for child sex abuse
was left teaching for three years afterwards'
about sexual abuse of son
A man accused of sexual assault hugged his wife after learning his charges were dismissed Friday. Meanwhile, a group of teenage girls and their supporters left the courtroom in tears.
Soleiman Hajj Soleiman was arrested in February 2017 after several teenagers reported being touched by a man in the West Edmonton Mall water park. He was acquitted of all charges against him — six counts of sexual assault and six counts of sexual contact with a child — in a provincial court ruling Friday morning.
Justice Joyce Lester said that while something did happen at the mall’s wave pool, there was not enough reliable evidence to convict Soleiman.
The witnesses, who were ages 13 to 15 at the time of the event, gave varying descriptions of the man’s head and facial hair, skin colour and age during the trial. One said he wore blue goggles, while another said he wore rainbow goggles in a zebra pattern.
The girls also discussed what happened at the pool a number of times afterward, which Lester said could possibly shift and cross-contaminate their ideas of what happened.
Apparently it didn't, if they disagreed on so many things.
When the trial began earlier this year, court heard testimony from some of the teen complainants. Pool security footage wasn’t clear enough to identify whoever might have groped the girls, the judge said.
Lester believed a photo lineup should have been used in the investigation to identify the assailant, but this did not happen — a detective had said identification was not an issue.
“(The detective’s) statement of complacency has no place in a criminal investigation,” Lester said as she delivered her decision.
At least two of the girls in the courtroom cried and left with their mothers when the ruling was given.
During the hearing, the teen witnesses were supported by a therapy dog from the Zebra Child Protection Centre.
Crown prosecutor Laurie Trahan said she understood the ruling, but was disappointed the girls’s discussions about what happened in the pool was ruled to be contaminated evidence.
“It’s regrettable that the logical, rational response to being sexually assaulted is not something that the court appreciates,” she said. “It’s not at all unusual for a woman or girl who gets sexually assaulted to talk to her friends.”
In fact, it would be extremely unusual for them to not talk about it.
Trahan said it’s too early to determine whether she will appeal.
Soleiman, his wife and six children were sponsored by a group of 30 people to come to Canada from Syria two years ago. One sponsor, Dave Trautman, said the family was nervous and not happy during the trial.
“I’ve been telling him Canada has a good system, the judge can be trusted, and the court system will be fair,” Trautman said. None of the family’s sponsors withdrew their support throughout the trial, Trautman said.
On the evening of Feb. 4, 2017, 16 girls from a soccer team were attending a birthday party at the pool, court heard. One of the complainants, then 14, testified she was in the wave pool when she heard other girls saying someone was touching them. She told court that as a wave hit, a man swam up under her and touched her breast and buttocks.
I'm sure the judges decision has nothing to do with Justin Trudeau declaring himself innocent for touching a reporter's behind. It might have do to with some sympathy for the man and his family being refugees from Syria. Migrants get special consideration in EU courts all the time as though we have to show our best side to people who are sexually assaulting our children. Even if it is completely without bias, it is still a revictimization of the girls and a shameless result from Canada's judicial system.
A top private school teacher is facing more allegations of sexual abuse after being convicted of assaulting eight of his pupils.
Five Christ's Hospital School teachers, including a Devon man, have now been prosecuted after police investigated complaints made by 22 former students.
The latest two - Gary Dobbie and James Husband - were found guilty at Hove Crown Court on Thursday. The pair stared ahead as the verdicts were read out and they were remanded in custody.
Earlier retired house tutor Peter Burr was caught after a victim revealed his ordeal to Vanessa Feltz's radio show in 2016, claiming he was initially ignored by police in 2000.
The 73-year-old was jailed for four years in January and made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order after admitting nine counts of indecently assaulting four boys aged 11 to 14 at the school between 1969 and 1973.
Burr, of Kingswear, near Dartmouth, Devon, preyed on vulnerable boys who were reluctant to speak out after they had been given a place at the school because a parent had died or their family had a low income, the court heard.
The physics teacher, who patrolled bathrooms and dormitories, would invite pupils to visit his study for tea, cake and television before fondling them. He also became sexually aroused supervising them in the swimming pool.
Four other charges of indecent assault, which he denied, were left to lie on file.
Prosecutor Eloise Marshall yesterday told the court there were "outstanding matters" against Dobbie as "two other complainants had come forward during the course of the trial". Investigations are ongoing and no charges have so far been brought. Police have confirmed they are both former school pupils.
