The following story contains details which some readers may find distressing. Rapid access counselling is available in the Yukon at 867-456-3838.
The trial for William Auclair-Bellemare, the former Hidden Valley Elementary School education assistant charged with sexual offences against a student at the school, took place the week of June 12.
The trial is proceeding in French, Auclair-Bellemare’s first language. It began on Monday, June 12. He faces three charges relating to conduct while he was employed at the school, including sexual assault, invitation to sexual touching and forcible confinement.
He entered not guilty pleas for all charges.
The court heard from the alleged victim, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, one of their parents and one of their siblings.
The alleged victim, who is still a child, gave testimony by video. They told the court that Auclair-Bellemare asked them to leave their classroom and took them to a changing room at the school where no one else was present. Auclair-Bellemare allegedly told the student to remove their pants and underwear before drawing a sketch and discarding it.
Testimony from the sibling and the parent detailed how the alleged victim told them about Auclair-Bellemare’s alleged illegal contact with them after the parent brought up an article about a lawsuit Auclair-Bellemare was facing.
The lawsuit described alleged sexual abuse at the school. The parent denied going into specifics with the children. The court heard that the alleged victim mentioned the possibility that the recollection was a dream, but their sibling told the parent they had told them about it before. In court, the sibling could not recall how long had passed between these events.
Cross-examinations led by defence lawyer Kim Arial dealt largely with the witnesses’ memories and how they may have degraded in the time since the events and since giving statements to the police. The alleged victim acknowledged that their memory was blurry and had holes in it. Arial also challenged the alleged victim on differences between their statement to police and testimony in court, including differing descriptions of the change room.
Under cross-examination, the parent of the children said the children don’t lie.
Later in the week, the lawyers laid out their cases for and against conviction to Judge Peter Chisholm, who opted to reserve decision to a later date.
The matter is back in court on Oct. 13 for the decision.
Lawsuits against Auclair-Bellemare are still active, with nothing yet proven in court. Charges dealing with a separate alleged victim were stayed in February, as the Crown found there was no reasonable chance of obtaining a conviction on that matter.
Contact Jim Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org