Sunday, September 24

Background check

Here are a few transcribed newspaper/magazine articles that I have been able to find on a Patrick White, born in Leamington (Ontario) circa 1943, for a period from 1988 to 2008. It is meant to be representative, not comprehensive.


Man to appear on indecent sexual assault charge; Man faces sex charge in Victoria

VICTORIA — A man will appear in Victoria provincial court today charged with indecent sexual assault, an Oak Bay police spokesman said Sunday. Acting on a citizen complaint, Port Moody police arrested the man Friday and a sheriff escorted him to Vancouver Island during the weekend. Oak Bay police held the man for questioning last weekend, after receiving a complaint from the mother of a 12- year-old girl, Const. Chris Smith said. "He wanted her to work in his concession booth at the Oak Bay Tea Party," Smith said. "He told her mother he was a priest and she thought it funny that you'd have a part-time priest working with a carnival."

Police checked the man's credentials from the World Christianship Ministries to the Gospel Outreach in Fresno, Calif., which they believed to be a mail-order diploma company, Smith said. Police subsequently discovered there were warrants for the man's arrest for a variety of offences in Virginia, New York, South Carolina and Mississippi, he said. But the warrants proved to be "non-returnable," Smith said, meaning there would be no attempt to seek his extradition. "We didn't have grounds to hold him because the (jurisdictions) could not afford to pay for his return," he said. After his release, Oak Bay police continued an investigation that culminated in a warrant being issued for an alleged indecent assault of an 18-year-old male co-worker, Smith said. Police are continuing their investigation, he added. Charged is Patrick Harold White, 45.

The Vancouver Sun: 13 June 1988


Man prepares his own defence

VICTORIA — Patrick Harold White, 45, will defend himself against a charge of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old male in Victoria. The accused made a brief appearance in court Monday and asked provincial court Judge Stephen Denroch for access to the law library in order to prepare his case. Although familiar with American law and court procedings, White said he was unfamiliar with Canadian law. Judge Denroch said he did not have jurisdiction over access to the law library, but advised White that materials he required would be made available to him — including police reports, which led to his arrest. White agreed to remain in custody. He will appear in provincial court again today.

The Vancouver Sun: 14 June 1988


Youth admits charging priest for sex acts

VICTORIA — Sexual assault charges against a mail-order priest were thrown out of court Tuesday after the complainant admitted he consented and received money for sex acts. Judge Darrall Collins chastised Crown counsel and police for an "inadequate investigation of the case" before discharging Patrick Harold White, 45, on the first day of a preliminary hearing.

White was charged after an 18-year-old learning disabled youth said he was sexually molested in June in a Victoria motel. But during cross-examination the teenager said it was agreed that he would be paid $20 for sex acts. "I think this is a dreadful situation and I think the investigation, both by police and possibly by the prosecuting office, leaves a good deal to be desired," Collins said before discharging White.

White, a Canadian citizen, often dresses as a priest and has a diploma stating he is an "ordained chaplain from a California mail-order church." Oak Bay police Sgt. Harold McNeill said files have been turned over to the U.S. justice department for White's extradition. He is wanted in South Carolina, Virginia, New York and Mississippi on charges ranging from sexual assault to car theft. He is also wanted in Ontario on theft and fraud charges.

Crown counsel Robert Jones said there had been no indication prior to the cross-examination that the teenager, whose name cannot be published because of a court-ordered ban, had consented to the act. "Perhaps, when in a witness box under oath and in front of a judge, the seriousness of the situation gets to a naive kid," said Jones, who said he and the police interviewed the teenager extensively.

The Vancouver Sun: 13 July 1988


The hunt is on

HALIFAX — A man who briefly ran an investment counselling office that solicited clients across the continent has disappeared, amid a string of suspected frauds and a car theft. Patrick Harold White, 50, opened the IDEA Investments office here in March, using a 1-800 number to solicit clients. Yesterday city police issued a nationwide warrant for Mr. White's arrest on a charge of stealing his secretary's car. Police also want to question him about alleged frauds in the last month involving dozens of clients. Police in Waterloo want him on a 1985 charge of theft under $1,000.

The Hamilton Spectator: 21 Apr 1993


The Con Man

David Mackin was eleven years old when his father moved from the family home, leaving Mackin and his two siblings in a penurious, single-parent household — they collected welfare, they lived in a Jane and Finch housing development, they learned to ignore the chalky aftertaste of powdered milk. As David Mackin grew into an adult, he and his absent father endured long periods of hostility, interspersed with brief attempts at reconciliation.

The last of these attempts occurred in August of 1993, after Mackin spotted a Toronto Star article describing the advent of a new local newspaper called The Outrider. Emulating a British paper called The Big Issue, the publisher of The Outrider sold each issue to homeless and needy vendors, who in turn sold it to the public for a profit. Mackin was astonished; the publisher was none other than his father, James Mackin, whom he hadn't spoken to for over nine months. When they had last seen one another, the elder Mackin was living in Hamilton, tending to three children conceived during a later marriage.

Mackin contacted his father, and they had an encouraging reunion. Six weeks later, he invested $5,000 in his father's paper, money his father would later use to furnish their Bloor Street West offices. Though Mackin was still wary of his father, he also felt guilty about their tumultuous relationship, and he hoped that a joint venture might bond father and son. It accomplished the opposite. "As soon as the business was up and running, he cut me out. I lost the 5,000 bucks. He just told me: 'It's not working out between the two of us, so why don'tcha leave?' He's a very abrupt, very offensive guy. He basically told me to fuck off and that was it." (James Mackin insists that the $5,000 was partly a loan and partly a repayment of money his son had borrowed from him seven years earlier. "At no time," he says, "did I ever agree to let David be a partner.")

