Montreal 'pastor' guilty of sexual exploitation

Montreal, Canada – The founder and self-styled pastor of a defunct Christian sect – who is already serving time for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl he claims to have married – has been found guilty of sexual exploitation of another minor.

Daniel Cormier, 58, who is already serving a five-year term, showed no emotion Friday as Quebec Court Judge Claude Leblond pronounced the verdict. Cormier, who fired his latest lawyer, did not testify and presented no witnesses.

Leblond said Cormier is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt of two counts of sexual exploitation in the latest case. It is an offence for someone in a position of trust or authority to have sexual contact with someone aged 16 to 18, even if there is consent. The victim was 16 and 17 when the crimes occurred.

The victim testified, in a video recording of her statement to police, that she fell head-over-heels in love with Cormier while she frequented his l’Église du Centre-Ville.

She said she once gave him a French kiss, but later he initiated sexual touching on two occasions. Cormier denied both incidents.

The judge found the teen’s version credible, and said he doubts Cormier allowed himself to become involved with her “innocently.”

“It is also not credible that an adolescent who thought she was ‘ugly, fat and stupid’ and was trying to get closer to God could have manipulated her pastor,” he ruled.

Leblond said he found it “revealing” that in his first statement to police, Cormier claimed the teenager was in love with him and had tried to excite him sexually.

Sentencing arguments are scheduled for Feb. 1. The maximum is five years in jail.

In the other case, Cormier claimed he was innocent of sex-abuse charges because he had “married” his 10-year-old victim.

The Crown, however, said the law was clear – the legal age for consensual sex is 14 and the age for a woman to marry in 1999 was 16.