September 9, 1994

John Herbert

p. B1.

Former escort tells of threats, harassment

The teenager has accused police officer Jeffery Gateman of sexual assault.

The woman at the centre of the Gateman affair said Thursday rocks have been thrown at her apartment windows and she has received anonymous threatening phone calls -- some of a sexual nature.

"I'm scared," the 18-year-old told The Free Press. "I't been going on for about three weeks. I can't even count how many times they've called -- a lot -- and I don't even have a number (listing). The phone number is under the name of a friend I live with.

"At first they used to hang up, then they started calling asking for sex and the whole bit. A few days ago they said they're 'going to come and get me,' so I hung up.

"My lawyer (Phil Squire) says people just want to scare me."

The woman is the former escort worker who has charged London police officer Jeffery Gateman and a friend of his, 23-year-old Mark Vansickle of Chesley, with sexually assaulting her at Gateman's home June 6. Ontario Provincial Police in Walkerton confirmed Thursday they served Vansickle with a summons on Aug. 22 in Chesley.

The woman said her lawyer called London police Wednesday to lodge a complaint about the phone calls and harassment. She met with London police at 2 p.m. Thursday at her Adelaide Street apartment. Sergeant Jack Churney said police are investigating her complaint but would make no further comment because the investigation is "active."

Squire confirmed he made the call and also said his client is "very scared."

IN COURT: Meanwhile, Gateman and Vansickle made brief court appearances Thursday in London. Amy Gauthier, representing the crown attorney's office in Toronto, said the crown is still reviewing the case and asked for an adjournment until Oct. 31.

Vansickle brushed past reporters.

"I have nothing to say to you -- have a nice day he told The Free Press.

About a minute later, Vansickle sought out a Free Press reporter to say: "We're innocent of all charges and allegations against us and the truth will come out in court."

p. B3.

GATEMAN: Lawyer thinks crown will prosecute

Gateman, 24, who is suspended from the London police department with pay, could not be reached for comment before he left the court building. In an earlier interview, he said he was not guilty and that under oath in court the truth would be found out.

The case began to unfold June 30. Gateman was demoted from first-class to third-class constable at an internal disciplinary hearing that day and police said regional crown attorney Bruce Long had decided against laying criminal charges.

After a groundswell of protest from women's groups and London lawyers, the woman hired a lawyer and laid a private information.

On Aug. 17, a justice of the peace issued charges against the two men. Both are charged with anal intercourse, sexual assault and permitting sexual activity involving a person under 18 in a dwelling. The complainant was 17 at the time.

The presence of Gauthier at Thursday's court appearance was a signal for Vansickle's lawyer, Michael Epstein, that the crown may prosecute the charges.

The attorney-general's office said last week it is waiting for information from a Special Investigations Unit (SIU) investigation into the London police probe of the incident before deciding if it will prosecute. A week ago, the SIU, Ontario's police watchdog agency, said it had finished a review and had decided to conduct an investigation. The SIU hinted in a news release that more charges could be laid, but did not indicate against whom.

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Created: January 15, 1997
Last modified: May 5, 1997

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