BELLEVILLE – A Mennonite woman charged with sexual assault and sexual interference was found not guilty Wednesday.
The 35-year-old woman, who under the terms of a ban on publication of some evidence can only be referred to by her initials, C.K., was charged in June 2017 after a phone call to Child Protective Services made by her therapist, court was told. He believed she had sexually abused her two young sons.
C.K. met Jeremy Mayer, a Kingston therapist and counsellor, when she was seeking counselling for sex addiction, court heard. She told the court that she had been looking for a female counsellor; because of the gender roles in the Mennonite faith, and the authority that men have in it, she felt both terrified and ashamed talking to a male therapist. But she was told there were no female sexual-addiction therapists in the area, and so started therapy sessions with Mayer. They continued for several months.
C.K. told the court that when she was a child, her father sexually abused her, and it still haunts her. One night during her therapy, she testified, she emailed Mayer seeking advice because her parents were coming to visit and she was having nightmares about it.
Mayer told her that she should find a way to tell them not to come, she said.
During her next therapy session, Mayer asked what had happened with the visit, and she told him that her parents had come, she testified. When he asked how it had gone, she said, she mentioned that her father had spent a day with her two sons. Mayer chastised for letting her father have any time alone with her children, she testified, adding that because of her religion, there was nothing she could have done to stop her father.
Both Mayer and C.K. testified that he told her “child molesters don’t get better.” In response, C.K. said, she asked the therapist, “Does that mean that I will never get better?
What she meant, she said, was that she was concerned she would never get over her own sex addiction because of the abuse she had suffered from her father.
But Mayer understood her answer to mean she was admitting sexually assaulting her sons, court heard.
“I probably should have worded it a little bit differently, but I was terrified,” C.K. said.
She testified that Mayer had told her that for the counselling to work, she had to be completely honest with him, and she was doing that. During the session, he asked her whether she had ever sexually touched her sons. She admitted to him that she had touched her eldest son when he was a couple of months old, she told the court. While changing his diaper, she said, she put her finger and her thumb on his penis because “I didn’t know that babies could get erections and I was curious … It couldn’t have been longer then two seconds I was touching it.” She was not touching him in a sexual way, she testified, but because of her background as a sexual-assault victim, it left her feeling like she had done something wrong.
Her sex addiction and the fact that she was a sex-assault victim have made her terrified that she won’t be able to be a good mother, she told the court. When she was pregnant, she said, she felt like she was going to do something to mess up her children: “I felt guilty when I was pregnant and I knew I was having a boy.”
The court heard that in one of her therapy sessions, C.K. told Mayer that “regular pornography was not doing it for me anymore.” Mayer thought this meant she was using child porn, court heard. But C.K. testified that by “regular” porn she had meant “vanilla” porn – one man and one woman having sex. She has never watched child pornography in her life, she said. The court heard that police found no evidence of her watching child porn or having it on any of her devices.
In finding her not guilty of the charges, Judge Geoffrey Griffin said the Crown had been unable to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. He also noted that Children’s Aid workers have reported that the children are still living with their parents and that they are unaffected by the incident C.K. testified about.
After the verdict, C.K.’s defence lawyer, Ruth Roberts, said that with a male judge, male prosecutor, her male pastor and her husband all at the trial, the whole situation “was uniquely terrifying” for her.
If she had been found guilty, Roberts said, C.K. could have been deported since she is not a Canadian citizen; she is from the United States. Deportation is what would have really traumatized her Canadian-born children, she said.