It’s never easy chasing these ‘delicate’ stories. When big rocks get overturned, dirty secrets can be uncovered …
Reporters sometimes come across interesting information that, for various reasons, can’t be verified. It could be that records are sealed or destroyed, witnesses are afraid to come forward, too much time has passed — or the story is simply too ‘dangerous’ because it’s a huge black eye to a system we’re supposed to trust.
There are three credible sources for the post you’re about to read: two senior police officers and a Court of Queens Bench Justice. All retired. Their names will remain confidential.
REMEMBER VHS TAPES?
The story begins more than 30 years ago in a residential part of Edmonton, Alberta …
A sanitation worker with the City was emptying garbage cans into an idling garbage truck when he came across a VHS tape. Curious to see what was on the tape, he brought it home and popped it in a VHS player.
Whoa!! He found himself watching a homemade pornographic movie with two males going at it. One was an adult; the other, a youth. The adult was the ‘insertive’ partner; the young teen the ‘receptive’ partner. No surprise there.
The City employee turned over the video tape to Edmonton Police [EPS] where one of the officers [we’ll call him ‘Cop #1’] viewed the shocking evidence and announced, “That’s an Edmonton Court of Queens Bench Justice!”
According to police, the video recording was made while the man was a lawyer, not a judge.
According to Cop #1, the short video was hand-held and shot by the perpetrator.
Then the Chief of Police got involved. Cop #1 was immediately removed from the file and more senior officers assigned. Please don’t tell me you’re surprised.
A few weeks later, the justice resigned.
In spite of the evidence, police refused to lay charges. The pedophile justice remained a free man. In fact, he went back to being a lawyer.
Cop #1 then checked his computer and made a shocking discovery — the file he’d worked on had mysteriously vanished. The officer, long retired, called it one of the biggest disappointments of his long career in law enforcement.
Initially, he had refused to tell me the name of judge.
I was curious as hell to find out who he was, and so I asked around. No one seemed to know … and if they did, they weren’t talking.
A few years later, I hit pay dirt with Cop #2 … a former city detective. The man spoke freely about the file, recalling many details as if they’d happened only weeks earlier.
Cop #1 and #2 do not know each other’s identity.
Cop #2 provided the name of the justice. I didn’t know him — never met the guy — but I was aware of his family name because it was well-known.
It’s still well-known. And, far as I can tell, it’s a respected name.
Because the man was not charged, I cannot make his name public. I also can’t reveal which federal political party appointed him to the bench — or the year he became a justice — or the year he was ordered out. That kind of information would help identify him.
I doubt very much that charges will ever be laid. And that’s the whole point of this story …
[Note that in Alberta, judge refers to someone appointed by the provincial government. Higher up the food chain is a justice, appointed by Ottawa. So as not to be overly repetitive, I’ve used ‘judge’ and ‘justice’ interchangeably.]
A DEAL IS CUT
I asked Cop #2 why the man wasn’t charged. His response was that it was a ‘plea bargain’ — in other words, resign and you won’t be charged. One could say it’s tantamount to a ‘plea bargain’ — but not really because there was nothing to plead. The man was never charged and therefore he did not appear in court.
The backstory from Cop #2 was that several EPS officers flew to Ottawa where they spent the night at the Chateau Laurier, a 5-star hotel downtown. Next morning, the policemen met behind closed doors with the Federal Minister of Justice and the Deputy-Minister of Justice.
A communications official with the Department of Justice confirmed the dates of service for the judge — and the Prime Minister who appointed him. The communications staffer I spoke with either didn’t know why the justice resigned, or didn’t want to share the juicy details.
A resignation letter was drafted for the disgraced justice. The officers promptly returned to Edmonton, walked over to the Law Courts Building, rode the elevator to the top floor where Court of Queens Bench Justices have their cubicles.
According to Cop # 2, the pedophile judge promptly signed his resignation papers and he was “given five minutes to clean out his desk.”
I’m told the victim, a youth, likely came from a temporary jail for young offenders, the Yellowhead Youth Detention Centre. At the time, the facility was located alongside Yellowhead Trail in North-Central Edmonton.
I’m also told the victim was in his early teens … and Native. Let me know if this surprises you.
