Toronto AA Member Tortures And Sexually Assaults Fellow Alcoholics Anonymous Member

Warning: This story contains graphic material that may disturb some readers.
This poor man who was attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, had no idea how his life would change forever by befriending a man he met at the Toronto AA meeting. He invited John Siscoe back to his home to celebrate New Year’s Eve with his wife to share chips and pop. John Siscoe had a criminal record and drug and alcohol issues while attending AA. Probably court mandated no doubt. The horror that ensued is very hard to read. Let this be a wake-up call to those that think AA meetings are just a benevolent group, lovingly supporting one another. There is a very dark side to Alcoholics Anonymous that people need to be warned about. This man was tortured and nearly lost his life. It is considered one of the most heinous crimes in Toronto’s history! All by an Alcoholics Anonymous Member.
Update- It was Jan Foster and Robert Canavan that went to the police to report their concerns. Thank goodness they did!
John Michael Siscoe, 40, and the victim’s wife, 30, quietly pleaded guilty earlier this week in the Superior Court of Justice to a slew of charges, including endangering a life and sexual assault causing bodily harm.

Man brutally tortured by his wife and her boyfriend in Toronto apartment

Tortured mercilessly by his own wife and her new boyfriend, victim was too broken to escape

Toronto Star

Jayme Poisson, Liam Casey Fri Jan 13 2012

 John Michael Siscoe, 40, and the victim’s wife, 30, quietly pleaded guilty earlier this week in the Superior Court of Justice to a slew of charges, including endangering a life and sexual assault causing bodily harm.

It took 75 minutes Thursday for Crown Attorney Paul Leishman to read aloud in court the 25 pages detailing one of the most heinous crimes in Toronto’s history — one man, confined to a closet and brutally tortured, physically, sexually and psychologically, over the course of three months.

His body cut with razor blades and beaten with hammers and broom handles until they broke. Lighter fluid poured over his skin, and then set on fire. Cartilage ripped from his ears with a pair of pliers. Pins pierced through his lips, sealing his mouth. Bleeding wounds cauterized with hot knives or sewn up with a needle and thread.

Those responsible for the horrific abuse were the man’s own wife and her new boyfriend. The location was a cramped one-bedroom basement apartment in the city’s west end.

John Michael Siscoe, 40, and the victim’s wife, 30, quietly pleaded guilty earlier this week in the Superior Court of Justice to a slew of charges, including endangering a life and sexual assault causing bodily harm, from Oct. 31, 2009 until police rescued the man on Jan. 19, 2010.

Responding to a call from concerned area residents, they found the victim huddled in the dark bedroom closet, naked, shivering, malnourished and with grotesque wounds.

He had five fractured ribs, two collapsed lungs, facial fractures, abrasions and burns all over his body. Pictures taken after he was found show what resembles a man’s face, but black, blue and bloated to three times its normal size. His eyes were swollen shut as pus and plasma oozed from his wounds.

On Thursday afternoon, as the agreed-upon “horrible litany of facts” was read out, only a handful of people were in the courtroom at 361 University Ave.

They heard a story of a victim whose spirit was so broken that he never tried to escape and who, even when rescued, continued to protect his torturers.

The court ordered a ban on publication of anything that would tend to identify the victim, who is still legally married to the woman in the dock. At the time of the abuse all three were living together in Toronto and she was pregnant with Siscoe’s child.

The story started back in 2005, in a small town southeast of Vancouver. The victim and his wife married in a back yard civil ceremony. Pictures from a Facebook account reveal a smiling couple surrounded by family. They lived off disability insurance — she handled the bills while he cooked.

Starting in 2008, the relationship soured. She was unfaithful and took to the Internet to chat with other men. In December of that year, at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, the victim met Siscoe, a short, solid man with jet black hair, prior convictions and a history of drug and alcohol abuse. They became acquaintances and he invited Siscoe to spend New Year’s Eve with him and his wife.

Entire Story-–man-brutally-tortured-by-his-wife-and-her-boyfriend-in-toronto-apartment

Another article describing in horrific detail of the torture by Toronto AA Member-


Article discussing the possible psychological makeup of Siscoe–man-tortured-in-a-closet-raises-disturbing-questions?bn=1

Photo of closet where man was forced to live-This is the closet where a man was trapped for more than three months while enduring horrific assaults.

Picture of couples room with babies bassinet !

33 thoughts on “Toronto AA Member Tortures And Sexually Assaults Fellow Alcoholics Anonymous Member

  1. Update-

    Sentencing adjourned in brutal torture case pending doctor’s evaluation
    Published On Thu Mar 01 2012

    Court documents have said Siscoe was to be evaluated by a doctor at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
    Jayme Poisson
    Staff Reporter

    John Michael Siscoe, 40 — the man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to torturing another man and confining him to a closet — made a brief appearance in court Thursday.

