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Ottawa homosexual activist Elliott Youden has pled guilty to extorting money from a 16-year-old youth who stabbed him after they engaged in oral sex.

Youden, who in recent years sat on the board of Capital Pride, the organization that runs the annual gay parade, drew police attention when he reported the youth’s knife assault. But after police got the suspect’s side of the story, they charged Youden with aggravated assault, because they knew he was HIV-positive from a previous case and allegedly did not tell the youth, and with extortion.

While they dropped the aggravated assault charge, police pursued him on extortion. Youden first arranged a date in September with the youth, who he met via the Internet. When the youth got cold feet, Youden threatened him with exposure unless he paid $500. The youth could only scrape up $200. When he brought this to Youden’s apartment, Youden persuaded him to have oral sex (without disclosing he had HIV), after which the mortified young man stabbed him. 

But before this case could come to trial, Youden pled guilty to extortion, while the assault charge was dropped. Youden was sentenced to two years suspended and 90 days already served in jail and ordered him not to possess any weapons for 10 years, to keep the peace, to provide a sample of his DNA, and to not communicate with his accuser or his family. Youden had had several encounters with the police—and the courts—before this.

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He first came to the attention of law enforcement in 2010, when a university student accused him of having sex without disclosing he was “positive” for HIV-AIDS. This led to the aggravated assault charge customary in such cases. When the case first came before the courts in 2013, it ended with a mistrial.  At the second trial this June, his accuser testified he had arranged to massage Youden but when the latter wanted sex, he asked Youden for money. During a break in the ensuing encounter, the Crown alleged, Youden took off the condom he was wearing and proposed they continue. The youth asked if he was HIV-positive and Youden responded, “No, I’m not.”

But Youden denied all this, insisting instead that the youth had threatened him with unnamed “consequences” if he wasn’t paid $300.

The judge found neither the accused nor the accuser credible and acquitted Youden. But by now Youden was on the police department’s bad books for an April incident involving another Ottawa man, a Defence Ministry employee he had met via a web dating site and who claimed Youden had tried to extort money from in exchange for silence.

“Mr. Youden was officially warned by the detective about extortion,” Det. Anne Menard told the court at an October bail hearing for Youden.

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