Tuesday, July 22, 1998

Harold Levy

p. B1.

Thrashing made me 'shudder,' officer testified

'Madame de Sade' trial begins in Newmarket

The trial of a dominatrix calling herself Madame de Sade has begun in Newmarket, with an undercover officer testifying that he paid $300 to stand half-naked and watch another man being beaten.

Terri-Jean Bedford of Thornhill is charged with keeping a common bawdy house. Bedford, 39, told reporters outside court that sadomasochism is "simply escapist recreation. If I put you on a roller-coaster blindfolded and naked, you'd get the same pleasure."

The case has attracted international attention because of the bizarre world it is expected to reveal and because it could set a precedent for either allowing or prohibiting sadomasochism in Canada.

In court yesterday, Constable Stephen Baird, an experienced officer with York Region's morality bureau, testified about his undercover trip to Bedford's home.

Officer told to strip and watch, court hears

"I have never experienced anything like this in my life," he said. But he also acknowledged that, when he repeatedly asked for sexual activity, he was told "no we don't provide that service."

Baird said he was "somewhat shocked" to watch two mistresses punish a client by thrashing the man's erect penis. The man -- identified only as Arthur and bound in a leather straightjacket and mask -- remained silent, Baird said.

"It was getting to me. I was somewhat shocked that this person was getting hit like this, but wasn't responding." Baird told Judge Roy Bogusky in Ontario Court, provincial division. "There were no cries for help... I don't think that I would have acted the same.

In chains

"It kind of makes you shudder." Baird had paid $300 cash to watch Arthur, who was chained to a pole, being beaten with rattan sticks.

Baird, who said he was doing his best "to be a good submissive," was led to a dark, candlelit basement, and ordered to take his pants off and expose himself.

"I went into a three-second thought process. I pulled my pants down and pulled my shirt down," he told the court. "I was exposed to my thighs and just above my knee at that time.

"I was wearing a Coors Lite T-shirt that day -- and I was thankful for the length of it," he said smiling.

Anxious to avoid any further personal experiences, Baird told staff that in future he preferred to be a voyeur rather than an active participant.

When he left the nine-room house after an hour and a half, one of the employees said, "Thank you for your time. See you again."

In his cross-examination, defence lawyer Alan Young, disputed Baird's claim that he caught a fleeting glance of semen on Arthur's leg, which would suggest that sexual acts had occurred.

Young got Baird to acknowledge that the participants he had seen appeared to be having fun -- "although it may not be your view of fun."

Under cross-examination intended to show that the house was not being used for prostitution, Baird testified that during several visits he never saw any one being masturbated, having oral sex or engaging in sexual intercourse.

Young is attempting to dispute crown allegations that acts of prostitution were committed in the bungalow.

Earlier, Christopher Nelson, a bylaw enforcement officer for the City of Vaughan, testified that he undertook his own undercover investigation. He said he had received a complaint about an advertisement in NOW magazine for Madame de Sade's House of Erotica in Thornhill.

'Satanic' house

"It looked like a regular family house," Nelson told the court. "One would never know what was happening until you entered the house."

Nelson said that, after paying a $30 consultation fee, he was taken on a tour of eight chambers, including a school room and a torture chamber. "I thought I had seen it all until I was in this house," he said. The trial continues today.

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Created: August 20, 1998
Last modified: August 20, 1998

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