Samuel and Madelaine Emerson. (Surrey RCMP photos)

Samuel and Madelaine Emerson. (Surrey RCMP photos)

Former B.C. youth pastor guilty on one of five sexual assault allegations

Judge cites reasonable doubt in finding Cloverdale couple not guilty of majority of charges

Former Cloverdale youth pastor Samuel Emerson has been found not guilty of a majority of allegations of sexual assault that came to light two years ago, after young members of his and his wife’s congregation approached police.

The verdict was rendered Wednesday afternoon in Provincial Court in Surrey.

In finding Samuel Emerson guilty of one count of sexual assault, Judge Mark Jetté concluded that the complainant’s apparent consent to have sex with him was induced.

RCMP announced charges against the couple in October 2017. The following March, both accused entered pleas of not guilty. A trial, set for 12 days, got underway this past April in Surrey Provincial Court. It concluded Sept. 4.

READ MORE: Cloverdale pastor, wife charged with sexual assault

READ MORE: Cloverdale pastor responds to charges of sexual assault against son

Samuel was tried on five counts of sexual assault, two counts of touching a young person for a sexual purpose and one count of sexual interference of a person under 16.

Madelaine Emerson, Samuel’s wife, was tried on two counts of sexual assault, one count of touching a young person for a sexual purpose and one count of threatening to kill someone. She was found not-guilty on all charges.

Madelaine was alleged to have been party to some assaults and to have facilitated others, including driving victims to the pharmacy to purchase Plan B and birth control.

The assaults are alleged to have happened between 2013 and 2017, at the Emerson family home and at the Cowichan River Bible Camp.

In finding the Emersons not guilty of the other charges, Jetté said reasonable doubt was raised by inconsistencies in some of the six complainants’ evidence; in finding Samuel Emerson guilty of the one count, the judge cited the former pastor’s “calculated effort” to distance himself from the complainant while testifying, including the accused’s insistence that he was never alone with her.

Any information that could reveal the identity of alleged victims or witnesses is protected by a publication ban.

More than a dozen former church members attended the proceedings.

Following the verdict, one told Peace Arch News she and others had hoped for more guilty verdicts.

“I’m grateful and glad that this girl’s experience has been acknowledged and validated,” said Carmen Block.

“I think, as a community, there’s a great amount of hurt and distrust. A judge’s decision can only offer some support, but there’s a sense of vindication.”



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Montrose man is suspected of using his drone to look into neighbourhood homes, and possibly film those inside. Photo: David Henrichs on Unsplash
Trail RCMP report drone mischief and a hit and run

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Trail detachment

The Rossland Scouts Community Hall is directing a Trust grant into upgrading the building’s energy efficiency. Photo: Columbia Basin Trust
Columbia Basin Trust helps scouts hall become energy efficient

Columbia Basin Trust grants $18, 250 for Rossland Scouts Hall upgrades

FILE - This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021 cleared a Johnson Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two (Johnson Johnson via AP)
Six weeks with no new COVID-19 cases in Trail

The latest localized BC CDC COVID-19 numbers

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read