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http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/story.html?id=55699668-7192-45c0-bd2f-7fd57b481d07

 

Jehovah's Witnesses member gets 18 months for sexually assaulting ...
Star Phoenix, Canada - 1 hour ago
Almost 19 years after elders of a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation learned a member of their church had groped and fondled two adolescent girls,

 

Jehovah's Witnesses member gets 18 months for sexually assaulting girls

Betty Ann Adam, TheStarPhoenix.com

Published: Friday, November 21, 2008

 

Almost 19 years after elders of a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation learned a member of their church had groped and fondled two adolescent girls, a Queen's Bench judge sentenced the man Friday to 18 months in jail.

 

"Even if the sexual assault did not include intercourse, in my opinion a sentence of imprisonment is necessary to denounce this type of crime upon children and deter others from committing similar acts," Justice Neil Gabrielson wrote in his decision handed down at Court of Queen's Bench.

 

The 45-year-old man pleaded guilty last month to two counts of sexual assault against the extended family members between 1987 and 1991, when they were between 12- and 15-years-old.

 

The man, whose name cannot be published because it might identify the complainants, was also sentenced to two years probation, during which he is not allowed to be alone with anyone younger than 18, except for his son, who is 16.

 

He will be added to the national sex offender registry for 20 years and his DNA profile will go into the national data bank. He is also prohibited from owning firearms for 10 years.

The two women grew up in a town of about 500 people, east of Saskatoon, and were not allowed to associate with anyone outside their religion except during school hours. They frequently spent time at the home of the older relative and his wife, who were church members in their early-20s at the time.

 

The victims' father told the preliminary hearing: "We trusted them, as Witness families would . . . We assumed (the girls) were in a safe environment."

 

During one such visit, the man took one of the girls, who was 13 or 14 years old at the time, to the couple's bedroom for a massage. He straddled the girl, who was lying face-down and naked from the waist up. The massage included his fondling her breasts repeatedly.

 

The man also molested the girl's sister from the time she was 12 until 15. He touched her breasts and vagina on several occasions when she was at the couple's home.

The girls were also given alcohol on some of their visits and were invited more than once to try on pieces of lingerie belonging to the man's wife, who sold it as a source of income.

After telling each other about the abuse, the two sisters informed their parents. Their father confronted the man, who did not confirm or deny what had happened, and the matter was subsequently reported to church elders.

 

No one reported the matter to police at the time. The victims were adults before they felt able to make their own formal complaints.

 

© The StarPhoenix 2008

 

Sexual assault draws jail sentence

Betty Ann Adam

Saskatchewan News Network

 

Saturday, November 22, 2008

http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/story.html?id=f4b3eed5-2bce-4e6a-9f06-c1711304cf27

SASKATOON -- A man who groped and fondled two adolescent girls 20 years ago while he was in a position of trust was sentenced Friday to 18 months in jail.

"Even if the sexual assault did not include intercourse, in my opinion a sentence of imprisonment is necessary to denounce this type of crime upon children and deter others from committing similar acts," Justice Neil Gabrielson wrote in his decision handed down at Saskatoon Court of Queen's Bench.

The man, whose name cannot be published because it might identify the complainants, and the victims' family were members of a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation, the elders of which were informed of the allegations in the early 1990s.

No one reported the matter to police until 2007, when the victims were adults and took the complaints to police themselves.

The 45-year-old man pleaded guilty last month to two counts of sexual assault against the extended family members between 1987 and 1991, when they were between 12- and 15-years-old.

The two women grew up in a town of about 500 people, east of Saskatoon, and were not allowed to associate with anyone outside their religion except during school hours. They frequently spent time at the home of the older relative and his wife, who were church members in their early-20s at the time.

The victims' father told the preliminary hearing: "We trusted them, as Witness families would . . . We assumed (the girls) were in a safe environment."

During one such visit, the man took one of the girls, who was 13 or 14 years old at the time, to the couple's bedroom for a massage. He straddled the girl, who was lying face-down and naked from the waist up. The massage included his fondling her breasts repeatedly. The man also molested the girl's sister from the time she was 12 until 15. He touched her breasts and vagina on several occasions when she was at the couple's home.

