Last year more than 2,000 Canadians were indicted for sex crimes. Probably twice as many sex criminals were never picked up by police. Most of these deviates don't know why they commit their crimes, or how to stop. Now, a unique clinic in Toronto is beginning to reach some of them in time

FRANKLIN RUSSELL September 23 1961


Last year more than 2,000 Canadians were indicted for sex crimes. Probably twice as many sex criminals were never picked up by police. Most of these deviates don't know why they commit their crimes, or how to stop. Now, a unique clinic in Toronto is beginning to reach some of them in time

FRANKLIN RUSSELL September 23 1961



Last year more than 2,000 Canadians were indicted for sex crimes. Probably twice as many sex criminals were never picked up by police. Most of these deviates don't know why they commit their crimes, or how to stop. Now, a unique clinic in Toronto is beginning to reach some of them in time

LATE LAST FEBRUARY, a Toronto accountant named William Garçon was having a bad day working on income-tax figures and worrying about meeting a second mortgage payment. He was feeling unwell. His mother-in-law showed no sign of returning to her home in a nearby town after staying for three months.

When he got home that night, Garçon (a pseudonym) was upbraided by his wife for forgetting to buy bread. His mother-in-law said. “It’s little things like that which break up marriages, William.”

Garçon said nothing and went upstairs to change his clothes. As he took off his coat, the sleeve knocked a bottle of nail polish, spilling it on the bedspread. Garçon was stunned. Then he jumped to his feet, ran downstairs into the street, “in search,” as he said later, “of a little girl."

This was the mechanism of a sex crime in the making. Last year between 2,000 and 3,000 Canadians were indicted for sex crimes and probably double that number were never caught or reported to the police. Their crimes ranged from peeping through bedroom windows to murders. They arc Canada’s least understood criminals and, in most parts of the country, they can expect a lifelong succession of prison terms without ever understanding why they commit their repugnant crimes or knowing how they might stop.


Fortunately, Garçon lives in an enlightened province, and as he ran down his quiet suburban street on his bizarre search, he saw a phone box. He stumbled into it and called a psychiatrist at the Forensic Clinic of the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital. After a few minutes of conversation, he walked home relatively calm.

The Forensic Clinic has, in five years of its life, treated nearly 700 sexually deviated people. It is pioneering a new approach to the problem of sex criminals. It is unique in Can-

ada and, in some respects, unique in the world. “These deviates need not be regarded with abhorrence and fear,” says the clinic director, Dr. R. Edward Turner. “They can be treated.”

Backing his statement are the results: about eighty-five percent of the clinic’s patients have learned to control their perverted drives. The clinic, however, may be performing an even more important service. In a field that is markedly barren of reliable research, the clinic’s workers, every year, move closer to accurately predicting the behavior of deviates. (And it has found a few facts about the victims — some young girls deliberately tempt pedophiles (child molesters) to make attacks.)

Dr. Turner feels a major duty facing the clinic is public education. “Sex deviation has been shrouded in superstition, in hatred and fear for centuries,” he says.

The clinic is trying to help some of the thousands of Canadians who live in strange fantasy worlds of deviated sex impulses. Many of these people live perpetually on the verge of committing large or small sex crimes. “The real extent of the sex-deviate problem in society,” says Dr. Stuart K. Jaffary of the University of Toronto school of social work, "is like the iceberg — nine tenths hidden below the surface.” It is now' recognized that nearly all men have sexually deviant thoughts. Fortunately, most men have control. For those who haven’t the clinic is becoming a sort of safety valve, a place they can turn to for free treatment, secure in the knowledge that it is run by the Ontario Department of Health and has nothing to do with the police or the reform system. The clinic is also a watchdog for faint signs of schizophrenia or psychopathic traits which are warnings that a deviate may become a sex murderer.

Garçon s sex problem started in his teens. He was attracted to little girls but never molested them. He did not analyse how he felt about them but he knew his thoughts were wrong. He found, when twenty-one, that his

form of sexual abnormality was called pedophilia and that he was sexually linked to the exhibitionists, who expose themselves to shock women in public, and to the peeping toms, who may take fantastic risks to spy on people undressing. He knew he was not a dangerous sexual pervert, but he lived in constant dread.

For ten apprehensive years, he controlled himself. He married and had two children, but marriage did nothing to alleviate his deviate urges. One day in 1956, while watching a small girl paddling at a beach on Lake Simcoe, fifty miles north of Toronto, he suddenly grabbed her by the shoulders. The child cried out, the mother came running up, and Garçon only extricated himself from the situation by saying he was trying to protect the girl from a bee.


