucus had been compiling a list of dragons to slay if ever they were elected to power, and I was evidently on that list.

A story appeared in the Toronto Star in which Junger claimed he'd been framed and tricked into resigning by Shannon and Pilkington. What a lot of nonsense! Gordon Junger's appearance in that hotel room for the purpose of selling sex for cash was not the product of someone's imagination. and nobody invented the notion that Junger misused CPIC, either. The date and time of each query he made on the computer system were recorded and matched against the names Roma Langford had provided. The Star story made much of the promise of Neil Shannon to destroy evidence of Junger's association with Roma Langford. The story asserted that Shannon had not acted in good faith by failing to destroy the evidence. Other newspaper stories implied that because Junger hadn't been charged he'd been let off lightly.

I vehemently disagreed with that interpretation because I understood completely Neil Shannon's dilemma. He could either sign on the dotted line and be rid of Gordon Junger, or reject Byer's offer and take a weak case through the courts knowing he'd lose and that the force would be obliged to keep a male prostitute on the payroll. Shannon decided to con Junger and his lawyer into believing he'd agreed to their terms. That decision may have presented a moral conundrum to some, but not for me, for it's a poor copper indeed who believes he has to adhere to the Marquis of Queensberry Rules to catch a crook.

The New Democrats jumped all over the Junger investigation and resignation, claiming it was proof positive that the Metro Toronto Police Force was in sore need of reform. Solicitor General Allan Pilkey ordered two separate investigations into the matter. One was conducted by Bob Russell, a former inspector on Metro who had been seconded to the Ontario Police Commission, and the other by Murray McMaster, a high-ranking officer from the OPP. We cooperated fully with Russell's investigation, but when he turned in a report that I thought was unfairly critical of Internal Affairs, I got my back up. When McMaster came calling, I assured him that he'd receive the same cooperation that Russell had received, but this time he'd better come armed with a warrant if he wanted to examine any records! He and I had known one another for years, and he was utterly incredulous.

"Bill, you can't be serious!" he spluttered.

"You're damned right I'm serious!" I thundered. I felt Bob Russell had blindsided the force and me. He knew very well how difficult it could be to get rid of a bad copper. I felt he ought to have been more understanding of the dilemma Internal Affairs had found themselves in. I wasn't about to make the same mistake with the OPP. If they wanted to take a peek at our books, they could bloody well go see a judge and get a warrant! I later relented and provided McMaster with the documentation he needed.

Based primarily on Bob Russell's report, the solicitor general formed a tribunal, calling it the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services, to look into the workings of the entire Internal Affairs Unit, not just the Junger case. It didn't seem to matter that Shaun McGrath's successor as head of the Ontario Police Commission, Douglas Drinkwalter, called the entire episode nothing more than a tempest in a teapot: the NDP were out for blood. Rae's people leaned on Drinkwalter and he, like many other provincial appointees, learned to mute his criticism of the Rae government. The appointment of the tribunal, which was headed by Frank D'Andrea, was straight out of the NDP play book. They were skilled at creating a sham issue out of thin air, then duping a credulous media into positioning them in the public eye as crusading reformers.

The NDP tribunal heard sixty days of testimony, ran for a year, and cost Ontario taxpayers $ 1 million! I was subjected to four days of cross-examination in the witness box by various lawyers who'd been given standing at the hearing. In addition to the Junger matter, the tribunal examined the force's handling of a case in which Brian Whitehead, a sergeant with twenty-three years on the job, pleaded guilty to Police Act charges of corruption and deceit for having sex with a prostitute. He had been demoted to the rank of constable, a penalty that would cost him approximately $7,000 a year, and ordered to seek help for his substance abuse problem.

Two months after the inquiry got under way, Junger's lawyers, Charlie Roach and Peter Rosenthal, a law student from Flushing, New York, announced that they and their client had launched a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the force for wrongful dismissal, claiming that Junger was innocent of any criminal activity and that he'd been coerced into resigning by me personally and by officers in Internal Affairs. The Toronto Star quoted Roach as saying, "He is not saying his hands are 100 per cent… But he says he committed no crime and did not deserve to have his job taken from him."

