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“Tabletop” John Brown Gets His (1999)

“Tabletop” John Brown Gets His (1999)

©1999, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1999). “Tabletop” John Brown gets his. Transgender Forum.

When I became aware of John Ronald Brown and his horrible surgeries on transsexual and other people, I sent out warnings in the mailings of The American Educational Gender Information Service, a nonprofit I founded. The first was mailed in 1990. I periodically resent the warnings until he was finally caught and incarcerated.


John Brown’s body lies a’molderin’ in the grave

Moldering in the grave

Moldering in the grave

John Brown’s body lies a’molderin’ in the grave

His soul goes marching on

Folk song, sung to the tune of “Battle Hymn of the Republic”

Here’s to Tabletop John Brown

It’s hard to keep a butcher down

If you’re male and you can pay

Get tucked and rolled in old TJ

 Dallas Denny, 1999


 Tabletop John Brown Gets His

 By Dallas Denny


It’s 1999, and Tabletop John Ronald Brown finally got his comeuppance. He’s been found guilty of murder.

It’s about time.

An article by R.S. Spitz, published in Viva magazine in the mid-1970s, identified Brown as one of the worst plastic surgeons in the United States. Even then, Brown was doing male-to-female sex reassignment surgery— badly, I might add. He never lacked for customers, since his only criterion for surgery was whether the check cleared. He was famous for doing SRS in motel rooms and on kitchen tables, leaving his victim to wake up in the back seat of her car or on a couch in an abandoned house.

In the late 1980s I became aware of Brown and immediately started warning the community about him. He had lost his medical license in 1977 because of a badly botched hair replacement surgery on a transsexual— but license or no, he continued to operate. Eventually he was caught, tried, and, in 1989, sent to prison. But when he was released a couple of years later, he once again began to operate, this time from a base in Tijuana, Mexico, just across the border from San Diego. He used former patients to recruit transsexual women from the U.S. And he never lacked for patients.

In the 1990s, Brown came to favor invasive surgery in which he would graft the neovagina to a section of resected colon. His results had never been good; the groin area of a Brown patient typically looked as if the penis had been split lengthwise and sutured to the groin, with a simple hole between the split halves. Patients often wound up with colostomies— several of Brown’s “girls” danced topless, using scarves to conceal the bags attached to their sides— but when he started going into the peritoneum, things got really scary. Patients would return home smelling of rotting flesh. Often they would return to Brown, going again and again for revision, each time paying large sums of money. Many eventually wound up in emergency rooms, and I daresay some ended up dead.

Brown finally got busted, but good— and I helped, just a little. In 1998, he removed the healthy leg of elderly Philip Bondy, who died two days later of gangrene. The initial news reports said Stacy Running, the San Diego prosecutor, couldn’t understand why a healthy leg had been removed. Fortunately, I had that piece of the puzzle and was able to play a small part in Brown’s comeuppance. I got on the phone and called Ms. Running. I wasn’t able to reach her, but I told a detective who worked for her about apotemnophilia, a fetish identified by Johns Hopkins psychologist John Money, in which an individual is sexually turned on by missing limbs and sometimes eventually wishes to become an amputee. Across three thousand miles of telephone wires— well, fiber optic cable— I could feel the detective putting two and two together. The next time I spoke with him, Ms. Running was off and well, running, having gotten hold of Money’s article on apotemnophilia. She discovered Bondy had indeed had the fetish, and had traveled to California with New York psychologist Gregg Furth, another apotemnophiliac who wanted his own leg removed. Furth changed his mind when one of Brown’s assistants walked into the clinic carrying a butcher knife.

Brown has been found guilty of murder. As I write this he is awaiting sentencing. I hope he goes away for a long, long time.

Transsexuals Tell of Botched Surgeries by Former Doctor (AP)

Transsexuals Tell of Botched Surgeries by Former Doctor

by Michelle Williams, Associated Press Writer

29 September, 1999

SAN DIEGO (AP)— Two transsexuals say they were so desperate to live their lives as women that they allowed a former sex change doctor to operate on them at a clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, despite his questionable expertise and demand for advance cash payment.

The result was pain, suffering and disfiguration, said the women, who testified Tuesday at the murder trial for John Ronald Brown. Testimony resumes today at San Diego County Superior Court.

Brown, 77, is accused of second-degree murder in the death of Philip Bondy, an elderly New York man who paid $10,000 to get his healthy leg amputated to satisfy a sexual fetish. If convicted, he faces life imprisonment.