The girls were also given alcohol on some of their visits and were invited more than once to try on lingerie belonging to the man's wife, who sold it as a source of income.

After telling each other about the abuse, the two sisters informed their parents. Their father confronted the man, who did not confirm or deny what had happened, and the matter was subsequently reported to church elders.

Court heard previously that the man received a lecture from the elders and many in the community rallied around him because he regularly attended church meetings -- while the girls were "treated like troublemakers" and encouraged to let the whole thing go, one of the victims wrote in her impact statement.

Their father and their abuser later became dear friends who continue to have coffee together every day, the woman wrote.

"We were trash-talked and slandered throughout the community ... the religion abandoned us."

Even their own grandmother seemed more concerned about the potential damage to the church's reputation than the damage inflicted on them, the woman wrote.

The man was also sentenced to two years probation, during which he is not allowed to be alone with anyone younger than 18, except for his son, who is 16.

The man will be added to the national sex offender registry for 20 years and his DNA profile will go into the national data bank. He is also prohibited from owning firearms for 10 years.

After court Friday, the girls' mother said she hopes other parents will learn from her family's experience and keep open communication with their children.

"Never assume they are safe . . . Get close to your kids, make them feel they can talk to you about anything," she said.

It is possible the man will now be "dis-fellowshipped" from the church because of the conviction, considering people are sometimes kicked out for alcoholism or smoking cigarettes, she said.

"The reason for this is to keep our congregation clean ... and of course very high morals are stressed," she said.

Canwest News Service

 

 

canada, canadian search engine, free email, canada news

Tuesday » October 21 » 2008

 

Abuse victims felt abandoned by church

Jehovah's Witness elders ignored abuser's actions, sentencing hearing told

Lori Coolican

The StarPhoenix


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/story.html?id=27a526a7-d153-4ce8-ab15-c9259b7d0bd3

Two women who were sexually abused in their adolescence by a trusted older relative say elders of their small-town Jehovah's Witness church did not report the situation to police after the man admitted touching them inappropriately during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

"We were left to endure years of guilt and shame," one of the women wrote in a victim impact statement read aloud by Crown prosecutor Krista Zerr during the man's sentencing hearing Monday in Saskatoon Court of Queen's Bench.

"I felt like damaged goods."

Due to a publication ban on information that could identify the victims, the convicted man's name cannot be published. He pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault earlier this year on what was supposed to be the first day of his trial. In exchange, the Crown dropped charges of sexual interference and sexual touching, as well as a charge related to a male complainant.

Both victims, now aged 31 and 32, testified against the man at an earlier preliminary hearing. They did not attend court Monday. Justice Neil Gabrielson reserved his decision on the man's sentence until Nov. 21.

The two women grew up in a town of about 500 people, east of Saskatoon, and were not allowed to associate with anyone outside their religion, except during school hours, court heard. They frequently spent time at the home of the older relative and his wife, who were church members in their early 20s at the time.

The victims' father told the preliminary hearing: "We trusted them, as Witness families would. . . . We assumed (the girls) were in a safe environment," Zerr noted.

During one such visit, the man's wife suggested the girls allow him to give them "oil massages," Zerr said. One of the victims, who was 13 or 14 years old at the time, told court the massage involved lying face-down on the couple's bed with the door closed, naked from the waist up. It ended with him fondling her breasts repeatedly.

Her sister testified the man touched her breasts and vagina on several occasions when she was at the couple's home, starting when she was 12 years old.

The girls were given vodka to drink on some of their visits and were invited more than once to try on pieces of lingerie belonging to the man's wife, who sold it as a source of income, court heard.

After telling each other about the abuse, the two sisters informed their parents. Their father confronted the man, who did not confirm or deny what had happened, and the matter was subsequently reported to church elders, Zerr said.

"There was no report to the police at that time."

Instead, the man received a lecture from the elders and many in the community rallied around him because he regularly attended church meetings -- while the girls were "treated like troublemakers" and encouraged to let the whole thing go, one of the victims wrote.

