October 7, 1994

Producer: Max Allen
(c) Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

The Trials of London: Part 1

Lister Sinclair: Pierre Trudeau said, back in 1967 when he was justice minister, that the state had no business in the bedrooms of the nation. He meant that laws controlling consensual sex should be kept to a minimum.

Tonight we go to London, Ontario, for a case of police and social-welfare intervention in sex involving teenagers. And not usually in bedrooms either -- more often in livingrooms, parks, and automobiles. We are required, because of court-ordered publication bans, to change some names. Listener discretion is advised; you or your family may not want to hear what's in this program. Gay sex is discussed, and so is the difficult subject of child pornography.

Our program is called "The Trials of London." It was researched in London by reporter Joseph Couture, and is presented by IDEAS producer Max Allen.

Max Allen: It is said that in London, Ontario, there is a subculture of perversion and abuse, and there are videotapes to prove it. It's said that boys have been lured by men to commit unspeakable acts in exchange for money, clothes, and baseball tickets. The story comes from police and crown attorneys, from social workers, and from the newspaper.

It's called a "child-pornography ring." Sex is involved, for sure, but the boys -- teenage boys, most of them hustlers -- never speak for themselves. Their names are a secret. The men involved are never interviewed. The videotapes cannot be seen, except by the police. The chief of police says:

Julian Fantino [archival tape]: Pictures don't lie. Pictures tell it all.

Max Allen: A provincial dragnet is established, with head-quarters in London. The province won't reveal what its terms of reference are. Its budget is asecret. Thirty-seven men and boys have been arrested.

On the other hand, it's said that this is a witch hunt; that there is no child-pornography ring; that fear and hatred of gay people is behind the trials in London; that the victims have mostly been created by an official "ring" of police and therapists and the press.

This is London's leading radio station:

Audio collage of radio newscasts: ...child pornography ring... the perpetrators of this child-pornography ring help ferret out child pornography in this province... enormous reality of the most recent development in this child-pornography ring ...the London police in this child-porn investigation... the latest developments in this incredible child-pornography ring...

Max Allen: IDEAS tonight is about ruined lives, and three institutions -- the police, the social agencies, and the press -- at the centre of a sexual pandemonium.

I've got a stack of London papers here. The story broke on November 11, 1993. The banner headline says: "Child Porn Bust May Be Largest in Ontario." In the year since then, The London Free Press has run over a hundred stories on what they continue to call "the child-pornography ring," most of them written by police reporter John Herbert.

What's been the reaction of people in London to this story?

John Herbert: It's hard to gauge. It goes back and forth. I think that there are those who feel that perhaps the police put a bad name on this thing. It was initially referred to as a "child-pornography ring"; I guess that was from the initial evidence about the first two persons that were arrested and charged.

Max Allen: Even a couple of days ago you had a story called"Porn Arrests Hit 37". The real headline should be "Porn Arrests Hit 2."

John Herbert: Well, I think that the headlines are written by someone here other than myself, as you're probably aware of, being in the media.

Clarence Crossman: Every one of the words in the phrase "child pornography ring" needs to be analyzed very carefully.

Max Allen: Gay community leader Clarence Crossman.

Clarence Crossman: The vast majority of the young men involved are not children; the vast majority were involved in sexual activity over the age of fourteen, which is legal for them to give consent for sexual activity itself. The arrests and the charges had very little to do with child pornography. It's my understanding there were something like two charges out of the many charges that had anything to do with child pornography. The "ring" was certainly not a ring. If there was any ring, it in fact was a ring of boys who were connecting with each other for survival. The men were not connected to each other in any way, for the most part. So every one of those words in that phrase in fact is not the reality.

Max Allen: But child-pornography ring is "an easy label that's been used," according to a Free Press reporter, "out of sheer journalistic laziness."

The videotapes that touched all this off were discovered by accident. After a law was passed last summer making it illegal to possess sexual images of anybody under eighteen, the two London men who'd made the tapes gave them to a friend to get rid of. He threw them in the Ausable River. A boy who was fishing caught a bag of them and took them to his mother, who called the OPP detachment in Lucan. They weren't interested. (See footnote 1.)

But the London police were. The police tooksnapshots from the videos and showed them to social workers, teachers, and other teenagers, and with special help from one of the seventeen-year-olds they identified twenty of twenty-three boys on the tapes. Those boys were convinced to name men they'd had sex with -- often for money, since most of the boys were in business -- and also to name other boys they knew who were hustling.

The arrests began, none of them having anything to do with pornography. At first, men and boys were arrested mostly for having anal intercourse. The arrests then shifted to teenage hustling. It's illegal to give somebody under eighteen anything -- money, food, cigarettes, anything -- for sex. Some of the charges are for encounters that happened five or six years ago.

David Ashfield's customers and friends have been arrested.

Joseph Couture: Why do you think the police have targeted you guys?

David Ashfield: Everybody? Just 'cause we're gay and they're not.

Max Allen
Men who Scott Baldwin had sex with have been arrested.

Scott Baldwin: I think the police have sort of extended it because of people being gay and not straight.

Max Allen: Veteran homicide detectives said at the beginning of the investigation that watching the fifty-seven home-made videos of boys masturbating or having sex was the worst experience of their lives -- it was morally disgusting, it made them sick to their stomachs. "What I see is kids being ruined," said the chief of police. A therapist I talked to thought that some policemen might be revolted by gay sex because they'd been abused themselves and had repressed it, thus their determination to root out this evil.

