Friday 2 November 2018


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The Scarborough Rapist

Around 1 a.m. on 4 May 1987, a young woman was attacked and raped within minutes of getting off a bus near her home in Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto. This was one of a series of up to 24 rapes or attempted rapes that took place over a five-year period. The targets of the man called the "Scarborough Rapist" were teenage girls and young women. Most of the attacks happened outdoors, but in at least one instance the perpetrator broke into his victim’s home. The attacks were accompanied by beatings, intense verbal abuse, and dire threats to discourage victims from going to the police. On one occasion, a uniformed Toronto police officer staking out a bus shelter spotted a suspect hiding under a tree and pursued him on foot, but the suspect escaped.

On 17 November 1988, Metropolitan Toronto Police formed a task force committed to the arrest of the Scarborough Rapist. Investigators did not get a significant lead until May 1990, when a victim provided them with a description of her attacker’s face. Police created a computer composite portrait that was given wide circulation, including publication in newspapers. Among the 16,000 responses received over the following weeks were three from people who said the portrait resembled Paul Bernardo.

Investigators twice questioned Bernardo, who lived in his parents’ Scarborough home at the time. They were satisfied that he was not a likely suspect, but as a matter of routine they took samples of his hair, blood and saliva for DNA testing against specimens found on a rape victim’s clothing. DNA testing was then new in Canada, and the Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) in Toronto had only one qualified scientist and one technician. The samples taken from dozens of men questioned in the Scarborough Rapist case were among 50,000 collected at that time by police investigating numerous cases across Ontario.

Death of Tammy Homolka

By 23 December 1990, Bernardo, 26, was engaged to Karla Homolka, 20, and was living at her family’s home in St. Catharines, Ontario. That evening, while Homolka’s parents and younger sister Lori slept, Homolka and Bernardo drugged the youngest sister, 15-year-old Tammy Lyn, so Bernardo could rape her. Homolka participated in and videotaped the sexual assault of her sister.

Early in the morning of 24 December, Tammy, still unconscious, vomited and stopped breathing. Bernardo and Homolka dressed Tammy and carried her to a bedroom. They cleaned up the crime scene, hid the videocassette and called the 911 emergency number. An ambulance took Tammy to St. Catharines General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Niagara Regional Police questioned Bernardo and Homolka – particularly about an unusual burn mark on Tammy’s face. They accepted Bernardo’s explanation that it was a carpet burn Tammy had sustained when he dragged her to the bedroom. The burn had actually been caused by an anaesthetic called halothane, administered to Tammy on a cloth pressed over her face. Doctors concluded that Tammy had choked to death on vomit after overindulging in alcohol.

Leslie Mahaffy Murder

On 1 February 1991, Bernardo and Homolka moved into a bungalow in Port Dalhousie, Ontario. They were married in Niagara-on-the-Lake on 29 June. That same day, boaters and fishermen at Lake Gibson, south of St. Catharines, discovered concrete blocks that encased human arms, legs, feet and a head. The next day another man found a human torso floating in the water. The remains were identified as those of Leslie Mahaffy, 14, of Burlington, Ontario. Her parents had reported her missing on 15 June. While police undertook the investigation of the Mahaffy murder, Paul and Karla Bernardo were honeymooning in Hawaii.

Police searching for clues to Mahaffy's killer were unaware of evidence that would connect the crime to the Scarborough Rapist. Meanwhile, Tammy Homolka’s death wasn’t under criminal investigation at all.

Almost a year later, in April 1992, Niagara Regional Police sought help from the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). An FBI group of criminal profiling experts produced a psychological portrait of the murderer as a sexual predator who would probably kill again.

Kristen French Murder

On 30 April 1992, a female body was found in a ditch along a rural road in the north end of Burlington. The face was battered and the hair had been shaved from the head, but an old injury. the missing tip of the left pinky finger that immediately told investigators that the corpse was that of Kristen French, 15, of St. Catharines.

