Lilith Magazine -June 30, 1997
Q. All right doctor what do you know about this case? You examined the boy in this case did you?
A. On June the 4th at II pm, the detectives brought in this boy Elmer
D. I asked the boy what happened and he said ...
Q. You examined his rectum, did you?
A. I asked the boy first what happened.
Q. Never mind what he said. You examined his rectum, did you?
Q. Did you know he was doing something he should not be doing?
A. I did not know at the time.
Q. You knew afterwards?
A. Well, I knew, but ...
Q. Did you ever try to stop him?
Q. How often were you in there with him?
A. About ten times.
Q. What happened? (no answer)
Q. What time of day was it?
Q. What was it that occurred? (no answer)
Q. What took place in that room We can't have nonsense like this all day. Come, out with it) (no answer)
Q. Come, tell us something or other? What did you do? (no answer)
Q. You had to beat him very much?
A. I beat him the same as any other child who has to be corrected.
Q. How often would you beat him?
A. Well, if he deserved it he would get it.(41)
(1) C.S. Clark, Of Toronto the Good (Montreal 1898), 81-3, 90
(2) Jeffrey Weeks, Coming Out: Homosexual Politics in Britain, from the Nineteenth Century to the Present (London 1977), 39. Weeks went on to explore the world of working-class male youth and prostitution in an important article published in 1980, but his evidentiary base remained limited. As Weeks realized, `the necessary detailed empirical research still has to be done., Weeks, `Inverts, Perverts, and Mary-Annes: Male Prostitution and the Regulation of Homosexuality in England in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries,' Journal of Homosexuality 6 (fall/winter 1980-1), reprinted in M. Duberman, M. Vicinus, and G. Chauncey, eds., Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past (New York 1989), 197
(3) George Chauncey, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 (New York 1994), 140, 86-95
(4) The scandals have generated an uneven journalistic literature. See Michael Harris, Unholy Orders: Tragedy at Mount Cashel (Markham, Ont. 1990); Judy Steed, Our Little Secret: Confronting Child Sexual Abuse in Canada (Toronto 1994); Darcy Henton, Boys Don't Cry: The True Story of Canada's Child Abuse Scandal (Toronto 1995). For a more critical analysis that investigates how government inquiries reproduce homophobic equations of gay men as child molesters, see Gary Kinsman, `The Hughes Commission: Making Homosexuality the Problem Once Again,' New Maritimes: A Regional Magazine of Culture and Politics II (Jan./Feb. 1993), 17-19.
(5) Lisa Duggan, `From Instincts to Politics: Writing the History of Sexuality in the U.S.,' Journal of Sex Research 27 (Feb. 1990): 108- 9. An important exception, of course, is the work of feminist historians who, in writing the history of men's violence again women, also often examine the physical and sexual abuse of girls. See, for example, Linda Gordon, Heroes of Their Own Lives: The Politics and History Of Family Violence (New York 1988), and Karen Dubinsky, Improper Advances: Rape and Heterosexual Conflict in Ontario, 1880- 1929 (Chicago 1993). See also Terry Chapman, "`Inquiring Minds Want to Know": The Handling of Children in Sex Assault Cases in the Canadian West, 1890-1920,' in S. Smandych et al., eds., Dimensions of Childhood: Essays on the History of Children and Youth in Canada (Winnipeg 1990). 183-204
(6) For historiographical background, see my article `In Search of "Sodom North": The Writing of Lesbian and Gay History in English Canada, 1970-1990,' Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/Revue Canadienne de Literature Comparee 21 (March/June 1994): 117-32.
(7) This article is draw from my PhD dissertation, tentatively entitled `Toronto the Gay: Sex, Men, and the Police in Urban Ontario, 1890-1940' (Queen's University, in progress). My search through court records housed at the Archives of Ontario turned up 313 cues involving `homosexual' offences in Ontario for the period 1890-1935. It is not possible to pin down exactly how many or what percentage of these cases involved boys, as some cases did not specify the ages of (or provide other age-related information about) the parties involved. I have been able to identify seventy cases involving sexual relations between men and boys/male youth to examine for this article. These cases were processed under the criminal code categories of buggery, indecent assault upon a male, and gross indecency, the latter being by far the most frequent charge. On the legal history of these criminal code provisions, see Terry Chapman, "An Oscar Wilde Type": "The Abominable Crime of Buggery" in Western Canada, 1890-1920,' Criminal Justice History 4 (1983): 97-118 and Chapman, `Male Homosexuality: Legal Restraints and Social Attitudes in Western Canada, 1890-1920,' in Louis Knafla, ed., Law and Justice in a New Land: Essays in Western Canadian Legal History (Toronto 1986), 277-92. The cases employed here come from two different sets of court records: Archives of Ontario, Criminal Court Records, RG 22, Criminal Assize Indictment Case Files, Series 392 (hereafter AO, Criminal Assize indictments, county/district, date, case number), and Archives of Ontario, Criminal Court Records, RG 2.2, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, various series (hereafter AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, country/district, date, case number). As the crown attorney prosecution case files remain largely unprocessed and stored in temporary boxes, I will not ate box numbers. In order to be granted research access to the crown attorney's files I was required to enter into a research agreement with the archives. In accordance with that agreement, all names have been anonymized and all case the numbers used here refer to my own numbering scheme and do not correspond to any numbers that may appear on the original case files.