I asked reporter John Herbert what his friends wanted to know about the case.

John Herbert: Well, I think what most of them just ask is: have you seen the videos?

Max Allen: Have you?

John Herbert: No. I haven't seen videos. And of course it would be against the law for the police to show them to me.

Max Allen: Why would it be against the law for police to show them to you?

John Herbert: Well, I think that the material they have would be regarded as evidence.

Max Allen :Neither the crown attorney nor the judge who decided the two porn cases saw the videos either. On the uncontested evidence, Judge Livingston said that the videos were not made for commercial use; there was no violence; and all the sex was consensual.

A therapist told me she'd heard there were two examples of violence on the tape. In the first a teenager holds a knife alongside his penis in what the crown attorney called "a provocative manner," adding, "he doesn't cause himself any harm." In the second instance a teenager licks semen off a table top.

I'm going to briefly describe one tape, filmed in a residential living room. It's dated 30 August 1993, at 5:27 p.m. According to police, "Mike Newman [who you'll hear in a moment] puts a pornographic video in the VCR. Scenes of masturbation; and then Newman is joined by Randy Flynn. Scenes of mutual masturbation and fellatio. Newman then lies on the floor and Flynn squats over him. Anal intercourse on Flynn, in two locations. Then, ejaculation by each, following masturbation."

Both boys are seventeen. They cooperate with the police, naming at least thirteen other men they've had sex with, all of whom are arrested. Newman and Flynn themselves are not charged for the scene they're in, even though anal intercourse under eighteen is a crime.

The man who made this tape and others like it, with the full cooperation of the participants, and who never so much as touched anybody, is jailed for ten years.

Maureen Reid is head of the sexual abuse unit at the Children's Aid Society in London.

Maureen Reid: I think what the police were watching, day after day, was abuse. They were watching children and adults engaged in sexual activity that could not have occurred with consent because [of] the age of the children, and that didn't fit with how we see sexuality. I mean, young children, when we see them in sexual ways, it really is counter to how we view children. I think they were watching activities and seeing activities that were abusive and that they hadn't watched or seen before. And many of us haven't; I think I've been always more emotionally impacted when I've actually seen the abuse than when I haven't.

Max Allen: Let's be careful about the word child here, and children. The age of consent for sexual activity in Canada is fourteen. Weren't the vast majority of the boys involved in this over fourteen?

Maureen Reid: I think, though, exploitation is under eighteen. I think children can consent to sex with peers at [fourteen]. I think what they were watching were adults orchestrating and exploiting children into having sexual activity with each other while they were watching it. Whether it was criminal in all cases, it was clearly, in my mind, abusive.

Max Allen: That's an interesting distinction between "criminal" according to the Criminal Code, and "abusive,"which is bad. Bad is a different category of thing than criminal is.

Maureen Reid: I think it was abusive because it was coerced, because it was non-consensual, because there was a power differential, there were elements of coercion and enticements, and that to me made it abusive.

Max Allen: For making these videotapes, two men were jailed for unprecedented terms of ten years and fifteen years. The second man, in addition to making tapes, also had sex with six boys aged ten to eighteen. Lawyer Fletcher Dawson has been retained to appeal the sentences.

Fletcher Dawson: I think they're arguably excessive. We don't have a history of this kind of case to compare it to, but I defend lots of sexual cases, many of them serious -- I think of cases of incest and other serious cases of sexual assault -- and these sentences seem to me to be out of line with sentences generally in those cases.

Max Allen: In February, at the time the sentences were handed down, there was another case in London: a twelve-year-old girl, wheelchair bound, with cerebral palsy and unable to speak, was raped by her mother's boyfriend. His sentence was five years. But the porn participants were boys. And the courts, the police, and the press turned up the heat.

Fletcher Dawson: I think it's been fuelled by the police in this case. I always find that a little unusual because the police, I think, would be the first to complain if defence lawyers started trying their cases in the press. We don't do that too much in this country -- it seems to happen quite a bit in the United States. The people in Canada, in my view, who seem to seek the media out first are generally the police.

The great publicity can be prejudicial; it can inflame people. Certainly anyone who was goingto have a trial in any of these cases would have to be troubled by the publicity.

Audio collage of TV and radio stories: In Ontario police are stepping up the fight against child pornography. * A lot of these kids get passed around. There's quite a subculture involved here. It's all encompassing. * They pass these kids around from one another like a piece of meat, and it goes across the country. * London is certainly where this child pornography ring is centred, but this problem is happening everywhere. * This kind of activity is taking place just about anywhere I can think of right now, certainly in the province and beyond that we know of. * The probe into the child-porn ring, to root out the pedophile culture across the province. * Child pornography on a provincial or even a national scale.

Max Allen: Lawyer Fletcher Dawson:

Fletcher Dawson: It must have been pretty evident from fairly early on in the investigation that there weren't videotapes here being produced for international commercial dissemination. Unfortunately, I think that the public is getting a somewhat different view of it by the media coverage and the way the police have approached it with the media.

