Professor Jooyoung Lee on Serial Killers and Marginalized Communities

Sociology Professor Jooyoung Lee was recently quoted in an article in the Toronto Metro. The article reported on the arrest and charges of a man in relation to the deaths of two men from the Church and Wellesley community in Toronto. Both victims were also members of the LGBTQ community. Professor Lee is quoted in the article, discussing the difficulty marginalized groups face in receiving police and media attention, making them more likely to be targeted by serial killers.

Professor Lee teaches sociology at the U of T St. George Campus, including courses such as the Sociology of Serial Homicide. His research involves studying the effects of gun violence on Black youth and communities.

We have posted an excerpt of the article below.

Serial killers target people from marginalized communities, experts say

“Serial killers are opportunists and this is part of the reason why they target marginalized groups,” said Jooyoung Lee, of the University of Toronto.

Serial killers often target people from marginalized groups because of the lack of attention their cases receive from media and law enforcement, experts say.

“This is something we see time and time again,” said Jooyoung Lee, an expert on serial killers at the University of Toronto. “Serial killers are opportunists and this is part of the reason why they target marginalized groups.

“They know that people who are from marginalized populations won’t get the same attention, whether they are marginalized for their sexuality, gender or their race.”

Toronto police arrested a man Thursday and charged him with the deaths of two men. Police say they believe there are more victims, leavng Torontonians to wonder if the deaths of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen were the work of a serial killer.

Both men were from the Church and Wellesley community and both were members of the LGBTQ community.

Bruce McArthur, 66, a self-employed landscaper, was charged in the murders of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen. Investigators have said they believe there are more victims.

McArthur appeared to be connected on Facebook to Skandaraj “Skanda” Navaratnam, one of three middle-aged men active in the Church and Wellesley area who went missing between 2010 and 2012. The others were Abdulbasir “Basir” Faizi, and Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan.

Police haven’t labelled McArthur a serial killer. But they didn’t discourage use of the term, saying it was up to the media to decide.

Lee said he could not comment on the McArthur case because there is no conviction yet.

However, he said that, generally speaking, serial killers target people from certain groups or communities.

“Sometimes there is evidence that they target a certain type of people and it becomes a very ritualistic thing, where they continuously look for that certain type of victim; once they find them, that becomes their obsession,” he said.

“In other cases, it really is a matter of practical access; they were around; they were easy victims; they were people who they had access to.”

He added: “It really comes down to the pragmatics of murder; serial killers are often very smart and intelligent and they target communities that won’t get the attention.”

Lee said that if McArthur is guilty and has targeted members of the LGBTQ community, the case really “underscores the frustration this community has, because they think police are not really taking their concerns seriously.”

“What we see is that people from marginalized groups don’t get that same kind of attention until something like this comes to light,” he said.

Read the full article here.