To turn a phrase: This world is not only stranger than I imagine, its stranger than I can imagine.
John sweep nets dad with toddler
Last updated Mar 10 2006 09:22 AM EST
A man who brought his four-year-old son along while attempting to hire a prostitute was one of 130 suspected "johns" arrested during an undercover police operation in Parkdale this week. Toronto police said the johns grabbed in the four-day Operation Clean Sweep ranged in age from 16 to 72. One of the men was arrested just before midnight after approaching an undercover officer with his four-year-old son in tow. Police said the man persisted in attempting to solicit sex from the officer, who tried to avoid having the conversation with the toddler present. However, the man was arrested after he told the child to wait in a bus shelter while he negotiated with the "prostitute." "Rather than the child seeing undercover officers involved with his father, we brought a police car with uniformed officers to the area, and we had the young little child wear one of the officer's hats and we let him play with the emergency lights," said Det. Howie Page, of 14 Division. "[It was] just to take that trauma away from the child of what he was seeing happen with his dad." Police say previous john sweeps have netted men who attempted to solicit sex after getting out of vehicles that had children strapped into car seats. This week's incident, though, marked the first case they can remember in which a child was present while a father attempted to buy sex from an undercover officer. Project Clean Sweep was initiated in response to complaints by Parkdale residents. More than 90 per cent of those arrested came from outside the southwestern Toronto neighbourhood, including one from Collingwood. Nine alleged prostitutes were also charged with offences during the sweep.