Somewhere in Hysterical Canada...
Jail is not an easy place for people accused of sex crimes against children.
Pedophiles are scorned and reviled by other inmates, many of whom are fathers -- and some of whom were themselves the victims of childhood sexual abuse.
[Ed: the received wisdom is that other prisoners, otherwise hated by society, become these virtuous justice-dispensers, not because they themselves are cruel and sadistic, but because they are preventing the kind of "abuse" that created them. What nonsense! Many of the criminals in jail/prison are ignorant and vicious savages who relish the opportunity to see themselves, and to be seen, as having greater worth than "molesters". It is for this reason (and because their jailers look the other way) that sex offenders are particularly vulnerable in custody].
Meeting with a doctor several weeks after his arrest on child pornography charges in October 2007, Darren Philpott said he was afraid of being harmed by other inmates, and he had good reason for his fears.
He was assaulted at least once, attacked by another inmate while at a court appearance in Regina, and he had to be kept in segregation at the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre for his safety.
The months that followed Philpott's arrest would see him rapidly and visibly deteriorating, appearing increasingly haggard during his appearances in court, and looking ever more grim as additional charges were laid and the spectre of his future loomed large.
By the end of August 2008, Philpott, then 38, was facing a raft of new charges for sexually assaulting children, making and sharing child pornography, and voyeurism.
The investigation against Philpott was ongoing, and he told others he was expecting still more charges to be laid against him by police in Regina and elsewhere.
There was a plea deal on the table, and Philpott's lawyer had indicated in court that the case was close to a resolution.
Though neither the defence nor the Crown will confirm any details of the proposed plea bargain, a woman whose son was sexually assaulted by Philpott says she was told he was going to plead guilty and receive a life sentence. Other sources say the same thing.
Having already attempted to kill himself at least once while in custody, Philpott was on suicide watch, where inmates are checked by guards every 15 minutes and are barred from having items such as razors and pop cans, which they could use to harm themselves.
In late August or early September, Philpott hanged himself in his cell. His heart had stopped when he was discovered by correctional officers and cut down from the ceiling, but he was revived with CPR and made an almost miraculous recovery.
Then, on the evening of Sept. 24, left alone behind a closed door to shower, Philpott hanged himself again. Sources say he used a bedsheet to hang himself from a pipe, and he was blue and unconscious by the time he was discovered by guards.
A group of correctional officers and jail medical staff again performed CPR and were able to bring back a pulse, but the injuries Philpott suffered were too severe. An MRI in hospital showed no brain activity and Philpott was taken off life support two days later.
"He wanted to die. If someone wants to do it, they'll do it," a witness at the scene told the Leader-Post at the time.
"It's unfortunate, but it's one of those things. It's one of those stories."
But defence lawyer Noah Evanchuk is concerned that his client was able to commit suicide in jail, particularly after making a significant suicide attempt just weeks earlier. Evanchuk believes the charges Philpott was facing may have an impact on how the death is perceived.
"If the system breaks down for an individual like Darren Philpott, society doesn't seem to show any concern," Evanchuk said. "It could develop into a slippery slope where people who are charged with less shocking offences are put in a situation where this could happen. The system is supposed to be equal for everybody. The presumption of innocence doesn't stop applying because you're charged with some serious offences."
A man who was close to Philpott says he, too, has questions about Philpott's death, and wonders if more could have been done to prevent it.
The man says he doesn't know why someone who is suicidal would be left alone to shower, for instance, and he questions how Philpott managed to have a bedsheet in the shower room.
"It just doesn't make sense," said the man, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In Saskatchewan, a coroner's inquest is held whenever an inmate dies of unnatural causes while in custody. Though the inquest will not be formally confirmed until Philpott's autopsy results are completed, a Justice Ministry official says it is expected to go ahead sometime next year.
A review of Philpott's death has already been conducted inside the jail, but Corrections and Public Safety spokeswoman Judy Orthner says information about the internal investigation or its findings will not be made public.
Philpott's charges were unceremoniously stayed in court a few days after his death, and the Crown's file is now formally closed.
But it is not over. At Regina's Integrated Child Exploitation Unit, police investigators continue to work hard on the case, and will likely be doing so for many years. Officers continue to painstakingly examine each photo and video in Philpott's collection of child pornography, trying to identify more of Philpott's victims, and looking for locations, other offenders, and clues that may be of use in the ongoing fight against child sexual abuse around the globe.
"Even though he may not be here, there is still lots of work to be done ...," said Det. Sgt. Dave Wyatt. "I'm sure you are aware this is international, there's other agencies all across this world that are interested in what's going on."
Wyatt says police are working to track down as many of Philpott's victims as possible to find out if the children are OK, and make sure they can get help. The victims also need to know that their images are still circulating.
