Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

OPP officer denies bias in sex case

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The police officer tasked with investigating an Ontario family services official suspected of sexually abusing Winnipeg girls says there was no "bad blood" between him and the target of his probe, despite the fact the officer's wife once worked for him and had a rocky working relationship.

"I am able to stay impartial," Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Darren Hyatt testified at James Leonard Cardy's trial, now being heard in Court of Queen's Bench. "I have never met Mr. Cardy," Hyatt said. "My wife did not like him as a boss."

Cardy, 62, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to seven charges, including sexual assault and wilfully obstructing justice.

Cardy is the former director of family services for a First Nation in northwest Ontario. He is presumed innocent.

He's accused of sexually assaulting two girls ages 14 and 16, as well as a young woman, 19, at various points between May and November 2010.

The alleged abuses came to light after the band's chief came forward to the local OPP with information and Hyatt was assigned the case, Justice Albert Clearwater heard.

Hyatt testified he went about the usual course of police business. He talked to numerous people and gathered information, including by interviewing the teens and obtaining video-recorded statements from them.

One was played in full in court Tuesday as the Crown and defence battled over whether it should be admitted as evidence at trial, which is being heard by Clearwater alone without a jury.

The judge will be asked to assess the statement and whether he believes all, some or none of what the then-16-year-old told Hyatt on Oct. 21, 2010.

The girl was not in care at the time but was a former foster child. She told Hyatt about a car ride to Winnipeg with Cardy where he touched her leg inappropriately and made suggestive comments. She told Hyatt she viewed Cardy as a social worker. He said during the ride she was "pretty," and he was her "sugar daddy," she told him.

Several times in earlier months, she said, Cardy came to see her at her mother's home in Winnipeg and would give her cash, telling her if she needed help to come to him.

In the past, she had accepted several rides from Cardy without issue. This time was different, she suggested.

Cardy made comments about going to his hotel room and "getting me drunk," she told Hyatt. "How if I got with him, like, he was going to buy me everything."

Between Sioux Narrows and Kenora, he stopped the car twice in random places and asked if she wanted him to get alcohol, she said.

"I was scared. I didn't know what to do," she told Hyatt. During the ride, she texted a friend what was happening, she said.

The now-19-year-old told court what she said to police that day was the truth then and remains so today.

She was sketchy on dates and some details and admitted being confused in some parts of her dealings with Hyatt, requiring him to prompt her for answers.

Hyatt was also called by the Crown and confirmed the teen's video statement was unaltered and unedited.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 4, 2013 B3

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