Max Allen: If this wasn't a child-porn ring, what was it? It's been called an "adventure machine for teenage boys." Some of the thirty-five men not charged with porn know one or two of the other men; some don't know any of the others who were charged. Lots of the teenage boys, on the other hand, do know each other. They introduce each other to men of all ages, some with money, some with places to stay. Here are some of their stories. Joe Terry:

Joe Terry: My parents threw me out of the house, so I basically had nowhere else to go.

Joseph Couture: Why did they throw you out of the house?

Joe Terry: They found out I was gay.

Joseph Couture: Do you talk to them now?

Joe Terry: Not my father; he doesn't even acknowledge that I exist. He tells people they have two children instead of three.

Max Allen: The London police say they've identified fifty-five boys involved in sex for money. Their identities are protected, but we know who fifty-three of them are. Of the twenty identified boys who had sex on tape, nineteen of them come from what the crown attorney calls "broken homes," or "dysfunctional homes."

Jack Scott, who's been arrested, gave some of the teenagers clothes, food, and a place to live. I asked him what I'd see if I went to one of their homes.

Jack Scott: You might see a mother, a boyfriend, a bunch of little kids running around with no clothes on, quite a lot of beer bottles, some broken-down old furniture: a maggot-house or a party-house, where there is very little food, no money, and no sense of family unity of any kind.

Or you might have a newly divorced father and mother together, the new woman with her kids; and you might have a fourteen-year-old kid who didn't take kindly to it, who is out of control and was chasing around the half-siblings with a hammer or a knife or something and beating them up and was out of control.

Max Allen: In London there's a tremendous social-service network. It's not that there aren't any services.

Jack Scott: This is true. It's like the story about how the makeup of your average Eskimo family is a mother, father, two children, and one anthropologist. We have one anthropologist for every four urchins. Or maybe one on two, I don't know. Some days it's one on one; some days we've got more anthropologists than we have urchins.

Max Allen: If you mix poverty, drugs, and broken homes, and add a teenage boy who's discovered he likes sex with men, you get the kind of situation that's suddenly become visible in London. Scott Baldwin and David Ashfield are former hustlers, whose customers have been arrested.

Scott Baldwin: When I was possibly close to eight years old, I ended up liking a friend of mine, a boy my age. I'm not sure if it was sexual or not, I probably couldn't say, but we would end up kissing and stuff like that. Family & Children's Services got involved with that and ended up by sending me off to CPRI [Children's Psychiatric Research Institute, subsequently renamed Child and Parent Resource Institute] from nine to thirteen, for counselling and brain scans and stuff like that, to see if I was retarded or not.

David Ashfield: I didn't get in trouble for it, but that's sort of the same thing that went with me. I was eight or nine, too; I got interested in this other boy, you know what I mean? Every kid fools around, you know what I'm talking about? Well, I got to like him for some reason. You know, I'd look at him, and I'd have these thoughts in my mind all the time, like about having sex with him and stuff like that.

Max Allen: Some of the boys call themselves gay; some say they're straight. There are more varied experiences here than we have categories or theories to account for. Randy Flynn, who performed in one of the videotapes with Mike Newman, says he was paid by at least eleven men, and has given testimony against all of them. Now he complains that hisbusiness has fallen off. He started in business with a friend, according to George Vaughan, one of the men who's been charged.

George Vaughan: They were lovers when they were very young boys going to school, and that's how they got into this routine together. They'd go off together, the two of them, and perform for someone. That's how they started out.

Max Allen: Later, Randy introduced another friend, Mike Newman, to the scene. Sometimes they worked together, sometimes separately. Mike Newman:

Joseph Couture: How did you get into hustling?

Mike Newman: I had so much problems with girls I just thought I'd go to the other side and see what it's like and if it was any good then I'd stay with it. It wasn't really that good so I just came back to girls.

Joseph Couture: How did the police find out about what you were doing?

Mike Newman: Me and [Randy] walked up to Gary Gramlick's house and they seen [Randy's] picture in one of the videos that were made and [Randy] started talking to [Constable] Mike Crosby and he said, "Is it possible that you can come down and see me some time and bring your friend too" -- because he thought I was involved but he didn't see me in any of the movies, so ...I thought, yeah, okay, I'll go down before they come and get me, I'd go down there and confess about what happened and what I was doing and all that, and so that's what happened.

Joseph Couture: Did the police ever tell you that you could be charged with prostitution for this?

Mike Newman: Yes. They told me the first time I told them about it. They asked me what I did and who I was with and I told them and I said that I was with my friend [Randy], who is younger than I am. They said that if they wanted to they could arrest me, or else if I didn't help them out. If I helped them out they would leave me alone and I wouldn't be arrested, but if I didn't help them out by putting half these guys in jail then I would have got arrested. I said, well, I'll help you out, because I don't want to get arrested right now; I'm too young.

Max Allen: About having sex with Randy:

Mike Newman

We enjoyed it because we were friends at the time and we both didn't have a girlfriend so that's why we did it. But now since I have my own girlfriend I don't do it anymore. I don't know if he still does it or not. As far as I know I think he does, because the last time he was here he tried something on me and I told him I couldn't do it no more.

I was in my room sleeping, even though I did smoke some dope with him -- well, even though I haven't done it for like six months, I smoked dope with him. And he came in my bedroom and he tried some stuff on me. I said, "No, I can't do this." "Why? We were best friends. We did this for a long time." I said, "I can't do it anymore, because I've got a girlfriend now and I love her a lot and I don't want to hurt her in any way. I don't want to start this back up again." He said, "Okay, I understand."