"Their pictures are out there," said Wyatt. "Who is to say they don't come across themselves? Because some of them are posted on Internet sites."
For Laura*, whose son was sexually assaulted by Philpott just over a year ago, the horror she has experienced did not end with Philpott's death.
"It's something I think about always," she said. "I think about it when I go to bed, I think about it when I wake up. I haven't been able to forgive myself or move on, and now I hope I can somewhat.
"I'm glad he's dead, but I also don't think he suffered enough. He's just ruined so many kids' and families' lives. It doesn't just destroy a child, it destroys a whole family."
Laura says her son stopped having nightmares about Philpott after he died, but the nightmares Philpott created for the boy in real life are ongoing. A video of her seven-year-old, Colby*, has already been found during a child pornography investigation in California, and Laura says she's gotten strange phone calls from men in the United States.
Laura has been haunted by the idea that another pedophile will track down one of her children after seeing pictures provided by Philpott. It's a new fear that remains strong, even as Philpott's presence in her life starts to fade.
Michelle*, too, finds limited comfort in the fact that Philpott is no longer a physical threat to her family. She knows that, although Philpott may be gone, in many ways the ugly mark he left on her life is only beginning to show.
Michelle's son, Brandon*, is still struggling with being molested by his former mentor and friend, and the boy is deeply angry that he was fooled by someone he trusted. Unable to get her son into counselling while the case was still before the courts, Brandon now refuses to go. "Why?" he asked his mom. "It's over."
But Michelle knows it's not.
"Where in my son's life will we see the effects of Darren Philpott?" she said. "Will we see it in drugs? Will we see it in alcohol? Will we see it in suicide attempts? Or, Brandon having such a good relationship with the police, is my kid going to turn around to be the next child exploitation investigator?"
She clings to the hope that her son will overcome what happened to him, but she fears the worst.
The experience has had a profound impact on Michelle as well. She is on leave from work, and is thinking of a career change. Her relationship with her extended family has also been impacted, and she has a hard time trusting her children -- and herself -- to know if another man like Philpott ever comes into their lives.
"Darren Philpott hung himself, but there's millions of Darren Philpotts in our world still. There's tons," she said. "Darren's just one of many."
*The names Michelle, Brandon, Laura and Colby have been changed to protect the identity of the child victims.
This is the fifth in a six-part series, "Pedophile & Predator: The Darren Philpott Story."
Tomorrow: Questions without answers.
Somewhere in Hysterical Canada...
This Thanksgiving we would like to take the opportunity to thank those whose bravery in the face of a vicious and unremitting witchhunt is greater than our own. The following song, from one such soul, is taken from Jonathan King's "Vile Pervert, The Musical". (The entire musical can be viewed here: http://www.vilepervert.com/ )
An excerpt from one of many excellent pieces on the website, "Inquisition 21st Century"
The child pornography panic started in 1976 when Robin Lloyd, who was a correspondent for NBC, published a book For Money or Love: Boy Prostitution in America. Lloyd initially put forward a figure of 30,000 male child prostitutes working in the USA at that time. The figure was never scientifically or empirically proven and was, according to the author, a ‘gut hunch’ that he used to throw at law enforcement officers to gauge their reaction. They came back that the figure was possibly too conservative so he increased it tenfold and came up with the figure of 300,000 underaged male prostitutes. He also put forward the notion in the book, again with no research, that many of them were also involved in pornography and thus the origins of the child pornography panic were sown.
Later on, when he appeared before the Illinois Legislative Investigating Commission, which was investigating the claims, he admitted that he couldn’t substantiate the figures nor could he supply any sources for them. As a journalist, he broke just about every rule in the book but, as a sensationalist, he was, well, sensational.
His mythical figure of 300,000 children involved in pornography was taken up by Judianne Densen-Gerber, the director of Odyssey House, a chain of residential treatment clinics for drug addicts - it was also used by the European Council of Ministers who in a report on child exploitation in 1986 claimed that: ‘a study of boy prostitutes had suggested that there were 300,000 boy prostitutes in the United States, many of whom are designated runaways’.
Densen-Gerber used this figure to extrapolate her own figures, reasoning that there must be at least as many females as males involved in the industry, which took the figure up to 600,000 and then she doubled it again because she reckoned that there must be twice as many in reality, as only half the real number would be detected. In this way she arrived at the mystical figure of 1.2 million children involved in the production of child pornography in the USA alone. She used this figure as definitive when she appeared before a congressional committee in 1977 and again when she gave evidence to the UK House of Commons Committee, which led to the 1978 Protection of Children Act, on which Operation Ore was based.
