Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka

The Scarborough Rapist

Karla Homolka
Karla Homolka

They became sexually obsessed with each other almost immediately. Unlike the other girls he knew, she encouraged his sadistic sexual behavior. "Karla, handcuffed, on her knees and begging for him, was scratching an itch. Paul asked her what she would think if he was a rapist. She would think it was cool. Their love deepened. He started raping women in earnest." (Stephen Williams)

In 1987, Paul became the "Scarborough Rapist" in the Toronto suburb in which he lived. His pattern was usually the same. When his victim got off a bus, he would grab her from behind and pull her to the ground. After he forced anal sex and fellatio on her, talking to her all the time, he let her go. Two years later, the number of his sexual assaults had climbed to eleven. Then there was a several-month hiatus and several more rapes in 1988. The police were striking out, although they had collected from the women a lot of physical evidence that would help them determine if they had the right suspect. They also had what they considered a good composite drawing of the man who had assaulted the thirteen women. While the police decided to share that drawing with other policemen in the region, it was not shown to the public for a long time — a decision that became controversial.

All this time, Karla knew exactly what Paul was doing and encouraged him. One victim even remembered seeing a woman with the rapist with what appeared to be a video camera in her hand. The police discounted this memory and chalked it up to hysteria on the part of the woman who was raped.


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