11 Dec 2007

'Wife' balks at being in court with minister who claims he married girl, 10, legally

Montreal Gazette - December 8, 2007

by Sue Montgomery

A teenager delayed a court hearing for hours yesterday because she was afraid of facing a man three times her age who claims to have married her when she was 10.

When she finally appeared at the end of the day, the 18-year-old said Daniel Cormier, 56, won't leave her alone.

"He manipulates people and gets them to say what he wants to hear," said the girl, whose name cannot be published.

"I don't want to be in the same courtroom as him."

She is to be a crown witness in Cormier's trial on a series of morals charges. Yesterday's session was to hear arguments why the girl doesn't want to be cross-examined directly by the accused.

Cormier, self-proclaimed minister of the Church of Downtown Montreal, has been defending himself since he was charged four years ago with sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, sexual assault, and two counts of sexual exploitation of girls. He argues it's not a crime to have sex with one's wife.

Yesterday, he smiled as he watched the image of his "wife" on a television screen as the teenager testified via video from another courtroom.

The teen said Cormier had set up an account on Facebook, a social networking website, pretending to be her. On it, he wrote about their so-called marriage.

As he left the courthouse, Cormier said he still loved the girl. Asked if he thought she loved him, given what she said in court, he replied, "You'll have to ask her."

The trial continues Monday.


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