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Woman tells court she reported incest decades ago. Nothing happened

A Sault police detective testified he doesn't know why charges weren't laid
The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse is pictured in this file photo.

DISTURBING CONTENT: The following story includes frank descriptions of incest and sexual assault

A judge began hearing testimony this week at the trial of a local man, who is charged with dated sexual offences, including rape and incest, that are alleged to have occurred decades ago.

The accused pleaded not guilty to five charges, involving two complainants, on the first day of his trial at the Sault Ste. Marie courthouse.

The other charges include sexual intercourse with a female under the age of 14 and two counts of indecent assault.

Superior Court Justice Michael Varpio imposed a publication ban prohibiting reporting any information that could identify the complainants.

He was told the city police began an investigation in May 2016 after one of the women contacted the police service. Three charges were laid a month later.

Det. Const. Wayne Taylor testified that a second complainant came forward in November of that year, and the accused was charged with further counts in December.

The officer said he had tried to obtain dated hospital, medical and counselling records regarding the complainants, but found they had been destroyed.

Taylor stated that the first woman he had spoken to had told him that she had made a complaint to police about her father in 1980, when she was 16 years of age.

He located the file in the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service storage sheds, but found the accused had not been charged.

"I don't know why," Taylor told prosecutor Trent Wilson, also indicating he didn't take any action to determine why no charges were laid at the time.

The file included a statement from the girl, who alleged she had been sexually assaulted by her father, and a statement from her mother.

During cross-examination by defence lawyer Wayne Chorney, the eight-year member of the police force said he had not reached out to the three former officers who had been involved in the investigation nearly 40 years ago.

The accused's daughter, now in her 50s, testified that the first incident occurred when she was seven years of age, and he touched her vagina when her mother was at church.

"He told me that's what good girls do to show daddy that they love him," she explained to Wilson, adding she wasn't allowed to tell anyone what had happened.

There were many incidents after that, increasing to twice a week, she said.

The woman described the first time he had sex with her, when she was eight years old and they stopped at vacant property east of the Sault, on the way to visit her grandmother.

"He got on top of me, said to lie still, to hug him real tight and it wouldn't hurt," she said, adding she didn't know what he was doing. "What eight-year-old does."

Describing it as "kind of weird," she told the assistant Crown attorney she didn't think he was trying to hurt her "even though it hurt and I was crying."

She said that when she later told her mother that it hurt when she peed, she was taken to the doctor, who asked if someone had been touching her.

"I said no and she had my mother leave the room," the woman said, then indicating she gave the doctor the same answer when they were alone because she feared her father.

"He told me if I told I'd be dead, my mother and brother would be dead."

There were many incidents, continuing until she was 14 years of age, the woman testified. "It was kind of normal in my world."

She told the court "the last time he came near me was in September or October when I was 14" and her father tried to have sex with her.

"I kicked him in the chest. I told him you're not married to me, you're married to mom. Don't ever touch me again."

The woman said she had realized, after talking to friends, that this wasn't normal, and that fathers didn't do this.

"He never touched me again. He just got real mean with me."

About five months after the altercation with her father, she "blurted out" to her mother what had been going on.

"She went to a lawyer and we packed up things quietly and left at the end of the month."

In November 1980, when she turned 16, and was "legally an adult" she went to the police by herself and gave a "full, written statement."

Officers then contacted her mother, who also provided a statement.

The complainant said she talked to police a few times, and told them about her visit to the doctor and an incident that occurred at a psychologist's office when she was there with her parents.

She testified that her father admitted what he had done, and wanted her to sign a paper agreeing that she would never talk about it again.

"The psychologist said no. I never signed anything."

The woman said she began undergoing counselling four years ago, and the counsellor asked why she didn't charge her father and told her there was no statute of limitations for such offences.

When Chorney cross-examined her, she denied that she really disliked her father, but agreed he was often very mean, crabby and a disciplinarian.

After he suggested the accused had struck her a couple of times, she described an incident where she said her father had pushed her face into a tub of worms, then hit her with the back of his hand.

"I was 15," she said, before detailing another incident where her father punched her in the head five times, and beat her mother and brother. "We all got it that day."

The woman agreed she has a pending application for the Criminal Compensation Board, that was drawn up months before the charges were laid, but it is waiting for the legal proceedings to be completed.

Chorney suggested she charged her father because of the application, because she can get money from the board.

"I think he should do something for what he did to me. Actually what I want is ownership," she said.

Her father had written a letter "saying I was a liar, money hungry," and that he hadn't sexually assaulted her, the complainant said. "It's not a monetary thing with me. It's an ownership thing."

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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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