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Saskatoon Sex Stories

John Martin Crawford

Warren Goulding

Former StarPhoenix Reporter Warren Goulding has published a book about the police bungling in the John Martin Crawford case. It is called: Just Another Indian: A Serial Killer and Canada's Indifference

From the StarPhoenix: ". . Crawford was convicted in May 1996 of first-degree murder of Shelley Napope, 16, and second-degree murder of Eva Taysup, 30, and Waterhen, 22.

Their skeletal remains were found in some brush southwest of Saskatoon in October 1994. The women had died two years earlier.

The murders followed Crawford's release from prison after serving seven years of a 10-year sentence for manslaughter. In 1982 he pleaded guilty to killing a woman in Lethbridge, Alta.

John Martin Crawford

In a startling affidavit filed for the appeal by Regina defence lawyer Bob Hrycan, John Martin Crawford claims both the deaths of Taysup and Waterhen were an accident, and that he stabbed Napope after she was already dead. ."

Rehabilitation is not promising. He's a killer and a cheapskate. He says he killed the women because they asked for more money than he thought they were worth! Study his face! Remember him because he has already been let out once! In typical Saskatoon fashion, it is unlikely Crawford will be charged for other murders he has almost certainly committed. Police also used a woman as bait for Crawford -- she is now suing.

The key witness against John Crawford, petty crook Bill Corrigan, was present at the murder of Shelley Napope, but never charged with being an accessory. Instead, in a deal that smells of Karla Homolka, he was paid $15,000 to rat out his pal.

John Crawford (right) was formerly featured on our Sex Offenders page


Shedding light on dark alleys of the Magic City

Saskatoon, sometimes known as the City of Bridges, the Magic City, or even the Paris of the Prairies, is also home to some of the most appalling social conditions and vicious sexual exploitation in all of Canada.

Our "dirty little secret," of child prostitution, abject poverty and drug addiction is not the stuff of tourist brochures, but it looms ever larger in the city's image.

It has also become a world in the imagination of G.E.M. (Ted) Munro, former teacher and onetime columnist for the now defunct Saskatoon Free Press.

In a new book called By The Skin of The Teeth, [unavailable] Munro dives into the Saskatoon street scene to paint a fictional picture of desperation and redemption as inner-city aboriginals struggle to recover their dignity and pride in a largely unsympathetic community.

It's a theme Munro often explored as a columnist. Those who remember his tales of "West Side Johnny" in the Free Press will recognize the flamboyant prose, now given free rein on a broader canvas. Yet despite the grim subject matter, Munro paints an often hilarious picture of local society as he eviscerates the politically correct, the media, city council and a wide range of other targets.

The name Saskatoon doesn't actually appear in Munro's novel, but there is no mistaking the setting that includes detailed descriptions of the scene on 19th and 20th streets, the "neon heart liquor store," the Friendship Inn, the leafy surroundings of the university area and much more.

Some of the names have been changed, but readers can decide for themselves which local hotel is the Inn Continent, and what local action group might parallel Munro's description of COIN, or Clean Out Innercity Neighbourhoods.

More important though, are the parallels with the events of real life that have unfolded in Saskatoon in recent times. The central plot line is that hookers are being murdered on the streets of the inner city and an alcoholic newspaper columnist named Perles has the horrible suspicion that he is the killer.

Given to bouts of binge drinking with a cadre of down-and-out cohorts, Perles routinely passes out in his van, and almost every time he does, he wakes to find another dead prostitute and incriminating bits of evidence on his person.

A tortured individual nursing a number of personal mistakes, Perles's best days are behind him. The one-man editorial crusade he once ran against the social disasters of the inner city has deteriorated into a series of half-baked rewrites of old material as the columnist sinks into a morass of alcohol and self-pity.

But as the body count rises, the possibility that he might harbour a monster within himself sobers Perles sufficiently to begin to pay attention to a visionary hooker named Solania.

Through a series of impromptu street gatherings and inspirational speeches, Solania begins to arouse the street people to recognize the injustice of their situation.

Perles falls in love with her and the vision of a rejuvenated people she represents. His social conscience rekindled, Perles abandons his comfortable, yet loveless, east-side home and joins the struggle as Solania transforms herself from visionary to revolutionary.

It wouldn't do to give away too much of the plot, but the point behind the story is that the great social divide in inner-city Western Canada is based as much on race as it is on economics.

Munro's argument is that the larger society is happy to ignore the aboriginal population as long as it's profiting from their misery.