(8) There are some parallels here with the history of working-class girls and their sexual relations with men. As Christine Stansell has argued for nineteenth-century New York City, young girls learned `early about their vulnerability to sexual harm from grown men ... [but] also learned some ways to turn men's interest to their own purposes. Casual prostitution was one.' Stansell locates the way `girls gambled with prostitution' firmly within the economic necessities dictated by life on the as well as within girls' desire for independence and amusement By virtue of their gender, boys, especially older boys, stood a better chance than most girls in the luck of the sexual draw with men. But the dialectic between vulnerability to sexual harm and turning that vulnerability around to one's own purposes also characterizes much about boys' sexual relations with men in early twentieth-century urban Ontario. Stansell, City of Women: Sex and Class in New York, 1789-1860 (New York 1986), 182
(9) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, York County, 1918, case 35
(10) AO, Criminal Assize Indictments, Middlesex County, 1904, case 191
(11) I want to underscore that in arguing that sexual danger and desire were rooted in boys' street culture and working-class life, I am not suggesting that sex between boys and men was somehow unique to working-class existence. My concentration on working-class male youth stems from my own interest in working-class history and from the nature of my sources (working-class and immigrant boys turn up in the court records more often than middle-class boys because the former were subject to greater police and legal surveillance). Middle-class boys also had sex with men, but the social organization of their sexual relations was different. For instance, rather than on the street, middle-class boys developed sexual relations with men in private boarding schools. On romantic friendships and sexual dangers in boys' boarding schools, see, for example, jean Barman, Growing Up British in British Columbia: Boys in Private School (Vancouver 1984), and James Fitzgerald, Old Boys: The Powerful Legacy of Upper Canada College (Toronto 1994). See also E. Anthony Rotundo, `Romantic Friendship: Male Intimacy and Middle-Class Youth in the Northern United States, 1800-1900, `Journal of Social History 23 (fall 1989): 1-25.
(12) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, Lincoln County, 1931, case 199, and Carleton County, 1925, case 155
(13) See, for example, James Chandler, Arnold I. Davidson, and Harry Harootunian, eds., Questions of Evidence: Proof Practice, and Persuasion across the Disciplines (Chicago 1994), and the special issue of PMLA on `The Status of Evidence,' PMLA III (Jan. 1996).
(14) Carlo Ginzburg, `Checking the Evidence: The judge and the Historian,' Critical Inquiry 18 (autumn 1991) 79-92
(15) Joan W. Scott, `The Evidence of Experience,' in Henry Abelove, Michele Aina Barale, and David M. Halperin, eds., The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader (New York 1993), 400
(16) I trace how the discursive practices of one textual element of the legal case file -- the psychiatric case history -- helped to produce the category of the `homosexual.' See my as yet unpublished paper, `On the Case of the Case: The Emergence of the Homosexual as a Case History, Ontario, 1900-1935.'
(17) AO, Criminal Assize Indictments, Lincoln County, 1931, case 199; Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, Carleton County, 1923, case 148; 1925, case 155; 1914, case 119; 1929, case 171
(18) Mariana Valverde, `As If Subjects Existed: Analysing Social Discourses,' Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology 2.8 (1991): 180-1. See Natalie Zemon Davis, Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales and Their Tellers in Sixteenth Century France (Stanford 1987), and Joan Sangster, `"Pardon Tales" from Magistrate's Court. Women, Crime, and the Court in Peterborough County, 1920-50,' Canadian Historical Review 74 (June 1993): 161-97. The literature on narratology written by critical legal theorists, literary critics, and historians is vast For one overview of court records as historical evidence that includes some discussion of narratology, see Edward Muir and Guido Ruggiero, eds., History from Crime: Selections from `Quaderni Storici' (Baltimore 1994).