I was not able to track down the youngster who — if he’s still alive — would now be in his late 40s or early 50s.
ANOTHER JUSTICE REACTS
When told about the pornographic tape, a retired Court of Queens Bench Justice asked, “Does his last name start with [X]?” “Yes, it does,” I replied. Turns out, the Justice not only knew the man — he worked alongside him.
He then talked about a rumour circulating at his workplace, the Law Courts, after the justice mysteriously left. “We heard he was in possession of child porn,” he said. I shot back, “Possession? Shit, he was the leading actor in a porn movie …”
I told the retired judge that I planned to do a story on it, that I was still looking for information — possibly a confirmation on record somewhere — and, hopefully, track down the suspect and speak with him.
I added, “I have no problem taking the word of the police on this file because you people do it all the time.” “Interesting,” the retired justice said, rubbing his chin.
MAKES ONE WONDER …
A fair question: how many cases did the boy-lover justice handle that involved people facing sex crimes? Were they given “breaks” or did the judge ‘play by the rules’??
The pedophile went back to practicing law and according to the retired Court of Queens Bench Justice … he returned to the Law Courts Building at least once [as an attorney].
The rogue lawyer remained a card-carrying member of the Law Society of Alberta, which on paper has a sparkling code of ethics.
Here’s an excerpt from the code of ethics of the governing body … under section 7.3 “Outside Interests … “lawyers should aspire to the highest standards of behaviour at all times and not just when acting as lawyers.” Cute.
The porn star wannabe finished off his career working part-time for an Edmonton law firm.
The man is married and according to a woman close to his family, his wife is “lovely.” She also asked that I not do the story for fear his wife would read it and be hurt.
However, the source didn’t have much good to say about the rogue lawyer except that she’d been advised in the 1980s to stay clear of him because of his sexual misbehaviour. No explanation was given.
IS THAT VIDEO STILL AROUND?
I have inquired about the whereabouts of the video tape because I want to see it for myself.
Both Cops #1 and #2 say that ain’t happening. One believes that CSIS — not Canada’s biggest, but its best-known spy agency — has the tape. Don’t know if I buy that.
The second officer feels the tape is in an extremely secure part of the main police station downtown where evidence is kept under lock and key. Few people have access to the special evidence room. I sure don’t.
Other police officers I spoke to about this touchy file feel the video tape has not been destroyed because it’s “evidence.” Don’t know if I believe that either.
I figured that the Alberta Government department that looks after police and judges in the province [Justice and Solicitor General] would have the power to confirm the video tape exists, and possibly view it. A lawyer for the deputy-minister flatly rejected that idea, saying it is a “private” matter between police and the courts.
You bet it’s private. That’s the problem.
From the website of the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General, I found this quote: “[the department] leads a fair and innovative justice system, ensures effective policing and supports victims of violence.” Nice words.
A PREACHER’S THOUGHTS
I was discussing this file with a pastor friend who said he wasn’t surprised to hear a Court of Queen’s Bench justice could be having sex with boys.
His spin was that pedophilia is everywhere … in many organizations. “It’s just that the Roman Catholic Church got busted,” he says, “but they’re certainly not alone.”
I hope he’s wrong, but I have this dark feeling this kind of BS [by that, I mean the crime and cover-up] goes on more than we care to admit.
“It is very dangerous to go after this guy … think about it. Our society is not the same as before. They’re well connected, better than you realize.They will take you to the cleaners, take your house, everything …”
SUPPRESSION OF CHARGES
What do you get from this article? For starters, you have the right to believe or not believe. The choice is yours.
But don’t stop believing in our police and our judicial system. It’s not perfect but it’s all we have. And it goes without saying — but I’ll say it anyway — there’s certainly room for improvement.
A suggestion: put an immediate stop to broad immunity from prosecution for select members of our society. Let’s stop this shit.
We should always be vigilant and strive to make our criminal justice system more accountable. If we don’t, we’ll surely have a two-tiered farce where the law really depends on money and influence … or a roll of the dice.
Think we all know, things like this go on. Kudos to you for writing about it!
A very interesting case. Does not surprise me that evidence disappeared and all is covered up.
