|McDonald / Cahill|
some readers may find disturbing
A Brockville, Ont., judge has rejected a man's sexsomnia defence and ruled he is criminally responsible for the sexual assault of a woman in 2011.
Ryan Hartman, 38, was found guilty of sexual assault in 2012 and sentenced to 14 months in jail. He appealed and lost.
When he appealed again, he admitted to the crime but presented evidence that he was suffering from sexsomnia — engaging in sexual acts while asleep — and argued that he was sleeping when he raped the woman.
The Ontario Court of Appeal granted him a new trial, which began in April 2017.
In her ruling Monday, the judge said it was far more likely Hartman was experiencing an alcoholic blackout rather than being asleep.
She also did not rely on the testimony of a doctor who said Hartman experienced "sexsomniac episodes," saying there were problems with his report.
Since being raped in 2011, the 30-year-old Ottawa-area woman, whose identity is protected by a court order, has gone through two trials and two appeals.
She says the delay has plunged her into depression and anxiety, and she's battled alcohol and drug abuse, endured toxic relationships and wrestled with suicidal thoughts.
The assault happened in 2011 at a house party the woman attended with her boyfriend in Spencerville, Ont.
The couple crashed on an air mattress after deciding they had had too much to drink.
Just a few minutes before her cellphone alarm went off that morning, she felt pain and realized she was being penetrated anally. Her boyfriend remained asleep.
She says Hartman said nothing as he got off the mattress and walked out of the house. As the couple drove away from the home, she saw Hartman sitting at a picnic table in the garage looking "wide awake."
Sexsomnia as a defence
Deep sleep as a criminal defence has only been used 13 times in Canada in sexual assault cases, said Blair Crew, a University of Ottawa professor who teaches sexual assault law.
He said that since a precedent-setting case in Toronto in 2003, sexsomnia has resulted in a ruling of not criminally responsible five times.
Absolute insanity! An excuse for rape that holds up in court. Good grief!
Deputy Chief James Ramer said five students turned themselves in on Monday, while another was arrested on his way to school. All six teenage boys, whose identities are protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, are facing multiple criminal charges.
Each student has been charged with:
Gang sexual assault.
And assault with a weapon.
The accused are all set to make a court appearance Monday.
The charges stem from a sexual assault investigation at the private, all-boys Catholic school that was launched last week. Insp. Dominic Sinopoli, who heads Toronto police's sex crimes unit, told reporters police are now looking into two allegations of sexual assault and two allegations of assault, although it's unclear at this time if the incidents are related.
Sinopoli said the incidents started as hazing before veering into the "criminal arena."
Sinopoli said police have reason to believe there are more victims and more videos out there, and said he's "very concerned" that graphic video of the alleged sexual assault is still out there on social media.
"The unintended consequences are far reaching and detrimental to the recovery of the victim," he said.
Previously, police warned the videos amount to child pornography, and Sinopoli warned anyone who is found with a copy will face serious punishment.
The Canadian Press spoke with police sources who confirmed that the charges filed Monday involved a group of students on the football team allegedly pinning down another student in a locker room and sexually assaulting him with a broom handle.
School dealing with another threat
Police at the news conference also said the midtown Toronto school is currently dealing with a bomb threat. Officers have been guarding the school since news of the allegations broke.
"We know tensions have been high," Sinopoli said.
The school, which has expelled eight students in connection with the allegations, said it supports the police force's move to file criminal charges. It's unclear if any of the eight are among those who have been charged.
The school's principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as "horrific" and said he didn't report it to police right away because the alleged target of the attack had not yet told his family about the incident.
The school has launched a third-party investigation into the present situation and past incidents, as well.
Mayor John Tory commented on the St. Michael's situation Monday, telling reporters what's transpired is "a very sad story all the way around."
"This is a school that has a great, distinguished history in our city, but sometimes it can be the case that cultures within organizations like that, not confined to that school or to schools in general, can fail to meet the accepted standard, and fail to keep up even with the changing attitudes, and I think in this case both things have happened here, clearly."
Police say the investigation is ongoing and information is coming in daily.
Indeed two more videos arrived today.
A Toronto licensing tribunal has allowed a Scarborough cab driver to remain on the road, even though he's facing a slew of criminal charges, including sexual assault against a female passenger in August.
As well as the sexual assault charge, Golam Mustafa, 62, is facing nine counts of fraud, nine counts of using a stolen credit card and nine counts of possession of stolen property, all related to an early morning incident on Aug. 25.
Police say a 32-year-old woman was sexually assaulted after getting into a cab at Queen and Tecumseth streets at about 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 25. They say she fled the taxi but left her purse behind.
"The taxi driver then took her credit card and used it at multiple locations to make purchases," the police news release states.
