A toddler sits at the woman’s feet, his small hands holding on to either leg.
In this position, the woman — naked below the waist — masturbates using a baby bottle.
The toddler, giggling, then grabs the bottle and drinks from it.
The woman looks directly into the camera and smiles.
That was one video seized by police from the Toronto home where the woman lived with her husband.
In all, investigators discovered 25,066 child pornography images on more than 50 electronic devices when they executed a search warrant on April 25, 2016, including 111 child porn movies.
The couple is also shown engaging in BDSM (bondage/domination/sadism/masochism) activities with other couples.
Police also found a contract signed by the “Slave” and her “Master,” an agreement containing rules and tasks to be completed by the woman as the submissive member in the relationship. They’d met through a website called “Bondage.com.”
That’s who Jason Dickens and Dylan McEwen were, a man and woman joined in holy BDSM during a 2007 “collaring” ceremony — literally collaring — followed a year later by an ordinary wedding in front of family and friends.
Last week, Dickens, a former actor on Degrassi High, pleaded guilty to several child pornography offences, including two counts of making child porn, with an agreed statement of facts read into the record.
Earlier this year, McEwen also pleaded guilty to sexual assault and two child pornography offences. She was sentenced to six years.
But what the presiding judge would not do was declare McEwen a dangerous offender, which the Crown had sought and with impassioned urgency.
In rejecting the long-term offender order, Justice Kathleen Caldwell weighed the various criteria that must be met, primarily a “substantial risk of reoffence.”
Caldwell determined that McEwen wasn’t such a risk, relying heavily on the evidence and psychiatric report prepared by a forensic psychiatrist with expertise in paraphilia and sexual deviancy.
Dr. Mark Pearce was agreed upon as an expert witness by both the Crown and the defence when he testified in February. He diagnosed McEwen as a masochist and low-risk to reoffend.
Caldwell accepted Pearce’s conclusion that McEwen derived sexual arousal not from acts committed against children but from the “extreme humiliation” of her involvement in those acts, which fed her masochism, described as on the moderately severe end.
The judge wrote (and read aloud in court): “Dr. Pearce testified that the current research suggests that women do not suffer from paraphilic disorders apart from masochism. This fact lends further weight to the conclusion that pedophilia does not apply to you.”
Crown Attorney Lisa Henderson, the judge noted, had “rigorously challenged” Pearce on this assertion.
“(I) agree that at first blush it appears illogical that women do not suffer from other paraphilic disorders,” Caldwell continued. “Sometimes, however, that which appears reasonable is anything but and vice versa. I accept the doctor’s evidence on this point. He did agree that this conclusion might change in the future as psychiatry continues to develop, but I cannot base my conclusions on speculative potential that have yet to develop.”
But that’s the problem.
It is not absolutely conclusive that women can’t be pedophiles.
There are numerous instances of women sexually assaulting children, albeit most often at the direction — many have claimed coercion — of a male partner.
In this particular case, McEwen was her husband’s slave, committed to do his bidding.
Court also heard, however, that McEwen had initiated at least one of the toddler videos without her “Master” present.
And in at least two earlier instances, McEwen had obtained child pornography from two men she’d met online before she’d even met Dickens.
As for the risk-assessment testing, Caldwell acknowledged that such testing hasn’t been validated as being accurate in predicting risk with female, as opposed to male, sex offenders.
They don’t really know what they’re talking about, the experts, because they haven’t looked at the phenomenon closely enough.
That doesn’t mean the phenomenon doesn’t exist.
Thus, women are more inclined to get the justice pass or, as in this case, be sprung out of the dangerous offender category.
(As an aside, at the Dickens trial, court heard that in 2003 a London-area woman offered him her 14-year-old daughter for sex after they’d connected online. Dickens took the teenager on a movie and date night, then had sex at the girl’s home while her mother sat beside them.)
Sex with teens and children had clearly been a feature of the couple’s role-playing, in their video commentary to one another, the child porn retrieved from their home and posters also discovered depicting female children, labelled with such descriptors as “15-year-old f— slut” and “whore.”
In an interview this week with the Star, Pearce emphasized the scarcity of research literature on female sex offenders.
“I’m not saying there’s no such thing as a female pedophile, but it is almost an exclusively male disorder.
“That’s not to say no woman has it. There may be some outliers. But women (sex offenders) usually offend for other reasons, not because of an innate sexual attraction to children.”
Yet what of female teachers who’ve become sexually involved with young students?
“These are damaged, needy, lonely women,” says Pearce, “not necessarily pedophiles.”
Surely gender should not be an exculpatory factor in diagnosing pedophilia.
Women have definitely preyed on children sexually.
This woman, McEwen, certainly did — on a 2-year-old.
And these may have been her proclivities before she met Dickens. McEwen may have co-operated with the police investigation, but there was nothing to suggest that she won’t be similarly drawn to a “Master” in the future or overstep the bounds of BDSM by assaulting another child.
She’ll do her time and then she’ll be free as a bird — a vulture, maybe.
There was immense frustration at 720 Bay — in the attorney general’s office — over McEwen dodging the dangerous offender designation.
But there will be no appeal.
Rosie DiManno is a columnist based in Toronto covering sports and current affairs. Follow her on Twitter: @rdimanno