Max Allen: Mike Newman says that, on the advice of police, he's applied to the provincial Victims' Compensation Fund. The maximum award he can get for his "victimization" -- that is, for being paid for sex -- is $25,000. Mike says his friend Randy Flynn has applied for compensation as well. Mike says that he calls one of the police officers now every week, for counselling.

In the series of anal-intercourse arrests that formed the second wave of charges in the Londoninvestigation, it was always the older partner who was charged and never the younger, though technically both had broken the law. This strategy preserved and continues to preserve the illusion of boys as innocent victims, always corrupted by somebody older.

This is former hustler Scott Baldwin and his friend David Ashfield:

Scott Baldwin: I think the police have made a big issue out of, really, nothing. I think it's just a pin-up on gay people in general.

David Ashfield: I think that the stuff they're writing in the papers, a lot of it, is phoney. They're just putting what they think. They think that all the kids were all victims and that they didn't know what they were doing and stuff like that. They knew what they were doing; they're just not putting that part in their paper.

I could see if adults would rape a kid or something, that's wrong. But I'm saying if they are both willing -- even if it was for money, if the kid says yes and says, sure, let's go -- the kid knows what he's doing, obviously, or he wouldn't be there in the first place.

Scott Baldwin: Most of the young boys that I saw were old enough to make their own decisions.

Joseph Couture: How old were you when you got into tricking?

Scott Baldwin: Fifteen.

Joseph Couture: Why did you start doing it?

Scott Baldwin: A friend that I was hanging out with suggested it was a good way of making money.

Joseph Couture: Do you think the prostitution was an exploration of your sexuality?

Scott Baldwin: Yes, I do. When I first tried it out I think I was just experimenting. With me at that time I was really getting -- I just don't seem to really get along with females very well. I don't blame that on them; I just blame that on me, because I don't get them. I just don't.

Max Allen: Scott Baldwin's "experimentation" can be seen from another perspective. What he saw as an opportunity could be described as victimization. I talked with Maureen Reid at the Children's Aid Society about this, and especially about the different dynamics for boys and girls.

Maureen Reid: The key areas around sexual victimization, for boys, that are different for girls, are that boys' sexuality is considered to be something that is readily available and accessible to anyone; that boys welcome sex and that boys should have sex and enjoy it. Boys are to be able to take care of themselves; boys should be able to get out of situations where they would be victims.

So we don't protect our children in the same way; we give them different messages. The other significant difference is, we tell our boys after we identify a problem that they should put it behind them and get on with their lives. We're more able to recognize the need for our female children to talk about and express their feelings; we don't really allow our male children to do that as well.

Max Allen: Your description of boys as being subjected to unwanted advances is at variance with some of the stories that I've heard from the teenagers that I've talked to here.

Maureen Reid: We socialize our boys and girls differently around their sexuality; by that I mean we learn quickly that sex is a power mechanism for boys and men and that they can get power needs met through sex.

Max Allen: But it's also fun!

Maureen Reid: Yes, but I think for females sex is not related to power as much. The most power females have in sex is in withholding it; the most power males have in sex is using aggression. So, yes, I think that we all have sexual needs and we all have desires. We do tell our male and female children much different things about their sexuality.

Max Allen: On Ideas tonight our program is about "The Trials of London." It's part of a series on the regulation of sexual behaviour called "The Bedrooms of the Nation." I'm Max Allen.

This is David Ashfield talking about one of the men in London he made friends with.

David Ashfield: I didn't really do anything with him -- you know what I mean? We just basically went to a hotel; we'd chat, just like all our friends go to coffee and stuff like that. It was just a friendship thing. They were just trying to make it look like this great deal. They were telling me, well, if you testify, here's some of the stuff like we'd like you to say.

They wanted me to say to the judge that I feel I was a victim; they wanted me to say that to give him a greater penalty. They were saying, if we do have to subpoena you we'd like you to say that you were the victim and that what he was doing was wrong and all that stuff. I just told them, no, I'm not going to say that because I don't think it was right.

Max Allen: Scott Baldwin, about being called to testify:

Scott Baldwin: We were all to sit there and listen to the detectives give us lines, like, "we're victims and we're the ones that are hurt by this," and things like that,not thinking that we may not be that stupid, that we know exactly what they're trying to say and they know that we're not victims and that we just happen to be gay. But I could sort of realize that I don't feel like a victim anyway, so I must not be.

David Ashfield: A lot of the younger kids, the ones that were twelve, thirteen or fourteen, I think when the cops were talking to them a lot of them were scared; they didn't know really what to say. So they figured they're going to tell them, well, I didn't really want to do it, and stuff like that. So I think that a lot of the ideas that the cops have is because of all these kids saying, I didn't really know what I was doing, to the cops -- when they did. They're scared, you know. When the cops are talking most kids are afraid of them. They're not going to say I knew what I was doing, because they're scared.

Max Allen: From the coverage of this issue on London radio station AM1410:

Talk-Show Host [archival tape]
One of the biggest problems is that they don't see themselves as victims!

Max Allen: Alan Leschied, director of Young Offender Services for the London Family Court Clinic:

Alan Leschied [archival tape]
We see them as victims; they see themselves as perhaps being nurtured and cared for in a way that's perhaps better than they've ever experienced prior to this.