French’s parents had reported her missing on 16 April. A shoe identified as hers was found in the parking lot of Grace Lutheran Church, which she passed by every day going to and from school. Then a witness reported seeing a scuffle in that parking lot on the afternoon of the 16th. It had appeared to the witness that two people were forcing a girl into a car she described as a cream-coloured Chevrolet Camaro. Police searched the parking lot and found a torn fragment of a map of Scarborough and a lock of brown hair. They began an exhaustive check of cream-coloured Camaros, following what turned out to be a mistaken lead. Bernardo’s car was a gold-coloured Nissan.

Common Killer

Acting on a tip that Bernardo had a penchant for violence and aggressive sex, police interviewed him on 12 May, and once again dismissed him as a prime suspect in what were now being called the two "schoolgirl murders" of southern Ontario. Mahaffy’s remains were exhumed, and medical examiners found bruises on the back that had similarities to the blunt-force injuries on Kristen French’s body. For the first time, police connected the two murders. Niagara Regional Police, working with the Halton Regional Police, established a special task force to conduct the investigation into the two crimes. On 21 July, a re-enactment of French’s abduction was shown on TV. It generated thousands of tips, but no substantial leads.

On 6 January 1993, Karla Homolka was admitted to St. Catharines General Hospital after Bernardo beat her viciously with a flashlight. He was arrested and charged with assault with a weapon, and then released on bail. Homolka never returned to the couple's house in Port Dalhousie.

A month later, the Centre of Forensic Sciences finally matched Bernardo’s DNA with that of the Scarborough Rapist. Police put Bernardo under surveillance and tapped his telephone.

Homolka’s Plea Bargain

Homolka was initially uncooperative with police. After consulting with her lawyer, she said she would testify against Bernardo on the condition of being granted immunity from prosecution. The attorney general for Ontario would not agree to immunity, but was willing to consider a reduced sentence. On 17 February, Bernardo was arrested for the murders of Mahaffy and French, and the Scarborough rapes.

Police subjected Homolka to four days of interrogation. She blamed Bernardo for her sister’s death. She described how Bernardo had kidnapped Mahaffy from the yard of the girl's home, and how she and Bernardo had lured French to their car in the parking lot. She said both girls were used as sex slaves before Bernardo strangled them to death. French had been made to watch a television news broadcast of her father’s emotional plea for her safe return. Homolka claimed Bernardo had boasted to her of raping at least 30 women.

Homolka described herself as a battered wife who was forced to participate in Bernardo’s crimes, and who lived in terror of him. A search of their house turned up a list of the Scarborough rapes, books of a deviant sexual nature, a hunting knife, handcuffs and a videotape of Homolka and Bernardo engaged in sexual activity with two unidentified young women. Homolka was clearly a willing participant in both encounters. She admitted to police that one of the girls had been drugged and was later unaware that she had been raped.

Twelve-Year Sentence

On 6 July 1993, as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors, Homolka was convicted after pleading guilty to two counts of manslaughter in the Mahaffy and French murders. She was sentenced to two 12-year prison terms to be served concurrently. Authorities weren't aware at the time that the initial police search of the Bernardo residence had missed a bundle of videotapes – tapes that would prove to be the most damning and publicly explosive evidence of the case.

On 6 May 1993, Bernardo’s lawyer had retrieved six 8-mm tapes that had been hidden in the ceiling  of Bernardo’s and Holmoks’s  home. They were not turned over to police until 22 September 1994. The tapes showed in graphic detail the rape of Tammy Homolka, and the torture and rapes of Mahaffy and French. Homolka appeared as Bernardo’s consenting accomplice, not at all as a frightened, forced participant. By this time, the case was dominating headlines, and capturing the attention of people across North America. News of the tapes prompted public outrage. The media accused the prosecution of making “a deal with the devil" in giving Homolka only a 12-year sentence for her role in the crimes. However, the Crown said it was obliged to stand by its agreement.