I also believe there is a lot of that that goes on in just about every city and town. Not all judges but in all walks of life.
There are covered up cases here in Campbellton [New Brunswick]. They say money talks, well it sure does.
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I wondered how you would handle the sensitive dimension of naming the lead actor in this story.
This is quite good. There is sufficient evidence for the reader to recognize the legitimacy of your story. At the same time, other than yourself, the people involved are anonymous. Respectful.
Not sure if you realize, but one of President Trump’s goals is to clean up child-trafficking and pedophilia. There are over 80,000 sealed indictments, many have now been unsealed, and pedos are being rounded up and charged.
There have been a number of them so far this year.
I have to agree that this sort of thing has been going on years, everywhere, with most of the evidence covered up somehow!
Nowadays, people are speaking out about it and that’s a good thing, as more and more are finally getting charged; but their sentences never seem to fit the crime, which is sad — especially for the victims!!
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Interesting. Thanks for sharing.
Seemingly, it has always been thus — the powerful preying upon the most vulnerable — and getting away with it. Wish there were more folks like you to get these vultures into the everlasting Hells they deserve.
Keep up the good work — am proud to call you a friend!!!
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Wow … just simply wow … but still not surprising. It’s the world we live in today.
Good article and a good reminder of how money and power still don’t just talk – they roar!
Good for you exposing another instance of this.
Wow, good read but very sad at the same time.
I just wonder how many victims of this judge have been quieted with long jail terms — or worse.
The fact his colleagues knew or heard rumours is very disheartening.
And you wonder why police have issues believing in our justice system.
Wow!! Just wow!!
Upon reading this and the comments section, I couldn’t respond better than Ken.
10/10. Great work.
People scoff at the idea that the Clintons, Podesta and the rest of the crew could be guilty of sex abuse and are immune from the law.
Examples like this make me question how hard it is to keep secrets.
That is exactly what I was thinking. The “talk” abounds about the actions of those you listed. Sadly power allows this to occur.
While there may not be justice in this life, we can only hope there will be in the next.
I’m not surprised at anything anymore.
We only have to go back and look at one of the premiers of New Brunswick when everyone looked the other way.
Great piece. Would be better if the judge could be publicly identified.
Thanks for your courage in presenting this, Byron. I honestly don’t know the best way to handle matters like this, but I so want this information to come out.
This story is incredible — and heartbreaking.
Considering the need to be cautious about publicly lobbing accusations without full evidence, I wonder what unprinted suspicions you might harbor about a conspiracy or like that caused the footage to disappear.
With power and $, you can get away with a lot of shit … just look at the children of the rich actors.
This makes me sick.
Thanks for your hard work.
Fascinating and sad at the same time. Unfortunately this does exist in our society, even with those tasked with preventing the very crime which occurred.
Thankfully there are good, responsible, caring individuals who do their best to fight this, with a passion that should give hope to victims and scare the perpetrators.
This was not a plea bargain. It was an under-the-table offer which it appears the judge took. Otherwise, at least here [USA], his law license would have been rescinded.
In my military days, senior officers pretty much got the same treatment, whereas the enlisted guys got burned. We called it “Different spanks for different ranks”.
And leadership always tried to feed us this bullshit that low-end reprimands instead of court martials or dismissals were just as bad … or worse.
Very well written.
When secret stories of corruption and illegal activity are shared and then they become public, one can only hope that more information/evidence comes to light.
And maybe one day, justice will be served. Or at the very least the judge will be looking over his shoulder.
This goes on all over the world. I’ve been in law enforcement for almost 19 years and I’ve found that all crime leads to politics.
When there are no consequences for someone’s actions what is going to stop them?
The judge will reap what he’s dealt that child.
Still sticking your nose in things, Byron. I think that’s great.
What about the government? I understand justice has to be independent from politics … however when justice goes bad, somebody has to have the authority to correct things.
By no means am I defending the likes of Karl Toft and the gazillion priests and pastors that had their way with God knows how many scared innocent kids, but they get hung out to dry … while a judge pretty much got away with it.
His poor victim. I can only imagine how screwed up he is. I wonder if he was set free after this.
It’s sad to think what extent the system and its cronies would go to, to keep you from spilling the beans on this creep.
