Proceedings to impose sentence on former youth pastor Samuel Emerson got underway Tuesday morning (Oct. 6) in Surrey Provincial Court. (File photos)

Crown seeks 3 years for former Cloverdale youth pastor convicted of sexual assault

Samuel Emerson was found guilty in November 2019, defense argues for two-year term

A former Cloverdale youth pastor who was found guilty last fall of sexual assault should spend three years in jail for the crime, a Surrey Provincial Court judge heard Tuesday (Oct. 6) morning.

In submitting the term was appropriate for Samuel Emerson – who the court heard was raised in the Surrey/White Rock area – Crown prosecutor Jodie Harris said Emerson was in a position of trust when the offence occurred, was found to have been “almost persuading (the victim) into a sexual relationship” and has shown no remorse.

As well, Emerson “doesn’t appear… to have embarked on any proactive rehabilitation” in advance of the sentencing hearing.

“We submit the offence was a serious sexual offence… because it involved the use of manipulation,” Harris added.

That and other factors “take it out of the bottom of the two- to six-year” jail term that is standard for the offence, Harris said.

Defence counsel Brock Martland agreed the crime warranted “significant real jail time,” but submitted a two-year term was appropriate.

It’s “a powerful, serious sentence that achieves the aims of deterrence and denunciation,” Martland told the court. It will have a “massive impact on a 37-year-old man that has no record,” he added.

Emerson, a father of five, was convicted Nov. 13, 2019 of one count of sexual assault, following a trial last year on multiple charges that included two of touching a young person for a sexual purpose.

Cleared of all but the one sexual assault charge, he attended Tuesday’s proceedings with his wife Madelaine and other supporters.

Court attendees also included a representative of the Cloverdale Christian Fellowship Church who gave a community impact statement; a statement from the victim – whose identity is protected by a publication ban – was also read into the record.

READ MORE: Former Cloverdale youth pastor guilty of one count of sexual assault

READ MORE: UPDATE: Cloverdale pastor, wife charged with sexual assault

The RCMP announced charges against both the husband and wife in October 2017, in connection with assaults that were alleged to have occurred between 2013 and 2017 at the Emerson family home and at the Cowichan River Bible Camp.

Following the trial, Judge Mark Jetté cited reasonable doubt in finding the couple not guilty of the majority of charges.

Madeleine Emerson was cleared of all allegations.

In finding Samuel Emerson guilty of the one charge, Jetté concluded that the complainant’s apparent consent to have sex with the then-pastor was induced.

In the victim’s letter to the court, she describes experiencing spiritual, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of “one of the people I trust most in my life.”

“My faith and everything I believe was changed,” she said. “Samuel Emerson’s actions will impact me the rest of my life. This is something he should be held accountable for.”

Defence counsel disputed Harris’ assertions that Emerson has resisted treatment and is not remorseful. He is willing to undergo therapy, however, “it’s fair to say he hasn’t done that work – yet,” Martland told the court.

As for remorse, “looking back, I think it’s fair to say that he recognizes there were parts of how he handled things that were not optimal.”

Martland noted letters in support of Emerson describe him as hardworking, genuine, caring, encouraging and positive, and that a psychological risk assessment found him to be a low-moderate risk to reoffend.

The hearing was scheduled to continue through Tuesday.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CourtSurrey

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

Just Posted

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Teachers, staff should be included in contact tracing: Surrey Teachers’ Association president

STA says there is also ‘no harm in going even further’ with a mask mandate

Strawberry Hill Hall is being renovated and moved to another location on its existing corner lot in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey’s historic Strawberry Hill Hall being moved a few metres in $1.2M reno project

Childcare spaces coming to corner lot where hall has stood for 111 years

A surveillance camera in a photo posted to the Project Iris page on surrey.rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
Quality surveillance video helps catch crooks, Surrey Mounties say

Charges laid in connection to break-and-enter in Guildford area

Sources volunteers face off at the organization’s ‘Enchanted’ gala – one as a fairy and the other as her magic-mirror reflection – held in 2019. (Tiffany Kwong photo)
‘Rising infections’ prompts move to virtual Sources gala

Silent auction, raffle opens to public at 9 a.m. Oct. 30

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Five Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Most Read