Bernardo Declared Dangerous Offender

Jury selection for the Bernardo trial began on 1 May 1995. The Crown opened its case on 18 May. The trial lasted four months, during which Homolka spent 17 court days in the witness box. Bernardo was found guilty of all charges against him: two counts each of first degree murder, kidnapping, forcible confinement and aggravated sexual assault, and one count of committing an indignity to a human body. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, and declared a dangerous offender, making parole highly unlikely.

Five years later, in 2000, both the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada turned down Bernardo's efforts to appeal his murder convictions. In 2006, Bernardo's lawyer said his client had confessed in 2005 to 10 additional sexual assaults. Since 2013, he has been incarcerated at the Millhaven maximum security prison in Bath, Ontario.


The Bernardo-Homolka crimes – apart from their impact on the victims and their families – had a wide-ranging impact long after the trials concluded. The videotapes showing the rape and murder of their victims were ordered destroyed by an Ontario court. Bernardo's lawyer Ken Murray, who initially retrieved the tapes from their hiding place in the Bernardo home, was charged in 1997 with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice for failing to turn the tapes over to police. Murray was acquitted of those charges in 2000.

In 1996, a government inquiry into the investigation of Bernardo found that police had made numerous mistakes, that rivalries among police agencies had further harmed the investigation, and that some of Bernardo's crimes might have been prevented if his DNA sample had been processed and matched more quickly.

Karla Homolka served her full 12-year sentence and was released from prison in 2005 under a series of judge-imposed conditions, including restrictions on her movement and a ban on any contact with anyone under the age of 16. Those conditions were overturned by another judge only months later, prompting criticism from the Mahaffy and French families. Homolka settled in Montréal, where she gave birth to a son in 2007.

Homolka then lived on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe under the name Leanne Bordelais – along with her new husband, Thierry (brother of her prison lawyer Sylvie Bordelais), and her then three children. In 2012, after being discovered in Guadeloupe by a Canadian journalist, Homolka returned to Québec.

Canadian law permitted Bernardo to apply for parole after he had served the minimum sentence of 25 years.  In October 2018, he appeared before two members of the National Parole Aboard at his prison.
Bernardo, now 54, claimed low self-esteem compelled him to commit the sexually twisted crimes he now regrets and that he no longer poses any threat to the public. He said in part; “I’m a very flawed person. I know I’m not perfect,” Bernardo told the Parole Board of Canada panel. “What I did was so dreadful. I hurt a lot of people. I cry all the time.”

The two-members of the Parole Board’s decision was rejected with respect to his bid for day or full parole. They concluded that Bernardo had a distorted view of women for most of his life and changes in this regard still remain to be seen.

The Board said in part; “The Board finds that you showed minimal insight into your offending, which suggests you have been keen over the years to come up with your own unsubstantiated reasons for your criminal behavior. You dissociated yourself from your actions. You showed a tendency at the hearing to avoid speaking about sexual self-gratification and the sadistic and violent nature of your behaviour. You recognized the horror of your crimes but focused mainly on the fact that your behaviour was a result of an anxiety disorder about feeling inadequate since childhood and a lack of self-esteem.  You  used that self-diagnosis as a mantra to dissociate yourself from your actions. You told the Board that you had no intention of hurting the women you sexually assaulted. The Board reminded you that you used a knife and rope against several of the victims. Claiming today that you did not intend to hurt them adds to the Board’s belief that you lack insight. You quickly demonstrated that you were still obsessed with the sexual component of the relationship such an increase in masturbation which escalates your risk to reoffend.  Also worrisome is the fact that you could see yourself having anal sex with the woman in doggy-style positions. You even commented on her adversity to pain.  The Board believes that you still view relationships in terms of power and control, reflecting your limited progress in understanding what a healthy relationship should look like.”

 The report filed by the two-member Board stated, “Bernardo will present an undue risk to society if released, and that his release will not contribute to the protection of society.”

The reference to this current relationship is but a brief observation in the 10-page decision summary, a document weighed heavily towards Bernardo’s unsatisfying risk assessment monitoring, psychiatric testing, specialized sex offender assessment and so forth. But it underscored the reality of rehabilitation — or lack of it — for sexual offenders, particularly an individual diagnosed for severe sexual sadism, voyeurism and paraphilia not otherwise specified, as well as narcissistic personality disorder. He is unquestionably a psychopath who has no empathy towards human beings.

