Friday, July 17, 1998

Colin Freeze

p. A3.

Jane Doe gets apology from Chief of Police

Boothby expresses regret for suffering

Jane Doe graciously shook the hand of Police Chief David Boothby yesterday after he apologized for her rape 12 years ago.

As the Chief of Police, I take issues of sexual assault very seriously. I am a father. I am a husband. I am a Chief of Police who is responsible, and take that responsibility seriously, for the protection of all people," Chief Boothby said at a Toronto Police Services Board meeting before reading the apology he had delivered Wednesday to Ms. Doe's lawyers:

"On behalf of the Toronto Police Services and myself, please accept our sincere apology for the pain and suffering caused by the attack and sexual assault committed on you by (balcony rapist) Paul Douglas Callow. I also regret the further stress that the 12 years of litigation must have caused you."

Chief Boothby also said the force hopes to continue improving its approach to crimes against women, and that Ms. Doe deserves "personal credit for some improvements" recently made.

Outside the meeting, Ms. Doe ( a pseudonym under which she conducted her lawsuit) indicated she was satisfied with the apology, so long as police strive to improve the way they investigate sexual assaults. But she did register some disappointment at the fact that the chief stopped short of apologizing for the police investigation that the court found so much fault with.

Two weeks ago, Madam Justice Jean MacFarland ruled that Toronto police violated Ms Doe's rights by not warning her about the serial killer before she was attacked, for fear of tipping the suspect off before he could be caught. She was awarded more than $200,000. Last week, city council apologized to her and to all Toronto women for the attack.

The Police Services Board also apologized to Ms. Doe yesterday. Chairman Norm Gardner read a statement signed by all six members:

"Please accept our sincere apologies for the pain and suffering caused by the attack and sexual assault committed upon you... The board is committed to ensuring the service is sensitive to the special concerns of sexual assault survivors and the potential for revictimization through the investigative, prosecution and judicial processes."

Mr. Gardner also said he would be committed to receiving an annual report on women's issues and wants input from Ms. Doe and the community at large.

Although yesterday's events were the latest in a recent string of public vindications for Ms. Doe, she said her biggest victory was when she walked into the courtroom seven month ago.

She also repeated an earlier comment that apologies are useless unless accompanied by a commitment to change.

"Obviously what I'm looking for is an apology that names the wrong, the harm done, and comes with a commitment that that not happens," Ms. Doe said outside the meeting. "What I have is an apology for what happened and hopefully a commitment that that won't happen again."

Members of almost 20 women's and community groups also made a statement at the meeting that they will continue to fight for change.

"Remember that just seven month ago the Metro Police defended the balcony-rapist investigation as an exemplary one, giving the impression that no changes were needed," said Patti McGillicuddy, a sexual assault counsellor at the University of Toronto.

She added: "We wish also to remember today and to celebrate the other women we know of who were raped by the so-called balcony rapist, and the millions of women across the country, many of whom have not survived, good, strong, courageous women who have also had the crime of rape committed against them."

The women's and community groups hope to have a meeting with the board in a year to review whether recommendations aimed at improving women's safety have been implemented.

Chief Boothby said the impact of the court decision, which has many implications for how police notify citizens of potential dangers, is unclear.

There was also a dispute about how much money the city spent in the 2-year legal battle surrounding the case. Mr. Gardner guessed the amount was around $250,000. That caused Ms. Doe's lawyer to snicker, saying the amount probably was five times as much.

At last week's council meeting Chief Boothby said he wanted to look at the legal implications of an apology before making one.

"Balcony Rapist" case... [Fiona Stewart]

Created: February 14, 1999
Last modified: February 14, 1999

J.D. Jane Doe, c/o Walnet Institute
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710