Although MLS recommended that Mustafa's licence be suspended, "the tribunal did not agree and its decision was to place conditions on Mustafa's licence," staff told CBC Toronto in a statement.
On Oct. 25, the tribunal ruled that Mustafa could stay on the road, provided he not accept unaccompanied females as passengers, that he not allow a female to sit in the front seat of his cab, that he not drive overnight and that he let MLS know the outcome of his criminal case.
Mustafa's lawyer, Paul Voinea, told CBC Toronto that he doesn't believe Mustafa is currently working, even though he is still eligible to drive a taxi.
"They are allegations only, and you can't take someone's livelihood away from them, take someone's ability to have a roof over their head, to feed his children, because someone has said something has happened," Voinea said. "An allegation nowadays seems to be enough to condemn an individual."
Let go last week
Voinea said the brokerage that had employed Mustafa let him go around Nov. 14. However, he also said Mustafa could resume driving should he wish to.
Along with the big three brokerages — Beck Taxi, Diamond Taxi and Co-op Cabs — there are over 4,000 independent taxi owners for whom Mustafa could work, city staff say.
Coun. Jim Karygiannis, vice-chair of the city's licensing committee, said he couldn't comment on the tribunal's decision. However, "If I'm a member of the public and my wife was to say get in that cab, I'd say to my wife, 'Take my car, please.'"
Kristine Hubbard, the operations manager at Beck Taxi, owner of the city's largest fleet, said Mustafa has not worked for Beck. But she said his case highlights a problem between the city and the taxi industry: There's no formal way for companies to know when or how the city has disciplined a driver.
"We're left scanning media," she said. "That's how we find out about stuff. That's crazy."
City staff told CBC Toronto they have no formal conduit to Toronto police to help them track licensees' misdeeds. But they do scan police media releases daily to determine whether a licensee has been charged.
Hubbard said she wants to see automatic suspensions for drivers who run afoul of the law.
Taxi driver 'is in a position of power'
"This is most often a single passenger and a single person, in an enclosed environment where the taxi driver is in a position of power. And the idea that the city continues to allow him to have that power, but with these conditions that no one has access to, is bananas."
Although the conditions on Mustafa's licence must be visible on the driver's photo card attached to the dash, Hubbard questioned whether the average passenger would bother to check the card when getting into a cab.
Due in court next month
Mustafa has not entered a plea on the 28 charges. He is due in court Dec. 12.
A supervisor with the Toronto Licensing Tribunal said members of the panel don't speak with the media.
But she said in an email that they "arrive at a decision based on the evidence provided by both parties and with many other factors presented at the hearing such as employment, family responsibility, and risk to the public, means of income to provide [for] themselves and their family."
Two women were detained, suspected of participating and consenting to the abuse, rape and the production of child porn to the detriment of their own daughters.
The Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) confirmed the arrest this Tuesday morning after the arrest of the women and man, who had in his possession electronic devices with various photos and videos of the minors.
Erick Lewis, head of the Computer Crimes Section of the OIJ, explained that in 2016 judicial agents confiscated computer equipment from the male suspect, that was analyzed by forensic specialists that allowed to them to identify, in October 2017, the victims and the offenders.
Lewis clarified that the women, named Vega (39) and Salazar (45), did not know each other, but that both were linked to Bustos (45), who in the confiscated material appears to have sexual relations with one of the suspects and with a minor, individually.
On Tuesday, two houses in Heredia were raided, one in Barreal de Heredia, where Vega was arrested, and another in La Aurora, where Bustos lived, who was arrested at his place of work in Pavas, San José.
Salazar, on the other hand, was apprehended in Tambor de Alajuela, when she was on a public road.
During the proceedings, the judicial agents confiscated cell phones, a camera, and other electronic devices.
The three persons will be passed to the Public Ministry with the corresponding report so that their legal status can be determined.
Authorities did not disclose the age of the minors or if there are others involved.
A young girl, already "severely traumatized" and vulnerable, was sexually abused three times in less than a year while in the care of a Montreal youth protection agency, in a case that highlights staffing problems and poor organizational oversight, court documents show.
In a decision made public Tuesday, Quebec youth court Judge Jacques A. Nadeau found that the child's rights were violated and that her "dignity, integrity and autonomy" were compromised.
The child was under the care of Batshaw Youth and Family Centres, the agency that serves English-speaking Montrealers.
She was just nine when the first of the incidents occurred.
Excerpts of staff reports included in the ruling reveal in detail how the girl and different boys who were also in Batshaw's care engaged in sexual activity, ranging from touching genitals to vaginal penetration — often against the girl's stated wishes.
"X and the boy are clear that she told him to stop, but he did not," a youth protection staff member notes in an evaluation report about one of the incidents in 2017.
That incident took place in a bathroom in the group home. The boy involved was 10 at the time.
