Ottawa

Ottawa Mountie on trial for abuse asked priest to perform exorcism on son

An Ottawa Mountie on trial for the severe abuse of his 11-year-old son said he asked a family member to perform an exorcism on the boy because he thought the child was possessed.

WARNING: This story contains graphic and disturbing details

An Ottawa Mountie on trial for the severe abuse of his 11-year-old son said he asked a family member to perform an exorcism on the boy because he thought the child was possessed.

The testimony came Wednesday at the trial of the 44-year-old Mountie, who is suspended from the force.

The man and his wife pleaded not guilty in 2013 to aggravated assault, forcible confinement and failing to provide the necessaries of life. He also faces charges of sexual assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon, while his wife faces an assault with a weapon charge.

Neither can be named to protect the identity of the boy.

Priest did not perform exorcism

During cross-examination on Wednesday, his wife's lawyer, Anne London Weinstein, questioned the man as to whether he asked his brother, a priest, to perform an exorcism on his son.

"Yes but he (the brother) freaked out and told me to calm down," the man said. "But I'd seen his eyes and heard his voice and I told my brother you're going to have to exorcise him because the devil is in him."

The priest testified last fall he didn't perform the exorcism.

London-Weinstein asked the man whether he believed, now, that his son was the devil.

He replied, "No, I don't know why the hell I thought that." 

'I thought… I was morally justified in doing it'

Defence counsel also wanted to know if the man knew at the time that hitting and burning his son was criminal and he could be charged.

He didn't hesitate in responding. "Absolutely not, then. But now, yes. I thought then I was morally justified in doing it," he said.

The man had previously testified that his son was disobedient and sexually aggressive and in January 2013 he could not cope with the boy's behavior any longer. He said he handcuffed the boy, hit and burned him — sometimes leaving him bound for two days.

In court Wednesday, the man said he is remorseful about hitting, burning and near starving his son but says at the time of the abuse he believed his son was "the aggressor" and he was "the victim." 

"I feel terrible for everything I have caused," said the man.

The court was previously shown a cellphone video of the young boy restrained, naked, crying and pleading with his father off camera. The disturbing video was made in the basement of the boy's family home.

'The man you see today is not the same guy'

The  man's lawyer, Robert Carew, asked him how he feels after seeing the video of his son.  

"I feel appalled and terrible about the whole thing," he said. "The man you see today is not the same guy in that video." 

Carew pressed his client further asking him how he feels about his son today. 

"[He] will always be my son and I adore him. The man in that video had issues and only thought about himself," he responded.

He added: "I'm sorry for everything the guy in that video caused but it's not me, it's not who I am." 

Crown prosecutors will continue cross-examination of the man on Thursday. The trial is scheduled to finish next week.