Dobbie and Husband were friends and used to laugh together about their exploits - which took place over the course of 13 years while they lived and worked at the school in Horsham, West Sussex.
They follow in the footsteps of Peter Webb and Peter Burr, who were both jailed in the last year after admitting committing offences at the school between the 1960s and 1980s.
Sports coach Ajaz Karim, was found guilty in April of assaulting six girls between 1985 and 1993 and is due to be sentenced in August.
Husband, 68, of Wigginton in York, was convicted of one count of rape and five of indecently assaulting a girl as young as 14 between 1990 and 1994. He insisted they had "consensual sex" once when she was 16.
He told Dobbie about the encounter, who joked with the girl she had "beard rash", indicating he knew what happened and later indecently assaulted her.
She "lay there like a rag doll" during Husband's attack as she waited for it to be over and described being "disgusted with herself" and feeling suicidal.
No action was taken when she reported the "systematic abuse" to the school's chaplain. Even her mother did not believe her story. Dobbie, as chaplain, used this information to prey on her, police said.
Husband - also known by his middle name of Andrew - left the school when he was found out for having a consensual fling with a 17-year-old pupil who was not underage or a complainant in the case.
The married father, whose children were attending the school at the time, said the "spur of the moment" encounter went from holding hands and kissing to sex. Giving evidence, the former tutor and head of department spoke of his desire to kiss her during a time when he felt disgruntled with how the school was being run.
In a diary entry read to the court, the girl said: "Told too many people at school then decided to go for it. The fling. So got off with him on Saturday night. The most amazing thing. Happy."
Dobbie, 66, of Albi in France and formerly of Hereford, was found guilty of 15 counts detailing multiple offences against six boys and two girls as young as 12 between 1998 and 2001. He denied 12 counts of indecently assaulting four boys and two girls, attempting to indecently assault a boy and two counts of indecency with a child.
He was arrested while teaching at independent Shrewsbury School, Shropshire. When questioned by police, he branded the claims "totally untrue". But the court heard he groomed his favourite students by hosting dinner parties at his house in the school grounds, plying them with whisky and wine while encouraging them to talk about their sexual encounters.
Dobbie performed a sex act in front of a boy as young as 12 in his bedroom after telling him to take off his breeches and underwear. Another boy recalls falling asleep on Dobbie's sofa and waking up to find him kneeling beside him with his hand in his shirt.
The teacher even raised money for another pupil - who was abused over a period of six years - to take a gap year after leaving school and assaulted him when he returned to visit. The NSPCC branded the pair "predatory and calculated" and the crimes a "shocking abuse of their position of trust".
Allegations about Husband prompted a police investigation in 2016 and led to separate inquiries involving different pupils and time periods. Detective Inspector Wendy Burton, of the Sussex Police complex abuse unit, said the lengthy probe was "very sensitive" and showed such allegations are taken seriously by the force.
On Thursday the school apologised to victims and praised their courage in reporting the abuse. In a statement it said: "The actions of these men were not only criminal but also an utter betrayal of the trust placed in them and of the values of Christ's Hospital."
While the school is "worlds apart" from that described in court, with a range of safeguarding measures now in place, the cases served as a "brutal reminder" there is no room for "complacency", it said.
Husband will be sentenced on July 13. A date is yet to be set for Dobbie.
CATHOLIC Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson will appeal his conviction for covering up historical child sexual abuse in his church.
Wilson has issued a statement saying he is exercising his right to appeal and will stand aside from his duties while that appeal proceeds.
“I am conscious of calls for me to resign and have taken them, very seriously,” he said in the statement. “I do not intend to resign at this time. However if I am unsuccessful in my appeal, I will immediately offer my resignation to the Holy See.”
Pressure has been mounting on the 67-year-old to resign and on the Catholic Church to sack him following his sentencing in Newcastle District Court on Tuesday. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Labor leader Bill Shorten have called for Wilson to quit, given the outcome of the case.
The Archbishop was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with a six month non-parole period but will continue on bail while he is assessed for home detention. He is the most senior Catholic official in the world to be charged with the offence.
Wilson was found guilty in May of failing to report to police between 2004-2006 the repeated abuse of two altar boys, by paedophile priest James Patrick Fletcher, in the NSW Hunter Region in the 1970s.
NSW Police Minister Troy Grant, who as a police officer investigated Catholic priests’ offending in the Hunter Valley, told 7.30 on Wednesday night that Wilson’s sentence was “manifestly insufficient … atrocious”. ”Six months’ home detention? That doesn’t go within a bull’s roar of being commensurate or appropriate,” Mr Grant said.