"He proceeded to remove their clothing, touched her vaginal area, and tried to insert his penis in her vagina. He was also coercive in promising her an MP3 player and a fidget spinner to keep quiet," the report reads.
All three incidents occurred at the same group home between November 2016 and August 2017.
The names of the social workers of the children involved were all withheld in the Oct. 4, 2018 court decision, which was made public Tuesday. The ruling was leaked to La Presse last week.
The girl's social workers flagged their concerns to their superiors at Batshaw on numerous occasions, according to Nadeau's ruling. One social worker said that she was "appalled, angry and sad after being advised of what happened and that it never should have happened."
'Chaotic' home life
The girl was first placed in the care of youth protection in 2013, at the age of six, after living in a "chaotic," sexualized and drug-filled environment in which her "basic physical needs" and "health care" were neglected.
A year later, a staff evaluation noted that she "continued to demonstrate signs of trauma, avoiding sleep and becoming hypervigilant and disruptive in the evening or at bedtimes."
Those are often signs of sexual abuse, perhaps even before she arrived at Batshaw.
Her mother was ultimately sentenced to 18 months in jail for the abuse of her daughter.
The girl spent time in foster homes and rehabilitation centres before being placed in the group home due to the "higher level of structure required by the child."
The group home was intended for children between the ages of 10 and 14, often for stays of six to 12 months, and staff there were faced with formidable challenges.
According to a social worker cited in the ruling, the children placed there could "exhibit highly aggressive and sexualized behaviours, as well as psychiatric disorders."
Staff turnover, poor clinical model to blame
In his judgment, Nadeau said the "Director of Youth Protection admits that there was a lack of appropriate supervision, as well as a lack of understanding of safety plans during all three incidents."
Nadeau concluded that the incidents were the result of a "high level of staff turnover" and an "inappropriate clinical program model" lacking in oversight. A total of 33 social workers are cited in the ruling, suggesting challenges in ensuring continuity of the child's care.
He noted that improvements were made last year to the group home's clinical program. It now involves a more "individualized approach," he said.
As part of the ruling, Nadeau ordered that a "qualified person acting as a shadow be appointed to the child at all times while she is under the care" of the rehabilitation centre chosen by the youth protection agency.
Changes made, agency says
CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, the regional health agency which oversees Batshaw, refused a request for an interview, citing the Youth Protection Act, which guarantees client confidentiality.
In a statement, the agency said "measures were taken immediately following the incidents and those measures ordered by the court were put in place."
"The program in question has undergone a complete review and has now been implemented in its new form," the statement said.
Well, we can always hope.
A man who moved a "spy camera" around his home over a 16-month period to film female guests told police he "liked the thrill of perving".
The 24-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also told police the approximately 500 video files and images were stored "to help him deal with his feelings regarding his inappropriate sexual desires".
The man, who was recently found guilty and convicted of three charges of making an intimate visual recording of another person and 11 charges of possession of objectionable material, is set to be sentenced at Rotorua District Court on January 24 next year.
The police summary of facts revealed further searches of electronic devices conducted by the Police Digital Forensic Unit uncovered video files and images of child sex abuse.
Details of the images were listed on the man's charge sheets but are too graphic for publication.
"The defendant further stated that he knew he had problems and that he had sought professional help immediately after being caught."
Of course. Never 'before' being caught!
The summary outlined how the "spy camera" offending began in November 2016 when he purchased a high definition camera device which was designed to be hidden and was capable of taking both video and still images.
"Over the course of the next 16 months, the defendant placed the camera in various covert locations around the home. . . one such location was in a relative's en-suite bathroom, with only the lens visible through a small purpose made covering."
Via this camera he was able to obtain video and still images of three young women "naked in the bathroom, on numerous occasions".
The women involved were 16 and 17 years old at the time.
The summary also revealed he had previously appeared before the court.
The PM remains mute as his mentor, Pentecostal Pastor Brian Houston, is investigated for covering up child sexual abuse but demands Muslim leaders take responsibility for their communities' criminal behaviour, writes Dr Jennifer Wilson.
IN HIS MAIDEN SPEECH, current Prime Minister Scott Morrison referred to evangelical Christian and Hillsong Church leader, Brian Houston, as his “mentor.” The Prime Minister thanked Houston for his support and encouragement.
While Morrison no longer attends Hillsong he does attend Horizon, another Pentecostal church that along with Hillsong is affiliated with Australian Christian Churches — the Australian branch of the Assemblies of God.
In 2015, Brian Houston was censured by the Child Abuse Royal Commission for failing to report his father, Frank Houston, to police for the alleged sexual abuse of children in his church.
On Monday, three years after this censure, NSW Police confirmed that Brian Houston is being investigated by them after complaints that he failed to report his father’s crimes, instead, concealing them and urging church officials to refrain from publicly revealing the allegations in the interests of the institution’s reputation.