He was really frightened now. He recalled reading that a Forensic Clinic had recently been opened in Toronto, following a series of savage sex murders in the province. He decided to make a supreme effort to control himself and succeeded for five years — till his rush into the street.

After his telephone call, during which the psychiatrist calmed him and made a clinic appointment, Garçons treatment was routine. He was first interviewed by Valdemar Hartman, chief social w'orker. What were his relations with his wife, children, mother, father, relatives, employer? Hartman was looking for environmental stresses, hatreds, frictions, tensions. He discovered Garçon was terrified of his mother-in-law, and frequently resented his wife and his employer. He was insecure. He had wanted to be a doctor but his mother had insisted on accountancy. Hartman's skill in appraising Garçon's social problems would be vital in later treatment. “It has been said,” he says, "that a good environmental history in sex cases is half the battle of diagnosis.”

Garçon soon realized that his sex problem was buried deep in his past and was related somehow' to his parents; and that this was true of all sex deviates. A week later, he kept an appointment with a senior clinical psychologist, Dan Paitich, when, under psychological testing, he proved to have an IQ of 125, and answered 227 questions about his relations with his parents and 115 questions about his sex life. CONTINUED ON PAGE 46



“The force driving sex deviates is often irresistible,* they all speak of it with awe and horror’

Unlike about twenty percent of the 200odd sex offenders sent to the clinic yearly by probation officers or courts. Garçon was not resentful. He wanted to co-operate. He revealed that his father had been weak, dominated by his aggressive mother.

According to one clinic worker he was proving to be a routine pedophile with a desire to behave toward little girls with some of the affection he once wished his mother had given him.

l ike all sex deviates, Garçon was deeply

ashamed of his perverted drives and thought his case was the worst imaginable. He confessed this to Dr. Harry Hutchison, the chief psychologist, who had Garçon’s case history before him and who had to decide whether group or individual therapy

was to be used. But despite his sharp feelings of guilt, Garçon’s problem was almost superficial compared with the deeprooted case of exhibitionism treated earlier by Dr. Hutchison and Dr. Ian C. Lond of the department of psychiatry of the University of Toronto.

A twenty-five-year-old man came to the clinic after the most extraordinary record of exhibitionism. He first exposed at thirteen. made lewd telephone calls to girls at fifteen, became a peeping tom for a year and by his early twenties was constantly tense, as he said, “with a fever to expose.” He would strip off all his clothes, hide among trees, and spring out at girls as they passed. He hid in girls’ school cloakrooms and exposed when girls came in. He w'as a public menace w'hile driving because his wild fantasies frequently caused him to swerve off the road to a spot where he could expose.

The presence of his wife did not inhibit him. She told the psychiatrists that when he wanted to expose he would look paralyzed and his eyes would become glazed. She would grab him and drag him away. The patient said he felt excited before exhibiting, and full of awful dread and a grim determination “to go ahead regardless.” Everything became unreal as though he were watching himself in a dream, a familiar symptom to clinic workers.

The force driving sex deviates is often irresistible and all of them speak of it with awe or horror. One peeping tom, terrified of heights, climbed a one-hundredfoot elm half a dozen times to look into a girl’s bedroom in an apartment building. “Once I get the urge to look for a child,” Garçon told Dr. Hutchison, "it’s absolutely compelling, impossible to resist.”

The exact reasons for sex deviation aren’t known but all sex offenders are thought to behave in a manner symbolic of disorders created in their childhoods. A highly successful thirty-five-year-old salesman came to the clinic voluntarily because his work was deteriorating due to his sex-sadism fantasies. “I imagine myself lashing women with a whip,” he confessed, “ripping off their clothes and punching them.” He was a mild man, seemingly normal, but his preliminary psychological report showed his father often used to thrash his mother into unconsciousness.

Sometimes a crime may be even more directly symbolical. The clinic, which also handles cases of compulsive theft or assault, recently treated a woman who used to steal belts: psychologists found her father used to beat her with a belt.

Despite some of the more obvious symbolism. the causes of sexual deviation are still shadowy. "It’s amazing the dearth of information on the subject,” says research associate Dr. J. W. Mohr. In practically any other field of psychiatry. Dr. Mohr would have ten to twenty years of research material from which to work. As it is, he has five years of clinic research material and a trickle of information from a few clinics elsewhere in the world.

