October 30th, 2020

Accused takes stand at sex assault trial


By Shurtz, Delon on November 9, 2019.

Delon Shurtz

Lethbridge Herald

dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 51-year-old Raymond man convicted earlier this year of sexually assaulting three underage girls when he was also only a youth, says he didn’t assault them after he turned 18 and became an adult.

The accused, who can’t be named to protect the identity of his complainants, is on trial again in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s bench, where he is accused of sexually assaulting the same girls – now grown women – after became an adult. He admitted Friday during his trial that he did assault one of the women a couple of times after he turned 18, but before he left on a two-year mission for his church in 1987. He didn’t touch the other two at all after he turned 18, before or after his mission, he said.

The complainants, however, tell a different story.

One of the women, who claims she was assaulted numerous times between 1989 and 1993 after the accused returned from his mission, testified he would take her to his room in the home in which he was living at the time and inappropriately touch and bite her. And while she couldn’t remember exact dates, she said it was after 1989.

She’s certain because during his assaults she would zone out by looking at objects in his room; one of those objects was his wedding invitation, she said.

The accused insisted, however, he didn’t have any pictures of his fiance or even a wedding invitation in his room.

“I didn’t have one. I knew where I was supposed to be,” he said under cross examination by the Crown.

Two other complainants also testified during the week, one of whom said the accused assaulted her after he turned 18 and while she was only in Grade 7. She said the assaults occurred so often they became a normal part of her life. When asked how many times she was assaulted, she said there were “too many to count.”

The accused openly admitted to the assaults before he turned 18, but adamantly denied abusing two of the women when he was an adult.

“They were the actions of a selfish teenage boy who did some terrible things,” he said.

The accused was the only witness to testify Friday for the defence. Lethbridge lawyer Robert Bissett is expected to call additional witnesses when the trial resumes Tuesday. The Crown concluded its case Thursday.

The accused was convicted in June of sexually assaulting the same three women when he was a youth, and sentenced to 60 days in jail – to be served on weekends – and 30 days of open custody on three counts of sexual assault and one count of indecent assault. He admitted during his trial in January that he sexually touched two of the women on multiple occasions, but he only tried once to touch a third girl, and he never touched a fourth, at all.

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