Bernardo’s repentance, if it can be depicted as such, was a long-winded tissue of deception, larded with self-diagnosis of low self-esteem, anxiety disorder, “victim stance thinking” and parent-blaming,

Psychopaths kike Bernardo are unlikely to ever change, no matter what lies and insincere remorse and psychobabble they spout at  parole hearings.

His continuing objectification of women was certainly evident in a 600-page “autobiography,” written as part of a 2009 treatment assignment, in which Bernardo lingered over the physical attributes of former girlfriends and his two murder victims. Their bra sizes. This was intended, he said, to emphasize that the girls looked like adult women and he didn’t want to be mistaken for a pedophile.
The panel did not buy Bernardo’s arguments or his self-serving tears, thereby denying both his day and full parole in a decision reached in under 30 minutes.
I don’t believe that the Parole Board will change its mind when he reapplies for parole again. Maybe they will release him if he is 90 years of age when he applies then. 

Meanwhile the sexual sadist could make another bid for release in two years. He has already spent 25 years of his life sentence in prison— mostly in solitary confinement to protect him from the other inmates. The “no-contact” offender means that he’s in lockdown for 23 hours a day and the range is cleared when he’s allowed out of his cell at Millhaven to take a shower or to exercise. 

Although, even now, the “no-contact” regime is not quite as rigid it seems. Bernardo has already enjoyed escorted temporary passes outside the institution for medical appointments. And he’s participated in a group counselling sessions for sexual deviants. 

Previously Paul Bernardo had phone calls and letters “with highly sexualized” content with a London woman who spoke of marrying  him in 2014.What kind of weird woman wants to marry a sexual sadist who murdered two of his victims?  The London woman who inquired about marrying the dangerous offender and serial rapist but eventually she cut off communication with Bernardo   which greatly distressed him. 
One woman enraptured with Paul Bernardo was, like the object of her warped desire, later designated a dangerous offender herself. She had written threatening letters to the family of one of his victims, stabbed an ex-boyfriend, set her apartment on fire and slashed a security guard at the University Ave. courthouse.

This was not the female with whom the notorious schoolgirl-killer had conducted an intense highly sexualized six-week relationship in 2014, via letters and phone calls, a hookup that repeated — at least in fantasy of all of Bernardo’s well-documented sexual deviances. Bernardo admitted to prison psychiatrists masturbating himself into a frenzy over thoughts of that woman, resurrecting the crime cycle, albeit imagined, of control and debasement and humiliation.

The ten pages of reasons prepared by the Board were the documentary conclusion to a surreal hearing that saw Bernardo reflect on his own psychological oddities in a way the board members to believe “as if he were talking about someone else. He sounded rehearsed, if not actually scripted. In a psychological risk assessment earlier this year, he even occasionally spoke about himself in the third person. Anyone who speaks in the third person is attempting   to escape the reality of the situation that person is in. The person could also be trying to speak as an authority on the subject being discussed.

The Parole Board was having none of it. His behaviour spoke for itself because the two members of the Board had determined that  his performance  was to put his  lies to his claim that he is really  a nice and compassionate guy. He also claimed to have discovered that his sadistic sexual atrocities stemmed from his low self-esteem, misguided coping mechanisms, “cognitive distortions and the disinhibiting effects of stress and alcohol. He also claimed that  he had an anxiety disorder when he committed his crimes.  

While I was a student at the University of Toronto taking the five-year criminology courses in the 1970s, I studied abnormal psychology for one of those years and later, I also conducted individual and group counselling with mentally disturbed prison inmates. That doesn’t mean that I am a psychologist or a psychiatrist but I do have an understanding of abnormal psychology and for this reason, I will give you my opinion about what made Bernardo do the things he did. 

It’s normal to feel anxious when facing a challenging situation, such as a job interview, a tough exam, or a first date. But if your worries and fears are preventing you from living your life the way you’d like to, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.