For David Mackin, the split clawed at wounds accumulated during all thirty-one years of his life. "The only good thing," he says today, "is that I'll never again feel guilty for the feelings I have toward my father." There was one other consolation: the younger Mackin resolved to start his own newspaper, a direct competitor to The Outrider. In October of 1993, The Outreach Connection hit the streets, a publication that made no attempt to disguise its limited resources: it was all of eight pages long, it lacked the The Outrider's front-page colour screening and it appeared biweekly, a publishing schedule unpopular with advertisers. Worse, it showed little evidence of an editorial focus; given that Mackin depended on volunteer submissions, he published whatever arrived on his desk, articles ranging from discussions of the latest Maple Leaf trade to discourses on Russian politics to polemics on holistic medicine.

Mackin was determined to make The Outreach Connection succeed — to fail would be an admission that he'd been bettered by a man who was now referring to David Mackin in public as his "estranged son." Unfortunately, his thirst for revenge didn't change the fact that he had little capital, knew nothing about newspaper publishing, had never run a business and was still cutting lawns three days a week to pay the rent.

In late December, sometime between Christmas and New Year's, David Mackin took a call from a man named Patrick White. White was a businessman from out west, and he'd recently picked up a copy of The Outreach Connection. "You're doing great work," White told him, "and I think I could help your paper." After ten minutes, the conversation ended with Mackin excited by White's apparent financial resources. "I really thought he might be able to help the paper," Mackin says today. "I had to take a chance."

By his own admission, David Mackin is naive and congenitally trusting of others. It is the reason he wrote a $5,000 cheque to his father, and it is the reason he was so impressed by Patrick White when they met at the Best Western hotel on Kingston Road. Yet, in Mackin's defence, on that first visit he also took along his sister Heather, a woman ordinarily wary of others. She, too, was charmed by White's affable manner, by his habit of smiling while he spoke, by the Torah he displayed on his night table. Furthermore, he had a fatherly, trustworthy appearance that appealed to them both: he was about fifty years old, overweight, with sparse hair and glasses, the type of guy who could easily lose himself in a crowd. White told the pair that he had just moved to Toronto to be closer to Mount Sinai hospital, where he was being treated for a heart condition. He would be staying at the hotel until his sister and her husband sold the family farm in a town called Allan, Saskatchewan, at which time they would join White in Toronto, where they would all live in a home White's sister had purchased in Forest Hill.

As Mackin and White discussed the future of The Outreach Connection, White casually dropped other details of his life: he was a devout Jew, he was interested in vitamins (Heather noticed at least ten vials of pills on his bureau), and he seemed to have some knowledge of marketing and advertising. After a half hour, Mackin agreed to let White manage The Outreach Connection office in return for a fifty per cent commission on all ads he sold. Though it wasn't a condition of his hiring, White promised to invest $15,000 into the operation, money he would use to staff and outfit the office. "This paper," he told Mackin, "is going to make us all a lot of money."

Patrick White started at the paper on January 2, 1994. At the time, it was operating out of a twelve-by-twelve-foot anteroom in a battered Yonge Street office complex three blocks north of Eglinton. Within two weeks, White befriended the landlord of 2453 Yonge Street and began cleaning offices in the building. As payment, he was given reduced rent on two spaces: a three-room suite overlooking Yonge and a single room on the other side of the hall that White adopted as his office.

White's next project was staffing The Outreach Connection. After placing an ad in The Toronto Star, he hired a bookkeeper named Karen Leblanc, a young woman with a business diploma and sales experience. A week later, White hired an editor named Massimo Commanducci, a young man who'd worked at Canadian Press and had interned at Harper's magazine in New York. As a final hiring initiative, White retained several ad reps, all of whom worked on commission from their homes.

For David Mackin, White's arrival seemed like an offering from the heavens. His new office manager arrived each morning around five a.m., claiming to have worked "farm hours" all his life. He cheerfully laboured until late at night, exhibiting a dutifulness that was obviously helping the paper. Under his direction, The Outreach Connection became a weekly, colour appeared on the front page, and the circulation grew from 8,000 to 12,000 copies a week, mostly because David Mackin now had more time to solicit vendors in church basements and men's shelters and — if you listen to James Mackin — on street corners populated by Outrider vendors. And though Karen Leblanc's books showed that the paper was still losing money, it was attracting such paying advertisers as National Trust, Canada Trust, the Canadian Craft Gallery and an Italian restaurant on St. Clair West. As the newspaper swelled to twelve broadsheet pages per issue, Mackin grew to trust White totally and unconditionally. He stopped checking receipts and bank balances, a task he was never good at in the first place, and he gave White signed, blank cheques so he could take care of the newspaper's operating expenses.

Though the odd paycheque bounced, for the first ten weeks of White's tenure the paper ran as adroitly as any shoestring publishing venture could hope for. White seemed to perfume the office with a healthy optimism, his manner suggesting that, under his tutelage, the paper would make money, the paper would provide opportunities for the homeless, the paper would outdo The Outrider. For this reason, the staff didn't mind overlooking their new boss's eccentricities. White claimed he'd suffered a massive heart attack back in Saskatchewan, and he often lifted his shirt to show people the zipper scar left by his bypass surgery, a habit Commanducci and Leblanc found unprofessional. At the same time, he seemed to eat nothing but cheese-burgers and bad Chinese food, odd menu selections for a man on a low-fat diet.

As time passed, Commanducci noticed more of these contradictions. Though a gentle, easygoing man, White drove his rented Mazda with the intensity of a feral pit bull, accelerating to within three feet of every red light, and then screeching to a malodorous stop. Says Commanducci, who once drove with White to a deli on Bathurst Street, "Even though I asked him to slow down, he didn't. He wouldn't. After that, I started to notice that there was a cruel side to Patrick, a side he usually kept hidden."

Then there was the tricky matter of White's sexuality. Though White had told one of the vendors he was gay, he vociferously objected to an announcement placed by a gay community group in the paper, claiming that homosexuality was unnatural and that the item would enrage his rabbi. By this point, White was regularly attending the Kensington market synagogue and by all appearances was a devoutly religious man — he didn't drink, he didn't smoke and his office contained a Judaic prayer shawl called a tallith. And yet, Commanducci once overheard White phoning the Baha'i Church of Canada, the paper's most faithful advertiser. White started the call by asking, "Is Moses or Buddha or Jesus there?" — an icebreaker Commanducci found inappropriate and not nearly as funny as White's chuckle would suggest.