I mean, kids that were taken to Canada's Wonderland and treated to a Blue Jays' game, who were getting out of their own neighbourhoods. So they were exposed to that kind of lifestyle, where they were supported and cared for.

Maureen Reid [archival tape]
These children did not necessarily welcome our involvement, didn't at all, really. I mean, they don't perceive themselves to be victims.

Max Allen: If that's the case -- and I was told by all the social-welfare people I talked to it was, and we heard the same story from all but one of the teenagers we interviewed -- then how did the London police manage to break through the wall of secrecy?

In several cases they had enthusiastic cooperation, but for the most part they didn't. One fifteen-year- old told us that the police said they'd charge him with prostitution (there's no such charge) unless he cooperated; that he'd be forced to take an HIV test; and that they'd tell his parents.

So he named the men he'd been with. And the police told his parents.

Another case: Mike Newman.

Joseph Couture: How many times have you been interviewed by the police now?

Mike Newman: About ten, eleven times. The police were going to call my mom and tell her, but I said, hey, I'm old enough to tell my parents myself and I don't want you guys to tell her because I know what she'll do, she'll freak and start raving at you guys. I'd rather tell her myself, saying what was going on; even though she asked me before if I was into this stuff or if I was sleeping with guys. I couldn't tell her at the time, until after she heard it on TV. And I told my dad and my dad wanted to beat the shit out of me. So I couldn't help that, but I told him anyways.

Joseph Couture: Why did the police want to tell your parents?

Mike Newman: Because they thought that I'd still be into it and all that stuff, and they wanted my mom to convince me to come down to the police station all the time and to talk to them and all that stuff. If I didn't I would have been arrested like the other guys for messing around just like being friends.

Max Allen: Ray Butler, arrested on six counts of paying for sex. The charge against you is based on what?

Ray Butler: It alleges food, lodging, and cigarettes, as well as money.

Max Allen: In exchange for sex?

Ray Butler: In exchange for sexual services, yes. How they're going to tie them together I don't know, because there were many instances of times when I gave them enough money for cigarettes without having sex, gave people who I don't have sex with money. There are many -- and how they're going to tie them together I don't know.

Max Allen: In one of Butler's cases, involving a boy named Andrew Cunningham, the exchange consisted of giving him a place to live for five days while Cunningham looked for a job.

I should say that the word "boy" is misleading -- I'm sorry I've had to use it so much. When I say "boy," you probably imagine an eight-year-old. There's no good word for what these young men are. They're, most of them, closer to manhood than to childhood. To call them "children," as the police and the media usually do, is crazy.

From The London Free Press, 24th of November: "[Inspector Jim] Balmain... said two of the children police had been trying to identify came voluntarily to the police station to give statements." These "children," I discovered, were both seventeen; one of them was within twelve days of being eighteen.

To get back to Butler and Cunningham: this is reporter Joseph Couture talking with Andrew Cunningham.

Joseph Couture: How many times were you interviewed by the police?

Andrew Cunningham: On the record, once; off the record, probably four or five times.

Joseph Couture: And how did they find you?

Andrew Cunningham: Well, the hustlers that were questioned before me all gave my name, and then they just looked for me from there.

Joseph Couture: So you never sought out the police with the intention of laying charges against these men?

Andrew Cunningham: No, I didn't.

Joseph Couture: Do you want to testify against these men?

Andrew Cunningham: Not really. I don't feel it's necessary.

Joseph Couture: What do you think should be done with the charges that involve you?

Andrew Cunningham: I think they should be dropped.

Max Allen: On Tuesday of this week there was a hearing in the London court house. Three boys had been called to testify against Ray Reed. Colby Lombardo denied that Reed had ever tried to pay him for sex -- that was the charge. Well, the crown asked, did he ever touch you? At a party once, Lombardo said, he put his hand on my knee, but he took it off when I asked him. In that case, the crown said, we'll charge him with sexual assault instead. David Ashfield testified that Reed had once put his hand in Ashfield's lap. According to the charge, that's sexual assault. But previously, Ashfield had said there had been no assault.

Joseph Couture: You say that didn't happen. Is that true?

David Ashfield: Mm-mm. Yeah. It's true.

Joseph Couture: He never made any advances to you that were unwanted?

David Ashfield: No, none at all.

Joseph Couture: Nothing resembling a sexual assault?

David Ashfield: No. I drank at his place, but that's about it. You know, I never touched him; he never touched me.

Max Allen: We asked Ashfield to sign a sworn and notarized statement. It reads, in part: "No sexual assault took place between myself and Mr. Ray Reed. There has never been any sexual contact between myself and Ray Reed. I did not discuss Ray Reed with the police, or lodge a complaint of sexual assault with the police."

Only recently in London have men accused in cases like this begun to contest the charges. Of the thirty-seven men arrested, seventeen of them, including the two in the porn case, simply pleaded guilty without a trial. Some pleaded guilty to lists of charges involving boys they say they've never even met. Their lawyers' advice was: "Just plead and take the deal; don't try to nickel-and-dime the police." Another lawyer advised against contesting the charges on the grounds that "It's hopeless."

Some of the charges involved anal intercourse. But the law that makes anal intercourse illegal, if you're unmarried and under eighteen, was struck down last year in Ontario as unconstitutional. If that decision's upheld, it means that the anal-intercourse arrests in London are invalid. One man told his lawyer about the case. His lawyer said: "It's irrelevant. You should plead guilty anyway."
(See footnote 2.)

