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TO: The Homosexuality Factor in Prison Violence
Presented to The Action Committee Against Violence City of Calgary
For Easier printing: Document in Two Parts!

Physical Violence Against Gay Males

On January 16, 1992, a Calgary Herald article, Highway death no accident, reported that James Schleppe, a 46-year-old substitute teacher, had been assaulted on September 28, 1991, and died in hospital five gays later. It was only on January 21, however, that a Calgary Sun article, Victims asked to come forward, revealed that Schleppe was gay, that his death had been a "gay-bashing," and that he probably encountered his assailants on "Calgary's male hooker stroll" that he often frequented.

In November, 1991, Stephen Lock from Gay Lines had informed me of a gay male who was in a near-death state in hospital because he had been gay-bashed. Unfortunately, the gay bashing had not been reported as such by Calgary journalists. Instead, the case was brought to our attention by Sherry Paget in the Calgary Herald Letter to the Editor: Gays keep silence amid fear, insecurity, published on December 12.

Paget noted that three assaults on gay males had also occurred with a 10-day period yielding injuries ranging from broken bones to cuts needing stitches. Not all assaults on gay males, however, come to our attention. A Calgary homicide detective, Colleen Aches, is quoted: "Aches said that muggings of gays are quite common, but are often unreported because victims are hesitant to make complaints," mostly because of the socially imposed closet. Many gay males fear that reporting such crimes would out them publicly, and that the resulting penalties would be far worse than the physical damage caused by the assault.

This "muzzling" situation has been a part of gay history, as I was again reminded of by talking with a gay friend soon after Lock's reporting of the gay bashing. He knew of two cases not reported to the police by the victims. In one case, the male had left a gay club, entered his car, and was then pulled out by two males who assaulted him. This event happened at about the same time Schleppe was murdered: September, 1991.

In December, Calgary newspapers printed many articles related to Leslie Glen Bishop's murder trial. In 1989, he had killed his boss, Gary Leroy Albright, 54, by bludgeoning him to death with a toilet tank lid while he slept, after Albright had apparently attempted to fondle him. Both males were from Edmonton, but the murder had occurred in a Calgary Hotel room shared by the two men. Bishop's testimony revealed that he had been raised to "hate gay people," and had acted accordingly, or as it could be expected. Bishop was 18-years-old at the time of the murder, and he had also robbed the man. Robberies are very common when gay males are murdered, but the robbery is generally not the motive for these murders.

From June to August, 1991, articles were written about another case involving a 14-year-old boy who had shot to death 54-year-old James Clarke, and the "execution style murder" was carried out while Clarke slept. Although Clarke was a "known child molester," the media never once informed the public about the phenomenon well known and written about in gay books and in research papers concerning street boys who sell their sexual services to older gay-identified males in "trade" for money or other benefits (Note 11).

In the 1961 paper, The Social Integration of Peers and Queers, by Albert J. Reiss, the phenomenon was studied on the basis of interviews with many male juvenile delinquents ranging in age from 12 to 18. As a rule, these boys were the ones setting the rules in sexual transactions with older males and, if rules were violated, the older males risked being assaulted and even killed. Reiss also noted that people are ill-informed about this phenomenon and that, if such matters come to our attention, or to the attention of the police and the courts, the boys are deemed to be "victims" while the adult homosexual males become the corrupters of youth and are sent to prison (72: 216, 222-224).

To this date, we do not know what was happening in the mind of the boy who executed Clarke while he slept, but we do know that a "trade" situation existed. In this case, an interesting comment was made by Judge William Anderson in his 33-page decision reported on in the August 8, 1991, Calgary Herald article Teen suspect evades adult court. Anderson stated that, if the youth was sent to an adult prison in Canada, there was a high probability that he would be "gang rape[d] by other inmates." This is another form of homosexuality-related violence existing in our society (Note 12).

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