(19) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, York County, 1926, case in
(20) Ed Cohen, Talk on the Wilde Side: Toward a Genealogy of a Discourse on Male Sexualities (New York 1993), 129
(21) Miranda Chaytor, `Husband(ry): Narratives of Rape in the Seventeenth Century,' Gender 4 History 7 (Nov. 1995): 380
(22) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, Carleton County, 1915, case 123
(23) Tina Loo, `Dan Cranmer's Potlatch: Law as Coercion, Symbol, and Rhetoric in British Columbia, 1884-1951,' Canadian Historical Review 73 (June 1992): 133, 135
(24) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, Ontario County, 1928, case 197; The Ontario Weekly Notes 33 (io Feb. 1928): 337-41
(25) I say that corroboration in cases involving boys fourteen and older was `usually' necessary because legal opinion on tins matter differed. In a case from 1914, a judge found Charles W. guilty of gross indecency with a fourteen-year-old boy. The man's lawyer requested that the case be reserved for the opinion of the Supreme Court of Ontario because he believed that the boy was an accomplice, that corroboration was therefore necessary, and that because there was no corroboration of the evidence his client should have been found not guilty. A chief justice of Ontario agreed that the boy was an accomplice, but ruled that corroboration was not essential to the validity of the conviction. The conviction was affirmed and the judge sentenced Charles to four years in the Kingston Penitentiary. Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, Carleton County, 1914, case 119. Charles W.'s trial went on to become a part of Ontario's reported case law. See R v. Williams (1914), 23 CCC 339 (Ont. CA). Its entry in the reported case law, however, does not include the depositions and other case details to be found in the crown attorney's case files.
(26) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, York County, 1909, case 92. `Evidence Not Sufficient' Toronto Evening Telegram, 10 Sept. 1909, 19
(27) Kathleen Canning, `Feminist History after the Linguistic Turn: Historicizing Discourse and Experience,' Signs 19 (winter 1994): 370
(28) Judith Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London (Chicago 1992), 9, and Mary Poovey, Uneven Developments: The Ideological Work of Gender in Mid-Victorian England (Chicago 1988), 17. For more on `the relationship between representation and material life,' see Regina Kunzel, `Pulp Fictions and Problem Girls: Reading and Rewriting Single Pregnancy in the Postwar United States,' American Historical Review 100 (Dec. 1995): 1465-87.
(29) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, Carleton County, 1922, case 147; York County, 1911, case 8. Susan E. Houston, `The "Waifs and Strays" of a Late Victorian City. Juvenile Delinquents in Toronto,' in J. Parr, ed., Childhood and Family in Canadian History (Toronto 1982), 139
(30) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, Carleton County, 1929, case 171. I discuss Bowles Lunch and other late-night diners as homosexual sites in more detail elsewhere in my dissertation. The importance of these spaces was first drawn out by Chauncey in Gay New York, 163-77.
(31) Clark, Of Toronto the Good, go. AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, Carleton County, 1929, case 171. On immigrant apprentices, see Joy Parr, Labouring Children: British Immigrant Apprentices to Canada, 1869-1924 (Montreal 1980).
(32) Carolyn Strange, Toronto's Girl Problem: The Perils and Pleasures of the City, 1880-1930 (Toronto 1995), 117. AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, Carleton County, 1914, case 119: York County, 1916, case 18: 1921, case 107
(33) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, Carleton County, 1925, case 155. On the pattern of homosexual relationships in the early twentieth century in which working-class male youths were keptby wealthier men, see Kevin Porter and Jeffrey Weeks, eds., Between the Acts: Lives of Homosexual Men, 1885-1967 (London 1991). See also the wonderful photographic evidence of the long relationship between architect Montague Glover and Ralph Hall, his young, working-class chauffeur and lover, in James Gardiner, A Class Apart: The Private Pictures of Montague Glover (London 1992).
(34) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Film York County, 1914, case 14; 1918, case 36
(35) Ibid., 1922, case 109; 1921, case 107
(36) AO, Criminal Assize Indictments, Lambton County, 1925, case 192
(37) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, Carleton County, 1922., case 142. Clark, Of Toronto the Good, go. Toronto Evening Telegram, 5 Aug. 1909, 13. It may also be that `blackmail' did not turn up in the cases I examined because it was processed under other, non-sexual criminal code offences.