Nevertheless, Commanducci overlooked White's occasionally boorish behaviour, as he genuinely liked working for The Outreach Connection. He enjoyed listening to the vendors' life stories, and he enjoyed tightening the focus of the paper, soliciting only articles that dealt with issues affecting the poor. Commanducci watched as the editorial content of his paper began to rival that of The Outrider, and his delight seemed to reduce his natural, journalistic skepticism. "I never asked any questions," Commanducci laments, "and I guess that's why I feel stupider than anyone else. It was my job to ask questions."

The novelty of Commanducci's editorship wore off throughout the month of March when the newspaper slipped into a state of barely reined chaos. Karen Leblanc, the newspaper's bookkeeper, noticed a $3,000 discrepancy in the books. Contributing artists and writers showed up regularly, complaining that cheques given to them by White were bouncing. Teenage boys, most of them street kids, started hanging around the office; though their presence infuriated Mackin, White insisted they were helping him start a furniture store for the poor in Parkdale.

By this time, David Mackin had abandoned total financial control of his business, didn't have the savvy to get it back and began to grow paranoid that White was plotting to steal the ownership of the paper. This suspicion was heightened when White approached Mackin with an offer: for a fee, White's own company, an outfit called Success Holdings, would assume all administrative and financial control of The Outreach Connection. In return, White would become responsible for all of the newspaper's debts. Mackin refused. A few nights later, Mackin arrived at the office and found White moving the furniture with three young men. When Mackin asked what he was doing, White responded with a line that sparked a screaming match between the two men: "Just do what I say, David!"

On April 4, Easter Monday, White didn't show up for work. By noon, Commanducci began to worry, thinking that White had perhaps suffered a heart attack. His first move was to check with Toronto hospitals, his second to alert the police. As the day progressed, creditors started calling the office, all of whom had similar complaints: White had issued them a bad cheque postdated April 4. Commanducci tried to cash his own paycheque, and it registered NSF as well. Karen Leblanc, who didn't arrive that day until mid-afternoon, remembers Commanducci saying to her: "Perhaps Patrick isn't the person we think he is."

Around six o'clock, Mackin returned from an afternoon Blue Jay game. He and Commanducci then broke into White's office, only to find that White's personal affects, from his Torah to his tea mug, were gone. Commanducci ransacked White's desk and found a piece of paper where White had practiced Mackin's two-letter signature. In a box on White's desk, he found a half dozen blank cheques, all bearing David Mackin's forged signature. Commanducci called the police, who visited the apartment White had since rented on Roselawn Avenue. "All we found," says Detective Roman Bondar, a fraud squad officer assigned to the case, "were some condiments in the fridge, a YMCA staff shirt and several pairs of women's underwear."

According to the police, Patrick White was born in the tomato-growing region of Leamington, Ontario, and there is evidence that he resided in southwest Ontario during the seventies. In 1978 he served twenty months in a Chatham jail for indecent assault, and in 1982 he served twelve months in London for a pair of fraud convictions. For any other specifics, police can only look to outstanding arrest warrants issued across North America: January 1987, Waterloo Ontario, theft; May 1987, Chesterfield Virginia, sexual assault on a boy; October 1987, Fallsburg New York, larceny; January 1988, Jackson Mississippi, sodomy and sexual assault on a boy; December 1989, Marathon Ontario, theft; February 1990, Dartmouth Nova Scotia, theft and fraud; September 4, 1991, Richmond Virginia, sexual assault; September 15, 1991, Edmonton Alberta, sexual assault.

By the time Patrick White arrived in Regina in December of 1992, it had been over twenty months since he'd inspired a fraud charge, and he was probably running low on funds. He apparently remedied this by securing a job with a property management company, which hired him to collect rent for a number of apartment buildings. According to Regina police, he did this for the next three months, keeping a substantial portion for himself. Shortly after his departure on March 4, 1993, three twelve-year-old boys told school authorities that a man named Patrick White had hired them to shovel his driveway. As the winter wore on, White started inviting them inside, where he showed them pornographic videotapes. These viewing sessions led to fondling and, according to one of the boys, sexual assault involving a pair of handcuffs and a gun. Later, when police searched the house, they found a cache of pornography, along with a religious text White had borrowed from a local rabbi. It was entitled The Sexual Morality of Young People.

White drove across the country, surfacing days later in the Maritimes. Police in Moncton, New Brunswick, say he quickly placed newspaper and radio ads announcing that he was conscripting staff for the reopening of a defunct Moncton night spot called the Shipyard Club. He then started hiring, charging each of his new "employees" approximately $100 to pay for their uniforms and a Liquor Vending Licence. By the time he fled in mid-March, he'd commandeered this fee from thirty-five people, none of whom ended up working in the hospitality industry.

White next surfaced in Halifax, where he registered a company called I.D.E.A. Investments. With this operation, people came to him with business proposals; if White thought the idea was potentially successful — which he usually did — he promised to match them with "rich" investors he'd met in the Halifax Jewish community. (To publicize the company, he set up a 1-800 number and advertised in a string of American newspapers.) According to a secretary he hired named Connie Uhlman, at least twenty people were billed $300 to $500 for a consultation fee. "I never suspected he was a con artist," Uhlman says today, "though his manner was weird. He was always bragging about his religion, about how he was a great cook, about how he was going to buy a big house and a car."

On April 12, yet another Easter Monday, White crossed the country once again, this time to Kamloops, where he is now wanted for theft. On August 12, three days after he left British Columbia, the RCMP arrested him in a tiny prairie community called Colonsay, no more than ten miles from his supposed birthplace of Allan, Saskatchewan. He was charged with numerous offences stemming from his last visit to Regina, including sexual assault with a weapon, theft and fraud. Appearing before a judge on October 14, White plied all the tools of his trade — his affable smile, his unthreatening appearance, his ability to promise the moon as though he enjoyed sole ownership of the heavens and the stars. Despite his criminal record and the seriousness of his crimes, he was released into the care of the John Howard Society. He showed up for his preliminary hearing on October 27, but by the time his court date rolled around on February 14, Patrick White was already in Toronto, convincing David Mackin that he was the haloed saviour of The Outreach Connection.

