Woman blames affairs on church

The Toronto Sun, Sep. 11, 2002

A woman suing the Jehovah’s Witnesses for $700,000 testified yesterday she blames the church and sex abuse from her father for her extra-marital affairs.

The woman also admitted under cross-examination by defence lawyer Colin Stevenson that she and her husband engaged in a menage a trois that led to the birth of a baby.

“I told (my husband) every time it happened,” she said. “I don’t understand why we have to talk about this. That is a private issue.”

Stevenson told court he was asking about her background to determine if there was any other trauma in her life besides the abuse she suffered from her father.

“All of these traumas cannot be laid at the door of the defendants,” Stevenson said.

“If things had been done properly, none of this would have happened,” the woman said.

She launched her suit in 1998, naming the church and two elders, Brian Cairns and Steve Brown, as defendants.

She alleges the church tried to hide the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father and discouraged her from seeking psychiatric counselling.

But yesterday, Stevenson referred to church letters that state that the woman planned to go for counselling.

He also pointed to documents that state the woman’s father was told by the church to turn himself in to the Children’s Aid Society in February 1990 — shortly after an inquiry by church elders in the woman’s home congregation in Shelburne.

The woman said she found out Children’s Aid was asking questions when she heard from her sister they had interviewed her about a year after her father turned himself in.

But the woman testified she was never interviewed by Children’s Aid workers about the abuse.

Stevenson then asked the woman why she decided to sue the church.

“I was angry,” she said, adding that it made her feel she was to blame for the abuse and ostracized her.

The Toronto Sun has chosen not to name the woman, or her family, because she is a victim of sexual abuse.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday September 12, 2002.
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