May 01, 2013 - 6:48 AM
A young woman testified Tuesday she was sexually assaulted from ages 13 to 21 by a man she considered her uncle.
The woman, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban, told the court she knew the accused, Kenneth Johnson of Osoyoos, since she was 10 years old. Johnson pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault, sexual interference with a person under 14 and touching a young person for sexual purpose.
The woman, who is now in her mid-20s, began her testimony with the time she met Johnson and his spouse. She was about 10 years old. She said Johnson became like an uncle to her and the two started "hanging out."
Clutching a small brown teddy bear, she began to quietly cry halfway through Tuesday's cross-examination by defence lawyer Michael Welsh.
She explained her father was a single-parent who worked long hours. She said Johnson took on a father-figure role for her.
"He was a person I could go and talk to," she said. The accused taught her cribbage and how to drive.
Things became different when she was 13. She could not remember the details leading up to the first sexual encounter. She only remembered that it happened. The complainant said she didn't specifically tell him no but nor did she consent either.
Prosecutor Deb Drissell asked why she went along with it. The complainant felt she had to. She did not want to damage her relationship with Johnson.
"I felt like if he left I would lose my uncle Ken," she said. "I ended up giving him what he wanted."
When she was around 14 she said Johnson drove her to a secluded spot in the Osoyoos area. This event she did remember well. She told the accused she didn't want to be there and was scared they were going to be seen.
She said sexual encounters with Johnson had become part of her normal life. She alleged they would have sex at Johnson's house while his spouse was away. At one point Johnson threatened to leave when she said she didn't want sex.
The sexual relationship continued when Johnson moved to a new home and even when she got her own apartment, got married and was pregnant with another man's child. She said he would visit and bring alcohol.
The young woman told no one of what happened between her and Johnson until after she was married in 2010. She visited the RCMP twice and on the second time gave a statement.
Welsh said the complainant was asked by the first RCMP officer to write a statement. The young woman did not. She returned to the detachment office two months later.
The defence lawyer expressed a little amazement the young woman never became pregnant with Johnson's child. She said she had sex with Johnson "countless times" over a 10-year period.
The complainant said she took birth control pills from ages 14 to 18. Welsh also went over the young woman's mental health history. She was admitted twice to the psychiatric wing of Penticton Regional Hospital for alleged suicide attempts. She has also taken illegal drugs, including crystal meth and was kicked out of her parents home when she was 17.
The defence lawyer asked why didn't she tell anyone about Johnson—not her friends, therapists or medical professionals who offered to help her.
"It wasn't something I was able to share," she said.
The case resumes this morning.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-488-3065.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013