Last edited: December 18, 2004

Toronto Cops to Undergo Sensitivity Training after Gay Bathhouse Raid, December 17, 2004

By Jan Prout Toronto Bureau

Toronto, Ontario—All Toronto police, from the chief to cadets, will undergo LGBT sensitivity training and the force will pay $350,000 (Cdn) to end a lawsuit over raid on a lesbian bathhouse night in 2000 a Toronto newspaper reports.

The Globe and Mail reports that the settlement has been agreed to by both the Police Services Board and the lesbians charged in the raid. but it must gain final approval by the judge in the case.

Police entered the Club Toronto in the early hours of Sept. 15, 2000 during a lesbian event known as the “Pussy Palace.” More than 100 women, many naked, were in the building at the time. The officers, all male, spent 90 minutes walking through the facility in Toronto’s gay village, opening doors to private cubicles and questioning the women. At the time police insisted the raid was a routine liquor license inspection and claimed they gave the women an opportunity to dress.

Two women who had obtained a special occasion permit under the Ontario Liquor License Act were charged with several offences, including permitting disorderly conduct and serving alcohol after hours. On January Jan. 31, 2002 they were acquitted. In delivering his verdict, Mr. Justice Peter Hryn of the Ontario Court of Justice was critical of the police conduct. Hryn said the officers’ entry into the club was comparable to a strip search, calling it outrageous, flagrant, deliberate, unjustified and a violation of the women’s constitutional rights.

The women involved in the case then sued the Toronto police for harassment and discrimination. The Globe and Mail reports that the deal to end the suit was made in a behind closed doors meeting of the Police Services Board on Thursday.

The monetary damages will go to cover the women’s legal fees. Any additional money will be given to LGBT charities. The sensitivity training will cover all members of the 7,260 member force.

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