It is disheartening to know the cover-up appears to start with the Chief of EPS.
The sanitation guy did his part and Cop #1 did his part … but the Chief … are their hands tied so tightly that it could not have investigated in the same manner as anyone else would have been?
Two tiered system is alive and well, I would say.
The Chief’s hands were tied … sort of. The perpetrator’s had a very prominent brother … sorry can’t share more than that. If you knew his brother’s position [and direct influence] at the time, you’d understand.
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I think the only way this would come to light and the judge be charged and tried would be if some of his victims came forward, or if another tape surfaced. I’m sure it wasn’t a one-time thing.
It’s awful that all he had to do was resign from the bench. No criminal charges, no trial, no jail time and he probably just continued preying on vulnerable youth.
Maybe one of his victims will read this and step forward. Is there a statute of limitations on this sort of criminal behavior?
Truth like this should make everyone furious at such injustice.
There’s so much evil in our world; the perpetrators, the enablers and those who help cover up such atrocities.
People in law-related positions in any society should be above reproach. If they are not, then the law should come down on them as heavy as anyone else.
Disgusting and shameful.
Brave of you to present this story.
It is really hurtful that certain people get away with this!!!
I remember the whole thing. Everybody knew he was XX’s [close relative], everybody knew the tale.
Yes, there’s the public’s “right to know” and yes, there’s cover-up in high places … the same argument for persecuting perverted Catholic priests for actions of 30, 40 or 50 years ago.
But I am swayed by the thought of innocent bystanders — children, relatives, etc. — being tarred for life by the abysmal perverted behaviour of one high-profile individual.
I’d be accused of a cover-up, but I’d be more inclined to let sleeping dogs lie.
I thought Canadians were different.
Well-written, with just enough plausibility and righteous indignation to get any morally sound reader pissed off.
So many would have let it lie … a rotting corpse that may never rise again.
We need to be reminded of crimes like this and their coverups. We need to pay more attention and hold our officials to the same — if not higher standards — than common citizens.
The equality that matters in a society of free men, is equality under the law. We are equal because we play by the same rules of the game called a society.
To punish one citizen for a crime and to overlook it in another is a recipe for societal discord.
Those who work in our legal system, surely know this. Not only has a criminal act occurred here in the physical abuse of a minor, but those who avoided prosecuting at the time it occurred are in my sense of it criminal accomplices after the fact. Shame on them.
By no means am I defending the likes of Karl Toft and the many priests and pastors that had their way with God knows how many scared, innocent kids … but they get hung out to dry while this guy pretty much got away with it.
His poor victim. I can only imagine how messed up he is.
It’s sad to think what extent the system and its cronies would do to keep you from spilling the beans on this creep.
People scoff at the idea that the Clinton’s, Podesta and the rest of the crew could be guilty of sex abuse and are immune from the law.
Examples like this make me question how hard it is to keep secrets.
How sad is this? People who betray children, rob them of their innocence and set them up for a life of mistrust go unpunished.
This is a story that needs to be told.
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Thanks for this very well-written article!
This is likely not a ‘one of’ story. Corruption is a frequent problem
in today’s society … and it’s not going away, anytime soon?
It’s not easily eradicated, either!
I remember being a full-time criminal justice student back in the 1990’s at a well-known college in B.C. My broadcasting career was on hiatus and I decided to return to school.
One of my colleagues in class asked the professor, a former Chief of Police for the City of Saanich, B.C., about alleged corruption within the B.C. government and specifically, with the drug trade and the Ministry of Attorney General.
The professor’s answer to the classmate’s query was startling. He said he had heard ‘rumours’ that the drug trade had infiltrated the highest echelons of B.C.’s attorney general office. He also said that “suitcases of money were exchanged.”
I tried to get my prof to speak on the record, in private, about the matter. However, like you, my request was shot down in flames.
Meanwhile, my former “Iranian born” sociology professor was rumoured to have a loaded gun in his office desk. However, I didn’t have the gumption to raise the topic with him. LOL
You know, criminologists often say that most crime in this sordid world goes unreported and based on your experiences, along with my own, I can honestly say that that is definitely the case!