(38) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, York County, 1917, case 23; 1916, case 99; Carleton County, 1921, case 135
(39) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, Carleton County, 1917, case 128; Criminal Assize Indictments, Algoma District, 1919, case 207; Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, Algoma District, 1922, case 204. John Bullen, `Hidden Workers: Child Labour and the Family Economy in Late Nineteenth-Century Urban Ontario,' Labour/Le Travail 18 (fall 1986): 163-87; Neil Sutherland, `"We Always Had Things to Do": The Paid and Unpaid Work of Anglophone Children between the 1920s and the 1960s,' Labour/Le Travail 25 (spring 1990): 105-41; Bettina Bradbury, Working Families. Age, Gender and Daily Survival in Industrializing Montreal (Toronto 1993)
(40) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, Carleton County, 1927, case 164. On boarding as a working-class survival strategy, see Bettina Bradbury, `Pigs, Cows, and Boarders: Non-Wage Forms of Survival among Montreal Families, 1861-1891,' Labour/Le Travail 14 (1984): 9-46.
(41) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, York County, 1916, case 20
(42.) Ibid., 1913, case 96; 1920, case 106; 1909, case 92; 1916, case 22
(43) Ibid., 1909, case 93; Carleton County, 1921, case 136; 1914, case 115; 1914, case 119
(44) Ibid., 1918, case 104; Algoma District, 1926, case 203; Carleton County, 1923, case 148; Algoma District, 1926, case 204; York County, 1907, case 90
(45) `A Big Brother' and `Soda] at Broadview "Y," Toronto Evening Telegram, 24 Oct. 1923, 9 and 16. AO, Papers of the National Council of the YMCA, F814, Local Association Files, Series A, Toronto, box 37
(46) AO, Papers of the Toronto Boys' Home, mu 4932, Annual Report, Series C, I Oct. 1915 to 30 Sept. 1916, 12
(47) Seth Koven, `From Rough Lads to Hooligans: Boy life, National Culture and Social Reform' in Andrew Parker et al., eds., Nationalisms & Sexualities (New York 1992), 365-91. AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, York County, 1925, case 73
(48) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, York County, 1916, case 100 Toronto Evening Telegram, 29 May 1916, 15
(49) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, York County, 1932, case 113
(50) Ibid., Ontario County, 1928, and Criminal Assize Indictments, Ontario County, 1928, case 197. Toronto Evening Telegram, 13 April 1929, 28. Loo, `Dan Cranmer's Potlatch,' 135,158. Not all was lost in this case. During his time with the OPP and the county crown attorney, Aubrey explained that his brother Reginald had been in the Victoria Industrial School for more than four years and that he had been confined there by Mr E., without there ever having been a charge against him. The county crown attorney wrote to the government official responsible for the CAS, demanding an explanation: Reginald J. `was sent to Victoria Industrial School by Mr. W.H. E. and apparently there is no charge against him ... [we] cannot find any information concerning why this boy is confined to the Institution. My own opinion is that Mr. E. had him confined there to suit his own convenience ... Let me hear from you why this boy is being confined as his is.' indeed, there was no charge against Reginald and, perhaps to avoid any further bad publicity, the government official intervened personally in Reginald's case and promised his release. As J.J. Kelso wrote to the crown attorney. `[I] took this matter up with the Industrial School people and they have promised to give this boy special consideration next month. I believe they have an application for the boy from someone in the vicinity of Whitby.'
(51) AO, Criminal Assize Indictments, Ontario County, 1922, case 196. A similar phenomenon is discussed by Martha Vicinus in her fine essay on `crushes' and `raves' between adolescent girls and women. A woman brought under the sway of a younger girl might discover `the young girl's power over her' as the girl shifted her affections elsewhereor left school. Vicinus, `Distance and Desire: English Boarding School Friendships, 1870-1920,' in Hidden from History, 223
(52) Toronto Evening Telegram, 19 Dec. 1906, 18
(53) Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Enquire into the Prison and Reformatory System of Ontario, 1891 (Toronto 1891), 700. Toronto Police Department, `Annual Report of the Chief Constable, 1890,' Toronto City Council, Minutes, 1891, app. c, 27. For more on the turn-of-the-century `boy problem,' see Neil Sutherland, Children in English Canadian Society Framing the Twentieth Century Consensus (Toronto 1976), and Harry Hendrick, Images of Youth: Age, Class, and the Male Youth Problem, 1880-1920 (London 1990).
(54) Howland's testimony before the Royal Commission on the Relations of Labor and Capital, cited in Michael Cross, ed., The Workingman in the Nineteenth Century (Toronto 1974), 106-7. Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Enquire into the Prison and Reformatory System in Ontario, 1891, 689
(55) Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Enquire into the Prison and Reformatory System in Ontario, 1891, 701-2. `Mayor's Message on the Morality Department,' Toronto City Council, Minutes, 1892, app. c. no. 11, 91. `Report of Staff inspector David Archibald to Chief Constable Grasett,' 13 Dec. 1886, Toronto City Council, Minutes, 1887, app., item 1061, 1030
(56) W.L Clark. Our Sons (Ontario 1914), 96-106, and B.G. Jeffries, Search Lights on Health, Light on Dark Corners: A Complete Sexual Science and a Guide to Purity and Physical Manhood (Toronto 1894), 437. Bulletin of the Council for Social Service of the Church of England in Canada, 51 (Oct. 1921): 12, found in National Archives of Canada, Papers of the Montreal Council of Women, MG 28, 1 164, vol. 12. Thanks to Robert Champagne for bringing this source to my attention.