Judianne Densen-Gerber was a controversial figure, but one who had, through the sheer force of her personality, the ear and patronage of various powerful politicians who were coerced into supporting her drug rehabilitation empire, Odyssey House, which she’d started in 1966. By the time she found her new role as the guardian of youth her empire was being given $3,000,000 a year in federal and state funding and had operations running all over the US and Australia. But it began to unravel in 1979 when Attorney General Robert Abrams launched an investigation into alleged financial mismanagement at Odyssey after former staff members and patients claimed that private donations and government funds were used to maintain Densen-Gerber's jet-set lifestyle
Moreover, there was considerable disquiet about the intensely racist and abusive methods she used in her organization. For example, she was reported to have tied young black people to chairs and then invited the white members of her facility to spit on them. Her Mabon program on Ward's Island, supposedly to assist addicted mothers had included women who were not addicts but needed temporary shelter for themselves and their children to shield them from abusive partners. On at least three occasions, when these women tried to leave, Densen-Gerber ordered her staff to keep them in the program by refusing to release their children, as she needed the money. Mobilization for Youth had to obtain a writ of habeas corpus to get two of the children returned to their mother. *
She was also exploiting two teenage prostitutes, who were not addicts, in national-television appearances instead of helping them. The two young women were housed and counted as addicts to help obtain extra funding. They were subjected to strip searches, including rectal examinations, when they entered and left the building. Their personal belongings were confiscated, and they were forced to wear signs round their necks with humiliating messages written on them and donkey’s ears if they complained about their treatment or broke one of her myriad rules.
Her staff had to pledge their personal loyalty to her, including lighting candles to honour her, and she used the inmates as personal servants catering to her every whim. Many of the inmates were not allowed to leave even after their treatment program had finished in order to increase the headcount and thus the funding. The treatment itself was disorganized and unclear and, in most instances the staff themselves had no idea how to implement it. The inmates wrote their own evaluations and there were no follow-ups to determine whether the discharged inmates had relapsed. She would not allow the inmates to have any physical contact and even holding hands would result in harsh sanctions.
She once famously remarked “There are times when, as in war, children must be sacrificed for other long range ends.” This is a slogan that seems to have been taken to heart by many of the people who are making such a good living out of the child porn panic.
She had tried to link the issue of child pornography and drug abuse by stating that it was because of youthful sexual experiences that many people went on to become addicts. A viewpoint that is still enthusiastically endorsed in government and ‘child care’ circles even today. Many people have asserted, with no little justification, that she started her child porn crusade in order to deflect the public’s attention away from the more unsavory aspects of her life. Eventually the Adams enquiry found she was indeed misusing the funds, which she promised to pay back but never did. She died in 2005 in ignominy.
To further her crusade, she teamed up with Sergeant Lloyd Martin, a vice cop in the Los Angeles Police Department and himself a controversial figure. He began working in the field of sexual exploitation of children in 1971 in Los Angeles after being appointed by Ed Davis who was then the chief of police. He was assigned to the pornography squad in 1973 and founded the Sexually Exploited Child (SEC) unit in 1976.
Martin pushed for every police department in the country to set up a Sexually Exploited Child unit, which has pretty much happened, plus more: there are now a considerable number of both state and federal units, for example the FBI's undercover operation, code-named ‘Innocent Images’. Other agencies include the US Customs Cyber smuggling Center, and the International Child Pornography Investigation and Coordination Center, founded in 1996. In 1999, the FBI increased its number of online child pornography task forces from one to ten. Just about every police force (including those in Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand) now has its own child pornography and/or child sexual abuse unit. Estimates put the number of police officers alone working in this field at over 50,000 and that does not include customs agents, the FBI, USPIS and so on.
Martin admitted that children can and do initiate sexual activity with adults. In his testimony at the Kildee-Murphy hearings that preceded the first child pornography statute, he said, “The most difficult concept for most people to understand and accept is that very often these children are consenting partners in the sexual activity. In some cases they initiate the sexual activity with direct propositions or with seductive behavior.” Which rather puts paid to the assertion that all child-adult relationships are abusive. Particularly when he followed it up by saying: “Only 1 case in 200 involves a child who is the victim of force.” He also notes that that the relationship between a man and boy is often very warm and affectionate. His definition of a paedophile, which not surprisingly hasn’t been echoed by other members of the child abuse industry, is: “Somebody paying more attention to the child than the parent would.”
He seemed to have little interest in heterosexual paedophiles, but directed his ire instead at homosexual relationships. He covered up his intense homophobia by saying that he was only after men who had relationships with boys, an action which he reckoned was worse than death. Because, by his reasoning, death was over quickly but the scars of an adolescent (or indeed any) homosexual relationship will live with the person for ever.
