Girl, 10, testifies in sex assault case
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/09/2018 (1601 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Allegations of a Lorette teacher’s repeated sexual abuse of an eight-year-old girl were aired in court Tuesday, as the girl spent hours on the witness stand.
The now-10-year-old, whose name can’t be published under a court-ordered publication ban, testified Remi Dallaire repeatedly sexually assaulted her over about six weeks from June to mid-July 2016, when she was finishing Grade 2 and heading into Grade 3.
Dallaire has pleaded not guilty to four criminal charges, including sexual assault, touching a person under 16 for a sexual purpose, inviting sexual touching and making sexually explicit material available. At the time of the alleged offences, he was a teacher at École Lagimodière, part of the francophone school division Division scolaire franco-manitobaine (DSFM).
In her interview with RCMP — a video of which was played in court — the girl said Dallaire taught Grades 7 and 8 in Lorette, 30 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg, but said she believed he would be moving on to a different school.
She got to know him through her mother, who moved into an apartment across the hall from Dallaire at the beginning of June 2016. Her mother testified Monday she became friends with Dallaire, and was initially interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with him. She said he offered to walk her daughter to and from school daily, and look after the then-eight-year-old until her mother got home from work in the evening.
The girl testified Tuesday she spent a lot of time alone with Dallaire — at her apartment, at his apartment, and at the residence of another adult. She would have sleepovers with him, and she said he didn’t do anything inappropriate while anybody else was around. Over the course of a few weeks, she testified, Dallaire gave her a can of beer, showed her a pornographic video on his cellphone, showered with her, and repeatedly abused her.
As is common for children called to testify in court, the 10-year-old sat behind a screen, with a support worker beside her, so she wouldn’t have to see the accused.
Under questioning from Crown prosecutor Danielle Simard, and again during cross-examination from defence lawyer Matt Gould, she matter-of-factly described being anally penetrated by the accused.
She said Dallaire told her not to tell anyone what he did to her, which she said he called their “fun.”
“I hate that word,” she said, shuddering, in the 2016 police interview video.
She testified she told her mother, who then called the police and took her to the doctor.
Gould questioned the girl about whether her mother told her bad things about Dallaire; she said her mother had not.
In her police statement, she described Dallaire as her stepfather, but she said Tuesday she knows that wasn’t true. She talked about receiving gifts from Dallaire — including a stuffed toy cat she said he bought for her.
“I know why he wanted to keep it secret, because he was buying me stuff,” she said.
In her police interview, the girl said she didn’t know why Dallaire bought her things, but after she told her mother about the allegations, her mother told her he was buying her presents to keep her quiet. In response to a question from Simard, the girl said she’s angry at her mom “because she trusted that man, even if he was a teacher.”
When contacted Tuesday by the Free Press, DSFM assistant superintendent Marco Ratté was unable to say whether Dallaire was still employed by the school division, how long he had been a teacher there, nor whether the school board had been aware of his criminal charges before his Court of Queen’s Bench trial began this week.
Ratté said he could not answer questions about Dallaire’s employment status because he had been given legal advice not to make any comments while the case is before the court.
The trial continues Wednesday.
Katie May is a general-assignment reporter for the Free Press.
Updated on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 6:34 AM CDT: Final