A woman kept visiting a pastor even though he raped her during healing baths because she was afraid of the evil spirits at his command, she testified today.
“He threatened me with the spirits and what he would do,” the 45-year-old woman said under cross-examination at the trial of Rev. Frank Lawrence.
“I was afraid of the power that he had,” she told defence lawyer Anthony Robbins.
The woman, who cannot be named, conceived one of the minister’s children, a boy now 5, during a graveyard rape, she said.
Lawrence, 59, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault, four of threatening death and one of assault in incidents alleged to have taken place between 2000 and 2005. A 29-year-old woman, by whom he also fathered a child, testified earlier that he raped her after she sought shelter in his home.
Today’s witness testified that she went to see the minister in 2000 for spiritual healing after she became depressed about the rape of her 8-year-old son in a school washroom.
She said that after five counselling sessions, Lawrence recommended a series of three spiritual healing baths — at a cost of $140 each — to get rid of the evil spirits surrounding her. After each bath, he rubbed ointment over her naked body, then forced her to the floor and had sex with her, despite her protestations, she said. “He kept saying that it was part of the ritual.”
In a final healing ceremony, for which he charged $1,000, they went to a cemetery at midnight and, after he had muttered incantations by a freshly dug grave and poured cream soda into the soil for thirsty spirits, he threw her to the ground and raped her again, the woman said.
Afterward he said, “That was the best f–k I ever had,” she testified.
But the minister’s lawyer kept pointing out contradictions among the woman’s various statements to police and in court.
Robbins asked her why she never mentioned in several police statements that a fifth rape allegedly took place in the minister’s bed during what she claimed was a tour of his home. She replied that her memories don’t come all at once.
Robbins suggested that the minister never forced sex on her, that they were lovers, and that she once told him she wanted him so badly that she would go crazy if she couldn’t have him.
The woman replied that she admitted to the minister that she became aroused after he rubbed red oil on her “that makes people want to have you.
“I was not even attracted to him. It must have been the oil.”
She agreed that a family court document she filed seeking child support from Lawrence states that they had been dating. She denied they were dating but explained she didn’t correct the document because her lawyer told her the wording was not important.
The trial continues.