“He gets to renew his Netflix subscription for six months. “I am extremely disappointed … the response from the Roman Catholic Church in their future plans for this offender, nowhere meets community standards or expectations.”
I totally agree and hope that he appeals and the appeals court gives him a realistic sentence. His failure to report probably led to the sexual abuse of more children by the paedophile, priest Fletcher.
Wilson has vehemently denied the charge and unsuccessfully attempted to have the case thrown out of court four times before it went to trial in April. Magistrate Robert Stone found that Wilson failed to act against Fletcher because “he wanted to protect the church and its image”.
Magistrate Stone said “there is no remorse or contrition showed by the offender. The whole of the community is devastated in so many ways by the decades of abuse and its concealment,” the magistrate said.
“We are all the poorer for what has occurred.”
No-one and no-thing is poorer than the Catholic Church for the spectacular evil committed by priests and Bishops. What a day it will be when they stand before Christ Whose Name they have so astoundingly dragged through the mud.
A child abuse survivor group has called for United Nations intervention over the Government's possible exclusion of churches from its state abuse inquiry.
Occulo New Zealand, a group set up with the goal of ending abuse by clergy, believes the New Zealand Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care does not comply with the 1989 United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The group submitted an urgent "letter of allegation" to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Sunday. It said the New Zealand Government was "in breach of this fundamental and internationally important" treaty, which it ratified in 1993.
Occulo had compiled a list of information it believed the UN required to be able to act, including a "conservative" estimate of the number of victims at risk of missing a chance to have their voices heard and bring perpetrators to justice.
"[There are] potentially thousands of victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by faith groups in New Zealand [that have] occurred in the last 60-plus years," it read.
The Royal Commission's draft terms of reference were until recently up for consultation. They were limited to people whom the state was responsible for, "whether directly or indirectly".
Advocates and abuse survivors have criticised what they see as the inquiry's limited scope, by its failure to include faith-based institutions, sporting clubs and schools by default. Many do not believe this will be remedied in the final terms of reference.
"We're waiting for the inevitable. The inevitable's going to be ... we'll get the short end of the stick," said a spokesman for Occulo, which is Latin for cover-up.
"We'll be the only English-speaking country [to have had an independent inquiry into child abuse] ... that's not including faith-based institutions. It's bizarre."
In Australia alone, nearly 4500 people reported being abused by Catholic institutions during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which ended in December.
Last year, Australian Royal Commission adviser Gary Foster said the final report stood "a metre-and-a-half high".
"The recommendation on the criminal justice system alone runs to over 2000 pages, with over 85 recommendations which will significantly change our criminal justice system."
Other supporters of a Royal Commission that includes faith-based institutions have been frequent and vocal, including the likes of survivor Darryl Smith, who last month released a book about his experiences.
It also extended to members of religious institutions themselves, with the Catholic Church National Office for Professional Standards Bill Kilgallon last year explaining why he thought his institution should be involved in the inquiry.
Human rights lawyer Craig Tuck said UN processes were "so slow that the Royal Commission will be wrapping up its findings by the time the UN starts processing this in any meaningful way".
He said the Occulo complaint raised "a whole raft of interesting issues" around how state care was defined by the Royal Commission – whether it stopped at Government-run institutions, state-funded care or simply "state-allowed care".
"I guess, from an initial viewpoint, that the state is implicated if it's funded or allowed, or [has] even remained silent when there was abuse, or it knowingly was occurring.
"[The request for inclusion of faith-based institutions] then seems to be a fairly reasonable proposition, which needs to be balanced against what they actually do."
A Royal Commission spokeswoman said the group had not been made aware of the OHCHR submission, but human rights breach concerns were "an issue raised by a number of Royal Commission stakeholders".
"The Commission widely consulted on the draft terms of reference and heard from many groups and individuals about the inclusion and non-inclusion of religious institutions," she said.
She said the commission's chairman, Sir Anand Satyanand, had received more than 400 submissions and delivered a final terms of reference report to the Government based on the feedback.
"The four main areas of feedback were on the scope and purpose of the Inquiry, a suitable reference to the Treaty of Waitangi, the inquiry timelines and what constitutes 'state care'," she said.
Cabinet would decide on the final terms of reference after ministers had read Satyanand's report. "A decision is expected shortly. It will be widely publicised alongside Sir Anand's report."
An OHCHR spokesman said any contact was confidential and no details would be revealed.
If the UN took up a case with the New Zealand Government, details would be made public after two months, he said, including "any response by the state in question".