Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'He kisses me in wrong places'

John Howard Society director on trial

  • Print

THE head of Manitoba's John Howard Society might go on the witness stand in his own defence today as he battles allegations he inappropriately touched a young girl.

William John Hutton, 54, has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and sexual interference. His two-day trial began Thursday in a Winnipeg courtroom.

The charges arise from a rural RCMP investigation that got underway on Jan. 2, 2013 when the alleged victim, then 11, came forward to give a formal statement.

Police and the Crown allege Hutton illegally fondled and kissed the girl between December 2009 and the date of her complaint to police.

Hutton, through defence lawyer Saul Simmonds, pleaded not guilty.

"The truth in this case will demonstrate that my client is not guilty of an offence," Simmonds told provincial court Judge John Combs.

A charge of sexual exploitation was stayed by Crown attorney Robert Gosman at the outset of the hearing.

'The truth in this case will demonstrate that my client is not guilty of an offence'

-- defence lawyer Saul Simmonds

Combs was brought in from Brandon to hear the case, which is covered by a publication ban to protect the now-12-year-old complainant's identity.

The ban means few specifics from the hearing can be disclosed in the media.

The Crown closed its case following the testimony of two witnesses: an RCMP investigator and the alleged victim.

The girl testified from behind a screen and was not visible to the court gallery, where Hutton sat making notes, surrounded by several supporters.

Her video statement to RCMP was played in its entirety for Combs, who admitted it into evidence.

In it, the girl appears very reluctant, at least initially, to talk to Const. Joseé Lagacé.

"I don't want to talk about it today," she says. "I'm not ready."

After some additional back and forth with Lagacé, the girl relents. "Can I say it really, really fast?," she asks Lagacé.

"Sometimes he, like, kisses me in wrong places," the girl went on to state.

Lagacé then uses anatomical diagrams to have the girl point out where she alleges she was touched.

After the video was played, the girl told court she had told the RCMP the truth.

She faced a lengthy and strong cross-examination from Simmonds.

The lawyer pointed to several inconsistencies in her evidence and presented other motivations she might have had to complain about Hutton.

The girl conceded she was aware she had avenues to safely disclose any problems she was having before the RCMP became involved.

She was also pressed on her specific recall of events.

"The whole thing is just hard to remember -- it's just hard," the girl said. "I can't recall the certain times."

The trial continues this morning, and it's possible Hutton might testify in his own behalf.

He's currently on leave from his role as executive director of the Manitoba chapter of the John Howard Society.

The JHS runs several programs aimed at helping male offenders reintegrate into society.

Hutton is presumed innocent.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 30, 2014 A9

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

Comments are not accepted on this story because it involves young offenders or minors.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Key of Bart: God Rest Ye Premier Selinger

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • A mother goose has chosen a rather busy spot to nest her eggs- in the parking lot of St Vital Centre on a boulevard. Countless cars buzz by and people have begun to bring it food.-Goose Challenge Day 06 - May 08, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


What's your take on the Jets so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google