October 31st, 2020

Judge to give decision in May in sex assault case


By Shurtz, Delon on April 1, 2020.

Delon Shurtz

lethbridge herald

dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A date has finally been set for a judge to give his decision in a sex assault trial that concluded more than three months ago.

The decision has been adjourned several times since the trial in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench concluded last December. The judge is now scheduled to decide later this spring whether a 76-year-old southern Alberta man sexually assaulted an underage girl in 2017.

The accused, who can’t be named to protect the identity of the complainant, testified during his trial that he never had any inappropriate contact with the girl, despite her accusations he touched her buttocks and thigh when she was only 13 or 14 years old, then convinced her to provide sexual favours when she was 17.

The Crown, however, accuses the man of paying the girl to have sex and perform sexual acts with him, and during trial court was told the two had liaisons in several locations, including his truck, at his residence and at the campground he managed.

The man is charged with several criminal offences, including sexual assault, threats to cause death, sexual exploitation, obtaining sexual services and unlawful harassment.

The complainant, who is now an adult, testified during the Crown’s case last year, that she began working for the accused at a campground in a small, rural community in southern Alberta, and for several days lived in a motor home on site. The complainant testified the two of them had sex most days she worked, and was paid $100 each time.

She described the incidents in detail, often giving vivid descriptions of each liaison and where they were held, including in the basement of the accused’s home.

The accused admitted during his testimony the girl had been at his home twice, the first time with his grandson, but they never entered the home. The second time she came with her brother and a friend and they briefly went into the basement before leaving.

Testimony by defence witnesses described the accused as a hard-working, respected man of good character. Several witnesses vouched for the man’s character, and the mayor of the small town in which the accused lives also testified and said the accused is a hard-working, community-minded individual known for his integrity and honesty.

The judge is expected to give his decision May 13.

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