Paul Kenneth Bernardo, the Scarborough rapist

Paul Kenneth Bernardo was born in Toronto, Ontario, August 27, 1964. He is a Canadian convicted murderer and a rapist, who is known for the many murders that he commited with his partner Karla Homolka and he also committed serial rapes in Scarborough. Bernardo had conducted numerous sexual crimes in and near Scarborough, Ontario, increasing in ruthlessness. Several of the attacks were on young people that he had stalked late in the evening after they left buses.

On 4 May 1987, Bernardo conducted his first crime on a 21-year-old female in Scarborough, in front of her parents’ building, driving her home. The assault proceeded for about half an hour. Bernardo conducted his next rape on 14th May 1987. In the victim’s parent’s backyard, he assaulted a 19-year-old female. The incident continued for more than an hour. Thus, Bernardo committed these crimes in a similar manner and was known as the “Scarborough Rapist”.

Bernardo committed crimes on young females, first he would abuse his victims and then he would rape them. Most of his victims were assaulted in their own house. He would also threaten his victims using a knife, if they fought back, he would abandon the attack and leave the area. Moreover, he would grab his victims from bus stops and rape them in the bushes. His wife, Karla Homolka, promoted his murderous sexual behaviour, motivating his acts as a rapist. Tammy Homolka, 15 years old was Karla Homolka’s younger sister who was raped and killed by Bernardo and Karla.

Furthermore, the victims were young females which ranged from the age of 15 years old to 22 years old. His victims fell into the category of primary victimization. This is because the crime directly concerned them as they were assaulted, so they were considered the first-hand victims of the crime. Additionally, Bernardo was guilty of a variety of crimes, involving two first-degree homicides and two violent sexual offenses, and subjected to at least 25 years’ incarceration without parole.

The cause and nature of the crimes committed by Paul Bernardo support the biological and psychological theories of human behaviour. The psychological definition of “personality” has been described as stable behavioural habits, thoughts or behaviours that differentiate between one person and another. Research shows that certain extreme aggressive criminals may have a significant psychological deficiency generally referred to as psychopathy, sociopathy or antisocial personality disorder.

Psychopaths are emotionally unstable, have poor rates of remorse and sometimes

violate certain people’s freedoms. They are characterized as self-centered, deceptive, cold-hearted, aggressive and unable to feel guilt or regret for their acts of violence. It is often claimed that psychopaths will explain their acts on their own, in a way that seems to be rational and justified. Psychologists suggest a variety of factors in early childhood that promote the growth of a psychopathic or sociopathic personality. These causes include seeing a parent that is mentally unstable, family alienation, childhood loss of affection and poor discipline.

Children’s that are in their first three years of childhood – who may not have the ability to interact socially with their families, undergo a rapid split from their families or see shifts in their maternal figures are especially at elevated risk of forming a psychopathic personality. Relating to this theory, Paul Bernardo was born into a dysfunctional family, his father, Kenneth was abusive to his wife, Marilyn which explains his son, Paul’s behaviour as children observe their parents and develop their personalities through them. His mother, Marilyn had an affair and gave birth to Paul, Kenneth still listed his name on the birth certificate as his biological father.

Kenneth Bernardo also sexually assaulted his own daughter. Paul also witnessed many of Kenneth’s and Marilyn’s fights and arguments, one of them being in which Kenneth called Marilyn very disgusting words in front of Paul. Due to these factors during Paul’s childhood, as he grew up, he developed a psychopathic personality which led to establish dark sexual desires against women, he enjoyed harassing and beating up the people he dated. Thus, this behaviour led him to commit numerous sexual crimes.