    Dark hair slicked back and wearing the same green checkered shirt he wore during previous appearances, Siscoe sat slumped over in the prisoner’s box, occasionally leaning over to speak with a police officer.

    His attorney, Victoria Tucci, said counsel was waiting on psychological reports. The matter was adjourned until May.

    Court documents have said Siscoe was to be evaluated by a doctor at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The Crown has said they intend to seek a dangerous offender designation.

    In January, Siscoe and the wife of the tortured man pleaded guilty to a slew of charges, including endangering a life and sexual assault causing bodily harm, from Oct. 31, 2009, until police rescued the man on Jan. 19, 2010.–sentencing-adjourned-in-brutal-torture-case-pending-doctor-s-evaluation?bn=1

  2. This is an interesting update, they revoked the wife’s bail. Because as the judge explained-
    “This is one of these rare times where the accused’s detention is necessary to maintain the public’s confidence in the administration of justice,” he said.

    Ya think?! I bet there was public outcry as to why in the world she was out on bail in the first place! Good decision Judge. Better late than never.

    Bail revoked for wife of man tortured and confined to a closet
    An Ontario Superior Court judge revoked bail Monday for a woman who has admitted to playing a role in torturing her husband.

    “Stark horror,” was how Justice John McMahon described one of the most shocking crimes in Toronto’s history. For nearly three months, the victim was physically, sexually and psychologically abused. Lighter fluid was poured over his skin and set on fire; cartilage ripped from his ears; pins pierced through his lips, sealing his mouth. He was confined to a tiny closet.

    “The admitted facts demonstrate the worst case of physical abuse I have ever experienced in my legal career,” said McMahon, a onetime Crown attorney with over three decades’ experience.

    Earlier this month, John Michael Siscoe, 40, and the victim’s wife, 30 — who cannot be named because a publication ban protects the victim’s identity — pleaded guilty to a series of charges, including endangering a life and sexual assault causing bodily harm.

    The abuse took place from Oct. 31, 2009, until police rescued the man on Jan. 19, 2010. The three had been living together in a one-bedroom west end apartment — the woman pregnant with Siscoe’s child.

    While Siscoe, in custody and awaiting sentencing, was responsible for committing the heinous violence, the victim’s wife, at times, either watched it take place or was elsewhere in the apartment, according to an agreed-upon statement of facts read aloud in court Jan. 12.

    Monday’s bail hearing offered a more complete picture of her life.

    The mother of the victim’s wife — who has been acting as her surety — testified that by age 15, tests showed her daughter had the mental capacity of an 8- or 9-year-old. She graduated high school from a modified special needs program.

    While out on bail awaiting a trial, and more recently, awaiting sentencing, the woman — heavy-set with short brown hair — has been living with family and complying with all conditions set out by the court.

    Defence lawyer Vivian Ropchan said her client has “significant intellectual deficits,” and asked the court to balance its decision against the sincerity and commitment of her client’s surety.

    But Crown attorney Paul Leishman requested that bail be revoked because the woman has “admitted to her role in an extraordinarily egregious list of offences.” She was able enough to pay bills online and has lived on her own, he said, adding that when the victim screamed, his wife would tell him to “shut up,” concerned not for him, but that she would lose custody of her child if someone discovered what was going on. Her actions and non-actions “encouraged this conduct to continue,” Leishman said.

    In his ruling, McMahon said that while he was satisfied the mother’s support for her daughter would ensure she continued to meet bail conditions; her bail was cancelled, in part, because of the gravity of the offence.

    “This is one of these rare times where the accused’s detention is necessary to maintain the public’s confidence in the administration of justice,” he said.

    Led out of the courtroom in handcuffs Monday, the woman turned to face her mother and said, “I love you.” Both broke down in tears. Her sentencing is expected to take place in the next few months.

    While the victim’s wife and family declined a request for comment, her mother did confirm her daughter’s child, now a toddler, is in the family’s care.–bail-revoked-for-wife-of-man-tortured-and-confined-to-a-closet

  3. You state ‘ Believe me when I say you would be safer at any A.A meeting where most of the people are honest, open, and are trying to change their lives best they can.‘ If you are really a social worker which I doubt that you are, you must have your head in the sand. Many that are in AA/NA are forced to be there. Also the one thing I think we can agree on is that addicts are hardly known for honesty. They are known for deception and selfishness because of their addiction. If they are open, in part is because AA requires you to confess your sins to at least one other member of the group. It is a very dangerous practice, making many want to go jump off a cliff after having their ‘character defects’ rammed down their throats. Many who are mandated to AA are career criminals who have been arrested over and over, along with being mandated over and over to AA. So are they trying to manage their lives the best they can before or after they rape,rob or start dealing drugs again? Sure some people are trying to get on with their lives. Dont try to act like people are safer at AA than a grocery store.

