The Ottawa Citizen
Tuesday, January 26, 1999

How law against possession aids police

One of the largest child-porn probes in Canadian history was a success, thanks to the law struck down this month in B.C. Investigators tell how they got their men.

by Derek McNaughton

Nine weeks ago, Edward Jewell walked away from prison virtually a free man after serving some five and a half years in an Ontario prison for having sex with boys as young as 10, most younger than 14.

But Mr. Jewell, now in his early 40s, did not just have sex with children. He filmed that sex on videotape. He made a permanent record of his irrational fantasies. And he permanently destroyed what little innocence remained in at least 20 young boys.

The videotaped sex included masturbation, fellatio, displays of genitalia, urination, and anal intercourse without condoms. Some scenes depicted bondage and homosexual rape. One videotape shows a boy of 11 masturbating with his 10-year-old brother.

In all, more than 230 videotapes were made, dating back to 1990.

Compared to other child-pornography cases around the world, this is not quite the worst. But the Jewell case ranks as one of Canada's biggest. And it underscores the effect of laws against the possession of child pornography, the law that was struck down Jan. 15 by a B.C. Supreme Court judge.

"Possession was the whole linchpin", says Julian Fantino, the police chief who led the investigation into "Project Guardian", an extensive probe into child pornography.

The possession law "played a critical role in enabling us to investigate to the point we did, and to identifying the children involved", says Chief Fantino. "Clearly, it was a critical point."

Ironically, the possession law also triggered the events that led to the arrest of Mr. Jewell and his partner, Gary Gramlick, now in his 60s, who is scheduled to be released from prison Feb. 24.

Mr. Jewell first met Mr. Gramlick while working for his fruit-juice delivery business in London, Ont. It wasn't long before the pair revealed their interests to each other, and began enticing young boys to their apartments, posing as friendly father figures and disguising their homes as places of refuge.

Sometimes Mr. Jewell made himself known to parents of boys. He took boys on trips to Disney World, local amusement parks and Canada's Wonderland. He lured some with money, hats, cigarettes or liquor. Some received $30 to $50 on each occasion they performed a sexual act.

Court documents describe how all the boys were vulnerable to exploitation, "due to their unstable home settings, where adequate supervision and guidance were lacking". In short, these boys were fragile. Innocent. The boys are described as coming from "broken or impoverished homes", yet being "street smart".

After the men gained the boys' trust, they would show them videos of child pornography to stimulate, or "groom", their "visitors".

Professionals say these child pornography videos are used to "reinforce cognitive distortions", and lower inhibitions children have toward sex with adults.

This erosion of a child's natural inhibitions by showing scenes of other children in sexually degrading positions is one reason cited by professionals for keeping possession of child pornography illegal.

It is also the reason so many Canadians are outraged that a B.C. Supreme Court Justice this month struck down Section 163.1 (4) of the Code, which makes it illegal to possess child pornography.

In the bombshell ruling, now being appealed, Justice Duncan Shaw argued the law is a "profound invasion" of freedom of expression and right to privacy guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The ruling has already led to the dismissal of child-pornography possession charges against a Surrey, B.C., man. As well, it has unlocked a groundswell of fury, with the Ottawa-based Canadian Judicial Council receiving at least 50 complaints.

Det. Insp. Bob Matthews, head of the Ontario Provincial Police child pornography division, is also upset about the ruling. He was involved with Project Guardian, and says that without the possession law, police can't slow the crime's explosive growth.

"Possession is key", he says. "That part of the legislation is probably one of the best tools we have to investigate this heinous crime. Possession is basically our foot in the door."

Many of the boys preyed upon by Mr. Gramlick and Mr. Jewell were under the age of 14, too young to have known what they were falling into, or to suspect they were being filmed so that hundreds of men could masturbate to scenes of child sexual abuse.

The two men watched their victims through a surveillance camera hidden in an empty light box in the living room. The camera was focused on the living room couch and on the floor in front of the couch. The camera fed images to a bedroom monitor.

Once the boys were aroused, Mr. Jewell, in particular, would move from the bedroom to the living room to engage in sex with the boys. Mr Gramlick didn't engage in the sex; he directed the children like an circus animal trainer.

Insp. Matthews, who has been with the division for 11 years, claims child pornography, unlike adult pornography, is not a money-making industry. It is driven, he says, more by sexual desire and people who fantasize about sex with children. "Child pornography covers the entire globe and its popularity is skyrocketing."

So much so the OPP unit has 15 officers who cover all Ontario except Toronto and Ottawa. Last year the unit executed 59 search warrants, made 134 investigations, arrested 28 people and laid 110 charges. But that didn't make a dent in the market for child pornography, he says, adding those numbers are expected to double this year.

"There is so much child pornography being distributed in Canada and in other countries", he says. "And very rarely do we have enough evidence to get a warrant for distributing or making. That's why possession (as a criminal charge) is so crucial.

"If you take the possession part of the Criminal Code away, we can't investigate, because it's very difficult to come up with evidence of distributing, evidence of making, evidence of importing, evidence of children who have been molested by this individual because you can't get in his house."

Det. Sgt. Chris Hobson, head of the morality squad of the Metro Toronto police, has also witnessed child pornography from all over the world. In 1993, Toronto police seized 3,300 videotapes and arrested 30 people after a five-month child pornography investigation.

Recently, his squad arrested a Toronto man who was allegedly making pornography in which the youngest girl was 14 years old.

"The guy solicited young females from off the street, kids from 'uneven' families, and paid them $200 to $300 per session", Sgt. Hobson said. "He would befriend their circle of friends, he would film them or have them pose on video, and he had it piped into a commercial Web page which went internationally."