I should say again that for legal reasons we've given fictitious names to some of the people intonight's program.

This is Andrew Cunningham talking with reporter Joseph Couture:

Joseph Couture: How did you meet the various men?

Andrew Cunningham: Well, sometimes it was at Victoria Park; you stand there and wait for them to drive by. Sometimes it was regulars; or through different hustlers or through different men you meet different people.

Joseph Couture: So you actively went looking for these men?

Andrew Cunningham: Yes, I went looking.

Joseph Couture: Were all the activities consensual?

Andrew Cunningham: Yes, they were all consensual. There was no rape or nothing against my will.

Joseph Couture: Do you see anything wrong with what you did?

Andrew Cunningham: Yes, I see something wrong with what I did because it seems to be socially unacceptable. That's the only reason. You know, it's kind of embarrassing.

Joseph Couture: Do you consider yourself a victim of these circumstances?

Andrew Cunningham: No, I don't see myself a victim. As I said, it was consensual, so if I was a victim it wouldn't have been consensual.

They didn't prey upon me; I went to them, sometimes they came to me, but it was all consensual.

Joseph Couture: How did the men treat you?

Andrew Cunningham: With respect. Nice. They were pretty cool, down-to-earth. Some of them were just like me.

Joseph Couture: Did they ever help you out when you were in trouble?

Andrew Cunningham: Oh, yes. They'd let me stay there for free, and sometimes loaned me money when I needed it. Yes, they've bent over backwards to help.

Max Allen: Two men charged in the London investigation told me their side of the helping-out-hustlers story. They're talking about a hustler named Kevin Crosby.

George Vaughan: I bought him a ticket -- physically bought the ticket because I didn't believe that's what he wanted the money for. I actually went to the terminal and bought the ticket to send him home, and at the same time gave him maybe twenty bucks to boot -- as he asked for -- to buy formula for the baby. There was never any sex.

Ray Butler: The minute you'd give him money he wouldn't spend it on the baby's formula, or whatever, so I actually went at one point in time to the IGA and went in and bought four litres of milk, not infant formula -- she was two years old at the time, I believe, two and a half years old -- went in and bought four litres of milk for her and a package of cigarettes for them, and drove him right to his door.

Max Allen: The men talking are Ray Butler and George Vaughan. After I'd listened to about an hour of stories, some of which involved being severely ripped off by one bad boy after another, and subsequently being turned in to the police, I said:

It seems to me, speaking as an outsider, that you guys need a better class of friends. What's the matter with you?

Ray Butler: I have a tendency to agree with you. [laughs] As a matter of fact I've been exactly trying to cultivate that better class of friends now.

What's wrong with us? I don't know, we seem to have this masochistic desire to help other people, I guess.

George Vaughan: I would have to agree. I've been like that all my life. I see somebody that's in need of help, I'll lend a helping hand. It takes a few times for me to learn my lesson, and as I'm getting older I'm realizing that you can't save the whole world and you do what you can. But here we are, we've helped people and now look what's happening, we're getting shit on.

And when I reflect back the number of people that I've helped, the number of people that I've met on the street that were homeless, that I've helped, that I've taken into my home and that have lived with me -- and I'm not talking about for a few days or a few weeks -- that have lived with me for a number of years, and they knew when they came there as to my sexuality; there were no rules you must have sex with me or else you can't stay here. It wasn't that kind. It was a friendship. If anything ever did happen it was mutually agreed upon. And I feel that my life benefited from it, as well as they feel that their life benefited from it.

As I was explaining before you got here, friends of mine that I've met when they were fifteen that came to live with me, and if they want to construe it as having given something -- they lived with me, I clothed them, I fed them, and in some instances sent them to school and paid for them to go to school. If that's against the law, well, nobody at this point in time -- and I'm thinking of two people in particular -- nobody wanted them. Their parents didn't want them, their parents turfed them out. They came from B.C. to Toronto because their parents didn't want them. They were abused by their parents there so they came to Toronto to get away from that abuse. And I certainly didn't abuse them.

Max Allen: I think most people would think that it's simply hypocritical of you both to call this "friendship," when what it is is not based in friendship at all but based in sex.

Ray Butler: Well, the same could be said of marriage, I guess, and the same could be said of many different things. It's not based on sex, but at times it involves it.

I think the kind of intimacy that one gets with a sexual partner is a special kind of intimacy, and it's the kind of intimacy which lends itself to being tested severely by some of the emotional trauma that these kids will put you through.

As far as I'm concerned, the only reason why we have anybody who works with kids today it's because of that kind of intensity. Nobody would work with young teenage males unless they had either a deeply masochistic streak or some sort of intense feeling towards them. I think our social-service agencies would -- if every gay man were to leave our social-service agencies, we'd have no help for young teenage males, absolutely none whatsoever.

Max Allen: Having seen some of these guys up close for the first time in my life recently, I've come around to understanding why so many people in the social-control world dislike these boys so much.

Boy, are they a nuisance, are they disappointing, are they unreliable, are they full of energy, are they a handful!

Ray Butler: Yes, yes, yes, yes.

Max Allen: But I'm told there are bright spots. For instance, Butler's sixteen-year-old friend Bobby Porter.

