10.18.12 2:00 PM ET
Meet a Serial Killer
Clifford Olson was the most atrocious serial killer in Canadian history, responsible for 11 murders of young boys and girls. When Olson was at last apprehended in 1981, his case was dealt with in a very Canadian way. The authorities accepted a guilty plea for the murders and despatched Olson to prison without trial. This method avoided a gruesome public recounting of Olson's crimes. In part, the authorities were motivated by a wish to avoid pain to the families of the murdered young people; in part perhaps to avoid questions about the efficacy of police.
From prison, Olson did what so many people, both good and evil, have done when they had a story to tell: he reached out to the legendary reporter, my father-in-law, Peter Worthington. Peter and Olson had many dozens of conversations over many years, by phone and during prison visits. Olson, not only a cruel but also a boastful man, narrated to Peter the story of his horrific crimes. Peter got access to the sealed court records and then wrote the story in terrible full. Olson died almost exactly one year ago, and Peter has now published the narrative as an e-book.
I should mention that part of Peter's proceeds from the book will be donated to ChildFind, a North American charity for missing and abused children.