Montreal 'pastor' faces more jail time

Montreal, Canada – The founder and self-styled pastor of a defunct Christian sect - who is serving a five-year term for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl he claims to have married – may have to spend another year in jail.

Daniel Cormier, 58, was back in court Monday for sentencing arguments on a second charge, sexual exploitation of another minor.

Cormier was found guilty 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 age 16 to 18, even if there is consent. The victim was 16 and 17 when the crimes occurred.

The victim, whose identity is protected because she was a minor, said she once gave him a French kiss and later he initiated sexual touching on two occasions.

The maximum sentence is five years in jail, but Crown prosecutor Anne Gauvin asked for an additional 12 to 18 months for the crime.

She asked that the sentenced be served consecutively, because Cormier – at the time pastor of l’Église du Centre-Ville – was “a father figure for her in some ways.”

“She had a poor self-image, was troubled and had family issues,” Gauvin told the court.

The two cases in which he was charged are completely different and an additional sentence of at least a year would be “very reasonable,” she argued.

Defence lawyer Marie-Josée Bellemarre disagreed, arguing that a six-month term to be served concurrently would be more appropriate.

Cormier would have faced the two charges in the same trial but since initially he was defending himself did not feel confident to handle the two together.

Had he been tried for both in the same trial, 60 months would have been the appropriate sentence, she argued.

The fact the case has received so much media coverage means he is recognized as “the pastor,” which constitutes additional penalty.

Also, there was no evidence the victim suffered any permanent damage, she argued.

Quebec Judge Claude Leblond said he will sentence Cormier March 8.