While having an anxiety disorder can be disabling, preventing persons from living the life they want, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health issues—and are highly treatable.

If you identify with any of the following 7 signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder:
1.    Are you constantly tense, worried, or on edge?
2.   Does your anxiety interfere with your work, school, or family responsibilities?
3.   Are you plagued by fears that you know are irrational, but can’t shake?
4.   Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things aren’t done a certain way?
5.   Do you avoid everyday situations or activities because they cause you anxiety?
6.   Do you experience sudden, unexpected attacks of heart-pounding panic?
7.   Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are around every corner?

Anxiety attacks usually peak within 10 minutes, and they rarely last more than 30 minutes. But during that short time, the terror can be so severe that you feel as if you’re about to die or totally lose control. The physical symptoms of anxiety attacks are themselves so frightening that many people believe they’re having a heart attack. After an anxiety attack is over, you may be worried about having another one, particularly in a public place where help isn’t available or you can’t easily escape.

Suffering from anxiety, even to the extreme does not cause a person to commit the crimes of rape or murder.  so Bernardo to blame his anxiety as the cause of his crimes is pure, unadulterated hogwash.

People are often confronted with feelings of disappointment, frustration and anger as they interact with government officials, co-workers, family and even fellow commuters. Most can control their actions to the extent that relatively few of these interactions end in violence.

Despite the fact that most people with mental illness are generally never violent, news stories about violence often focus on whether a person’s mental health problem was responsible.  People with severe mental illnesses are more than 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crimes than ordinary people in the general population.

To rapists, rape becomes a way to compensate for their underlying feelings of inadequacy which then feeds their issues of  masterycontroldominancestrength and capability. The intent of the power rapist is to assert their competency. The power rapist relies upon verbal threats, intimidation with a weapon, and only uses the amount of force necessary to subdue the victim.

Bernardo was a serial rapist. Serial rapists don’t generally murder their victims. When some of them do murder their victims, it is because they don’t want their victims to testify against them in court.  When Bernardo raped 20 young women in Scarborough, it was  dark outside and they wouldn’t be able to recognize Bernardo in a police lineup. But when he took two victims to his home and the first one saw his face, he decided that he had to kill her so that she couldn’t testify against him in court. Having killed his first victim he took to his house, killing the second victim became academic to him. Those were the actions of a sociopath.

According to the New York University Langone Medical Center, an area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex is responsible for controlling judgment, impulsiveness, aggressiveness and decision-making. Individuals who exhibit antisocial behavior are thought to have chemical imbalances that prevent this area of the brain from sending out the signals that dictate appropriate behaviors. The specific chemical involved is serotonin, which brings about a sense of well-being. Individuals with sociopathic behavior may have damage to the nerve centers that regulate the release of serotonin.

In the mental health field, sociopathy is also known as antisocial personality disorder, a condition that prevents people from adapting to the ethical and behavioral standards of his or her community.  Sociopathic individuals can be dangerous, exhibiting criminal behavior, organizing dangerous cults, and causing harm to themselves and others. There are several signs that someone may be a sociopath, including showing a lack of remorse, having a disregard for the law, and frequently telling lies.

Am I referring to President Donald Trump?  I could be as he fits that description however for this piece, I am referring to Bernardo.

Sociopaths are usually extremely charming and charismatic. Their personalities are described as magnetic, and as such, they generate a lot of attention and praise from others. They also tend to have strong sexual energy and may have strange sexual fetishes or be sex addicts, which Bernardo is.  That is what drove Bernardo to be a sex fiend. His sex drive turned him into an uncontrollable serial rapist.

His trial e judge sentenced him to an indefinite sentence for him to serve in prison.  The judge determined that he was a dangerous sexual offender. Even when he is an old man, he will still be a dangerous sexual offender. For this reason alone, he should never be released from prison.  

If you think that he should be released from prison. I will ask you these two rhetorical questions. “Would you be concerned for the welfare of your teenage daughters if Bernardo was your next-door neighbor? Would you be suffering from anxiety?”  

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