Jehovah’s Witness in door to door sex assault scandal
Nov. 9, 2006
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Friday November 10, 2006
When a Kitchener (Ontario, Canada) man inadvertently discovered his teenage daughter’s diary in his basement, he was shocked to see it contained the name of a former elder at the family’s Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The name Claude Martin was written in bold text, the Kitchener man told a judge yesterday at Martin’s trial for sexually assaulting that girl and another girl who attended Martin’s Jehovah’s Witnesses sect.
Martin, 76, allegedly touched the man’s daughter with his hand between January, 2001 and December, 2002. He allegedly touched the other girl with his penis between January, 1988 and December, 1989.
The man’s daughter testified that Martin touched her buttocks with his hand and put his finger on her vagina during a Saturday morning door-to-door sales visit to a home.
The girl said they were standing on a landing inside the front door when the householder had gone downstairs.
She and Martin often made the door-to-door sales visits to attempt to gain members to the sect of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Her parents were nearby in a car with other sect members making similar visits in the area.
After the parents read the content of the diary they did not know what to do, he said. Several Jehovah’s Witness elders heard about the allegation and visited their home.
The girl’s father said, “The impression we were left with was pick up the carpet and sweep it under, and carry on with your life, … We wanted to know there was going to be something done in the organization.”
The family had attended Martin’s Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall for over ten years before leaving because of stress long before they found the diary.
The girl’s father said outside court, “The only thing I have to say negative is how they tried to sweep it under the carpet.”
The girl, who is now 16, told the Crown prosecutor that she never told her parents about the alleged sexual assault because, “It was embarrassing and private.”
After she and her parents reported the alleged incident to police in 2005, the girl said her parents were told about a second alleged complainant. That girl was allegedly standing up against a counter when Martin came up behind her and rubbed his pelvic area against her, she said.
When the trial continues, the Crown will argue that the judge should admit a statement he said Martin made to police. Based on the statement, Poland will argue Martin engaged in prior discreditable conduct with yet a third female.
The trial continues on Dec. 5.
Dianne Wood of the Record and other reporters contributed to this article.
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