    Also statistically many in the mental health profession have never even been to a AA meeting. Yet they send their clients there without doing proper research. They even send minors to a 12 step program that actually mandate level 3 sex predators. They should have their license taken away.

  4. OMG. The wife of the victim is out on bail for now! This article just came out about the neighbors feelings about this ordeal.

    Neighbours haunted by Toronto man’s torture in their midst

    Two years after police rescued a man who was tortured for three months in a Toronto apartment, area residents remain plagued with guilt that they didn’t act sooner.

    Of course, they didn’t know then what they know now. At the time, it was impossible to fathom something so unspeakable was happening to a fellow neighbour.

    Josie Nicodemo said she cried for a week after finding out the gruesome details of the man’s ordeal. He was brutally assaulted and tortured. Lighter fluid was poured on his skin and set on fire. He was beaten with broom handles and hammers until they broke.

    But the victim, who spoke exclusively to the Star over the weekend, said he would not be alive today if people like Nicodemo and others hadn’t called for help.

    “I would like to say thank you for helping me and saving me,” said the man, who cannot be named because of a publication ban protecting his identity.

    “The person at the coffee shop who saw me a couple of times, that lady who was at the apartment, the police officers and all the doctors who worked on me, they’re the reason I’m alive today.”

    Nicodemo, 38, was the woman at the coffee shop near the apartment where the abuse took place. She saw the victim with cuts, bruises and a swollen head. She and her mother often spoke with John Michael Siscoe and the victim’s wife, who both pleaded guilty last week to charges including endangering a life and sexual assault causing bodily harm.

    Complete interview-–neighbours-haunted-by-toronto-man-s-torture-in-their-midst

  5. The Toronto Star got an interview with the victim. Thank God this newspaper was not afraid to print the truth.

    Torture victim tells of 3-month ordeal in Toronto apartment

    January 15 th 2012

    VANCOUVER — He says his name, his real name, almost defiantly, proud that this, at least, has not been taken from him.

    Not the nickname he was called by his torturers over the months he was kept in captivity, sleeping in a tiny closet, beaten to the point where every time the blood splattered on the walls, he was surprised at the sight.

    “I didn’t know I had any blood left,” he says. “I didn’t know there was any more way they could hurt me and cause me pain.”

    He is a victim, he was tortured and he survived one of the most shocking crimes to be heard in a Toronto court.

    He can name the man, John Michael Siscoe, who did this to him but he cannot name his other captor, his wife. A court ban protects his identity but in doing so, it also protects her. He wishes he could go public.

    “What happened to me happened because it was behind closed doors and most people who knew or heard something didn’t speak up. Only a few people were willing to say something,” he says. “If they hadn’t, I would still be there, in that closet. Or I would be dead.”

    The man described exclusively to the Star the three months in which he was brutally tortured, physically, sexually and psychologically.

    Complete interview-–torture-victim-tells-of-3-month-ordeal-in-toronto-apartment

  6. Court mandated felons, required to go to non-accountable, nonprofessional, anonymous secret organizations to comply with the terms of their probation and parole? This story brings to light the extent of,”secret non-accountability” that the public is subject and vulnerable to with these people! This incredibly high risk group of individuals that are turned out of prisons and jails around the world, at an alarming rate to avoid the cost of incarceration, has a cultlike status that is respected by police and media! This outrageous, dysfunctional practice emboldens these repeat offenders who already feel above the law and beyond reproach.

  7. Toronto is home to about 500 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a week and it is the fifth most populous city in North America. Given the ease of access to these meetings John Michael Siscoe could have easily walked into many of them and begun targeting another AA member and/or their family.

    The Toronto AA area 83 appears to be very Religious and in June of 2011 the Toronto AA website delisted the Beyond Belief and We Agnostics groups for taking the Religious parts out of the 12 Steps completely and changed the following 6 steps to read:

    2. Came to accept and to understand that we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity.

    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the AA program.

    5. Admitted to ourselves without reservation, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.

    6. Were ready to accept help in letting go of all our defects of character.

    7. Humbly sought to have our shortcomings removed.

    11. Sought through mindful inquiry and meditation to improve our spiritual awareness, seeking only for knowledge of our rightful path in life and the power to carry that out.

    I personally do not see anything wrong with these changes but Catholic priest Fr. Pete Watters has been known to be very vocal on this issue.

    I believe that they should modify them even more, to provide safety and make sure that incidents like the torture by AA member John Michael Siscoe is never able to happen again in not only Toronto in Ontario Canada, but worldwide.