As a result of the Patrick White debacle, Mackin claims to be wiser and more wary of strangers. "Basically what he did," alleges Mackin, a huge man with a ruddy, boyish face, "was collect all the money from paper sales and not deposit any into The Outreach Connection account." To make the books balance, White presented Karen Leblanc with his own handwritten receipts, instead of authentic bank deposit slips. Meanwhile, he paid for company expenses by writing postdated cheques, by using stolen credit card numbers and by negotiating credit. Mackin estimates that White stole about $20,000 in total, or two-and-a-half months worth of cash receipts.

Judging from the number of postdated cheques that came due on or around April 4, it seems that White was planning his departure from Toronto for some time. The printer was owed $3,300 for the last three issues. The landlord was owed $1,000. Kinko's Copies was owed almost $1,400. A vendor showed up asking for $300 that White was holding for him. Several sales reps phoned, complaining that they were owed commissions. Addmore Office Furniture, the company that outfitted The Outreach Connection headquarters, phoned to say that they'd never received a penny from Patrick White. By the time April 4 drew to a close, Mackin learned that two separate parties had invested $3,000 in the paper and that their repayment cheques — including a substantial amount of interest — had come due. In total, White wrote $15,000 worth of cheques on an account that, at the time of his departure, contained exactly eighty dollars.

The picture worsened when Commanducci examined bank records and returned cheques found in White's office. It seems that White did deposit cheques from advertisers into The Outreach Connection account, along with one of the $3,000 investment cheques. He then used forged Outreach Connection cheques to pay for personal expenses, such as his rent and the restaurant tab he kept at a diner located beneath the office. Commanducci found small cheques made out to one of the teenage boys who hung around the office, and he also found a $275 cheque to a woman who later turned out to be the landlady of one of the boys. He found cheques to people he'd never heard of — one of whom later phoned from India, demanding to speak with White — and he found fake cheques for legitimate expenses, cheques that White didn't have to forge.

Looking at the latter, Commanducci suddenly realized that money wasn't White's only motivation. He must have enjoyed every lie, every duplicitous gesture, every conniving manoeuvre. For the duration of his visit to Toronto, White must have enjoyed impersonating an exalted version of himself, a Patrick White who could never exist outside the perimeter of his own fantasy world. A rootless drifter, White often reminisced about his family's century-old homestead anchored in Saskatchewan's fertile belly. An unhealthy man, he extolled the virtues of vitamin therapy. A ruthless man, he insisted on buying when he took vendors to lunch at the Good Bite restaurant. An uncultured man, he claimed to have worked as a sous-chef in "finer restaurants" across Canada and the United States. A petty thief, he seemed genuinely proud whenever he handed people a business card reading Success Holdings. A moral degenerate, he attended synagogue most Friday nights, as would a man imbued with the wisdom of God.

Patrick White not only left The Outreach Connection with a mountain of debts, he helped forge an antagonism between David Mackin and his editor, Massimo Commanducci. Following the White catastrophe, Commanducci began to doubt Mackin's ability to run a newspaper. The bookkeeping system instituted by Karen Leblanc died, and the paper fell into a state of financial anarchy, with all revenue dumped into a drawer in Mackin's office. Ad sales dropped to zero, the paper moved back into a single-room suite and the front page reverted to black and white. It wasn't long before Commanducci was seized with a noxious realization: "The paper," he says today, "worked better when White was running it."

In early July, Commanducci and two others offered to manage the administrative end of the paper, leaving Mackin to do what he did best: deal with the disadvantaged men who make up The Outreach Connection sales force. Mackin refused the offer, and on July 11 Commanducci cleared out his office. Since that time, The Outreach Connection has lost much of its editorial focus; recent issues have been dominated by political rants, sports and lengthy essays on Arab-Israeli issues.

As for Patrick White, he left Toronto in a Mazda Protege rented with a credit card number stolen from an Outreach Connection salesperson named Gerard Kennedy. On April 10, he ditched the car in a parking lot in downtown Montreal; six weeks later he surfaced at a Montreal flea market, where he was selling decorative candles for fifteen dollars apiece. There he met a businessman named John Grace who, along with his wife, runs a small wholesaling company. They bought about forty of White's candles, and started talking with the relaxed, beaming vendor. Over the next two weeks, White convinced Grace to become his partner in a surefire venture: they would buy bulk peanuts, bag them into 100-gram packages and then sell the packages to charities, who would use them during fund-raising drives.

By June 20, the day they were to start bagging the peanuts, John Grace had invested $2,500 and was eager to see the operation gather steam. Midway through the day, White visited Grace, telling him he needed another $800 to pay for a peanut shipment from Toronto. Grace was unsure whether he had enough money in his chequing account, so he and White went to consult with Grace's wife, who happened to be celebrating a birthday. She went to the bank and withdrew the money, which she and her husband then gave to White. In return, White handed her a birthday card, suggesting she open it later.

At seven o'clock, when production was scheduled to begin, Grace visited the bagging facility White had selected. He was puzzled; his business partner was absent, along with any sign of the peanuts or the little plastic bags. Grace went home, overcome by a sudden and embarrassed worry, only to find his wife waiting for him. She, too, was confused. She had opened the envelope containing White's birthday wish and found a condolence card bearing the words In Deepest Sympathy. Turning to the inside, she found the following stanza: There's so little one can do / So little one can say / To bring you consolation / On the loss that's come your way. It was signed, "Yours truly, Patrick White."

Toronto Life: November 1994


Time up for man seven years on the run: Fiftysix-year-old wanted continent-wide arrested in Ottawa

Seven years on the run from justice have come to an end for an alleged sexual predator and fraud artist who was wanted by police in seven provinces and three states for dozens of crimes. Patrick White, 56, arrested this week in Ottawa on a parole violation after living in relative anonymity in the Hunt Club area, will be on his way to Regina next week to face several charges of sexual assault on four boys stemming from incidents in 1992.

