Thursday, April 24, 1997

Don Murray
Free Press Justice Reporter

Dolls recreate alleged assault on ex-escort by officer, friend

The defence questions whether the acts demonstrated in court Wednesday are 'possible or believable.'

Three rag dolls with anatomically correct sexual parts became star witnesses on Wednesday, the third day of the trial of London police Const. Jeffery Gateman and his friend Mark Vansickle.

The dolls, one female and two males, were borrowed from the Children's Aid Society by the prosecuting lawyers so a former escort service worker could demonstrate a puzzling sexual position she had described the day before.

Gateman and Vansickle are on trial in Ontario Court, general division on a joint charge of sexually assaulting the woman at Gateman's south London home on June 6, 1994. Gateman was 24, Vansickle, 23 and the escort, 17 at the time.

The woman, who is now 20 and cannot be identified by court order, took the stand Tuesday, spent all day testifying Wednesday and will return today to face more cross-examination by Gateman's lawyer Fletcher Dawson.

Dawson objected to the use of the dolls, telling Justice Dougald McDermid that while they have the appropriate parts, they are "totally pliable" and can't represent a real human body.

He said one issue in the case is if the one act described is "possible or believable and these dolls can be bent into any position."

Prosecutor Shelley Hallett, from the Crown law office of the Ministry of the Attorney General, told McDermid that the only thing that can be brought before the court to represent the adult human body "is an adult human body."

McDermid allowed the doll demonstration, saying that with the complainant's credibility an issue in the trial it would give her a full opportunity to describe the position.

TWO-ON-ONE: The woman, who is about five-foot-two and 120 pounds, testified the two-on-one position came after Vansickle had twice had vaginal intercourse with her. Gateman had penetrated her anally and forced her to perform oral sex on him, she said.

The woman placed the female doll on its back with both legs up by its head, which was at the top of the bed. The Vansickle doll was astride the escort's legs, facing toward the foot of the bed. The Gateman doll was kneeling at the foot of the bed, face to face with Vansickle.

The woman said the men took turns penetrating her, Vansickle vaginally and Gateman anally.

She told Hallett she couldn't remember if Vansickle was wearing a leg brace during sex. The trial was told earlier Vansickle was in a serious car accident not long before and had injured his knee.

He had come to London from his home in Chesley for a medical checkup and was wearing a brace and using a crutch.

On Wednesday, the former escort repeated earlier testimony that both Gateman and Vansickle told her they were police officers and would charge her with prostitution if she didn't co-operate.

She said she was using the false name of Sabrina during the call and when Vansickle asked for her phone number wrote down a fake one.

TOO ROUGH: When she was leaving, the woman testified, Vansickle kissed her on the forehead and said: "I hope we weren't too rough with you."

As Hallett prepared to turn her witness over to Dawson, she asked a string of questions, beginning with one about Vansickle giving her $20 before she left the house.

The witness denied that happened, as well as sexual play on the couch in Gateman's rec room with Vansickle. She said she didn't let him kiss or strip her on that couch.

She also denied having an orgasm with Vansickle and didn't know if they had ejaculated.

The woman also denied sitting up after sex and saying to Gateman: "I'm in a hurry, but I have time for another quickie."

And she insisted that Vansickle never offered her $50 to have sex with Gateman. She didn't recall telling Vansickle she was "short $50."

Under cross-examination, she told Dawson that at one point Vansickle lifted her in an bear hug on the stairs to the basement and carried her down. He then propelled her into a bedroom and onto the bed.

She said she didn't know what had happened to Vansickle's crutch.

Dawson asked her if Vansickle was wearing his brace during one sexual act that involved a lot of lifting and lowering of the entire weight of his body with his knees.

The woman replied that she didn't know.

The trial continues today.

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

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