Martin later had to take psychiatric leave from his post at the LAPD and was finally forced to quit for harassing witnesses and, unsurprisingly, falsifying evidence.
Gerber-Densen and Martin bounced around the USA in 1976 and 1977 making more and more outrageous claims, culminating in Martin stating on television that "pedophiles actually wait for babies to be born so that, just minutes after birth, they can grab the post-fetuses and sexually victimize them." ** He also went on to claim that ‘police have found evidence that Mexican children are being smuggled into California in specially constructed cars. They lay eight children under the floorboards and fender wells, they stuff those kids in. Then they take them across the border, put them into a hotel, and clean them up’. He said that these children were smuggled in for use by sadists ‘who can only achieve sexual gratification by torture and killing’. Densen-Gerber, not to be outdone, said that foreign children are smuggled into America ‘primarily for the purpose of killing. An American youngster has a school record and a family. But if a child has been taken off the streets of Guadalajara or Acapulco, it's much easier." She also claimed that American children are being sold to rich Arabs because ‘in their world, blond, fair-haired children would get a higher price’. Which, in my mind contradicted her previous assertion regarding American kids.
The fact that these claims were never substantiated, nor - despite millions of dollars being pumped into investigations – has there has never been a proven case of a single ‘snuff’ movie being made, didn’t stop the press from getting in on the act. In the national periodicals during 1977 dozens of articles appeared; even the New York Times, a newspaper not known for sensationalism, printed 27 articles that year compared to one in the previous 2 years.
A Time article on April 4 1977, called ‘Child's Garden of Perversity’, described horrific scenes such as a movie of a ‘ten-year-old girl and her eight-year-old brother in fellatio and intercourse’. It was later found to be false. And in May 1977, the Chicago Tribune reported that ‘child pornography has become a nation-wide multi-million dollar racket that is luring thousands of juveniles into lives of prostitution’ and exploiting up to 100,000 children at any time. Again it was a lie.
This press hysteria culminated in May 1977 in the popular television journalistic series ‘Sixty Minutes’, devoting a program to child pornography. This was so shocking that a flood of letters to politicians ensued, even though it was subsequently proved to be untrue as well.
Other firebrands emerged, again primarily targeted at the gay community but under the child abuse banner, like Anita Bryant. Although she did not testify at the Kildee-Murphy hearings, she screamed loudly enough about the homosexual threat to children to have her viewpoint heard and the press loved quoting her. It is interesting to note that her charity, the ‘Ministries for Counseling Homosexuals’ was later charged with financial mismanagement; 1978 tax returns show that the Ministries raised $1 million, of which $450,000 was spent on ‘direct fees for raising contributions’, including the anti-porn and anti-child abuse activities of the, illegal, subsidiary Protect America's Children. Only $150 was ever spent on counseling.
Foremost amongst the politicians was Congressman Mario Biaggi, who was also noteworthy after having to resign from congress after being found guilty of embezzling public funds, diverting defence contracts and tax evasion. He was actually using the subject of child porn to prove how unworkable Reagenomics were, so he turned it into a political bunfight. He was forever interviewing almost tearful social workers who were complaining that their child protection activities were under threat because of the budget cuts. He opined: “There is a highly sophisticated and organized child pornography industry operating in this nation. It has already captured an estimated 300,000 children nationally as victims. It has produced 264 different publications sold nationally, depicting pornographic activities involving children as young as three years old. The industry is both national and international in scope. Large quantities of pornographic materials are imported each year, primarily from Europe. Hundreds of children from Mexico are smuggled into this nation each year to engage in child pornography.”
If indeed the market was this size, then you’d expect the child pornographers to have an army of lawyers and lobbyists fighting for them. Think of all the other things that are intrinsically bad for society and the planet that are not sanctioned, even encouraged, because they can muster the funds, legal clout and the political wherewithal to fight their corner. There are armies of lawyers and lobbyists in Washington who’d take up any banner as long as the pay was right. Yet not a single person spoke up for the industry, which, in itself should have set alarms bells ringing as to the real size of the market. Even at this early stage the people in the know must have realized they were grossly exaggerating the market but, obviously, it didn’t suit their purposes to let the cat out of the bag.
On the back of this hysteria a subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives was formed, before which both Densen-Gerber and Martin appeared and they held a series of hearings on the subject which lasted until late that year. The chairman of the committee was Representative John Conyers Jr., who had organized the hearings to pass judgment on the proposal of Representatives Kildee and Murphy for a first Federal law against child pornography. Conyers took the figure of children involved in the ‘industry’ from Densen-Gerber and doubled it again because it didn’t include, at least according to him, all the 16 and 17 year olds involved, even though they’d supposedly been counted in already. CONTINUE READING