A mentally challenged woman says she was repeatedly raped 20 years ago by a man who ran a Brandon support home.
During cross-examination at that man’s trial, which began in Brandon Court of Queen’s Bench on Monday, defence counsel Joseph Pelletier suggested that the woman was confused and the assaults may never have happened at all.
"No, you remember these things, they’re with you the rest of your damn life … I was just a damn child," the witness responded.
There’s a publication ban on anything that could identify the complainants, so The Brandon Sun is not naming the accused, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault.
It’s alleged that two mentally challenged complainants were assaulted while living at a support home run by the accused; the first sometime in 1985, and the second in 1997.
Crown and defence lawyers agree that the accused was in a position of trust and authority over the complainants at the times of the alleged assaults.
On the stand, the first complainant — who said she was 18 to 19 years old when she was assaulted — provided the following details.
She began by describing how she was sent to the home in the mid-1990s after running away from her parents. She ran to friends of her father’s, but they couldn’t keep her because they didn’t have a proper room. So, she was placed in the Brandon support home, which was run by a couple.
The witness said she had a good relationship with the woman who ran the home. But that woman left her partner and the home in the process, leaving him in charge.
It was then that the alleged assaults began.
"He was supposed to take care of us girls," the witness said.
She testified that she was repeatedly raped by the man, and that he forced her to perform oral sex on him.
She said the assaults were committed in the bathroom, while she was taking a bath, and in her bedroom.
The witness testified that the man would continue the assaults even though she told him to stop, and he would tell her she was going to "take it" and "like it."
She said that at least once, when she told him to stop, he slapped her across the face.
The witness said she also once tried to barricade her bedroom door with her bed, but it had wheels and he pushed it out of the way.
She said she would also lock the bathroom door to keep him out, but he could easily pick the lock with a sharp object or force the door open with his shoulder.
The witness said she took to sleeping with a pair of scissors under her pillow and once pulled them out to defend herself. But the man knocked them out of her hand and continued to rape her.
She once kneed him in the groin, she said, but that didn’t stop him, either.
The assaults would be committed at night, she said, and to prevent them she’d try to quickly do her chores so that she could take baths during the day while the man was still at work.
The witness said she couldn’t always get her work done fast enough, or get into the bathroom, which was shared with two other girls who also lived at the home.
She said that to escape the assaults, she finally ran away to Winnipeg.
She testified that she didn’t tell anyone what happened because she was scared and didn’t feel comfortable telling anyone. She tried to forget what happened. It was only years later — when Brandon police had begun an investigation into what had happened at the home based on other complaints — that police contacted her and she revealed what had happened.
She gave a statement to police in April 2012.
The second complainant is expected to testify today.