In Hot Water: The Court Battle

Terry Haldane, Stephen Lock & the 2002 Goliath’s Bathhouse Raid

At around 2:30 PM on a Thursday, Calgary Police Service officers invaded one of our community’s safe havens, Goliath’s Bathhouse. This surprise raid occurred on December 12, 2002. In this series of blog posts, we will delve into the history of the Goliath’s raid. Along the way, we will explore injustice, changing queer culture and our complicated relationship with the police, past and present.

Read Part 1: The Raid: here.

Part 2: The Court Battle

January 10th, 2013, was the first court appearance; Terry pleaded not guilty. Facing a potential of five years in jail, Terry faced trial for two years. Initially, due to the charge being a “sexual offence,” Terry was issued a “no-go order,” wherein he couldn’t enter the premises of Goliath’s or the Texas Lounge even for a drink with friends without risking arrest. However, the judge eventually dropped the no-go order, stating that it was a bogus charge, as the trial was pending: there was no reason he shouldn’t be able to get a drink. Regardless, the Texas Lounge and Goliath’s were closed for months.

Some of the tactics in the trial were underhanded, with the Crown not telling the defence lawyers about redactions in statements affecting the case and the police publicizing luminol evidence of semen and bloodstains on surfaces. The Crown also surveyed neighbouring establishments and people to get their opinion on the bathhouse being in their neighbourhood. This ended up backfiring on the Crown, as the general sentiment reflected in the survey was that neighbours were not concerned about the bathhouse as it wasn’t noisy. As well, there was no way for minors or members of the public to stumble in as the entry was double locked doors—it didn’t bother them men were having sex down there.

Prior to the raid, Goliath’s had been surveilled for six months. Retrospectively, patrons had noticed cars with people sitting in them near the premises, which was odd. Then, one night before the raid, Terry spoke to a young man in the shower who seemed nervous. The man stated that it was his first time there and asked if Terry could give him a tour of the place, and he did. Later, another patron commented to Terry that something seemed off with that guy. Terry replied that it was his first time, and the other guy said it was something else because if someone were nervous, they wouldn’t have asked for a tour.

That man turned out to be an undercover detective. When asked what he saw in court, the detective said he saw about 20 guys, that he saw a few guys watching TV, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, that kind of thing. When asked if he saw sexual activity in a public place, he said no, except he saw a man masturbating in his room with the door open, to which the judge replied something to the effect of “seriously? And that would be a problem; why? It’s a gay steambath; nobody else was there. What’s the big deal about that? That’s not even part of the evidence.” An undercover officer also spoke to co-owner Darrell, who told him something like, “all these men come to the bathhouse for sex, he keeps the place open, they drink, he didn’t know if guys are paid or not.” Terry supposed this exchange Darrell embellished to impress this man he didn’t know was an officer.

The police held a town hall meeting with the gay community at The Eagle leather bar following the raid. The community felt the meeting was pointless as the police would not divulge or admit anything, stating that the trial was still pending. Lots of anger was directed at the police for playing dirty. Mistrust between the gay community and the police peaked, which ran against the generally amicable relationship the two parties enjoyed before the raid.

For example, Terry and Stephen had been involved in three committees with the police, including the gay liaison committee, a drug committee, and a prostitution committee. In those years, a bridge was being built. The police participated in the gay rodeo, tried to recruit gay men as officers, and participated in Pride. The liaison committee existed to facilitate communication and cooperation between the police and the community.

There was a sense of betrayal of trust, especially on the liaison committee that they would do this raid—without warning. However, the order for the raid came from higher-ups, and the police liaison could not give the community advance notice. During the trial, Terry had to step back from his committee work. The general sense was that if he didn’t fight his case in court, it would virtually give the police a free pass to encroach on other gay establishments: the bridge between the two parties severely damaged.

Terry Haldane in Xtra.ca, November 12, 2003. Photo: Stevie Lee Anderson

On the public opinion front, Terry was able to push back thanks to the help of friendly media outlets. He appeared on several radio shows, including Speak Sebastian and Gene Rodman’s CGAY 92. He also appeared in print media, with one particularly poignant Xtra article featuring a racy picture of him in the shower taken by Stevie Lee Anderson aiming to “give them something to talk about.” A copy of the article was sent to Jack Beaton, the police chief at the time. Terry’s partner and activist Stephen also appeared in the media. The editor of Capital Xtra, based out of Ottawa, tried to get him to berate the police in an interview. However, Stephen would not, as he didn’t feel that the police deserved it, especially since they had both developed good, social relationships with many officers.