After Regina, Mr. White will go to Toronto where he's wanted for fraud and theft from a charity newspaper for homeless people. From there, he'll face a variety of charges in New Brunswick, Alberta, Thunder Bay, Quebec and Nova Scotia, where he's wanted for a mix of sex, fraud and theft crimes. Next, he'll face extradition to the U.S. where he's wanted in connection with sexual assaults in New Jersey, New York and Washington state. And after that, he may face homicide charges in British Columbia if investigators there can get a court order to test his DNA.

Mr. White is being sent to Regina because police there were the first to file a Canadawide arrest warrant for him. Remarkably, he was arrested on Tuesday when he showed up at the Ottawa courthouse for a routine meeting with a probation officer. It's still unclear what charges Mr. White has been convicted of locally, or how he was able make it through the justice system without being detected as a suspect in several other crimes. However, he has been known to use false identification.

While being detained at the Elgin Street police station on Tuesday, Mr. White started complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath and was taken to the Ottawa Hospital's cardiac unit at the Civic site. He was discharged yesterday morning and made a brief appearance in court where he was ordered to jail until tomorrow morning, when he will make his next appearance. It's expected he will be kept in custody until officers from Regina police arrive to take him to Saskatchewan.

Arrangements were being made by Regina police yesterday after they received news that Mr. White had been arrested. Officers there were elated to hear that the man who allegedly inflicted so much pain on his teenage victims was going to be brought to justice. But none was more pleased than Const. Randy Laliberte. In 1992, Const. Laliberte, now a forensic identification officer, was working as a school resource officer when one of Mr. White's alleged victims started acting out of character. Const. Laliberte interviewed the child and learned that he'd been repeatedly sexually assaulted by a man. The boy led police to other victims — three of whom were also willing to go ahead with charges. A warrant for Mr. White's arrest was drawn up.

But Mr. White had been tipped off, and when officers showed up at his house to arrest him, neighbours told police he'd left 20 minutes earlier. At about the time Regina city police were knocking on Mr. White's door, an RCMP officer was pulling over a car on the highway leading out of town. The officer gave Mr. White a speeding ticket, but didn't run his licence plate through police computers. Had he done so, the officer would have discovered that the car was stolen and that Mr. White was wanted for much more than speeding.

"He slipped through our fingers," Const. Laliberte said yesterday. "To hear that he's been arrested is just music to my ears. I can't tell how good that news is. Seven years ago, I promised one of the victims that as long as I was a police officer, I wouldn't stop pursuing him until he was caught and convicted. For seven years, I've been trying to live up to that promise."

After leaving Regina, Mr. White is thought to have moved to B.C., then to Toronto, Thunder Bay, Quebec and Nova Scotia. He never stayed too long in one spot but did follow a distinct pattern. Police allege that Mr. White would set up a fraud scheme to pay his bills, and make friends with boys in his neighbourhood. When he picked his victims, usually boys from broken homes lacking a father figure, he'd get more and more friendly with them, eventually introducing them to pornography and booze. Once confident, the boys could be taken advantage of, police say. It is unclear how many charges Mr. White will end up facing, but several dozen is a conservative estimate.

He also faces charges of defrauding several businesses and charities, including a Quebec seniors' home and — in a case that grabbed headlines in Toronto — a charity newspaper devoted to homeless people. In 1994, Mr. White got a job as the business manager of a newspaper sold for $1 by the homeless on Toronto streets. On April 3 of that year, he rented a car using the credit card of a fellow employee at Outreach Connection and vanished along with about $20,000.

A year before that, Mr. White ran an investment counselling office in Halifax that solicited clients across the continent. He opened IDEA Investments in Halifax in March 1993, using a 1-800 number to solicit clients. He placed newspaper ads in Calgary, Edmonton, Maine, New York and other cities. He also bought a produce store. He disappeared amid a string of suspected frauds and a car theft. In April of that year, police issued a nationwide warrant for Mr. White's arrest on a charge of stealing his secretary's car, which was later found at a shopping centre in Granby, Que. Police later determined several investors and farmers who supplied produce to his store were owed several thousand dollars.

Mr. White is also wanted in Moncton, N.B., where police issued two arrest warrants on May 1, 1992, on three counts of obtaining goods by false pretenses and four of theft over $1,000. New Brunswick police also allege he stole furniture, wrote a worthless $1,400 cheque at the Bank of Montreal and collected $1,600 from the same bank with a worthless withdrawal slip. Police in Waterloo want him on a 1985 charge of theft under $1,000.

Ottawa-Carleton police Const. Sam Saloum made the arrest at the courthouse after receiving information that Mr. White would be there at a certain time on Tuesday. He said Mr. White identified himself before the arrest was made and co-operated fully. "I'm just glad we could get him off the street, he was wanted for some pretty serious stuff," he said.

Jake Rupert, The Ottawa Citizen: 27 June 1999


Longstanding fraud case before court

On Tuesday, Saint John police arrested a 62-year-old man after a woman negotiating with him to sell her business complained to the fraud department about their dealings. When Sgt. Brian Daley ran the name of the man, Patrick Harold White, through the police database, four unresolved fraud charges from November 2000 came up. Mr. White, of Princess Street, was arrested Tuesday, after police found him at a Lancaster Mall business.

He appeared in provincial court in Saint John on Thursday for a bail hearing. Mr. White acted as his own representative in court. The grey-haired Mr. White appeared in a black sport coat, white shirt and thick glasses and plead not guilty to the fraud charges. They arose from cheques issued from the Canadian Order of Truth and Justice and had in their remarks section "Travel allowance for Patrick White," Sgt. Daley testified. They were cashed at four small uptown businesses in return for goods and cash. Each was worth $100 and eventually returned to the businesses because of non-sufficient funds.