(57) AO, Records of the Attorney General, RG 4, Criminal and Civil Files, Series 32, file 583 (1912). AO. Records of the Ontario Provincial Police, RG 23, Criminal Investigations and Reports, 1912, Series E-18, box 1, file 19. AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, York County, 1922, case 109
(58) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, Ontario County, 1915, case 195; Carleton County, 1915, case 121
(59) See Ellen Ross, Love and Toil: Motherhood in Outcast London, 1870-1918 (New York 1993).
(60) AO, Crown Attorney Prosecution Case Files, Carleton County, 19m, case 136; York County, 1916, case 101
(61) Ibid., Ontario County, 1915, case 195
(62) Ibid., Carleton County, 1921, case 135; 1924, case 115
(63) On boys' testimony before the Royal Commission on the Relations of Labor and Capital, see Greg Kealey, ed., Canada Investigates Industrialism (Toronto 1973), 195, 197, 14, 199-200. On boys' Labour in early twentieth-century Ontario, see Loma F. Hurt, `Overcoming the Inevitable: Restricting Child Factory Labour in Late Nine-teenth- Century Ontario,' Labour/Le Travail 2.1 (spring 1988): 87-121, and lane Synge, `The Transition from School to Work: Growing Up Working-Class in Early 20th Century Hamilton, Ontario,' in K Ishwaran, ed., Childhood and Adolescence in Canada (Toronto 1979). 249-69.
(64) On the mechanisms of moral panics, I am following Jeffrey Weeks, Sexuality and Its Discontents: Meaning, Myths and Modern Sexualities (London 1985), 45.
(65) My account of the London panic is drawn from Gerald Hannon, `The Kiddie-Porn Ring That Wasn't.' Globe and Mail, 11 March 1995; `The Trials of London' and `More Trials of London,' Ideas series, CBC radio; John Greyson, `After the Bath,' CBC television documentary; and Gary Kinsman, The Regulation of Desire: Homo and Hetero Sexualities, 2nd rev. ed. (Montreal 1996), 356-8. Asked in an interview why the newspaper continued to run headlines on a `child pornography ring' long after it became dear that no such thing existed, the editor of the London Free Press astonishingly admitted the reason was that, compared with teen prostitution, stories on child pornography rings sold more papers. See Greyson, `After the Bath.'
(66) As one fifteen-year-old related his experience: The police say I'm a victim because I was forced. I wasn't forced. How can I be a victim? ... I always just did it for the money.' Quoted in Hannon, The Kiddie-Pom Ring.' Or, as another reporter indicated, `Many [of the boys] don't see themselves as victims, and they're suspicious of the sudden interest in their welfare.' Henry Hess, `How Child PornHas Rocked a City,' Globe and Mail, 18 Feb. 1994
(67) George Chauncey Jr, The Postwar Sex Crime Panic,' in William Graebner, ed., True Stories from the American Past (New York 1993), 172. See also Estelle B. Freedman, "Uncontrolled Desires': The Response to the Sexual Psychopath, 1920-1960.' in Kathy Peiss and Christina Simmons, eds., Passion & Power. Sexuality in History (Philadelphia 1989), 199-225.
(68) It scarcely needs pointing out that the historical shifts in the meaning of sexual relations between boys and men towards the currently hegemonic and homophobic understanding of such relations as the product of homosexual predation has done nothing to help those boys who have experienced sexual abuse at the hands of men. The identification of the sexual abuse of boys as a social problem is a very recent phenomenon. It has come about not through the efforts of those who obfuscate the issue of men's power by homosexualizing the abuse of boys but through the work of women and men, including lesbians and gay men, to confront child sexual abuse. See, for example, Loving in Fear Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse (Toronto 1992).
For their helpful comments, I than Veronica Strong-Boag, George Chauncey, Bryan Palmer, Neil Sutherland, and especially Henry Abelove. Thanks as well to the CHR's anonymous readers. Earlier versions of this article were presented to Out of the Archives: A Conference on the History of Bisexuals, Lesbians and Gay Men in Canada, York University, January 1994, and The Second Carleton Conference on the History of the Family, Carleton University, May 1994.