Ray Butler: This young gentleman kept returning to my apartment for a variety of different things, mostly for sex. But, I have to confess when he was hungry he would come over and I would feed him even without having sex with him. He brought some of his friends over and I fed them as well, and it almost seemed like a McDonald's at one point in time where people would drop in and be fed.

He's a wonderful kid. I mean, he's polite, he's kind; he says "please" and "thank you"; he asks to go to the fridge to get a pop or something else like that. He is involved in very little criminal activity -- the same kind of juvenile-delinquent stuff that 95 percent of us have done -- a little bit of shoplifting and that kind of stuff, right? He has no drug or alcohol problems that I know of; he certainly didn't evidence them around me. It's a tragedy that he's in the Children's Aid Society because he's definitely no problem to take care of, for a parent who would assume the parental responsibilities.

Max Allen: But like most of the kids turned up in the London investigation there aren't any responsible parents in sight. A policeman says: "We're just trying to get these boys off the streets." The method: put men in jail. But what if the "victims" had been female prostitutes, teenage hookers instead of teenage hustlers?

David Ashfield: If it had been a guy and a girl, I bet you nothing probably would have came of it -- maybe a little slap on the wrists for both of them and that's about it.

Max Allen: There's some evidence for David Ashfield's theory. There have been no reported prosecutions in London of customers of teenage hookers -- girls. And then there's the case of police constable Jeffrey Gateman, who, according to documents from an internal police inquiry this summer, was found guilty of misconduct and demoted. No criminal charges were laid, although what Constable Gateman is said to have done is remarkably similar to what the men we've been talking about are said to have done.

Clarence Crossman: The only difference between what a police officer did with a seventeen-year-old and what some of the men are being charged with with seventeen-year-olds was the fact that the police officer was involved in non-consensual sex, and the men and boys were involved with consensual sex. And the book was thrown at the men involved in sex with boys; the police did not charge the police officer involved with the woman. That's another clear example to me of heterosexism and homophobia.

Max Allen: That was Clarence Crossman, of HALO, the Homophile Association of London, which is Canada's oldest and largest gay community centre.

The Gateman case is hard to talk about because there are so many roadblocks in front of the facts. The police hearing was secret, and so was the police services board review of it. The SIU, the provincial police watchdog agency, has launched an investigation. The woman -- or perhaps I should call her a "girl" since I've been calling the boys "boys" -- has now convinced a justice of the peace to recommend that criminal charges be laid.

The story appears to be this: She was working for an escort agency; was paid to go to Constable Gateman's house to talk; was forced into anal intercourse under threat of being charged with prostitution. She complained to the police afterwards and Gateman was arrested; but the crown declined to proceed with the charges, she says, because she was a prostitute and probably wouldn't be believed in court. Well, most of the boys were prostitutes too.

The London Free Press has covered the case extensively, but I asked reporter John Herbert:

Did it come about by plan or accident that you have not, in the paper, drawn the parallel between the activities and the charges against Gateman and the activities and the charges against the men in the "child-exploitation ring"?

John Herbert: It's been discussed, within the newsroom, amongst some of the reporters ourselves that there might be a parallel there, but it hasn't been reported. It's perhaps more of an editorial position, I think, than a straight reporting position. I guess if we're looking for a parallel you were talking about, that the police thought it was okay that a police officer could be involved with a seventeen-year-old --

Max Allen: For money.

John Herbert: For money.

Max Allen: With anal intercourse.

John Herbert: Yes. And versus -- in the child-exploitation or pornography, whatever title you choose, that it wasn't okay there, that they quickly found it wasn't okay there, but in this case they thought it was okay. I guess if that's the parallel, I guess there's some people who feel that's a valid comparison and there's others who might not.

Max Allen: John Herbert's careful distinction between an editorial position and a reporting position I take to mean that the Free Press as a matter of editorial policy has decided not to compare the cases.

I've been told by therapists and social-welfare workers in London that males and females who complain, or on whose behalf complaints are made, about sexual victimization have different experiences in the justice system.

Maureen Reid: I think we might want to speculate that that's our society saying that there's somehow an acceptance of females as victims, and that somehow it's more of an affront to hurt our male children.

Max Allen: Alison Cunningham, research coordinator at the London Family Court Clinic:

Alison Cunningham: You'll find that the police, necessarily, have discretion in deciding whether to accept a complaint as valid or not. Were you to examine that process, you would probably find that they exercise that discretion and choose not to pursue some cases. Now, it would be interesting to find out if in fact there were any biases in that process.

Max Allen: The Family Court Clinic has studied what happens to sex-abuse cases in London -- once they get to court. They looked at 126 cases. When a boy was the victim, there was always a conviction. And the Family Court Clinic reported, "We were alarmed to discover that the victimization of male victims attracted much longer sentences compared with the abuse of female victims." In fact, the sentences were on average twice as long when boys were involved.

And this is not because the abuse of boys is a more widespread or more serious problem; just the reverse is true.

But knowing what happens when boys take the witness stand may have been a powerful incentive for the men in London who have pleaded guilty, on their lawyers' advice, to get it over with -- just by pleading guilty.

Ray Butler has decided to fight, though he's worried about the effect that a trial may have on the mental health of his young friend Bobby Porter.

Where did he live?

Ray Butler: He lived at a group home.

Max Allen: That means that he didn't have a family.