The Junger story caught the attention of the U.S. television show A Current Affair. Several months later, it carried an item called "An Officer and a Gigolo," which documented Gordon Junger's double life as a police officer and hooker. Charlie Roach appeared on camera claiming that "the police conspired with Ms. Langford to entrap --to use duress, really — on Gord Junger." Roach was followed by a clip of Neil Shannon giving evidence at the inquiry: "We just set up the sting. There was no duress. Nobody forced Gord Junger to go to that hotel room." I was also interviewed and told the show's producers that "I have no apology to make and I can assure you that officers from this force acted professionally at all times."

But the last and best word belonged to Canada's premier criminal lawyer, Eddie Greenspan, who together with his equally talented brother Brian, defended the forces interests at the inquiry. When asked about Junger's lawsuit, he said, "I think he's got nothing but chutzpah to even suggest that he should be re-enlisted as a male prostitute on the Toronto police force! It's a gutsy lawsuit, and I wish him nothing but bad luck!"

The inquiry featured some other curious twists. Near the end of May 91, a Metro traffic officer working in the east end of Toronto pulled over a car driven by Roma Langford. She'd been drinking , so he arrested her and charged her with impaired driving. There was a female passenger in the car with Langford whom the officer identified as the newly appointed NDP candidate on the Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Board, Laura Rowe. What would Bob Rae's choice as the new member of the Police Board have been doing in a car with a drunken prostitute, on the eve of her swearing-in ceremony? Neither Rae nor Rowe, a lesbian activist, would say, which I thought very curious in light of the premier's oft-repeated declaration that an NDP government would be an open government. Nor did the province's top law official, Solicitor General Allan Pilkey, care to comment. Though nineteen-year-old Lara Hoshowsky later claimed that she, and not Rowe, had been with Langford that night, the traffic officer remained adamant that Rowe had been the passenger. He picked her photo out of numerous others shown him by senior officers. He also attended her swearing-in ceremony at headquarters the next day, in front of television news cameras and everyone else in the room, identified Laura Rowe as the passenger in Roma Langford's car. It is worth mentioning that Laura Rowe is twenty-one years older and nine inches shorter than Lara Hoshowsky. Throughout the entire controversy, Bob Rae and the woman he chose to share the responsibility of overseeing the operation of the Metro Toronto Police Force remained silent, offering neither an admission nor a denial.

Rowe would prove to be typical of the calibre of NDP appointees that would infest not only the Metro Toronto Police Services Board, but police boards of other Ontario municipalities during the NDP's reign. Rae seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of these human incendiary devices that he would parachute into various police boards for the purpose of igniting controversy. They were instructed to toe the party line and hijack the agenda by forcing their narrow points of view on everyone else. Whatever their exclusive issue happened to be — minority rights, women's rights, gay rights — it came to dominate the board's agenda. To hell with the police, and to hell with the safety and security of the broader community! One such "Johnny One Note" was Arnold Minors, who would join Laura Rowe on the Metro board in June 1993. Minors would achieve notoriety by making a number of hare-brained statements in the media. For example, he told reporters that the Metro Police Force was an army of occupation over the city's black community — a claim that the vast majority of Torontonians of all races rejected as utterly ridiculous! He also made the dumbfounding assertion that the Holocaust was "not a racist act" at one of the two-day "racial sensitivity" seminars that ran under the auspices of the Rae government. Ontario's Crown attorneys were obliged to attend this session, and when a dozen or so of them complained about Minor's remarks, the seminars and Minor's lucrative consulting contract were cancelled. Better yet, he would be dropped from the Metro Police Services Board by a suitable embarrassed Bob Rae, who was discovering that his human incendiary devices were equipped with housing mechanisms and had the annoying habit of landing back in his lap!

My first meeting with Arnold Minors was a memorable one. The day he was to assume his seat on the board, detective Sergeant George Cushing and I ran into him on the elevator. I recognized Minors from the picture in the paper and, extending my hand in friendly greeting, I welcomed him to headquarters. Minors kept his hands rigidly at his sides and refused to look at either George or me. "I am a member of the Police Services Board, and I do not make a practice of talking to employees!" he said.

I was too stunned to respond, but George found his tongue. "It's too bad you feel that way, Mr. Minors," he shot back. "You obviously haven't noticed that the sun's shinning and it's a beautiful day! You really ought to try to force yourself to smile. Believe me, you and everybody around you would feel a lot better!"

We rode the rest of the way in silence. When the elevator stopped and the doors opened, Minors stomped down the hall, glancing neither left nor right.