    • I knew there was a Canadian AA group de-listed, it happens to be in Toronto! It appears the Toronto AA Region is very powerful indeed. Poweful enough to silence the media and members for 2 years! I went to the AA Toronto agnostics website. They have an article called the “Don’t Tell” Policy of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is referring primarily about religion. If you are a non-believer-it is in your best interest not to tell. This “Don’t Tell” policy also seems to have many layers, such as don’t tell when you know that crimes are being committed by your fellow AA member. Regardless if it is sexually assaulting children, raping women, torturing or killing people. All to protect their image. They have people brainwashed into believing that it is all about the virtues of anonymity of the fellowship. I think the real reason is rather obvious. Their is this constant smoke and mirrors that make them extremely difficult to be held accountable. They want it that way for preventing lawsuits and continuing to protect their image. They are protecting the golden goose !

      The Don’t Tell” Policy in AA

      • Unfortunately, the obvious sociopath tendencies of 40 year old Toronto AA member John Michael Siscoe and the 30 year old wife of the victim he was having an affair with had access to the youth of Canada through Toronto Ontario Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous (TOYPAA).

        In case you are not aware, Young Peoples Groups in AA (YPGAA) are not monitored like Alateen to prevent abuse. Young Peoples Groups target market to the youth of the area they belong too and AA Area 83 uses older members to stage these events. Unfortunately sometimes 18 year old and younger members slip into these meeting because of the urging of other AA members who just don’t know any better. they haven’t heard about people like John Michael Siscoe operating in their area, because it was hushed up.

    • Here is another article from the Toronto Star discussing these groups being delisted. I find this rather amusing because even though in Holly Hil Fl when the community has had death threats and assaults take place, Both Daytona Beach Area NA and The Volusia County Intergroup AA said they could not delist meetings from their brochures or websites even if the groups were Axe murderers. It looks like though if you tinker with the 12 steps to make them agnostic friendly, AA finds the power to delist. Raping, torturing, financial scamming etc does not qualify.

      Does religion belong at AA? Fight over ‘God’ splits Toronto AA groups

      Toronto Star

      It uses “fellowship” to help chronic drinkers quit the bottle. But there is little fellowship in a schism that splintered the Alcoholics Anonymous umbrella group in the GTA this week.

      At issue is this question: Do alcoholics need God?

      On Tuesday, Toronto’s two secular AA groups, known as Beyond Belief and We Agnostics, were removed or “delisted” from the roster of local meetings. They’ve disappeared from the Toronto AA website and will not be in the next printed edition of the Toronto directory.

      The dispute started when Beyond Belief posted an adapted version of AA’s hallowed “Twelve Steps” on the Toronto website. They removed the word “God” from the steps, which are used as a kind of road map to help drinkers achieve sobriety.

      “They took issue with a public display of secular AA,” says Joe C., who founded Beyond Belief, Toronto’s first agnostic AA group, 18 months ago. (In keeping with AA’s tradition of anonymity, members are identified by first names only.)

      It proved popular enough that a second group started up last fall; it took its name from a chapter in the AA bible entitled Alcoholics Anonymous, commonly known as the Big Book. The group, We Agnostics, had only recently completed the paperwork to be part of AA before being booted out.

      “What is unusual is that this didn’t happen in some backwater, but that it happened in a liberal, democratic, pluralistic place like Toronto,” says Joe.

      The name of God appears four times in the Twelve Steps and echoes the period in which they were written — the 1930s. It invites those seeking sobriety to turn themselves over to God, who will remove their “defects of character.” They go on to speak of God’s will for the recovering alcoholic.–does-religion-belong-at-aa-fight-over-god-splits-toronto-aa-groups

      • Many people have called Alcoholics Anonymous corporate headquarter’s in New York to try to get clarity on what it takes for rogue groups to get delisted.

        Corporate Headquarter’s response was that these groups are on their own when it comes to how they conduct themselves and they take no responsibility or accountability for their members actions, NO MATTER WHAT!

        Newsweek and Washington Post reported about the Midtown Alcoholics Anonymous group, in the metropolitan Washington DC area. The main facilitator of the group was said to have had a special way with young people. He had a special way with them all right as he and other fiftysomething-year-old men passed around young teenage girls that came to the group for help. He and his ANONYMOUS group members led these girls to believe that giving them sexual favors would somehow help them succeed in the program!

        This outrageous abuse was simply swept under the rug by Alcoholics Anonymous corporate headquarters and the group just changed their meetings to a different location in the area.

        This was not grounds for being delisted but people’s personal beliefs, when it comes to religion, apparently is!

        Another amazing aspect of this is that Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous deny that they are religious organizations. The courts also try to deny this because they know that it is actually illegal for the government to mandate people to religious organizations, without non-religious (secular) options.

        Maybe the administrator of this site could add a link to these articles under this comment.

