Sudbury

Mother of teen runner testifies at sex assault trial of former track coach David Case

The cries of two women could be heard in a Sudbury courtroom at the same time on Tuesday afternoon. One has accused her former track coach David Case of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenage athlete in the 1980s. The other was her elderly mother.

Former track coach is facing other sexual assault charges scheduled for trial later this month

Former Sudbury track coach David Case is accused of sexually assaulting one of his teenage sprinters in the 1980s. (Facebook)

The cries of two women could be heard in a Sudbury courtroom at the same time on Tuesday afternoon.

One has accused her former track coach, David Case, of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenaged athlete in the 1980s.

The other was her elderly mother, giving evidence by video link from another city.

Neither can be identified by court-ordered publication ban.

The woman's mother told the court her young daughter was passionate about running and she sought out a coach to help her develop in the sport.

David Case was recommended to her.

The mother said her daughter was always "quiet and timid" but soon after Case started coaching her, the mother says she stopped answering any questions about her life away from home.

"There was definitely something wrong," the mother testified. "I couldn't put my finger on it at the time."

Case has pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexual assault and two counts of assault alleged to have happened between 1984 and 1988. 

The former runner alleges that the first sexual assault happened at an out-of-town track meet when she was 16. 

The alleged victim was on the witness stand for most of the day, being cross-examined by Case's lawyer Nicholas Xynnis.

He challenged some of the details she gave in her testimony on Monday, including the timing of some of the alleged assaults, which didn't match with what she said in her police interview or during the preliminary hearing proceeding this trial.

"It was a long time ago," the woman answered. "And I had to re-live all of this."

Case and the woman "secretly" married shortly after she turned 18. Xynnis suggested that within a few months "some of the shine" had gone out of the marriage, which she took issue with.

"We didn't have a marriage. It was already bad going into it. I was controlled. I felt I had nowhere else to go," the alleged victim said.

'I hate what he did to me. I don't hate people'

The woman says that during one of their frequent fights, she ended up on top of Case and held a knife to his throat.

"I remember ... not having the courage to stab him. I didn't want to go to jail for him," she said, wiping away tears.

Xynnis asked the alleged victim a series of questions about the details of the times she claims Case sexually assaulted her. He asked why she didn't talk to Case about the assaults in the months and years following when she continued to have a relationship with him. 

"I didn't want to talk about it.," she said fighting back tears. "I wasn't brave enough."

Xynnis suggested the woman is making these allegations now some 30 years later because she "hates" Case and "resents" how she wasted her youth on their relationship and not because she was actually assaulted.

"I hate what he did to me. I don't hate people," she said.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

About the Author

Erik White

journalist

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to erik.white@cbc.ca