Un ex-dirigeant TJ condamné pour attouchement

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Un ex-dirigeant TJ condamné pour attouchement

Messagepar Conspirator » Mer Déc 20, 2006 4:35 pm

Former elder guilty of sex assault

DIANNE WOOD

KITCHENER (Dec 20, 2006)

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.

dwood@therecord.com

http://www.therecord.com/NASApp/cs/Cont ... 4322199564
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Pas de prison mais les anciens ont tenté d'etouffer l'affair

Messagepar Conspirator » Sam Jan 06, 2007 11:22 am

No jail time for church elder

Probation for man who fondled girl while on Jehovah's Witness visits

BRIAN CALDWELL
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KITCHENER (Jan 6, 2007)

A respected Jehovah's Witness elder was put on probation for two years yesterday for molesting a young girl while they were going door to door to spread their faith.

"It's like a priest fondling a child during a religious service," said Crown prosecutor Mark Poland.

Claude Martin, 77, was convicted of sexual assault for touching the 10-year-old girl's buttocks and vagina over her clothes while they were standing on the landing of a Kitchener home in 2000 or 2001.

He was acquitted after a five-day trial in Ontario Court of a second count involving a girl who was about the same age during an alleged incident in the late 1980s.

Although it was not admitted as evidence, the court also heard about a 2003 statement in which Martin told police he had a problem with sexual fantasies involving young girls.

He gave the statement while police were investigating an allegation that Martin exposed himself to a 12-year-old girl delivering newspapers. He was not charged in that incident.

Defence lawyer James Marentette argued Martin paid a heavy price for the brief fondling incident after being stripped of his leadership responsibilities with the Bridgeport congregation of the church.

"He is a sad and somewhat broken man as a result of the loss of those important elements of his life," said Marentette.

Poland, however, stressed the breach of trust involved in the crime because the girl and her family looked up to Martin.

Outside court, he also criticized leaders of the congregation for being "completely uncooperative" with police during their investigation.

Members of the girl's family have said they felt elders tried to sweep the matter under the carpet after they turned to them first before going to the police.

"Frankly, I think they need to be embarrassed into helping us find what the truth is in these cases," said Poland.

Ross Eddy, the presiding elder of the congregation, referred questions about its handling of the case yesterday to lawyer David Gnam.

Gnam called Poland's criticisms "unprofessional" and said the fact Martin has lost his leadership role -- although not his membership -- is evidence the congregation has taken action.

"It's certainly not the position of the congregation to harbour people who sexually take advantage of children -- absolutely not," he said.

Gnam said elders were in a difficult position during the investigation because they considered information about the incident confidential as a result of their pastoral role in the congregation.

Martin addressed the court during his sentencing, but did not apologize to the girl or her family.

Instead, he apologized to Justice Michael Epstein for his demeanour during the trial and expressed regret that the victim and her family have left the church.

Epstein agreed the timing of the assault during door-to-door preaching was an "extremely aggravating circumstance." He also noted its devastating impact on the girl.

"He represented the church in her eyes," said Epstein. "He was an elder, a well-respected man."

But he also took into account Martin's age, the loss of his position in the church and his humiliation because of publicity on the case.

The probation term includes an order to get counselling. In addition, Epstein placed Martin on a sex offender registry, prohibited him from working with children and banned him from parks, pools and other places kids are known to gather.

bcaldwell@therecord.com

http://www.therecord.com/NASApp/cs/Cont ... 4322199564

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