        Here it is-

  8. Anti D- thank you so much for bringing this story to the unsuspecting public. This needs to stop the covering up and such when it comes to AA members.

    JRHarris- Yes I believe they know and are ignoring it. Each and everyone can be sued for not fulfilling their duties as a trustee in a non profit corporation in United States of America. I recently learned this law at a SAG Union Meeting. Each one of them can be sued for knowing this sick criminal stuff is going on and doing nothing..and we are not even addressing minors. When I spoke to the head of the sub committee Pam Reising last year and was upset about minors being at meetings and sex offenders being sentenced , she had the nerve to Say ” well maybe they can make an exception for us because we’re AA” WTF?

    After that I stopped calling them. It’s a waste of time. I warned them with letters and phone calls, yet nothing was done to make the meetings safer.

    • I believe it is time for the Toronto Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship to perform a self inventory just like Bill Wilson told them at the 1965 Toronto International Alcoholics Anonymous Convention when he said:

      Bill W. then addressed the Conference noting, “It may be a mark of a certain degree of maturity on our part that members of the Fellowship seem to have been less disturbed by the critical article than our nonalcoholic friends have been.”

      Continuing, Bill added, “The subjects for a movement inventory are legion. The important thing is that the process has begun. I hope that every considerable gathering of A.A.’s will give thought to sessions on taking inventory of A.A. and to inviting critics, even hostile ones, to participate because you sometimes find that people animated by what may appear to be the worst possible motives speak truth in large portions.”

      Bill Wilson made these statements In response to the September 19, 1964 Saturday Evening Post entitled, “ALCOHOLICS CAN BE CURED–DESPITE A.A.” By Dr. Arthur H. Cain. The beginning of which started stating this:

      “An expert charges that Alcoholics anonymous has become a dogmatic
      cult that blocks medical progress and hampers many members’ lives.

      It is time we made a thorough investigation of Alcoholics Anonymous in the interest of our public health. A.A. is identified in the public mind as a God-fearing fellowship of 350,000 “arrested alcoholics” who keep one another sober and rescue others from the horrors of alcoholism. Unfortunately, A.A. has become a dogmatic cult whose chapters too often turn sobriety into slavery to A.A. Because of its narrow outlook, Alcoholics Anonymous prevents thousands from ever being cured. Moreover A.A has retarded scientific research into one of America’s most serious health problems.”

      • Continuing, Bill added, “The subjects for a movement inventory are legion. The important thing is that the process has begun. I hope that every considerable gathering of A.A.’s will give thought to sessions on taking inventory of A.A. and to inviting critics, even hostile ones, to participate because you sometimes find that people animated by what may appear to be the worst possible motives speak truth in large portions.”

        This is a great quote of Bill W.! He is right about the harshest critics could speak the truth in large portions. That is us. Speaking the unvarnished truth of the physical and psychological dangers in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. In Holly Hill Florida, this includes playgrounds and parks that have become increasingly dangerous and even bringing down real estate values. Because of many in the Holly Hill Police Department and some Commissioners and their family members being involved in 12 step themselves, has led to the higher crime in our parks and neighborhoods.

  9. I think that the worse part of this entire story and the coverup that ensued was that the victim of the AA members was rescued by someone from a local bar.

    “One week later, the woman, along with a man from a nearby bar who also suspected something was up, walked into a local police station. On the evening of Jan. 19, 2010, the couple was arrested.”

    Are you trying to tell me that someone from a local bar knew something was wrong, but the fellowship of the Toronto Alcoholics Anonymous Area 83 did not know about the torture that John Michael Sisco was doing. Who was his Sponsor? Of course hiding this crime from the public for two years makes it very easy for the Anonymous and transient population of these groups to cover things up even more.

    • You are right. I hadn’t thought of that. What an incredible irony. A local bar patron reporting crime on one AA member and at the same time rescuing the other AA member. I guess the AA members that knew them considered it an ‘outside issue’. Who needs enemies when you have friends in AA.

      • Yes this was quite a twist of fate. A Toronto bar patron turning in an Ontario AA member to get them the help they need. Isn’t it usually the other way around?

        Toronto AA is very close to the New York AA Area 48 and just across lake Ontario for New York AA Area 47. Do you think the corporate offices of Alcoholics Anonymous at the Interchurch Center at 475 Riverside Drive in New York Area 49 have heard about the torture of fellow AA members, by AA members?

        • I think AAWS knew all about this, and had something to do with the covering up of this story. To think they knew of this (at some point and time), as well as many of the area groups in Toronto, to continuing the advocating of children and teens to adult meetings is disgusting. It makes my blood boil to think of this practice continuing and even the governments or child advocates groups do nothing to stop this. Even the Churches do not get this special type of treatment in the press and media.