During the hearing Sgt. Daley told the court Mr. White had arrest warrants from jurisdictions such as Halifax, Sault St. Marie, Ont., Sherbrooke, Montreal and Toronto. The offences ranged from fraud to theft under $5,000. Mr. White told the court many of the warrants were resolved. At least one, from Halifax, for a 2002 fraud, remains outstanding, said a media relations officer with the Halifax Regional Police.

Sgt. Daley testified that when he first questioned Mr. White he told police he had only been in the city for four months. Police later learned Mr. White was in the community when the cheques were cashed five years ago. During the hearing, Mr. White cross-examined Sgt. Daley about the alleged offences, asking whether he knew whose account the cheques were from and who had signing authority. Mr. White also asked if his signature was written on the cheques. Sgt. Daley said he did not know whose account the cheques were from or who had signing authority. After reviewing his notes, Sgt. Daley said Mr. White's signature did not appear on the cheques. The only reference to Mr. White was in the remarks section, he said.

Mr. White then told the court he was the "senior ambassador" for the Canadian Order of Truth and Justice when the cheques were used. He also told the court if he was released he would remain in the city. The Crown objected to his release citing a flight risk concern. Judge Anne Jeffries denied Mr. White bail and remanded him into custody until his trial in September.

"For the record I don't think the court would accept a cheque (to post bail) from me anyway," said Mr. White after the ruling. He requested a day for the trial. "I have a lot of questions regarding the legal issues covering the cheques," he said.

A search for the Canada Order of Truth and Justice on the Internet search engine Google turns up few results. However, a story from 2003 from the Vancouver Courier references the organization. According to it a $500 cheque in the name of the group was given to local high school students in Dec. 2003. The students were selling Christmas trees and the cheque was given to them in exchange for $150 in cash and 10 trees. The students gave the man with the cheque the cash and he said he was going to return with a truck. He never did. The next day the school accountant contacted the Bank of Nova Scotia and discovered the account had been closed in 2000.

David Shipley, St. John NB Telegraph-Journal: 19 August 2005


Crown withdraws fraud charges

Patrick Harold White, 62, who was remanded to jail following a bail hearing Aug. 18 on fraud charges, was released Thursday after the Crown withdrew the charges. Earlier this month police testified that they had a number of charges against Mr. White dating back over several years. Prosecutors objected to his release because they considered him a flight risk and a judge agreed.

However Thursday, Prosecutor Chris Titus said police had been unable to locate the witnesses who had complained about the earlier alleged frauds so they could not go to trial. Mr. White, who refused to speak to duty counsel and said he would represent himself, told the judge he knew where all the people were. But when the judge asked if he objected to the withdrawal of the informations, Mr. White said no, so the judge set him free.

St. John NB Telegraph-Journal: 2 September 2005


Cops: Sex suspect preyed on disabled

A Toronto man with a decades-long criminal history that stretches across Canada and into the United States is at the centre of a sexual assault investigation in which police allege he preyed on those with mental disabilities. Patrick White, 64, who moved his flea market ventures throughout Ontario before most recently leasing space at Fleastival Market on Dundas St. W. in Etobicoke, hired both mentally and physically disabled people to work at his booths and sell chocolates on the street to turn a profit, a source close to the man said yesterday.

White was also a self-proclaimed motivational speaker who handed out flyers at the Beaches International Jazz Festival advertising Bold Action Seminars (BAS), in which he charged $250 to $350 an hour. On The Daily Nightly Blog on MSNBC.com, White commented last April that "love and forgiveness has been the basis of my work for the past 40 years, it has never failed me yet. God be with you always." He used the BAS name for chocolate sales and "food bank" collection at his flea market booth No. 159, the source said.

The Scarborough resident was elected as a "community member" to North York's Drewry Secondary School council in November 2007, even though he had no known association to the special-needs school, such as a child who attended it, Toronto District School Board Superintendent Sue Pfeffer said. No criminal background check was done, as he had no contact with the students during the two evening meetings he attended, Pfeffer said. The Yonge St.-Finch Ave. area school prides itself on its partnerships with several special needs centres throughout the city. "I believe he tried to get into a few (schools)," Toronto Police Const. Anne-Marie Tupling said yesterday. In October, White was charged with the sexual assault of a teenage boy whom he had "befriended" and invited home, Tupling said.

He was charged again three weeks ago — this time with breaching his bail condition of not being around anyone under 18 — after police found him with a teenage boy during an "unrelated" police visit to the apartment he rented above a Kingston Rd. hair salon. Shortly after, allegations came forward that White had sexually assaulted a 15-year-old mentally disabled boy in Durham Region sometime during the last few years. As a result, he was arrested Jan. 23 and charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation. "He may be targeting young boys or members of the community with mental disabilities," a police press release said at the time, noting White often looked for volunteers for something called Special Events 2008.

Yesterday, police said White was charged again with sexual exploitation after officers located another alleged victim — a mentally-disabled man in his late 30s. He is scheduled to face that charge in court tomorrow morning. "He has a history of this kind of behaviour," Det.-Const. Norm Leung said without elaborating on previous charges. "He's well known to police, both here in this province, in Saskatchewan, in New Brunswick and in the United States," Tupling said. His criminal charges date back "about three decades." "I wasn't suspecting that at all," his Kingston Rd. landlord said of the charges, asking she not be named. "He's a really nice guy."

According to the source, White was known to lodge mentally disabled teenaged boys who had been displaced from their homes. Though he never suspected a sexual relationship, the source said White was open about his exploitation of those with disabilities. For example, during the jazz festival, White hired people in wheelchairs with BAS coin boxes around their necks to sit on the sidewalk and sell chocolates, the source said. "He puts the boxes around disabled people's necks, every corner on every street. People feel sorry and they buy the chocolate," the source said.

The former Beaches resident was also known to hang around Variety Village on Danforth Ave., east of Birchmount Rd., the source said. According to Lynda Elmy, spokesman for the special- needs recreation facility, White was not registered there "either as a donor, as a member or a volunteer." Only members are allowed in the facility, Elmy said. White was also associated with coffee shops around Toronto that employ disabled people, Tupling said. "He just sees these people as people of opportunity. He befriends them, gains their trust," Tupling said.