Their father and their abuser later became "dear friends, and would go for coffee daily," a situation which continues to this day, she added.

"We were trash-talked and slandered throughout the community . . . the religion abandoned us."

Even their own grandmother seemed more concerned about the potential damage to the church's reputation than the damage inflicted on them, the woman wrote.

The victims distanced themselves from the church in the ensuing years and were adults when they felt strong enough to report the abuse to RCMP, after hearing about the existence of another complainant whose father was a church elder, Zerr said.

The Crown is seeking a jail sentence of two years less a day -- which would mean the man would avoid a penitentiary term -- while defence lawyer John Will argued Monday for a conditional sentence to be served at home.

Will gave the court several character references in his client's favour, signed by fellow church members and others, including the town's mayor.

Aside from "some serious mistakes many years ago," the man has led an "exemplary" life, Will said.

lcoolican@sp.canwest.com

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2008

 

canada, canadian search engine, free email, canada news

Tuesday » October 21 » 2008

 

Sask. church failed to report sexual abuse: Victims

Lori Coolican

Canwest News Service


Monday, October 20, 2008

http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=c9d1bb57-3db6-4c5d-81d1-6f70fd9f1b4d

SASKATOON - Two women who were sexually abused in their adolescence by a trusted older relative say elders of the small-town Jehovah's Witness church in which they were raised did not report the situation to police after he admitted touching them inappropriately during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

"We were left to endure years of guilt and shame," one of the women wrote in a victim-impact statement read aloud by Crown prosecutor Krista Zerr during the man's sentencing hearing in Saskatoon Court of Queen's Bench on Monday.

"I felt like damaged goods."

Due to a publication ban on information that could identify the victims, the convicted man's name cannot be published. He pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault earlier this year, on what was supposed to be the first day of his trial. In exchange, the Crown dropped charges of sexual interference and sexual touching, as well as a charge related to a male complainant.

Both victims, now ages 31 and 32, testified against the man at an earlier preliminary hearing. They did not attend court Monday. Justice Neil Gabrielson reserved his decision on the man's sentence until Nov. 21.

The two women grew up in a town of about 500 people, east of Saskatoon, and were not allowed to associate with anyone outside their religion, except during school hours, court heard. They frequently spent time at the home of the older relative and his wife, who were church members in their early 20s at the time.

"We trusted them, as Witness families would," the victims' father told the preliminary hearing, according to Zerr. "We assumed (the girls) were in a safe environment."

During one such visit, the man's wife suggested the girls allow him to give them "oil massages," Zerr said. One of the victims, who was 13 or 14 years old at the time, told court the massage involved lying face-down on the couple's bed with the door closed, naked from the waist up. It ended with him fondling her breasts repeatedly.

Her sister testified the man touched her breasts and vagina on several occasions when she was at the couple's home, starting when she was 12 years old.

The girls were given vodka to drink on some of their visits, and were invited more than once to try on pieces of lingerie belonging to the man's wife, who sold it as a source of income, court heard.

After telling each other about the abuse, the two sisters informed their parents. Their father confronted the man, who did not confirm or deny what had happened, and the matter was subsequently reported to church elders, Zerr said.

"There was no report to the police at that time."

Instead, the man received a lecture from the elders, and many in the community rallied around him because he regularly attended church meetings - while the girls were "treated like troublemakers" and encouraged to let the whole thing go, one of the victims wrote.

Their father and their abuser later became "dear friends, and would go for coffee daily," a situation which continues to this day, she added.

"We were trash-talked and slandered throughout the community . . . the religion abandoned us."

The Crown is seeking a jail sentence of two years less a day - which means the man will likely avoid a penitentiary term - while defence lawyer John Will argued Monday for a conditional sentence to be served at home.

Will gave the court several character references in his client's favour, signed by fellow church members and others, including the town's mayor.

Aside from "some serious mistakes many years ago," the man has led an "exemplary" life, Will said.

© Saskatoon StarPhoenix 2008

 

 


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