Toronto's morality section deals with between 12 and 20 child pornography cases per year, he says, and they are becoming more frequent.

In 1992, the federal government released a report revealing one of three males, and two of three females, were victims of unwanted sexual acts, and that 80 per cent of these acts occurred before the victim was 21.

In response, Parliament changed the Criminal Code on child pornography in 1993. Previously, it was an offence punishable by a maximum of two years in prison to make or distribute "any obscene material." The offence now includes possession, and the maximum penalty has jumped to 10 years.

It was that 1993 legislation, now struck down in B.C., that ignited the events leading to the arrest of Mr. Jewell and Mr. Gramlick.

According to court documents, the men, fearing the new penalties, agreed to stop videotaping children in August 1993.

Mr. Jewell -- described in a pre-sentence report as a "nervous, lonely person", and diagnosed as a hebophile, a man whose sexual preference is mid-adolescent boys -- stopped making child pornography. But Mr. Gramlick continued.

But a Toronto civil liberties lawyer says the law is unconstitutional and gives police far too much power. "(The B.C. ruling ) has returned a little bit of the balance to privacy, freedom of conscience and belief, and taken a little bit away from the police", says Frank Addario, the lawyer who defended Toronto artist Eli Langer after police tried to seize Mr. Langer's paintings depicting nude boys.

"The police are still armed with many, many weapons to combat depredations against children", he said. The B.C. judge, he continued, "did not decriminalize the making (of child pornography) or sex-assault laws that still apply to any attempt to engage children in sexual activity, which any right-thinking person would agree should be a criminal offence."

He cites an example of two people legally married at 17 deciding to memorialize their honeymoon night on the Betacam given to them as a wedding present. "If the police found out about the video, they could get a search warrant, knock down your doors, get a wiretap and listen to your private conversations and launch an investigation.

"The law doesn't just apply to pedophiles, it applies to collectors of art who could be criminalized. Some would say that's going a bit far. I say that's going too far."

Mr. Addario points out that the B.C. judge also looked at the sum of social-science literature dealing with the "impulse relief", or masturbating habits of sex offenders, as a significant factor in the possession of child pornography.

"A lot of these guys are highly passive", said Mr. Addario. "They'll use this stuff to relieve their impulses. Since what we know about pedophiles is they're impulse-driven, it seems to me I want these guys in their basement relieving their impulses. I don't want them at the schoolyard. I don't want them in the parks."

Dr. Ron Langevin of Oakville, Ont., has conducted a study into exactly this kind of behaviour, and he says of all the convicted sex offenders he's seen, only 15 to 17 per cent cited child pornography as a "motivating factor."

Although he's not in favour of making possession legal, "it's not a trigger" to sexual assault, he said. "People who are sex offenders tend to be learning disabled and can't relate to pictures and fantasies."

"The dominant group is inadequate men who don't have any relationships, who don't have any social skills. They don't find any satisfaction in normal relationships. The people who produce it, that's another matter."

As a producer, Mr. Gramlick didn't stop making child pornography when the new laws came out in 1993; but Mr. Jewell, according to testimony, somehow found the wherewithal to quit.

Fearing capture, the two men hired another person to get rid of 40 videotapes they had made. The tapes were placed inside two garbage bags and tossed into the Ausable River near London, Ont.

"The reason those tapes were discarded was the fact that now there was this new law", said Chief Fantino. "The new law made possession of this material a criminal offence."

About a month later, a boy fishing in the river thought he had hooked a big one. Little did he know the garbage bags he landed, stuffed with the videotapes, would launch one of the biggest child-pornography investigations in Canada, and the biggest ever in the the history of the London police department.

The law, adds Chief Fantino, "allowed us to carry out a criminal investigation, as opposed to (recovering) just a bunch of found property. Possession was a critical component of the whole investigation."

Less than two months later, in November 1993, Mr. Jewell and Mr. Gramlick were finally arrested. Mr. Jewell, who had a previous conviction for sexual offences involving young males, pleaded guilty to 10 charges. He was sentenced to 15 years, but had his sentence reduced to seven years on appeal. He was released from prison Oct. 23.

Mr. Gramlick, who court documents say was abused as a boy, pleaded guilty to nine charges. At the time he said he felt bad about what he did to the boys. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but had that time cut in half through an appeal in 1995. He too will walk away from prison, a free man, on Feb. 24, even though his victims will be locked in their own psychological prisons for the rest of their lives.

According to law professor Kathleen Mahoney, an expert in child-pornography cases, that psychological and physical trauma is profound.

"The nature of a good portion of child pornography requires the rape of a child, ranging from six months of age to 15 or 16 years of age. These children are shown drugged, in pain often, and there have been babies submitted to sexual acts with adults."

The damage does not end when the filming stops, she adds. "Every time (the pornography) is shown, that child is injured in its dignity, its reputation, its identity. The harm is multiplied several times. The child is offended against time and time again."

Ms. Mahoney says the B.C. ruling goes against all community standards in Canada, and does nothing to improve the welfare of children. Possession, she claims, is like a chain, intrinsically linked to the manufacture and distribution of child pornography.

"You can have one piece of child porn in your possession, which wouldn't amount to distribution evidence, but you could put it on the Net and distribute it to hundreds of people", she says.

Insp. Matthews admits feeling helpless sometimes in trying to stop the growth in child pornography.

He adds: "I can't get my mind around how someone can say there's nothing wrong with possession of child pornography. It always looks different when it's somebody else's child, but let it be a member of your family and have that happening.

"Let that be your child who has been violated to the extreme, knowing that some pedophile is masturbating to a picture of your son or daughter being violated to such an extent.

"Tell me there's no harm in that."

Copyright © 1999 by The Ottawa Citizen. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.