A Missouri mother is desperately trying to stop her newly married 39-year-old daughter from joining her bigamist husband here in Toronto.
Oliver Killeen, 70, who has been married at least 19 times, moved to Toronto in June 2005 after being freed from jail in England for his illegal 19th marriage. He boasted to the Star in October that he was a "conman" with "at least six girlfriends" in the city, and that he was able to "hypnotize" them. Seventeen of his marriages have been illegal.
Gina Lascuola, a hard-working single mom of a disabled child, met Killeen through a Catholic singles website in March and married him in Niagara Falls on Dec. 28, according to her mother, Debbie Lascuola.
She believes her daughter learned of Killeen's past before she married him, but married him anyway after spending only a few days with him on two visits to Canada in December.
Gina insists "she loves Oliver and we're not going to stop her from being with him. That's pretty much how all of her conversations have gone – that he is a changed man," says Debbie Lascuola. "We don't believe it."
Her daughter is a school teacher and the mother of a severely disabled 4-year-old girl. Debbie Lascuola says her daughter has quit her job teaching in a private school to move to Toronto to be with Killeen.
"She's never been in any kind of trouble. She's a schoolteacher type, definitely innocent," says her mom. "She's a very intelligent person. She's been conned."
Last night, Killeen warned off a Star reporter outside a Parkdale apartment.
Reached by phone, Gina Lascuola was clearly distraught, and did not comment on her marriage.
She told family and friends that she married Killeen in a hotel room at the Hilton in Niagara Falls. Her mother says Killeen promised Gina he would look after her and her disabled daughter in Toronto. He promised to buy them a home and look after the little girl's medical bills.
Gina returned to her home in the U.S. after her marriage in order to get her things and move back to Canada, said her mother. Her family is trying to convince her to stay where she is.
Meanwhile, Toronto police are investigating a complaint from one of Killeen's former wives in London who called 11 Division yesterday to tell them she believes she is still married to Killeen.
British schoolteacher Margaret Curtin married Killeen in London, in October 1996, when she was in her early 40s. In an interview with the Star yesterday, she said she believes that marriage may not have been valid as Killeen was married to someone else at the time. But she married Killeen again at Toronto City Hall on Oct. 2, 1998, during a visit to the city.
"He got up, and declared that we were going to be married in the afternoon. I was gobsmacked. I said we were already married in London," she said. But Killeen insisted. "He was the sort of person it was impossible to go against."
Curtin believes her Toronto marriage to Killeen was valid because the wife previous to her had by then annulled her marriage to Killeen.
She says she has been so busy putting her life back together since her involvement with Killeen, which ended in 2002, that she never got around to seeking a divorce or an annulment.
"This is a man who is a predator. He really seeks out women, usually with the intention of defrauding them and utterly controlling them, and obviously he's shown his predatory nature again," said Curtin.
She said she will complain to police in Britain as well.
"I hope police can work together to stop this man," she said.
Another of Killeen's former wives says she has called Gina Lascuola to try to dissuade her from joining Killeen in Canada.
"He's very charismatic," says Barbara Daniels, 64, a nurse in Rockland, Ont., who was married to Killeen for seven years, beginning in 1978. "He makes you feel like you're the most special person in the world and that you're absolutely perfect as a woman.
"She's so low and so depressed and feels like her life isn't going anywhere. I think most anybody can get like that. I feel so sorry for her because I know, I've been there.
"She keeps telling me he's changed. She's convinced he's this marvellous, wonderful man that's going to make her life wonderful again."
Daniels said her time with Killeen was characterized by isolation, verbal abuse and tantrums if he didn't get his way.
"He's got a game. The game is to isolate you from all you know and love, and control you."
Killeen had eight children from his first wife, whom he married in Toronto. She died in 1974.
A documentary on Killeen, which aired on British TV in October, described how Killeen, who claims dual Irish and Canadian citizenship, managed to con his way into becoming a high-profile media psychologist in Ireland. He built a successful practice specializing in relationship and addiction problems. His little empire was destroyed when he testified as an expert witness at a trial, but was unable to produce any credentials when questioned by a defence lawyer.
He fled to London and was sentenced to three years for bigamy after Curtin reported him – she had received a call from a woman telling her that he had been married several times before.By Francine Kopun of the Toronto Star
Read more about Killeen--especially the most recent comments under that article.