Kingston Whig-Standard, January 21, 1999

By Rob Tripp
Whig-Standard Staff Writer

A devious serial rapist imprisoned in Kingston Penitentiary recently targeted a Belleville woman he met at a medical clinic in Kingston, Toronto police say.

The woman contacted Metro's sexual assault squad last week after reading a Jan. 14 story in The Whig-Standard about Selva Kumar Subbiah, who is serving a 24-year sentence for drugging and raping 30 women in the Toronto area during an eight-year period.

``Since he's been in [prison], this is the first one like this,'' Det. Const. Brian Thomson, of the Metro sexual assault squad, said yesterday.

Thomson and a partner put Subbiah behind bars in 1992, but that hasn't stopped the scheming sexual predator from trying to woo women. He has repeatedly tricked victims into relationships by telephone, passing himself off as a talent scout or movie producer.

Subbiah exploits the women to get money, gifts and phone sex. Police say they know of 25 relationships he has cultivated this way, using a female accomplice on the street. He ends the relationship if there is any danger he'll face criminal charges.

Thomson said he's certain Subbiah was after the Belleville woman, based on discussions he had with the victim.

``Because of certain things that she said to me, I know it to be true,'' Thomson told The Whig-Standard. ``There's certain information that we've never released to anyone [that she knew].''

But in this case, Subbiah added a new wrinkle to his scheme, selecting a victim he had met personally.

The woman agreed to talk to The Whig-Standard on the condition her identity not be revealed.

``I don't feel threatened after talking to the officers in Toronto,'' she said.

The woman works in a Kingston medical clinic that treats federal convicts under a contract with the Correctional Service.

Subbiah was at the clinic a few times in 1997 and 1998. Det. Thomson said the clinic visits were the result of an assault by a fellow convict.

``He was walking down the hall, somebody passed him who knew him and what he was all about and [punched him],'' Thomson said. ``When Subbiah opened his eyes, he was in the infirmary with a broken jaw.

``Oh darn.''

A few weeks after his last visit to the clinic in the summer of 1998, a woman called the clinic, claiming to be an assistant to a movie producer who had been treated there. The producer, the female caller said, wanted to contact the clinic employee and thank her for the fine treatment he had received.

The clinic employee who answered the call, a temporary worker, mistakenly gave out the Belleville woman's home number.

Within days, the woman got a call from the alleged producer's assistant.

The Belleville woman said the caller was very polite and complimentary and kept apologizing for the fact that she didn't have much information.

``She said, `I don't have any information to give you. I can't tell you what this is about. I've just been asked by my producer to try and get in touch with you.' ''

The caller said the producer, who she didn't name, was very pleased with the treatment he got at the clinic.

``She just said that, `He thought you were very attractive and you'd been extremely nice to him when he was in,' and he wanted to send me something,'' the woman recalls.

Although the woman did answer some personal questions, she was skeptical.

``I said, `Unless you can tell me what this is about, forget it, you don't have any answers for me but you have all these questions.' ''

The caller said she'd be in touch with the producer and get back to the Belleville woman, but there were no more calls and the woman forgot about the incident. She did not connect the phone call to Subbiah until her boss showed her the newspaper story last week.

That's when she contacted Metro police, who have also talked to prison officials.

``We were advised of this lady who came forward to the Metro police,'' said John Oddie, an assistant warden at Kingston Penitentiary.

Oddie said prison authorities have checked to make sure that the Belleville woman's home phone number and the number for the medical clinic do not appear on Subbiah's approved calling list, or the approved list for any other convict at the prison.

The prison is now consulting its legal department about possible action to stop abuse of phone privileges by inmates.

Oddie said the community should not be worried that Subbiah, or any other inmate poses a threat when they are outside the prison for medical treatment.

``They are escorted by two officers at all times so there is no risk to the public,'' Oddie said.

The Belleville woman said she has some simple advice for anyone who gets a call like she got.

``Call the police and hang up.''

The case

Who: Selva Kumar Subbiah, 38

Record: Serving a 24-year prison sentence in Kingston Penitentiary for drugging and raping 30 Toronto-area women

Threat: Subbiah uses fake identities, phone tricks and a female accomplice outside prison to cultivate relationships with women

What's new: Metro Toronto police say a Belleville woman was targeted late last year, but didn't realize it until reading a Whig story about Subbiah a week ago

Information: If you have information about Subbiah, call the Metro Toronto sexual assault squad at 416-808-7474