In general, Terry and Stephen felt that the response was stronger from other communities than from the Calgary gay scene. They had received letters of support from communities like Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and New York City. The turnout at the town hall with the police was about 40-60 people. The community here generally avoided rocking the boat and turned the blame on victims, saying things like: “you shouldn’t have been down there anyway; it’s a terrible place.” When Stephen and Keith Purdy tried to organize a demonstration holding white towels in front of the Court of Queen’s Bench, only a handful of people showed up.

Stephen felt, in general, that Calgary’s gay community was relatively conservative or apolitical, that gay people here mainly were interested in going to the bar, going to Victoria’s for brunch, and cruising the park once in a while. He joked that he had a bruise from people poking a finger at him. He was often told, “you don’t speak for me” when working on issues like gay marriage with Egale, or pushing to get sexual orientation in provincial human rights legislation with the Calgary Lesbian and Gay Political Action Guild. For the Goliath’s event, this conservatism manifested in a lack of support or funds from those Terry called the “A-Gays:” wealthy, cocktail party hosting, privileged gay men he knew. Terry said they refused to sign cheques for the Goliath’s defence, not wanting to be associated with an “icky place like that,” despite the fact that Terry said he had seen several of them down at Goliath’s on multiple occasions.

The trial posed a major financial burden. Terry and Stephen paid over $75,000 towards the case, between fundraising and spending their own money. Thankfully, some of the legal work was done pro-bono, and the Egale Canada Defence Fund provided a sum of $60,000 to help with legal fees.

Eventually, in the next to last court appearance, the judge said that the case had to be moved along. Terry’s defence said that either the Crown had to dismiss the charges or that they were going to do a Charter rights challenge, which they would take to the Supreme Court if necessary. The judge chuckled and remarked that they were biting off quite a lot.

Three months and thousands of dollars later, at the final court hearing, the Crown gave the results of their survey and concluded that a conviction was unlikely, therefore they decided to stay the charges. This meant that if any new evidence were found in the next year, they would charge Terry again, but if not, charges would be dropped. Terry marked off the days on his calendar, and one year later, he was free.

Terry then returned to his police committee work and never held it against the police officers. He understood that they were following orders and did not mistreat anyone throughout the ordeal. Both Terry and Stephen maintained a staunchly pro-police stance and wished to see a return to the former cooperative relationship between them and the gay community, including their formal inclusion in Pride. Terry concluded that the Goliath’s ordeal didn’t sour him towards the police. What upset him was how this immense fallout happened due to an anonymous complaint left on an answering machine.

Next week: Part 3.

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In Hot Water: The Raid

Terry Haldane, Stephen Lock & the 2002 Goliath’s Bathhouse Raid

At around 2:30 PM on a Thursday, Calgary Police Service officers invaded one of our community’s safe havens, Goliath’s Bathhouse. This surprise raid occurred on December 12, 2002. While not uncommon in the 80s, a bathhouse raid in the early aughts seemed quite anachronistic. In this series of blog posts, we will delve into the history of the Goliath’s raid. Along the way, we will explore injustice, changing queer culture and our complicated relationship with the police, past and present.

Part I: The Raid

On that Thursday afternoon, Terry Haldane was sitting in his room at Goliath’s when he heard a bang that sounded like a gunshot as police busted in the door and 25-30 officers entered the premises. In short order, he and the other guests were told to get dressed and were brought upstairs to the Texas Lounge for processing. The accused were held in the lounge for four hours while CPS officials tested the bathhouse with Luminol, a chemical fluorescence test for bodily fluids.

Initially thinking the police were looking for drugs or someone wanted for a major crime, Terry asked a detective what was going on. They were told they were being charged with being a found-in of a common bawdy house (brothel) under the Criminal Code of Canada. The twelve other guests – most of them married – were charged with the same. Meanwhile, the owners of Goliath’s were charged with being keepers of a common bawdy house.