Brown performed Bondy’s operation in May 1998 at a Tijuana clinic. Bondy, a man frail from pneumonia and heart disease, died two days later at a suburban San Diego motel due to gangrene poisoning.

Before his trial started last week, Brown pleaded guilty to practicing medicine without a license relating to seven shoddy sex-change operations or related treatments.

Judge Bernard Revak ruled Tuesday that two of those transsexuals could testify at the trial, allowing prosecutor Stacy Running to show a pattern of Brown practicing medicine with disregard to the health of his patients. That is a necessary legal element for jurors to find him guilty of murdering Bondy.

Defense attorney Sheldon Sherman said that Brown did not perform the surgeries to commit murder nor did he disregard the seriousness of the procedures.

A witness referred to only as “Carrie,” who had a sex change operation by another doctor in 1991, testified that she contacted Brown in 1997 about reconstructing her female genitalia so it would be more attractive for nude modeling.

She said she knew Brown had lost his California medical license in 1977 for botching sex change operations, but she went ahead with the surgery. “I was just desperate,” she said.

She went to the Tijuana clinic where Brown removed a layer of skin from the inside of her mouth to sew onto her genitalia. She was sent home that day without antibiotics or pain medicine, she said. It took her three months to heal from the unsuccessful surgery, she said.

Yet, a year later, Carrie allowed Brown to come to her Los Angeles home to correct the procedure by injecting her genitalia with silicon. She cried as she described the difficulties caused by that procedure and the extent of her desperation, prompting the judge to call a short recess.

Another Los Angeles woman, Camille, testified that she nearly died after Bondy unsuccessfully changed her gender from male to female, and then sent her home without proper medications and follow-up care. “The pain was literally indescribable and never-ceasing,” said the woman, who was hospitalized for several days after the botched surgery because of complications and infections. “It was like the process of childbirth only childbirth ends. This didn’t.”

She said Brown misrepresented himself as a reputable doctor in the sex change field and seemed more concerned about the money than the well-being and comfort of his patients.

New York psychologist Gregg Furth testified earlier Tuesday that he and Bondy shared a fetish known as apotemnophilia, the desire to remove a limb because the person doesn’t believe it should be part of their body.

Furth paid Brown to amputate one of his legs last year but he backed out after seeing one of the Mexican doctors who was to assist in the surgery walk into the clinic carrying a butcher knife.

Two weeks later, Bondy, 79, traveled to San Diego for his surgery, using the $5,000 Furth had given Brown as a down payment on his surgery.

Furth flew to San Diego on May 10 to accompany Bondy back to New York. He said Bondy’s leg was bandaged and he noticed no complications.

The next morning, he found Bondy dead in his motel bed. Furth called police, but to protect his friend, he told officers that Bondy had been in a car accident. However, receipts were found in Bondy’s room showing he gave Brown two payments of $5,000 in cash: one for the operation, one for recovery care.

Furth later told the truth. In exchange for his testimony, Furth was granted immunity.

Sex-Change Doctor Guilty of Murder (AP)

Sex-Change Doc Guilty of Murder

Associated Press

6 October, 1999

SAN DIEGO (AP)— A doctor whose license was suspended 22 years ago for performing shoddy sex-change operations was convicted of second-degree murder yesterday in the death of a man who had a healthy leg amputated to satisfy a sexual fetish.

John Ronald Brown could face life imprisonment.

Sentencing was set for November 3.

Brown, 77, amputated the leg of Philip Bondy, a New York man who paid Brown $10,000 for the operation in May 1998. Bondy, 79, died of gangrene poisoning two days after the operation.

Defense attorney Sheldon Sherman argued that Brown was guilty only of operating on the fringe and providing “help for the weirdos” because traditional doctors wouldn’t.

“No one would deal with these transsexuals. They are a cancer and a plague on society. We don’t want to deal with them. John Brown was willing to deal with them,” Sherman said.

But prosecutor Stacy Running said Brown “just chopped off” Bondy’s leg below the knee and then dumped him at a hotel to recuperate alone while he buried the leg in the desert to hide the evidence.

Bondy called Brown the next day, complaining that he was bleeding and oozing from the stump, Running said. Brown returned to the hotel, rewrapped the leg and suggested Bondy take more pain medications.

Brown, who lost his medical license in 1977, was convicted in 1989 in San Francisco for an unsuccessful scalp surgery to shift the hairline of a man during a sex-change operation. Brown served three years and then moved to San Ysidro at the U.S.-Mexico border to start his underground medical practice again.

Read My 1992 Article The Tijuana Experience