In that sense, Munro's book forms something of a fictional bookend for Warren Goulding's non-fiction account of the John Martin Crawford murders called Just Another Indian, that was published earlier this year.

In both cases, the authors make the case that the indifference of the larger society allows continued exploitation to thrive. The difference lies in Munro's view that a broader upheaval of the kind he describes in his novel is a real possibility.

"These people have actually operated under the worst bargain I've ever seen," Munro said in an interview Monday.

"Here's the deal. You comply with our social conventions, you meet our established niceties, you respect the things that we have found that oil our society, and in return for that, we'll give you exactly nothing.

"The question is, how long will that bargain continue to work? How long will the population over here agree to that sort of bargain? The answer is, not much longer, I think."

That remains to be seen, but regardless of your view on the ills afflicting portions of west-side Saskatoon, Munro is shining a much-needed light on a part of the Wonder City that too many people would rather simply ignore.


Outreach worker criticizes sentence for sexual offender Jeffrey Bodnaruk

SASKATOON - A 22-year-old Saskatoon man has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for sexually assaulting and beating three prostitutes.

"To me, it's really sad that he got 18 months for sexual assault" ...Don Meikle

Jeffrey Bodnaruk was convicted in April. Over a 6 month period, beginning in 1999, he picked up the women, made deals for sex, then refused to pay. He then forced them to perform sexual acts, and threatened rape if they did not comply.

Bodnaruk assaulted one of the women with an ice scraper, choked another, and punched the third woman in the face.

A street outreach worker, Don Meikle, says the 18-month sentence sends the wrong message. "The courts look at this as just part of the job and just part of the risks they're taking out there.", says Meikle. "To me, it's really sad that he got 18 months for sexual assaults."

The crown had asked for a 5 year prison sentence.

Bodnaruk will spend two years on probation following his jail term. The judge has ordered him to take a sexual offender and substance abuse program.


Sex slavery nets jail time

The sex-slave victim of a depraved Calgary couple hopes their sentencing will help alleviate her nightmares.

But the single mother of four said yesterday the three-year terms will do little to ease her pain.

"I don't think it's enough time for what I went through -- I have to live with this for the rest of my life," the woman, who can't be named, said moments after the couple's sentencing.

Justice Sal LoVecchio followed a joint recommendation by Crown and defence lawyers and sentenced Brenda Debakker and Bruce James Rutherford to three-year terms.

"We must say to the accused we denounce your unlawful conduct and find it unacceptable in a civilized society," LoVecchio said.

Debakker, 32, and Rutherford, 38, each pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of aggravated sexual assault.

They admitted picking up their victim on the Victoria Park hooker stroll and taking her to a northwest apartment, where they forced her to strip and tied her hands and feet to a bed.

Debakker and Rutherford then took turns sexually violating the woman, forcing her to perform sex acts on them and beating her.

During the 13-hour ordeal the woman was also at times bound by the neck, forced to act like a dog and commit other acts. The victim said she hopes the end of the court action will help stem her recurring nightmares about the attack.

"It's a little bit of closure -- I'll find out tonight," she said about her bad dreams.


Former prostitute sues RCMP

SASKATOON - A lawsuit in Saskatoon raises serious allegations against the RCMP.

In 1994 Theresa Kematch was working as a prostitute in Saskatoon. She knew the street scene. What she didn't know was whose car she was getting into one October night.

But in a statement of claim her lawyer says RCMP knew all too well whose car it was because they were closely watching it, and followed it, as the car drove to another area of the city.

Kematch's lawyer, Ron Piche says, "The officers were in the immediate vicinity surveying this situation, and a young woman was raped and beaten by a known monster."

The monster, says Piche, was John Martin Crawford. Crawford admitted killing one person and was suspected in a number of other deaths. He was eventually convicted of murdering 3 Saskatoon woman. In October 1994, Piche says the RCMP had Crawford under surveillance as part of their investigation into their deaths.

The statement of claim alleges at least 3 RCMP officers witnessed Kematch being raped inside Crawford's car, just a few meters away, and didn't intervene.

The RCMP says their officers didn't know. RCMP spokesperson Heather Russel says the police acted appropriately.

"Members who are conducting surveillance are under an obligation to intervene if they see a criminal act take place. However, the members in this case were not aware that there had been a criminal act at the time during the incident."

Theresa Kematch didn't go to police after the alleged rape. She says she didn't realize the man who she claims raped her was John Martin Crawford, until he was charged with the other killings.

