October 21st, 2020

Man convicted of sexual assault

By Shurtz, Delon on December 18, 2019.

Delon Shurtz

Lethbridge Herald


A 51-year-old Raymond man convicted in June of sexually assaulting three underage girls when he was a youth more than three decades ago, has been found guilty of sexually assaulting two of them when he was an adult.

Madam Justice Johnna Kubik convicted the man, who can’t be named to protect the identities of the complainants, on two counts of sexual assault in relation to two of the girls, who are now adults, but found him not guilty of sexual assault and sexual interference in relation to the third woman.

Sentencing has been adjourned until the new year, and in the meantime the accused will remain out of custody, despite an application by the Crown that he be remanded.

The man previously admitted he assaulted one of the women multiple times after he turned 18 in August 1986, but before he left on a two-year mission for his church in 1987. He denied he assaulted the second woman around the same time, and denied he assaulted the third woman, who testified during trial he sexually assaulted her at times after his mission and up to one week before his wedding in 1993.

Lethbridge lawyer Robert Bissett invited the judge during his closing arguments last month to convict his client on one count of sexual assault in relation to one woman, but he said a second woman was simply confused about the dates of the assaults, which actually occurred when the accused was a youth, not an adult.

The third woman, Bissett suggested, offered unreliable evidence during her testimony earlier in the trial, and while she may not have intentionally lied in court, her evidence was laced with creeping narrative – adding new details not heard before – fabrications and reconstruction; the result of trying to remember what happened more than 30 years ago when she was a child.

Although the accused never forced the women, who were between the age of eight and 13, to participate in the sex acts, they were too young to legally consent, which resulted in the charges. The man was charged after one complainant reported the assaults to RCMP in 2016. The other victims were then contacted by the police.

Reading from her written decision, Kubik said Tuesday the two women who claimed the man assaulted them before his mission provided reliable and credible evidence and recalled specific incidents. Their abuser, however, was not a credible witness, Kubik said, and his partial admissions and denials were inconsistent with other evidence.

The third woman, could only offer “snippets” of memories, and while Kubik dismissed suggestions by defence that the woman fabricated her stories or gave creeping narrative she said the woman’s memories were incomplete and may be inaccurate. She also pointed out divergent evidence suggests the accused couldn’t have committed the offences at the times alleged, given such factors as his work schedule.

“Based on my concerns regarding her reliability and aging memory and the diverging evidence on other points, I am unable to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offences alleged,” Kubik said.

The matter returns to court Jan. 13 to scheduled a date for a sentencing hearing. Kubik also ordered the accused to participate in a psychiatric and psychological assessment in Calgary to help determine his risk to re-offend. The assessment is expected to take several weeks to complete.

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