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

Flags lowered in honour of the late Bill McRae

Community leader, businessman passed away July 9

LETTER: Terrace mayor cites Bill McRae’s accomplishments

“Hard work and incredible character became a gift to the City of Terrace.”

Royal LePage Aspire Realty buys office in Terrace

Owner Rod Mcleod said the move will increase connectivity in northern B.C.

Ferry Island Campground in Terrace now open to out of province visitors

Decision based on recommendations from the provincial government

Infinite Ice’s holistic hockey program returning to Terrace in August

COVID-19 precautions in place for on-ice training, meditation, yoga and nutrition classes

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read