"Can you believe the nerve of that asshole!" asked George, shaking his head.

As the Junger inquiry dragged on, the questioning by some of the lawyers became more tedious and directionless. Diane Martin, who represented the prostitute with whom Brian Whitehead had sex, repeatedly asked questions that only investigators from Internal Affairs could rightfully answer. Time and time again, I was obliged to respond that I could not speak for them. Martin knew that full well, but relentlessly tried to pressure me into giving hearsay evidence. I was equally relentless in my refusal to do so. She then accused me of deliberately misleading the inquiry.

"I would not sit here and, under oath, tell you something that isn't the truth!" I shot back.

I locked horns with Rosenthal, too. He made a submission to the panel that I ought to be the subject of a separate hearing with a view to having me dismissed as chief. Moreover, he repeated an unfounded accusation that had been flung at me by NOW Magazine, a left-wing tabloid that had been funded, in part, by an NDP handout. They had published the false and malicious story that I had worn campaign medals that I was not entitled to wear, which is a criminal offence. An investigation by the RCMP later showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that since I was a crew member on a troop ship of the line that had ferried soldiers during the Korean War, I had worn the ribbon in good faith and that the fault lay elsewhere.

The accusation had hurt me deeply, and only Jean knows how much. I stopped wearing the medals from then on, keeping them tucked away in a drawer. Eddie Greenspan had been so incensed by the tabloid's cynical attack that he strode defiantly into a meeting at headquarters with a brace of World War 1 medals pinned to his chest. Not surprisingly, no one had the brass to charge the country's top trial lawyer with the criminal offence of wearing unearned medals.

Apparently Frank D'Andrea didn't think much of Rosenthal's personal attack on me, either. He told the American student that he'd gone too far, and that if he didn't temper his remarks and confine his questions to relevant issues he'd lose his right to question witnesses. Outside the court, Brian Greenspan told news reporters that Rosenthal's submission was morally bankrupt, and that it was preposterous that the lawyer for a police officer who was discharged for running an escort service and being a male prostitute was suggesting that the chief of police be fired. As for Diane Martin's claim that I was misleading the inquiry, Brian said. "Chief McCormack has done more to open the lines of communication with the Police Board and public than all of his predecessors combined!"

The inquiry finally ground to a close a year after it began. Five months later, the three-man panel turned in a sixty-two-page report containing twenty-four recommendations for change in the force's internal investigation procedures. During the year that the tribunal heard evidence, other senior command officers and I had already realized that our procedures needed to be overhauled and had implemented numerous procedural changes by the time D'Andrea tabled his report. In fact, seventeen of our changes happened to coincide with those presented in D'Andrea's report. I publicly took responsibility for the actions of the force in relation to both the Junger and Whitehead investigations. Moreover, I apologized to the Police Services Board and, while being cross-examined at the inquiry, to the complainant in the Whitehead case. What more could I or the force do?

I was criticized in the press for the equanimity with which I received D'Andrea's report. Even the Toronto Sun's Christie Blatchford, who normally wrote favourable columns about me, took exception to what she thought was my cavalier attitude towards the entire Junger-Whitehead affair. Though the scribes clearly expected to see me contritely tugging my forelock, I had no intention of doing so. I had the unanimous support of the Police Services Board and of both the Metro Police Association and the Ontario Police Association. I had nothing to apologize for and neither did Neil Shannon or Ray Pilkington. I cannot say the same for Gordon Junger.

One morning, when the dust had finally settled on the Junger affair, my secretary walked into my office and told me that a retired police officer had asked for a few minutes of my time. In walked the undercover policewoman who'd met with Gordon Junger in the hotel. We walked to a chesterfield near my desk and sat down. Fighting hard to hold back tears, she told me that the entire episode — and especially the inquiry — had left her exhausted and demoralized. "What they put you through, Chief McCormack, was wrong! It made me physically sick!" she confided emotionally.

Her reaction was shared throughout the force, and for one simple reason: police officers and civilian staff need to know they can trust the people they work with. There is no room for anyone who would bring discredit to the force. Had we proceeded with Police Act charges against Gordon Junger, he would likely have been acquitted and might still be employed by the force. I doubt that those who criticized my handling of his case ever truly considered that possibility.

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Created: October 7, 2000
Last modified: October 7, 2000
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