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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Princeton high school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

Bench plaque recognizes former Summerland firefighter

Volunteers with fire department set up plaque in honour of Richard Estabrooks

Penticton RCMP search for missing woman last seen near Warren Ave West

25-year-old Iesha Blomquist was reported missing to Penticton RCMP on June 30

Public shows support for alcohol in outdoor spaces: City of Penticton

City council will vote on whether to continue allowing public consumption, on Tuesday, July 7

LETTER: Questions raised about Summerland solar project

Site of proposed project has been considered for previous initiatives

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Shuswap resident spots waterspout near Salmon Arm

The rare weather event was spotted early in the morning on July 4.

Police searching for missing Lake Country man

David Anthony Jenken, 65, was reported missing Friday and was last seen on June 28

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Seymour Arm landslide interrupts drinking water to 500 people

The July 3 slide damaged a water system and a logging road.

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Most Read