          AAWS says they are not a secret society,then what would you call it? A secret society damn it!

  10. Amy,that thought crossed my mind to that he might of just said that to get in the door. Then he took over their money as well, so he very well might of wanted to continue his AA financial scamming by running a lucrative sober house are. I did a quick search and found this article about sober houses in Delray Florida that said many of the owners of them had criminal backgrounds! I believe the process to open one varies greatly from one jurisdiction to another. Clearly though it looks like there are plenty of loopholes for criminals to get in the sober house biz.

    • These homes are not licensed under state law and there is no requirement that the owner of a sober house undergo a criminal background check prior to opening the house. Some advocates of sober housing have downplayed the findings, stating that having people with difficult prior records can be an effective example for recovering addicts.

      I cant believe this. Not licensed under state law, no background check is required to own and run the home and that is considered to be a good example for recovering addicts. Where does this fit into working a good program.

      • It goes even deeper than that. The owner of a sober house can also be the house manager who guides the home in all of the policies and procedures of the home in essence becoming the supreme ruler of the people who use the goods and services of the home. This entails things like how many times the residents should go to AA meetings, how much service work they must perform at the local Alano club or meeting place with the added threat that they will be told to leave if they do not do it. Sober homes search out vulnerable people for clients and normally charge around $130 US a week and sometimes much higher. The residents must supply their own food and with a normal occupancy rate of 5 clients a week they pull in around $650-$1000 a week that just has to be used to pay the mortgage, electricity, water and sewage bill.

        The thought of John Michael Siscoe opening up a sober house for the Toronto Alcoholics Anonymous groups in the 416 and 647 area codes and the power he would have wielded over them is extremely disturbing. I don’t know if you noticed, but Siscoe was forcing the AA member he was torturing to write down what he thought was wrong with his behavior. This is in actuality a form of the 4th Step of Alcoholics Anonymous,”Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves” that John Siscoe was using to control the mind of his victim. As a sober house owner specializing in Alcoholics Anonymous in the Canadian postal code of M, Siscoe would have been able to really manipulate people, because:

        “When you discover a prospect for Alcoholics Anonymous, find out all you can about him.” Quote from page 90, Chapter 7,”Working With Others” of the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous commonly referred to as the “Big Book.”

        • jr

          Yes, all of the things you mentioned are true and more. I did a lot of research on sober living homes a couple of years ago and we had a long discussion about this on “leaving aa” a few weeks ago. Some of the bloggers had lived in a few sober living homes. Fortunately, I did not have to go that route. Something new that I learned in that discussion was; Some homes, all of the residents are required to obtain ebt cards (food stamps) before admission, which are turned over to the owners. These benefits by law are intended for your personal use only and like a debit card have a private pin number. A few residents are sent to buy food for the house with cards that many times are not their own.

          Also, the sl residents are exempt from most of the screening others go through before being approved for food stamps. The amount of your monthly benefit is determined by the amount of rent you pay, proof of income, bank statements; even pink slip to your car. Sober living residents are not required to do any of that.

          However, I was not aware that individuals with criminals records can run these places and no background check is required. These places are advertised as a safe environment.

          One of the ones I looked at was in an affluent area. The women owned 3 homes. The rent was $750.00 a month for a small room to share with 3 other residents and one bath. Buy your own food, coin operated laundry. Basically these places get away with murder. Sorry if off topic but wanted to expand on what you said a bit.

          • The West End of Toronto where the AA member was being tortured by John Siscoe and the victims wife who was pregnant by him is in a very diverse and older section of Toronto comprised of a significant immigrant population. When Siscoe gets out of jail, there is nothing stopping him from returning under the guise of anonymity and trying to start a sober home again. The fact that the victims wife, even though a culprit in the torture of AA member to AA member, is not being identified and gives her the ability to not only hide under the cloak of Anonymity of Alcoholics Anonymous, but since her name and picture are not being released, she could easily return to the area and become a sober living manager.

            The West End of Toronto is currently going through a big growth spurt of Gentrification, where people buy run down houses and convert them into high end homes or rentals. The growth of AA meetings in the area will no doubtingly cause the growth of the sober home business in the area and entrepreneurs may try to tap into this market knowing that it has a high rate of return and little if any regulation like that of rental property. Where it may be hard to kick out a tenant in a traditional renter landlord agreement for lack of payment, in a sober home it is relatively easy and unregulated.

            • As you said;
              These residents can be kicked out at any time. I ran into a girl who had a “very slight” relapse. She was asked to leave by the owner and could not return until they had a meeting and the residents would vote, as to whether she could. The owner put the responsibility on the recovering addicts to make the decision. I thought there best thinking got them there. This problem is another huge can of worms. They are referred to as homes but operate as business’s and exempt from city ordinances.