Piche says Kematch waited six years to sue the RCMP because she needed time to heal.

The force is expected to file its defence in the next couple of weeks.


Saskatoon police encounter girl pimps too young to be charged

SASKATOON (CP) -- For six months Const. Tim Korchinski and the Saskatoon vice unit heard stories about an 11-year-old girl running a prostitution ring.

The four-person unit spent hours compiling information from tips and other sources.

"This girl was actually successful in doing this through other people," Korchinski said.

"She was very manipulative. She was a bit of a bully too, but she obviously had some control somehow over all these individuals."

However, it wasn't until the squad had witnesses come forward willing to testify that police were able to lay charges.

And even then, Korchinski could only charge the girl with offenses that occurred after she turned 12 because of provisions under the Young Offenders Act.

Over the last year the members of Saskatoon's vice unit have seen a disturbing trend of young girls not just selling themselves in the sex trade, but forcing others to do the same.

The unit has handled roughly a dozen similar cases.

"Younger people who may have been involved in the sex trade on their own are now saying, 'Gee, here's an easier way for me to reap the benefits, which would be the cash, by forcing or bullying or threatening someone else to do my dirty work and go with the johns or the tricks,'" Korchinski said.

Last week a 14-year-old girl was sentenced to a year in secure custody for holding a knife to the throat of a terrified 12-year-old and trying to force her to turn a trick to get money for beer.

An adult prostitute rescued the younger girl and called police.

The cases aren't limited to Saskatoon.

In January, a young prostitute-turned-pimp was given a year's probation after convincing a developmentally handicapped 16-year-old runaway to sell sex for cash in Toronto.

The then-14-year-old girl, who said she began turning tricks at age 12, paired up with a male pimp, rented a hotel room, arranged the tricks and set the price.

Last July, a 15-year-old Vancouver girl was charged with forcing a 13-year-old into prostitution after meeting her at a group home. A few weeks later, the younger teen was walking Vancouver's notorious kiddie stroll.

Crown prosecutor Valerie Adamko has handled several of the cases in Saskatoon.

"This is the first time that we've seen a number of youths being charged with a similar offence like this," Adamko said. "A procuring charge is very unusual.

"You don't usually see a youth pimping another youth."

As a youth court prosecutor, Adamko tries to address the underlying causes of the crime.

"You're dealing with a youth that obviously needs counselling," she said.

"So that can be done in the custodial facility. They have access to psychologists, they have access to personal counsellors."

In another case last month, a 13-year-old girl pleaded guilty to punching a 14-year-old girl in the shoulder until she started to turn tricks.

The older girl would earn up to $500 a night, giving most of it to the 13-year-old, who bought marijuana, pills and snacks for herself and other girls.

Child prostitution is not a new phenomenon in Saskatchewan.

Last summer a special committee of the provincial legislature released a report on the prevention of exploitation of children in the sex trade.

Among its 49 recommendations was a suggestion the province adopt a zero-tolerance policy for those who sexually offend against children.

In response, the province has introduced legislation that will allow police to seize cars of those who break prostitution laws and promised action on other recommendations.

Kearney Healy, a legal aid lawyer in Saskatoon, had suggested to the committee that child prostitutes be allowed to sue johns for support to help them get out of the sex trade.

Healy made three presentations to the committee outlining plans to help kids who want to quit prostitution.

"This is a big pool of misery that has to be drained,"he said.

A 20-year veteran of the legal aid system, Healy said he's seen three or four cases of young girls pimping other young girls.

"I don't think it's a new phenomenon," he said. "I've had cases like this years ago.

"Of course somebody is going to take advantage of them."

Korchinski said one reason the cases have started to appear in the courts is a change in the way the vice unit is dealing with prostitutes.

"What we were finding was because 99 per cent of these people were addicted to some kind of drug or alcohol, they were breaching (the conditions of their release)," he said.

"We still prosecute for communicating for the purposes of prostitution, but, more so, what we're looking at is a situation whereby we'll try to get at the root problem -- to why they're out there."

He said the approach has helped build relationships with the girls on the street and helped break cases against those forcing them to be there.

"In the big picture we're still in the infancy of it, but it's shown a lot of successes and it's really been accepted well by a lot of the agencies that we work with."

Despite the successes, Korchinski, a father of two young children, is frustrated by the cases.

"We're talking about generational problems. Their mothers have been involved in the trade. Sometimes a lot of these mothers or parents don't have a lot of parenting skills, and so maybe they think it's acceptable."