October 22nd, 2020

Man found not guilty of sexual assault


By Shurtz, Delon on May 14, 2020.

Delon Shurtz

lethbridge herald

dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A judge has rejected the evidence of a woman who claimed she was paid to have numerous sexual encounters with an elderly man when she was only a minor.

Justice D. Blair Nixon said Wednesday in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench the woman’s evidence during trial last year was inconsistent, unreliable and full of gaps, and he found the 76-year-old accused not guilty of sexual assault, two counts of sexual exploitation, and two counts of paying for sexual services.

“Based on my findings, none of the sexual events occurred,” Nixon said near the conclusion of his two-hour decision.

The southern Alberta man, who can’t be named to protect the identity of the complainant, was accused of inappropriately touching the woman when she was only 13 years old, and then paying her for sexual favours by the time she was 17. The woman, who is now an adult, claimed they had numerous encounters in his vehicle, her camper, in his office at the campground he managed, and in his home, and that he paid her for each encounter, which added up to thousands of dollars.

Nixon said the woman’s evidence had far too many gaps and often didn’t make sense.

“There’s no truth to these allegations at all,” he said.

Evidence by other Crown witnesses was also unreliable, and Nixon said the Crown failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Evidence by the accused, on the other hand, was logical, forthright and consistent, and he was “unshaken in his testimony,” Nixon said.

The complainant testified during the trial 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 denied each accusation, and although he admitted he hired the complainant to work at the campground, they never had a sexual relationship.

Testimony by defence witnesses described the accused as a hard-working, respected man of good character. 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 man was also charged with uttering threats to cause death and harassment in relation to the girl, and unrelated charges of forgery and possession of forged documents. He was found not guilty of those charges, as well.

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