Gay bathhouses typically do not function as brothels: patrons typically pay an entry or membership fee for admittance to the facilities and then are free to have sex with other patrons, except in designated spaces such as a jacuzzi or public areas like a lobby or TV room. Ordinarily, nobody gets paid to have sex, and thus no prostitution occurs, but anyone suspected of receiving money or drugs for sex is swiftly ejected from the premises by staff.

According to Terry and Stephen, the trigger for the raid was an anonymous complaint left on a police department’s answering machine. Apparently, the man who left the complaint claimed that he had been prostituting down at Goliath’s and that he had been sexually assaulted there. The complaint was taken to the Crown, and a judge issued warrants for the surveillance and raid of the bathhouse. Terry and Stephen felt these claims in the complaint were unsubstantiated. Unfortunately, the man who made the complaint died in a motorcycle accident the day before he was set to testify.

So why would a police service decide to raid a bathhouse 20 years after the controversial raids in other cities, based on relatively scant evidence? There are a few hypotheses, but Terry and Stephen suspect that a big part of it was that Calgary had just gotten a new Chief Crown Prosecutor that wanted to make a name for himself. Not long before, an adult bookstore had been shuttered on 1st St SW, where there were peepshows and porn booths. They speculate that Goliath’s made another easy target to “clean up the city,” not expecting anyone to fight back in court.

Community outrage over the raid was chronicled in Calgary’s Outlooks Magazine as illustrated by this cheeky cover in the month following the raid.

Terry was taken to the police station and asked to give a statement. He was told that if he made a statement against the owners, the charges against him would go away. He refused, saying that the bathhouse had been licensed and properly health inspected for years; he’d been a regular at the bathhouse and never saw an exchange of money or anything of the sort. Having refused, he was given a court date in January to make his plea and contacted his lawyer. The Crown prosecutor also offered him a plea deal at this time—dropping all charges—if he agreed to take the Alternative Measures Program: a three-day rehabilitation program designed for Johns busted for attempting to purchase sex. While the other twelve arrested gentlemen took this bargain, Terry refused because he simply wasn’t buying sex down there and had done nothing illegal.

Terry contacted his long-time partner, Stephen Lock, about what had happened. They and a few other found-ins met to figure out what to do next. They were afraid of the ramifications for their marriages, relationships with their children, jobs, and because of their religious affiliations. They were justifiably worried: the raid was covered in several media outlets, including The Gatekeeper, Global, CTV, CBC, Xtra West and Xtra Toronto. Their names were published despite the request of the Crown prosecutor to have a publication ban. The judge refused the ban, reasoning that names are published in other prostitution-related cases, and he didn’t believe this case should be any different.

Next week: Part 2.

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Reel Canadian Film Fest This Weekend

Some Calgary Gay History Project readers might know that historian Kevin Allen has a Fernie connection and helped found a film festival there many years ago. The Reel Canadian Film Festival‘s focus is on Canadian filmmakers and runs January 28-30, 2022; it is completely online due to the pandemic. Tickets for the festival are available to viewers in Alberta and BC—this year’s festival has both queer and Calgary content.

Poster montage of this year’s Reel Canadian Film Festival

In a full-circle way, Kevin’s latest film collaboration with director Laura O’Grady, Undetectable, is one of the featured documentaries at the Reel Canadian Film Fest. Undetectable, a films about HIV/AIDS in Canada launched last fall at the Calgary International Film Festival and has been garnishing praise and festival attention.

Film synopsis: Canada has the solution to end HIV infections and stop the world-wide AIDS epidemic. So why are people still dying of AIDS? The TELUS Original documentary Undetectable looks at the history, breaks down the roadblocks, and exposes the gatekeepers that have stopped the world from becoming HIV/AIDS free.

The festival is also featuring Dawn, her Dad and The Tractor by East Cost writer/director Shelley Thompson.

Film synopsis: When two adult siblings return to their family home in Nova Scotia for their mother’s funeral, the family and community not only have to deal with their mother’s loss, but with estranged son Donald’s transition to Dawn. Still mechanically gifted, Dawn reconnects with her Dad by repairing an old family tractor. This movie features a stunning performance by trans actress Maya Henry.

Two other feature films were shot in Calgary: Here & After and Jonesin’—support local filmmakers! Change the channel on your regular TV viewing and drop into the 14th Annual Reel Canadian Film Festival. You will be delighted.

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