John Leonard MacKean jury to deliberate chained teen case
WARNING: This story contains explicit details of a sexual nature
A jury will get final instructions from a judge on Friday and begin deliberations after hearing closing arguments in the case of man accused of sexually assaulting a boy in a remote Nova Scotia cabin.
John Leonard MacKean, 64, is on trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Bridgewater. He has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and communicating for the purpose of obtaining sexual services from a person under 18.
The charges stem from a 2012 incident in which a boy, 16, escaped from a cabin in the woods in Lunenburg County after being held captive by Wayne Cunningham and David James Leblanc.
MacKean testified in his own defence on Thursday, saying he thought the boy was 21 and saw no indication he was there against his will.
In closing arguments, Crown prosecutor Lloyd Tancock called MacKean’s version of events "absolutely preposterous." He said everyone else believed the boy to be no older than 16.
"(MacKean) didn't care," Tancock said. "He was getting what he wanted."
MacKean’s defence lawyer, Mike Taylor, told jurors there were inconsistencies in the boy’s testimony, that he’s lied under oath before and been in trouble with the law.
MacKean expected an older man at cabin
During his testimony Thursday, MacKean repeated some facts already presented to the jury.
MacKean said he met Cunningham through Alcoholics Anonymous. They met several times to discuss AA but then MacKean said Cunningham — whom he knew as “Patrick” — offered to give massages to help him with pain associated with his sciatic nerve.
He testified the massages eventually became sexual in nature, resulting in what MacKean called “happy endings.”
MacKean said he knew there would be another man at the cabin but that he was expecting a two-man massage when Cunningham made the invitation.
He said instead, he found a naked, blindfolded male, who he thought was a 20-something-year-old friend of Cunningham. The boy in the cabin was 16 at the time.
MacKean insisted in court he saw no chains and no indication the boy was there against his will. He said if he had, he would have got the boy out of there himself.
He said Cunningham initiated sexual contact by massaging both him and the boy on the bed at the same time. Cunningham invited him to touch the boy with his hand, which he said he did briefly.
MacKean said Cunningham then massaged him until he ejaculated, then he left. He said he was only in the cabin for 12 to 15 minutes. That's less time than he told police he was in the cabin.
When asked what the demeanour of the boy on the bed was, he said he seemed OK. "I wouldn't say jovial," he said, but the person didn't cry or ask that the activity stop.
MacKean maintained he never paid for sexual services, other than the massages, and never from someone who was underage.
He admitted that he was frightened when he was arrested. "Scared doesn't even begin to cover it."
MacKean added: "Obviously the mistake I made was in judging [Cunningham's] character."
Mike Taylor, MacKean’s lawyer, urged jurors not to judge MacKean on his lifestyle choices or for things they might feel uncomfortable about.
MacKean's DNA found on boy
On Wednesday, the court watched a four-hour police interview in which MacKean admitted he touched the boy, but denied knowing he was underage. The court heard that MacKean's DNA was found on the boy and on the bed to which he was chained.
Prosecutor Lloyd Tancock said it was valuable evidence.
The youth testified earlier this week that he had been abducted by two other men and kept in the cabin 130 kilometres southwest of Halifax.
The 17-year-old — who was 16 at the time the offences are alleged to have taken place — also said he had been bound to a bed by chains and forced to wear a black sleeping mask when a third man was brought to the cabin on Sept. 20, 2012.
He said he never saw the third man.
Cunningham and Leblanc were the co-accused in the case.
Cunningham was found dead in northern Ontario during a manhunt after the teen escaped. Police ruled out foul play in his death.
Leblanc pleaded guilty to kidnapping, forcible confinement, sexual assault, uttering threats and breach of conditions and was sentenced in June to 11 years in prison.
MacKean was charged after the teen told police he was kept at a house in Upper Chelsea, Lunenburg County, for eight days in September 2012 before he managed to escape. He said he walked more than a kilometre to a home, where he sought help.
With files from The Canadian Press