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A sketch shows Anton Paul Rapati in an Edmonton courtroom. ((CBC))

An elderly man on trial in Edmonton for indecent assault is a pedophile, not a monster, a woman he is accused of assaulting three decades ago told a courtroom.

Anton Paul Rapati, 85, is accused of indecently assaulting four young people in the 1970s, all siblings — three brothers and a sister — from a large St. Albert family he befriended.

His trial began Wednesday.

Rapati, who has a bushy white beard, walks slowly and has trouble standing. He has to wear a hearing device in the prisoner's box to hear everything that is being said about him in court.

On Wednesday, one of the brothers took the witness stand, telling the court that he was assaulted by Rapati dozens of times as a young teenager. The man broke down on the stand when he told the courts the assaults caused him "a lot of shame and a lot of anguish."

His sister then testified that Rapati assaulted her for about four years, starting when she was 10. Rapati asked her to promise to keep the assaults a secret, she said.

The woman told the court that when she finally went to the RCMP to report the abuse in the early 1990s, she was so embarrassed, she turned her back to the officer, looking at the wall as she gave her statement. 

There is a publication ban on identifying the alleged victims.