Samuel and Madelaine Emerson. (Surrey RCMP photos)

Former B.C. youth pastor guilty on one of five sexual assault allegations

Judge cites reasonable doubt in finding Cloverdale couple not guilty of majority of charges

Former Cloverdale youth pastor Samuel Emerson has been found not guilty of a majority of allegations of sexual assault that came to light two years ago, after young members of his and his wife’s congregation approached police.

The verdict was rendered Wednesday afternoon in Provincial Court in Surrey.

In finding Samuel Emerson guilty of one count of sexual assault, Judge Mark Jetté concluded that the complainant’s apparent consent to have sex with him was induced.

RCMP announced charges against the couple in October 2017. The following March, both accused entered pleas of not guilty. A trial, set for 12 days, got underway this past April in Surrey Provincial Court. It concluded Sept. 4.

READ MORE: Cloverdale pastor, wife charged with sexual assault

READ MORE: Cloverdale pastor responds to charges of sexual assault against son

Samuel was tried on five counts of sexual assault, two counts of touching a young person for a sexual purpose and one count of sexual interference of a person under 16.

Madelaine Emerson, Samuel’s wife, was tried on two counts of sexual assault, one count of touching a young person for a sexual purpose and one count of threatening to kill someone. She was found not-guilty on all charges.

Madelaine was alleged to have been party to some assaults and to have facilitated others, including driving victims to the pharmacy to purchase Plan B and birth control.

The assaults are alleged to have happened between 2013 and 2017, at the Emerson family home and at the Cowichan River Bible Camp.

In finding the Emersons not guilty of the other charges, Jetté said reasonable doubt was raised by inconsistencies in some of the six complainants’ evidence; in finding Samuel Emerson guilty of the one count, the judge cited the former pastor’s “calculated effort” to distance himself from the complainant while testifying, including the accused’s insistence that he was never alone with her.

Any information that could reveal the identity of alleged victims or witnesses is protected by a publication ban.

More than a dozen former church members attended the proceedings.

Following the verdict, one told Peace Arch News she and others had hoped for more guilty verdicts.

“I’m grateful and glad that this girl’s experience has been acknowledged and validated,” said Carmen Block.

“I think, as a community, there’s a great amount of hurt and distrust. A judge’s decision can only offer some support, but there’s a sense of vindication.”



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unemployment surpasses historic high in Greater Victoria, tourism hit hard

Hospitality and tourism sectors hurting as pandemic continues

Victoria tattoo shops respond to sex assault allegations against male artists

Carne Tattoo and Painted Lotus Studios respond to allegations

Mayor not in favour of low barrier housing at Oak Bay Lodge

Process is already in place to determine future of Oak Bay Lodge

Minivan driver’s speed a factor in fatal 2018 Malahat crash

Driver was travelling at 101 km/h in a construction zone

Turned over truck impedes traffic in Langford

Truck at the side of Millstream Road near Western Speedway

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Most Read