Tamara Cherry, Sun Media: 8 February 2008


'Very sorry' sex offender spared jail

Patrick White is a sex offender who's thankful he managed to dodge jail time yesterday. Just hours after a provincial court judge granted White conditional freedom after refusing to keep him locked up despite his guilt, the sickly White told the Sun he'd offer to pay for any counselling his victims might need — but only if it's Christian-based. "I will pay for counselling for them, Christian counselling," the 65-year-old White said, adding he's sorry for harming his three victims. "I feel very sorry," said White, whose criminal history began in the 1970s with a sex-related charge in Illinois and includes fraud and sex-related offences committed across the U.S. and Canada. "Before I became a Christian, I didn't realize the effects these things have on people."

White walked out of Old City Hall court yesterday despite his own guilty pleas to charges of sex assault and sexual exploitation involving three male victims. One of the victims was 15 at the time. Two were disabled men — one of whom was 36. Justice P. Reinhardt ignored the Crown's request for a sentence of 15 to 18 months and instead heeded defence counsel Lisa White's bid for a conditional sentence and a release from jail for health reasons. (Lawyer White is of no relation to her client.)

Citing White's ill health, Reinhardt gave him a 12-month conditional sentence and three years probation. The judge prohibited him from being around anybody under 18 or disabled without an adult present. He must submit a DNA sample to authorities and he will be listed on the sex offender registry.

White suffers from serious heart problems, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and other problems. "I don't think he should be in a custodial institution," Reinhardt told court. "I don't think it serves anybody's interest. I don't want him to die in an institution."

The three incidents — which took place between 2001 and 2007 — netted White a total of 163 days in the Don Jail and the Metro West Detention Centre, where he was savagely beaten by an inmate after his Jan. 23 arrest. "I was rushed to the hospital, the guy who did it was a psychiatric (patient). I lost a tremendous amount of blood," White said yesterday.

The Toronto Police detective who has been investigating White since his arrest could only say afterwards that she was "disappointed" in Reinhardt's decision. Det.-Const. Ann-Marie Tupling declined further comment. Brendan Crawley, spokesman for the attorney general, said the Crown will "immediately" begin looking at the sentencing to see if an appeal should be filed. It has 30 days to file an appeal.

Court heard that in November 2001, White grabbed a 15-year-old boy's genitals and kissed him. In July 2007, White masturbated in front of a 36-year-old man who had the mental capacity of a 14-year-old and talked about oral sex. And in the fall of 2007, White touched the penis of a man with a mental capacity of a 17-year-old.

Standing in the front lobby of the Old City Hall court, still wearing his prison-issue blue, laceless shoes, White said he doesn't expect to be forgiven by society for his crimes. "I know God has forgiven me but I don't know if man ever will," White said, adding he appreciated the conditional sentence because he expects to be dead from his illnesses within two years.

Brett Clarkson, Sun Media: 23 July 2008


It's about time for an update!

Monday, September 4

Across the river


Birthplace

There's a forlorn triangle of green some two kilometers northwest of my Weston home that marks the first European settlement in this particular locale. Hemmed in by a rail corridor (to the north) and a busy Weston Road absorbing mostly north-bound traffic from St. Phillips Road, it's an unlikely spot to stop and stay awhile. Within Northend Parkette is a millstone monument, below which a plaque reads:

A grist mill & sawmill, built by David Holley in 1810-11, stood in the valley below. James Farr, to whom the mill belonged from 1815 until 1828, operated five run of stones in his mill. The lower & older part of the village of Weston, formerly known as Farr's Mills, was destroyed in the flood of 1850. In 1828, William Wadsworth bought the mill rebuilt & operated the sawmill, 1830-1870, & built a larger grist mill in 1856. The Wadsworth mills operated in this vicinity for 87 years.

My transcription is identical to the one posted at this website, except that they added a comma that I don't believe is there. The "valley below" is the Humber River valley, due west across Weston Road. In fact, Farr's mills were just a tad further than the downslope of the immediate valley. They were on the other side of the river, presumably in this golf-course section of faux greenery.

There's another plaque dedicated to the founding of Weston in Little Avenue Memorial Park, a little closer to the community's business hub. It reads:

Settlers were attracted to this vicinity in the 1790s by the area's rich timber resources and the water power potential of the Humber River here. By 1792 a sawmill was established on the west bank and within two decades a small hamlet, known as "The Humber", had developed. About 1815 James Farr, a prominent local mill-owner, named it Weston after his English ancestral home. The community subsequently expanded along both sides of the river until 1850 when a disastrous flood destroyed the west bank settlement. Improvements to the Weston Road and the arrival of the Grand Trunk Railway in 1856 stimulated substantial further growth on the east side. Incorporated as a Village in 1881, Weston became part of the Borough of York in 1967.

A slightly different narrative. A hamlet supposedly known as "The Humber" was renamed "Weston" about 1815. This almost certainly comes from the pens of Frederick David Cruikshank and Joseph Nason who assert in their 1937 History of Weston (page 5): "James Farr objected to the name of 'The Humber' for the hamlet, as the name was being used by other settlements along the river, and, being the mill owner and leading figure in the village, renamed it 'Weston' after his ancestral home in England." Alas, it was 1815 when village folk likely began calling the place Farr's Mills and it seems unlikely that they would have called it anything else until after 1828. "The Humber" is just short for "The Humber River" and yes, of course, it will mean different places depending on where along the river one was situated. It is difficult to know how seriously one should take Cruikshank and Nason. The book is full of gossipy tidbits like this, provided without any accreditation or apparent circumspection (except when some juicy story "cannot be published in deference to the descendants of some of the principals", page 13).