In May 2018, Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson was found guilty in a NSW court of concealing child sexual abuse.
Abuse survivor Peter Gogarty said after the verdict:
"I think this will now open the doors for other jurisdictions to start looking at trying to prosecute people who deliberately looked after their institution and, literally, threw children to the wolves."
It appears that Prime Ministerial mentor Brian Houston and the Hillsong Church may have “deliberately looked after their institution” and “thrown children to the wolves”. The current police inquiry will pursue this possibility.
There is a big difference here that doesn't seem to be apparent to this reporter. AB Wilson was alerted to the evils of paedophile priest, James Fletcher, in 1976 and did not report him. Fletcher continued to molest children until the early 1990s.
Brian Houston, immediately upon hearing of his father's sins, fired his father from all leadership functions within the church, so the abuse almost certainly stopped right there. No children thrown to the wolves!
'Morrison went so far as to claim that in his own religious community, his Pastor would know if members were behaving offensively and criminally.'
Yes, and that should be the case in any real church, but, sadly, it seldom is.
There has been no comment on this situation from Scott Morrison.
Morrison’s lack of comment would not be as significant were it not for the fact that immediately after the most recent attack on citizens going about their daily business in Bourke Street, Melbourne, the Prime Minister called on the Muslim community, in particular, spiritual leaders. He called on them to take responsibility for their community members and identify those among them likely to behave in ways that threaten others. Morrison went so far as to claim that in his own religious community, his Pastor would know if members were behaving offensively and criminally.
This claim is astoundingly false. Morrison and his Pastor must have been aware for some time of Frank Houston’s alleged crimes against children, and Brian Houston’s efforts to conceal those crimes.
Seriously! Reporter Jennifer Wilson, you are completely out to lunch! Morrison's claims were obviously (to me, at least) in reference to the church Morrison now attends, which, as you point out, is not Hillsong. And it was in reference to that congregation only. Your claim of astounding falsehood is astoundingly stupid!
The longevity, number and extent of crimes against children in Christian communities far exceed crimes perpetrated by offenders from Muslim communities against citizens in public spaces. Yet Morrison makes no such demands for responsibility and accountability from his faith group.
OMG! Jennifer! 45% of Australians are Christians; 2.6% are Muslims and many of those are recent arrivals. Can you do the math?
In holding Muslim imams more responsible than he holds Christian pastors and priests, Morrison is engaging in a profoundly dishonest and deliberately misleading act that crudely privileges Christianity over Islam. The truly horrific failings of his own faith leaders are ignored, in favour of the political advantages he believes are to be gained from demonising the Muslim community.
How many Christians left Australia to join ISIS? Is child-marriage as Christian practice? Is Female Genital Mutilation a Christian practice? Is running people down or stabbing them with knives common to Christian perpetrators. These are Muslim phenomena and they happen often enough to be concerned even though there are so few Muslims in Australia.
Have you noticed all the Christian terrorists running around Sydney? No? Neither have I. Gosh, I wonder why Morrison is more concerned about Muslims than Christians? Can't think of a single reason.
Further, not only is Morrison silent on the more general failure of Christian communities to confront child sexual abuse, it is his mentor that he is protecting. That kind of protection is very close to home — far too close to home for a prime minister.
Is he not supposed to be silent during a police investigation? The police don't need Morrison's input to charge Houston.
We have seen, repeatedly, the failure of Christian communities of all persuasions to act on the horrific abuse of thousands upon thousands of children in their care. I have never heard Prime Minister Scott Morrison call for Christian leaders to monitor the behaviour of any members or employees in an effort to prevent the molestation and rape of children. If there was ever a topic on which a prime minister should voice an opinion, it is the horrific epidemic of child sexual abuse perpetrated by Christian churches, including his own. And yet, nothing.
Questions must now be asked of the Prime Minister:
Why are you protecting your mentor, Brian Houston?
Why are you demanding a level of accountability from the Muslim community that you blatantly do not require from your own faith group?
Why have you gone on the public record declaring Pentecostal pastors would recognise and act upon dangerous behaviours within your community when your own religious mentor stands accused of concealing the sexual abuse of children?
It is alarming that in a secular state, the Prime Minister holds his religion up to the community as a false and misleading example of excellence, and as a tool of condemnation of other religions. Scott Morrison’s faith has no place in the affairs of our state. He has no mandate to provoke religious unrest.
Nobody likes a liar but a religious liar is, quite rightly, more despised than most.
Almost as much as an antiChristian, biased reporter who reverts to hyperbole and nonsense to try and make a weak point more credible. You are completely out of line calling him a liar, and your reporting is among the worst I have encountered in 5.5 years of blogging.
Why, Prime Minister, are you protecting Brian Houston?