Ray Butler: No, his family lives in London. His mother lives with his stepfather in London. They've given up custody of him.

Max Allen: Why do you think that his health is in jeopardy?

Ray Butler: Because he has no parental support. His stepfather hates him. From what I understand, what he's told me, his mother is not overly supportive as well.

Now, I think he's very afraid that his friends are starting to know all about this. I'm sure everyone in his group home has to know about it; you know, when many people know about this the word starts to get out on the street.

Max Allen: London's Police Chief Julian Fantino, speaking at a press conference:

Julian Fantino [archival tape]
This is not just a criminal enterprise, it's an enterprise that's victimizing the most vulnerable of our society, very young, helpless children, and turning them into a life of crime. We know for a fact that a lot of these kids go on to other activities, and also the well-being of some of these kids in terms of how they feel about the situation, now some of them are indicating that they look forward to suicide. Regardless of how difficult the situation is for us in terms of resources, we feel we're committed to pursue this as we must.

Ray Butler: I think that what the social-service agencies and what the police are doing right now is a far greater injustice. They are going to ruin the young men's lives by making a public display of their sexuality, and I would not be at all surprised to see some of the people who, when they go through these court cases, will commit suicide.

Max Allen: The police claim that the young men are suicidal because of men like you.

Ray Butler: No. They're suicidal specifically because of the fact that society says that the type of sexuality that they enjoy and that they are a part of is repugnant and should be kept hidden. As a result of the glare of publicity, most of them, if you were to interview them themselves, would say, it's not the sex that bothers me, it's the publicity that's going to bother me.

Max Allen: On February 9, 1994, The London Free Press ran a story headlined "Young Victims' Greatest Fear Is of Being Found Out." The story began: "Their reactions range from rage to withdrawal. One child-pornography victim has become obsessed with excelling at school; another boy boasts he used to earn twenty to thirty thousand dollars a year. But all five boys described in victim-impact statements have one fear in common. It's the fear of being found out by family, friends or classmates."

David Ashfield: After I got arrested, and the court met, they told me I had to go see a psychiatrist or whatever, because I needed help because what I was doing was wrong. I was talking to this family services counsellor -- I guess you can't really call her a shrink -- and you know what she told me? She said: All this is confidential, none of this goes to anything. But what happened is when I went to court the next time, they went and told the courts what I'd said. I'm sitting there chatting with these people, thinking, okay, it's not going to go out anywhere; and when I went to court what they wrote down there is: oh, he needs serious help.

I was explaining to them what I thought, like what I thought about being gay and what I did was right. This chick that I was talking to is saying, well, I can understand how you were. And I'm like, how can you understand that? First of all you're a woman and you're a counsellor, of course -- and I told her this too, you know -- of course you're going to say that. I started going on about, you know, what other thoughts I had, and in fact all she did was went and told the courts what I said.

I thought that was bullshit. I called them up, I called the lady up, and I said, "I thought this was supposed to be confidential." "Oh, but if the courts call and ask for the information we have to give it to them."

But they don't tell you that right away.

Max Allen: The pandemonium in London depended, and continues to depend, on the police, the social-welfare agencies, and the press. It depends on certain questions not being asked.

Our examination of the situation continues a week from tonight, with some reflections on the meaning of the London investigations, the social forces behind them, the mechanics of boundary control, and the vexing question of how to integrate homosexual men and boys into society. I'll also tell you what happened in Amsterdam, in the year 1730. I'm Max Allen.


  1. There are several versions of this story. The one reported here came from a London defence lawyer. It has been regularly reported that a bag (or two bags) of videotapes were found in the river. Another version, detailed by the London woman who notified the police after the first batch of tapes were found by her son and his stepfather, describes finding a cardboard carton (not one or more bags) containing forty tapes in the week preceeding September 30th. [back]

  1. Section 159 of the Criminal Code outlawed consensual anal intercourse if any of the participants were over 14 (the age of consent) but under 18, and unmarried. The law was declared unconstitutional by Madame Justice Corbett of Ontario in July 1992 in R. v. Carmen M. ("The failure of s.159 to afford the accused the defence of consent to acts of anal intercourse engaged in with a young person between the ages of 14 and 18 deprives him of the right to liberty other than in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. This breach of s.7 of the Charter was not justified under s.1 of the charter. The appropriate remedy is to permit the defence of consent"), and again in a separate case by the Federal Court in February 1995. In May 1995 the Ontario Court of Appeal agreed the law was unconstitutional. Writing for a unanimous three-judge panel of the Court, Madame Justice Abella said the section "arbitrarily disadvantages gay men by denying to them until they are 18 a choice available at the age of 14 to those who are not gay, namely, their choice of sexual expression with a consenting partner to whom they are not married." The ruling is binding on all courts in Ontario. The Crown Attorney's office in London has confirmed that no further charges will be pursued under this section. [back]

More in the Trials of London series:

Printed transcripts of the four programmes in this IDEAS series are available from:
IDEAS, Box 500, Station A, Toronto M5W 1E6.

Transcripts of programmes 1 and 2 are available on the Internet. Find IDEAS through the CBC Radio's homepage:

Our e-mail address is:

The newsgroup for CBC radio schedules, questions and answers is

Male sex work in the news... [London '94] [News by region] [News by topic]

Created: February 6, 1996
Last modified: January 30, 1999

CSIS Commercial Sex Information Service: Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710