The plaque's statement that "the community subsequently expanded along both sides of the river until 1850 when a disastrous flood destroyed the west bank settlement" has its counterpart in a 7 December 1881 (page 10) article in The Globe newspaper reporting that a Mr. William Watson of Weston, at a meeting of the York Pioneers, "took up the mills, tanneries, and distilleries of Weston, and the changes. Sixty years ago, on the York side of what is now the village of Weston — then Farr's Mills — there were only three houses, and those were the farmhouses of Colonel Allen, a Mrs. Davis, and a Mr. Hill. For years after that the village of Weston, which consisted of about fifteen houses, was almost entirely on the Etobicoke side of the Humber River, and owing to the heavy spring floods the people began to desert the place. In 1850 the entire village was swept away with the exception of one chimney."

Here's how Cruikshank and Nason describe it (page 13): "In the spring of 1842 there was a very bad flood on the Humber and several buildings of the hamlet were badly damaged. Again in 1850 the Humber, rising 20 feet above normal, put on the worst flood in its history and every house and shop in this compact little settlement in the valley was washed away or badly damaged by the huge cakes of ice. All that was left was the stone chimney of the cooper shop, which remained until comparatively recent years as a monument to the first village." A little down the page: "This was a great disaster, the destruction of a whole village by flood, and the homeless had to seek the kindly shelter of the few houses on the York side and of the farm houses in the district. In due course a petition was circulated among the refugees, and at a meeting held in St. Philip's Church on the hill they decided to forsake the original site in the valley, and Weston was rebuilt on the east side of the river along the Plank Road."

Borders

The Humber River separated Etobicoke Township (on the west) from York Township (on the east). It strikes me that when the village of Weston became incorporated in 1882, it did so under the auspices of York Township, which implied that the village's border formally ceased at the Humber River. That was certainly the case when Weston was incorporated as a town in 1914 (as maps of the town readily confirm). That left the Etobicoke residents of the formerly conjoined twins estranged from their village neighbours. Well, I don't know that it actually bothered anyone. More pertinent perhaps is that it established a de facto mindset of Weston being on the east side of the river.

Connecting the dots

There's another plaque at the northwest corner of Little Avenue and Weston Road (not far from the Founding-of-Weston one mentioned above) detailing — in a map — the Toronto Carrying Place, a portage trail running from the Humber River at Bloor Street to the Holland River, a considerable journey. You may be forgiven if you think that the dashed line segments represents an actual path, but in fact we know very little about the journey. The trail is just a supposed connection between the start and end points, ignoring the many places along the way where a canoe might sensibly be set in water.

Weston crossing the river is very much like that. We perceive it to be (Farr's Mills) on the west side at one time, then (the incorporated village) on the east side. Knowing very little about the journey, we simply connect the dots. Part of the problem is nomenclature. Farr's Mills undoubtedly refers to the structures on the the river's flood plain, ignoring the farms and other buildings (like St. Philip's Church) that were part of the larger, on-higher-ground "Weston" presence in Etobicoke. That presence grew into a significant community by the time the village incorporated. A Weston map of 1878 clearly shows what is now known as "Humber Heights" as a part of the village. Here is a detail from an 1878 Etobicoke map:


Note that the W of Weston is on the Etobicoke side. They didn't want to put it further west because there it would obstruct the view of the many smaller lots. Unlike maps of York Township which never show anything west of the river, this map of Etobicoke generously shows the rest of Weston on the York side, though not the lots.

Denouement

Charles Pelham Mulvany, Graeme Mercer Adam, and Christopher Blackett Robinson published a History of Toronto in 1885. Therein we find that "the larger portion of the village [of Weston] is in York Township, that on the west side being in Etobicoke." This is three years after (arguably) all of Weston then being (technically) in York Township. Their account of the 1850 flood is worth noting:

Sixty years ago, on the York side of what is now the Village of Weston, then known as "Farr's Mills", there were only three houses, all occupied by farmers. The village was almost entirely on the Etobicoke side of the river, being mainly situated upon a narrow strip of land, containing between two and three acres, bounded on the west by Wadsworth's mill and tail race, and on the east by the Humber. About fifteen houses, besides stores and other business places, constituted the village. It comprised two stores, a tavern, and blacksmith's, weaver's, cooper's, and saddler's shops. This locality was gradually abandoned, owing to the damage caused by spring freshets. Several buildings were greatly injured from this cause in 1842, and in 1850 the buildings remaining in that part of the village were entirely destroyed.

Not mentioned in any of the above 1850 flood accounts is that the Albion Plank Road bridge was carried away in it, as reported in the 6 April 1850 (page 166) The Globe. The rapid snow/ice melt was said to be the result of continuous heavy rain from "forenoon" on April 3 through the greater part of April 4. How does this compare with the hurricane of September 1878? Just as with the 1850 flooding, the hurricane rain damage was extensive. Cruikshank and Nason mention it in passing (page 8) as the cause of the Wadsworth sawmill destruction.

Conclusion

Weston's origin lies in the industries of Farr's Mills on the flood plain of the Etobicoke side of the Humber River. James Farr's renaming of the community as Weston, uncritically given as early as 1815, is almost certainly much later. Alan Rayburn's 1997 Place Names of Ontario (page 370) suggests 1843. An article by Max Rosenthal entitled Postal Service in the Early Days in York County (BNA Topics, 1965; page 234) has a new post office at "Weston" in 1842 but it isn't clear if it was already called that. The Globe newspaper began publishing in 1844 and there are a couple of references to Weston in it that year: A mention on October 22 (page 2) clearly places the village in Etobicoke. After the flood-plain community was destroyed in 1850, its trades and businesses intended to relocate to the York side of the river, although to what extent this was accomplished is difficult to ascertain. What is known is that some trades and businesses did eventually come to be established along the Weston Plank Road, just as residential areas grew on both the York and Etobicoke sides of the river. From the 1882 incorporation of Weston until the 1998 amalgamation of the city of York into greater Toronto, the community was effectively split in two by the Humber River, as political borders became manifest. But it was also still held together, by proximity, historical inertia, and the post office (especially), which (I'm given to understand) continued to treat the Etobicoke side of Weston as "Weston" — right into the era of postal codes (1970s), when it no longer mattered very much what place designation was used.