He is trying to answer dozens of basic questions about sex deviation. He doesn’t know yet, for example, why exhibitionism in men reaches a peak in their mid-twenties, falls away in the mid-thirties, and almost disappears after forty-five. Again, no one knows why pedophilia occurs predominantly in three age groups — late teens, mid to late thirties and mid to late fifties. Another surprising and still unexplained finding in Dr. Mohr’s research was that pedophiles, more frequently than``

other deviates, reported long service in the armed forces or merchant marine.

Deviates occur in all religions, races and income brackets. "If it's possible to make one large generalization about them.” says Dan Paitich. "it's this: their relations with their fathers determine whether they will be deviates; the relations with their mothers determine what sort they'll be.”

Soon after he was accepted for treatment, Garçon was startled to hear that he would be joining a group for therapy. “But 1 could never face the others," he protested. Dr. Turner, the clinic director disagreed. "You’ll be surprised how' much it will help." he said.

Garçon was surprised. The clinic runs seven therapy groups, two for homosexuals, two for pedophiles, one for exhibitionists. one for patients' wives, and one for adolescents. At the first group meeting under the direction of psychologist Arnold l upmanis. Garçon got insight into the problems of others and this diminished his own. One man confessed he had hated his father so much "1 wanted to kill him.” Patients freely discussed their "crimes” and the peculiar strength of the forces that drove them to commit these crimes. They warmed to one another, recognizing each insecurity as their ow;n. I he therapist guided the discussions, and encouraged patients to talk themselves out.

"It's hard to be dogmatic about treatment when, so little is known about sex deviation," says Dr. Turner, "but the therapy here is based first on a thorough analysis of the patient to find his problem, then on encouraging him to recognize it. accept it and master it." Drugs are rarely used to help this process. The case of the exhibitionist who exposed even before his wife demanded special methods.

After some trial-and-error private treatment. he was put under light hypnosis at the clinic. The therapist described the type of woman that had led him to exhibit. After several experiments, the patient could relax at the thought of an exposureprompting situation. His wife was then instructed to take him to a department store where he could see many women. He endured agonies, but was able to ignore all but one woman. His therapy had taught him sufficient self-control to turn his back on her.

A key to recovery is the patient’s recognition of the “trigger” that sets him off. For Garçon, it was the knowledge that feelings of frustration and inadequacy could start him thinking of deviate behavior. For others it might simply be the sight of an undrawn shade, a girl with high heels or a certain type of dress. One thirty-year-old man committed incest with his ten-year-old daughter immediately after every argument with his wife.

Garçons wife was called in to the group therapy sessions w'here it became clear that she too had psychological problems. some of them sexual.

Despite the widespread ignorance surrounding sexual crimes, the clinic has made a start in teaching understanding. Already. Ontario police are becoming much less antagonistic to deviates. In the past, they might beat deviates in disgust. Today, some patients report the exceptional sympathy of arresting police, a sympathy for which they are deeply grateful since most sex offenders are terrified of authority. Recently a police constable found a man in a Toronto alley in suspicious circumstances. Instead of arresting him, he said, "Why don’t you give them a call down at the clinic. They might be able to help you."

Dr. Turner has lectured at the annual meeting of Ontario magistrates and advised them on ways of recognizing deviates. His colleague. Dr. A. B. Stokes, professor of psychiatry at the University of

Toronto, recently addressed cadets at the Ontario Police College.

Dr. Turner doesn't claim to be stopping sex crimes though the clinic undoubtedly is doing so. He knows the clinic has only just begun its real work. "We are pushing deeper and deeper into the problem" he says, "and eventually we may reach those deviates who cannot yet be treated away from hospital or jail." He is speaking of those with schizophrenic or psychopathic traits which, combined with their misdirected sex drives, can turn them into incomprehensibly savage murderers.

The rapist too is an urgent subject fo research. Technically he is not even clased as a deviate. Dr. Mohr, in a recei visit to Kingston penitentiary, found mo rapists there were married men but litt, further research has been conducted.

Little, if anything, can be done to pre vent sexual deviation till family life has been strengthened, says Dr. M. D. Tuchtie, director of the clinic's in-patient unit. "We must break the vicious circle of characterdamaging influences." he says. "These are produced by parents whose own thoughts have been distorted by their parents.”

William Garçon still attends the clinic once a week and is making excellent progress in group therapy. "The compulsion is easing," he says. “I still have some urge but it's easy to control.” He’s been greatly helped by the fact that his wife is sticking with him. His mother-in-law left the house. Disgusted, she tried to persuade her daughter to leave Garçon, bul failed.

"Bill Garçon is a good example of rehabilitation." says Dr. Turner. "He shows how, with the right treatment and understanding, the average sex deviate can be steered back into a normal life." ic