|Canada Elder Convicted
|Elder denies charges but convicted
Ex-elder can't control sex urges
KITCHENER (Dec 14, 2006)
A former elder with the local Jehovah's Witnesses, who is charged with molesting two girls, admitted to police more than three years ago that he has sexual urges he can't control.
The admission came in August 2003, when police were questioning Claude Martin about an alleged incident involving a 12-year-old girl who delivered a newspaper to his home.
Martin told police that as he saw the girl approaching his home, he fondled his genitals. He was standing in his front porch and he said it's possible the girl saw him through a window.
When she got to his front door, he made conversation, asking what she was doing on the holidays, where she lived and how old she was.
When told she was 12, he commented: "Oh, you're growing up. You're getting to be a sexy-looking girl.'
The girl then said she had to go. It's unclear who called police.
During the police interview, the Kitchener man acknowledged a long-standing problem with uncontrollable sexual urges.
He said he's had the problem since he was six and experienced a "childhood trauma' involving molestation by a nine-year-old relative.
Justice Michael Epstein will rule tomorrow on whether Martin's statement to police can be admitted as evidence at his trial.
In the statement, Martin admitted to being sexually attracted to both girls and women. He said he engaged in fantasy sex and sometimes masturbated at those times.
"I've been fighting that since I was six years old,' he told Const. Jeff Slater. "It's never gone away.
"I'm not a bad man. I'm sick. I got something that I can't handle.'
He dismissed the episode with the delivery girl as "not that big of a big deal," according to the police statement. "Like I'm not threatening anybody. I didn't threaten this girl."
He did agree that he shouldn't have told her she was getting to be a "sexy-looking girl.'
Martin's lawyer, Jim Marentette, is trying to have the police statement excluded from Martin's trial. The 76-year-old man is charged with sexual interference of two girls who attended his church.
He allegedly touched the buttocks of a 10-year-old girl and put his finger on her vagina during a door-to-door visit by the pair to a Kitchener home to promote their religion sometime between January 2001 and December 2002.
The second girl was about 11 when she says Martin put both hands on her hips and rubbed himself against her while she was standing in his kitchen, baking him a pie, sometime between January 1988 and December 1989.
Crown prosecutor Mark Poland said he wants the 2003 statement included because "it's evidence of an impulse control failure that leads to sexual risk-taking."
Martin's lawyer argued that his client's admission to uncontrollable urges to masturbate is not "outwardly directed." There's no indication he wants to sexually touch women or girls, Marentette said.
"There's no evidence he's ever done anything close to what's alleged,' he said.
He also noted Martin told police he could become attracted to "any sexually attractive girl or woman,' not just girls.
"He sometimes gives in and masturbates when he fantasizes about an attractive woman,' the lawyer said. "So what?'
Such an urge is "extraordinarily common in the population at large," Marentette said.
"He's confessing the most common condition in the world."
The Crown wants to show that if he has a propensity to do this, "he could do something else,' Marentette said. "He masturbates and fantasizes, so of course, he'd touch a girl.'
But Poland said the statement has to be put into context. Martin made it after being arrested following a complaint about the incident with the newspaper carrier.
"He was expressing a sexual attraction to a 12-year-old,' Poland said. "He masturbates in a situation where she could see him.'
Martin was not charged after he promised police to step down as an elder in the church and get counselling. His congregation was told he had health problems.
Martin told the police officer he'd struggled for decades trying to overcome his problem so that he could measure up to biblical and church standards.
"I'm respected in my congregation," the police statement quotes him as saying. "I'm an elderand an elder should be irreprehensible. Nobody should be able to say anything bad about him and that's bothering me because I have this problem, and I'm not irreprehensible.'
Church elder denies assaults on girls
Waterloo Record, Canada -11 minutes ago
A former elder in a local Jehovah's Witnesses congregation denied yesterday that he sexually touched two young girls who were members of his church. ...
Church elder denies assaults on girls
Any contact was inadvertent, accused testifies
A former elder in a local Jehovah's Witnesses congregation denied yesterday that he sexually touched two young girls who were members of his church.
Claude Martin, 77, took the stand at his trial for sexual assault and sexual interference of the two girls
He is charged with touching the buttocks and vagina of a 10-year-old during a door-to-door visit with the child to promote their religion, between January 2001 and December 2002.
The second allegation relates to an 11-year-old girl who said Martin came up behind her and rubbed himself against her while she was standing in his kitchen baking a pie, between January 1988 and December 1989.