  11. I dont know if Siscoe really had the intentions of starting a sober living house or if just told the victim that. I have a question though: Aren’t people screened for criminal records etc. or what are the required qualifications before opening one of these facilitys. Is just any one permitted to run a sober living house.

  12. JR, this is really mind blowing that they were able to keep this secret for 2 years.There is an actual ban in Canada for releasing the victim’s name and his wife’s name. I find this odd as well. The police already stated they did not think there was any public concern of safety. The victim is an AA member as well- hmmmm…..what a coincidence of not releasing the AA victim’s name.

    The police came up with no logical excuse for keeping it a secret. Maybe this guy Siscoe was well known in AA circles. He was planning to open his own sober house! Of course AA members did not leak the story either. I think there is more to come out of this story.

    • This has to go global. From the Eastern Canada Region in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in AA Area 83 where this happened to the Florida Region of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Southeast Region of Alcoholics Anonymous, Area 14 in the city of Port Orange in Volusia County, Florida (part of Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach) where James Maxwell, 43, was arrested Dec. 19-20,2011 for the rape and abduction of a 9 year old girl at a Christmas Party and the child rape by John Thomas Nackab, we need the Huffington Post and the LA Times to pick this story up. It is horrendous and should be a warning of the current affairs of the so-called “God given program of Alcoholics Anonymous.”

      • Yes JR- The cover up by major newspapers needs to change. Here is a quote from the AA website to the media-


        Friendly support and cooperation from the media has made it possible for Alcoholics Anonymous to carry its message of hope in the U.S. and Canada, and far beyond these borders. We know that A.A. would not have reached many thousands of men and women without this assistance.

        In this section of the Website you will find information referring to our Tradition of Anonymity at the level of the media, press releases concerning events in Alcoholics Anonymous, public service announcements (P.S.A.s), and estimates of A.A. membership.
        We hope that the information is helpful, and thank you for your continuing support.

        Also here is their typical letter they send out to the media that has helped to manipulate and continue the propaganda of the Alcoholics Anonymous doctrine.

        Anonymity Letter to Media
        General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous

        May 2010


        From time to time we write our public media friends to thank them for helping us observe our long-standing tradition of anonymity for members of Alcoholics Anonymous.

        First, let us express our deep gratitude to you. From the beginning of A.A. in 1935, its members have recognized that word-of-mouth is not sufficient by itself to carry the program’s message of hope and recovery to the many people still suffering from alcoholism. The public media has been a vital part of this effort, and today we estimate that there are more than 2 million successfully recovering members of Alcoholics Anonymous in more than 180 countries.

        Second, we respectfully request that you continue to cooperate with us in maintaining the anonymity of A.A. members. The principle of anonymity is a basic tenet of our fellowship. Those who are reluctant to seek our help may overcome their fear if they are confident that their anonymity will be respected. In addition, and perhaps less understood, our tradition of anonymity acts as a restraint on A.A. members, reminding us that we are a program of principles, not personalities, and that no individual A.A. member may presume to act as a spokesman or leader of our fellowship. If an A.A member is identified in the media, we ask that you please use first names only (e.g., Bob S. or Alice F.) and that you not use photographs or electronic images in which members’ faces may be recognized.

        Again, we thank you for your continued cooperation. Those who wish to know more about our fellowship are welcome to visit the “For the Media” section of Our fellowship does not comment on matters of public controversy, but we are happy to provide information about A.A. to anyone who seeks it.

        If you are a professional and wish to e-mail us your postal address so that we may mail you additional information on A.A., please Click Here.


        Public Information Committee
        of Alcoholics Anonymous

  13. Thank you for bringing articles like this into the light. Alcoholics Anonymous has for too long hidden behind a veil of Anonymity when it comes to criminal actions of its members. While it is true that AA is quick to inform everyone and anyone that will listen that you are an Alcoholic sending you to a rehab and making you hit bottom, other crimes are hidden as can be witnessed by the alleged murder of Donita Brown in Lewiston Maine by Bob Ryder that his Sponsor Floyd Nadeau knew about for two and a half weeks before coming forward in 2011.

    People are going to say that this can happen in any group gathering such as a grocery store. You just have to remember that the court system does not mandate criminals to grocery stores or Kentucky Fried Chicken to learn the slogan that it is “Finger licking good”, and they don’t mandate sex offenders to Toys’R’Us.

