November 19, 2018

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Judge set to decide fate of teacher accused in child sex assault

It’s been more than two years since an articulate eight-year-old girl came forward to report her neighbour, a Lorette school teacher, had repeatedly sexually abused her.

Today, a Court of Queen’s Bench judge is set to decide the outcome of the sexual-assault case against 34-year-old Remi Dallaire, who has denied the allegations against him.

After hearing all of the evidence in the three-day trial, including a full day of testimony from the now-10-year-old girl, Justice Ken Champagne said he expects to deliver his decision this afternoon — mindful of the fact the girl and the accused have been waiting long enough for the court process to end.

Crown prosecutor Danielle Simard urged the judge to convict Dallaire, who pleaded not guilty to four charges of sexual offences involving the underage girl. Defence lawyer Matt Gould said Dallaire should be acquitted because there is a lack of physical evidence to support the allegations.

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It’s been more than two years since an articulate eight-year-old girl came forward to report her neighbour, a Lorette school teacher, had repeatedly sexually abused her.

Today, a Court of Queen’s Bench judge is set to decide the outcome of the sexual-assault case against 34-year-old Remi Dallaire, who has denied the allegations against him.

After hearing all of the evidence in the three-day trial, including a full day of testimony from the now-10-year-old girl, Justice Ken Champagne said he expects to deliver his decision this afternoon — mindful of the fact the girl and the accused have been waiting long enough for the court process to end.

Crown prosecutor Danielle Simard urged the judge to convict Dallaire, who pleaded not guilty to four charges of sexual offences involving the underage girl. Defence lawyer Matt Gould said Dallaire should be acquitted because there is a lack of physical evidence to support the allegations.

Both lawyers made their closing arguments Thursday in front of Champagne.

Dallaire was a teacher at École Lagimodière in Lorette (30 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg) when he became friends with the girl’s mother, who had moved into the apartment across the hall from him in June 2016.

He would walk the girl to and from school, and watch her until her mom got home from work in the evenings. He admitted to RCMP he shared a bed with the girl when she slept over while he was supposed to be looking after her. He admitted the girl was naked on one occasion, but claimed he undressed her and cleaned her up because she had urinated in bed. He admitted giving the girl beer, but denied ever touching her or showing her porn.

"The interpretation of Mr. Dallaire’s behaviour with (the eight-year-old girl) can be considered inappropriate, and I think is likely to be considered inappropriate, but that’s not why we’re here," Gould said. He pointed to Dallaire’s repeated denials in his police statement, and said Dallaire told police he had nothing to hide and encouraged them to collect more evidence.

"Once we pass that evaluation of a sympathetic 10-year-old, who was making clear allegations, there are opportunities for more (evidence) and it’s not there. We have nothing, nothing, nothing," Gould said, noting the girl’s testimony had "elements of it that are too articulate."

Simard disagreed.

"The evidence paints a picture of an accused who befriended a vulnerable mother and her daughter for his own nefarious purposes, and he betrayed and violated them both in the most vile way possible. I would urge the court to convict on all counts," the Crown lawyer said.

The case centres on testimonies from the girl and her mother, who called police in July 2016.

The then-eight-year-old told her mother Dallaire had touched her "inappropriately" — a word that came from her mother. The girl went on to tell police (in a statement recorded on video the next day) Dallaire had given her a can of beer to drink, showed her a pornographic video, asked her to perform oral sex, showered with her, molested her, anally penetrated her and bought her gifts so she would keep it all a secret.

She didn’t back down from those allegations when she was cross-examined for nearly three hours Tuesday.

Simard said it’s uncommon to see a 10-year-old "so unshaken" in court.

When the girl’s mother testified, she fielded defence suggestions she had used her children to get closer to Dallaire, or she had encouraged her daughter to report false allegations because she was angry at Dallaire. He’d told her he wasn’t interested in a romantic relationship with her.

On the witness stand, the girl’s mother was questioned about her sexual relationship with Dallaire. She testified they once engaged in sexual activity, during which Dallaire said, "We should have (your daughter) here."

The now-40-year-old woman said she questioned him about the comment, but he denied having sexual thoughts about the young girl, and they never spoke about it again.

After her daughter told her about the alleged abuse, the mother said she confronted Dallaire. He sent her a text message in which he threatened to call Child and Family Services and have her children taken away from her if she didn’t talk to him about the allegations.

The defence didn’t challenge the mother’s testimony about Dallaire’s comment, his threatening text or another text he sent to the mother one day at 1:40 a.m., asking her to send her daughter over to his apartment because he felt like killing himself. The mother refused.

katie.may@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @thatkatiemay

Katie May

Katie May
Justice reporter

Katie May reports on courts, crime and justice for the Free Press.

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History

Updated on Friday, September 14, 2018 at 6:14 AM CDT: Final

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