Asked by his lawyer, James Marentette, if he ever intentionally touched the 10-year-old girl sexually, Martin said no.He may have inadvertently made physical contact, he said, while transferring his briefcase from one hand to the other to remove literature to give to the homeowner.
He and the girl were standing on a tiny landing inside the homeowner's side door, court heard. There was barely room to move and he said at one point, "I must have had to move her out of the road. It was crowded. That's all I can remember."
The homeowner's son had answered the door and called for his father in the basement. The father came upstairs.
"Did you intend to touch her buttock area?" Marentette asked.
"I don't think so," Martin replied. "No, I had nothing like that in my mind."
When Crown prosecutor Mark Poland suggested the jostling in such a small area could have resulted in the assault as described by the girl, Martin replied, "With a man standing right there and a son standing right there, and winter clothes on -- no. You've got to be using your imagination."
As for the alleged incident in the kitchen, Martin said there was no room on his small counter for anyone to bake a pie. He and his daughter, Cheryl, who often cooked and baked pies, always used the table, he said.
Justice Michael Epstein decided not to accept a statement Martin made to police in 2003 as evidence of prior discreditable conduct. In the statement, Martin admitted to police he had uncontrollable sexual urges involving attraction to girls and women and that he sometimes masturbated.
He made the statement after he was arrested on suspicion of exposing himself to a 12-year-old girl who had approached his home to deliver a newspaper. He was not charged in that allegation.
"I find the statement to be extremely confusing,' the judge said. "I can't resolve exactly what the problem is the accused refers to.
"There's nothing to suggest to me that what he's referring to is anything other than a proclivity to masturbate while sexually fantasizing.'
The statement's relevance to anything in the trial was unclear, Epstein said.
In his final arguments, Marentette urged the judge to find his client not guilty. He said it would be unsafe to convict Martin on the evidence of the two young girls.
He suggested the 11-year-old in the kitchen didn't see who came up behind her. Instead, she testified she "just knew' who it was. Her story "has this air of unreality,' he said.
He also suggested the 10-year-old wasn't sure what she felt during the door-to-door visit. "She concluded it was his hand,' Marentette said.
But the Crown disagreed. Poland said the 10-year-old had "absolutely no doubt' what happened to her. And the girl in the kitchen didn't say she didn't see Martin, Poland said. She said she didn't hear him come in.
"She felt his erection. She ran off and didn't look back.'
Epstein will give his judgment Tuesday.
Former elder guilty of sex assault
Waterloo Record, Canada - 3 minutes ago
A former Jehovah's Witness elder has been convicted of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl who attended his congregation. Justice ...
A former Jehovah's Witness elder has been convicted of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl who attended his congregation.
Justice Michael Epstein said Claude Martin's evidence at his trial was "completely unreasonable.'
He was skeptical of Martin's precise recall of an incident in 2000 or 2001 when he went door-to-door with the girl to pass out Jehovah's Witness literature.
The girl testified Martin put his hand on her buttock and extended his finger and put pressure on her vagina over her clothes during a brief moment while they stood alone on a landing of the home.
Martin, 77, had made many such visits with that girl and other children in the church over the years, and would have no reason to recall details of that visit unless something happened to make that day stand out, the judge said.
"Claude Martin professed an incredible memory of this event,' Epstein said.
He suggested Martin may have been "inventing' his evidence. Martin testified that he might have inadvertently touched the girl while shifting his briefcase from one hand to another as they were standing in the small space.
Recalling that and other details "defies and stretches credulity and common sense to the breaking point,' Epstein said.
He described Martin's testimony as "sarcastic, aggressive, testy and argumentative. There was an overall air of smugness about him, I found.'
In contrast, the victim was an "excellent' witness, he said.
"It's clear the incident she described was most upsetting to her.'
He also agreed with the Crown's argument that the girl had no hostility towards Martin, a pillar of the church she had once admired. The incident would never have come to light if the girl's father hadn't found a diary entry she made about the incident years later, Epstein said.
The girl, who is now 16, wants to submit a victim-impact statement for the sentencing on Jan. 5.
The judge found Martin not guilty of sexually assaulting a second girl in 1988 or 1989 when she was about 11.
That girl testified Martin came up behind her while she was in his kitchen baking him a pie, put his hands on her hips and pressed his erect penis into her back.
Her father was in the living room at the time.
But Epstein accepted the testimony of Martin and his daughter, along with photographs, showing the kitchen counter space was too small and too crowded for pie baking. People normally used the table, the trial heard.
Epstein also agreed with defence lawyer James Marentette that the girl hadn't turned around to see if it really was Martin behind her.
The mother of the other victim approached her in 2005 and she decided to come forward to support her.