    • Bad things happend to good people everyday, but blaming Alcoholics Anonymous and their traditions won”t keep people 100% safe. People who are determined to cause pain and suffering upon others will always find a way to victimize. I’ve met all kinds of great and not so great people who suffer from the disease of addiction. I myself would probably not be invited to most peoples homes if they knew my past, because of the terrible person I was while using drugs and alcohol. People should have the chance to make things right in their life, and A.A gives many people that chance to live life the way life was intended to live. I find so many people in society today are so quick to judge any group who’s main purpose is to help others. There are idiots and sick people in A.A for sure, but I deal with more idiots and sick people who are not in A.A and thats a fact. I’m a social worker and work with a lot of dangerous people who are not in jail and do shop at grocery stores everyday, because they are mandated to grocery stores and everywhere else you may be, it’s called living in a free society. Believe me when I say you would be safer at any A.A meeting where most of the people are honest, open, and are trying to change their lives best they can.

      • You are correct that criminals do go to grocery stores. There is a little bit of a difference between a grocery store and an AA meeting and that is that most grocery stores do not have confrontational members trying to prove that everyone the walks through the door is an Alcoholic. True you have grocery stores in bad neighborhoods, but most people are smart enough to stay away from them if they feel threatened. Because Alcoholics Anonymous (and NA) has allowed itself to be used as a dumping ground of the criminal justice system you end up with very dangerous groups comprised of many different people. On one end you may have a college student that got a DUI after a frat party and is mandated to them, on the other end you may have a level 3 sex offender also mandated. Because of people who are usually called “true believers”, the college student will feel safe when they shouldn’t because they have the true believers saying it is safe and hug, hold hands and join in on the Serenity or Lords prayer with them. Then you have the old timers pulling the denial card via innuendo and down right confrontation.

        The incident I mentioned above happened last year in Lewiston, Maine. In November of 2012 a pregnant women was shot in the back of the head by a court ordered criminal who left his court card at the podium to be signed In Baldwin Park, California. She was coming to pick up her husband and was leaving, obviously someone was pushing his buttons, which is very prevalent in AA today because of shows like Dr. Drew and A&E Intervention. they shouldn’t be mixing criminals like this (I know it doesn’t happen in your group is the usual excuse). Sites like this are documenting them so you won’t be able to say that any more.

        The next thing you are going to say is nothing can be done and it is the only alternative. If Rosa Parks hadn’t decided to sit in the front of the bus (which was unheard of in her day because she was black) we would still have separate water fountains, entrances, restaurants and an all white National Football league. But thank you for sharing your opinion.

  14. Here is an article that states that this arrest first happened 2 years ago.Even though it is considered one of the most horrendous crimes in Torontos history, the police did not make it public. This really is quite troubling. People seem to not know why. I will give you one guess- Covering up for the Crimes by Alcoholics Anonymous members! They do this in Holly Hill Florida too! This crap has got to stop! This is totally irresponsible to not let the public know about this story. It was not until the Toronto STAR uncovered it-that it came out! This cover-up of an Alcoholics Anonymous members heinous crime of torture takes the cake. As many of you know AA has a very cozy relationship with newspapers. They send out yearly thank you’s to them for protecting AA members anonymity. They have the press in their back pocket as well as the police.

    ‘Very few knew about the terrifying violence John Siscoe wreaked on another man. Police never issued a news release when the arrests were made two years ago. No media outlet covered the preliminary trial. Nothing has been written about this case, anywhere, until now.

    Police often issue a news release after such an arrest, but didn’t in this case.

    “The accused were arrested the same day the allegations were given to us, so that explains why we didn’t send out a release,” said Mark Pugash, director of corporate communications with Toronto police. “There was no risk to the public. We look at the nature of the offence, the risk to the public and a variety of other factors. If someone we believe poses a threat — that is sufficient for us to release information.”

    Last year, Pugash said, they sent out 2,044 news releases, covering everything from homicides to sex assaults to lost medication and missing people. Many are designed to warn the public or seek their help in an investigation. Others are released in the interest of the public.

    Why, exactly, did the police withhold this information?

    “I can’t answer that; it’s been two years,” Pugash said.

    Neighbours also had no idea what happened in the small one-bedroom basement unit in western Toronto even after police swarmed the place.

    “I barely knew (the accused), they weren’t here very long, and were gone after the police showed up,” said Elrado Williams, who lives down the hall. “We never heard anything. This is actually a safe place.”

    Other neighbours who lived there during the time of the torturing also said they never heard screams or strange noises from that apartment. The beige cinder blocks that make up the walls in the basement may explain why the victim’s screams were never heard — although Siscoe often threatened the accused to “shut up,” which meant the victim’s shouts didn’t last long.

    A young mother who lives in the apartment where the torture took place had never been told about the previous tenants until the Star informed her. She became upset, left to get her young child and is refusing to return to the apartment. She did not want her name published.

    The building’s superintendent never heard about the incident, either, although he’s only been on the job for a year — yet has lived in the apartment complex for years. If it weren’t for a few concerned friends who called the police, the court heard Thursday, the victim probably would have died.’

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