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Accused repeatedly denies sexual abuse

Sister takes the stand
The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse is pictured in this file photo. Michael Purvis/SooToday

"Never happened," Bonaventure Sabourin repeatedly insisted Wednesday when he testified about a woman's accusations that he had sexually abused her decades ago when she was a child.

He gave this response numerous times when he was being cross-examined by the Crown about what the complainant had told the court earlier this week.

The 56-year-old Marathon, Ont. man took the witness stand in his own defence on the third day of his trial.

He has pleaded not guilty to indecent assault in connection with incidents that are alleged to have occurred in White River in the early 1980s.

A court order protects the identity of the complainant.

She told Superior Court Justice Edward Gareau that Sabourin inappropriately touched her during a game of hide and seek and attempted to have intercourse with her when she spent a night at his parents' home.

The woman also described another incident where she said he tried to force her to perform oral sex on him.

Sabourin denied that he had done these things to the complainant, who was a pre-teen time at the time of the alleged incidents.

He was between the age of 18 and 20 during the two-year period when these events were said to have occurred.

The accused said he "personally" didn't know the complainant's family, but he knew her brother and his youngest sister hung out with her.

Sabourin told his lawyer Bruce Willson that he doesn't recall her being at his family's house. 

"Could have been. I don't know," he said, also indicating he never saw her brother there, but maybe it "could have happened when I wasn't there."

As Willson went through the allegations, his client responded "no" when asked about each of them.

Sabourin insisted he never played hide and seek in that home, and doesn't recall ever touching the complainant in any kind of inappropriate manner.

He denied that he had gone into a bedroom, crawled into a bed where she was sleeping and touched her.

When asked if he had smoked marijuana with her in a sun porch, he responded never.

"One of my mother's first rules was no drugs in the house. She said we would be thrown out."

During cross-examination by prosecutor Robert Skeggs, he continued to deny the allegations, maintaining "I know I never touched her in any way, shape or form."

The assistant Crown attorney suggested "you were an older teenager and she wanted to fit and you took advantage of that."

Sabourin responded "never happened."

"You did that for your own personal gratification," Skeggs said.

Again, the accused insisted it never happened.

The court also heard testimony from his sister Theresa Sabourin, who said she hung out a bit with the complainant when they were children.

She told Gareau that she remembers the girl occasionally coming over to their home.

"I slept once at her house. She never slept at my house, there was no room," Theresa said.

"No one ever slept over. I slept in a bed with my sister."

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About the Author: Linda Richardson

Linda Richardson is a freelance journalist who has been covering Sault Ste. Marie's courts and other local news for more than 35 years.
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