‘Oak Ridge’ facility
focus of massive lawsuit
Ontario’s Attorney General and psychiatrist Elliot
Barker have been named in a $150 million class-action lawsuit alleging
‘torture and abuse’ at the maximum-security ‘Oak Ridge’ division of the
Penetanguishene Mental Health Centre.
The lawsuit, which was filed on October 25, 2000,
is expected to be amended to include other patients and staff at this facility.
Dr. Barker was the founder of the Ridge’s experimental
‘Social Therapy’ Unit - a misleadingly named and incredibly abusive undertaking
which employed techniques such as sleep deprivation, torturous experimental
drug treatments with substances such as LSD and Scopolamine (the latter
drug had originally been developed by the Nazis for use as an interrogation
tool) and handcuffing patients to known enemies for prolonged periods,
claiming this would ‘break down a person’s defense mechanisms.’
One of the more bizarre tools was known as ‘the capsule’ - a small windowless
room to which small groups of patients were confined for extended periods
of time, often without the benefit of clothing. Food was provided
through straws in the wall. Patients were monitored by other patients
via closed circuit cameras.
The Oak Ridge facility, which first opened
in the 1930’s in this isolated Georgian Bay community, has been condemned
by numerous studies which have described it as being ‘unfit for human habitation.’
(A former Ontario Minister of Health was once overheard as saying that
she ‘wouldn’t allow her dog’ to be held at this institution).
Aside from the torturous procedures which typify
patient ‘care’ in this place, there are other factors such the barren,
cold cells, many of which have no source of drinking water and toilets
which consist of a brick-lined hole in the floor. (Patients are often forced
to rely on these toilets for a water source. They are flushed once a day).
In 1991, the Oak Ridge facility became the object
of a police investigation into claims of rampant physical and sexual abuse,
along with a number of suspicious deaths.
The outcome of this investigation, which was
instigated by a man who was an inmate at the facility in the 1960’s, proved
to be ‘inconclusive’ and no criminal charges ever resulted. (Why am I not
surprised? - ed.)
11 January 2001
PLEASE PASS THIS INFORMATION TO
INDIVIDUALS WHO WERE INCARCERATED AT PENETANGUISHENE AND WERE SUBJECTS
IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:
CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT
Vance Egglestone v
Dr Elliott Barker
(a) All individuals who were incarcerated at Penetanguishene between
1968 and 1982 and who participated in the Motivation, Attitude, Participation
(b) All individuals who were incarcerated at Penetanguishene between
1968 and 1979 and who participated in the Total Encounter Capsule Program
(c) All individuals who were incarcerated at Penetanguishene between
1965 and 1980 and who participated in Defence Disruptive Therapy ("D.D.T.")
Joel P. Rochon
Barristers & Solicitors
121 Richmond St. W. #903
Toronto Ontario M5H 2K1
416 363 1867
for murdered men
On February 20, 1997, thirty-five year old Edmond
Yu was gunned down on a Toronto city bus by one of three cops who were
attempting to take him into custody under the Mental Health Act.
Just this past August the 9th, 55-year
old Otto Vass was beaten and kicked to death outside a west-end Seven-
Eleven store where he had apparently gone to purchase a bottle of barbecue
At the time of his death, Edmond (according to
eyewitnesses) was holding a small hammer which he displayed in a ‘non-threatening’
manner to these three cops who had cornered him in the back of the bus.
These three were cleared of wrongdoing by the Special Investigations Unit.
According to witnesses, Otto Vass was thrown
to the ground ‘without provocation’ by one or more of the four cops who
had moments before escorted him from the store. The police were described
as beating him ‘worse than an animal’ while he lay on the sidewalk in handcuffs.
The four officers are facing charges of manslaughter.
The mainstream media has done everything in its
power to demonize these two victims by promoting the ‘fact’ that both men
had histories of psychiatric intervention, and by illustrating alleged
examples of bizarre behavior in their pasts.
Friday, February 9, 2001
Parkdale Activity &
1499B Queen St. W.
For more details E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
4th anniversary Memorial for
Tuesday, February 20, 2001 12:00 NOON
East of Beverly St.
(between Dundas & Queen St.)
December 8, 2000
More than a hundred friends and loved ones
turned out for a ‘celebrity roast’ of this remarkable activist on the occasion
of his 70th birthday
For hours, the packed hall resounded with laughter
as Don’s friends from the Survivor community shared anecdotes about their
relationships with him, and letters of tribute sent by activists from across
Canada and the United States were read. As well, the evening included performances
by members of the Friendly Spike Theatre Band and a number of local musicians.
An outspoken and passionate human rights advocate,
Don Weitz was the co-founder of one of the first self-help groups in Ontario
(On Our Own) and of the radical antipsychiatry magazine Phoenix
Rising, which published for almost ten years in the 1980’s.. As
well, he is the co-editor of the outstanding anthology Shrink Resistant:
The Struggle Against Psychiatry in Canada, and for several years
produced a weekly radio show called Shrinkrap, which aired
on CKLN 88.1 FM. He has also developed and taught a course on ‘Antipsychiatry:
Survivor Perspectives’ which has been offered twice through the
University of Toronto.
Resources in Toronto
People Against Coercive Treatment
P: 760-2795 F: 368-5984
* * *
Queen Street Patient’s Council
Room 2059, 1001 Queen St. W.
Toronto, Ontario M6J 1H4
P: 535-8501x2018 F: 325-9749
* * *
No Force! Coalition
(c/o Queen Street Patient’s Council)
HUMAN RIGHTS ALERT
319 Dundas St. E. #408
Toronto, Ontario M5A 2A2
Fax: (416) 368-5984
(Contributions may be
edited for space)