1 May 2008

Girl tells court she had sex at 9 with self-proclaimed minister

The Montreal Gazette
April 29, 2008

by Sue Montgomery

He was 47 and she was 8 when she began spending every weekend at his house, sharing a bed with him.

By the time she was 9, Daniel Cormier, a self-proclaimed minister of a now-defunct downtown church, was having intercourse with her, the girl testified yesterday at Cormier's trial.

Cormier, 57, is charged with sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, sexual assault and two counts of sexual exploitation of two girls. Neither victim's name can be published.

He claims he legally married the girl when she was 10.

Speaking by video link so she wouldn't have to be in the same room as Cormier, the girl, now 18, told her story in a monotone.

Born in Nova Scotia in 1989, she never knew her father. After moving to Montreal with her mother and younger sister, the girl ended up in foster care at the age of 2 or 3, she said.

Her mother has testified that both children were put into care after she got into drugs and prostitution in Montreal. While on the street, she met Cormier, who said he was minister at the Downtown Church of Montreal and offered to help her.

Eventually, he helped the woman get her daughters back from child protection and offered to care for them on weekends.

"On Friday evenings, he'd pick me up and take me shopping for clothes and toys," the girl said.

"Saturday we'd go to the park. Sunday we'd go to church."

Her sister didn't stay over every weekend, because Cormier didn't like her as much, the girl said. But when she did spend the night at his place, all three would sleep in the same bed.

The girl said she had sex with Cormier every weekend until the weekend before the police interviewed her on July 18, 2002.

The girl was set to testify yesterday morning, but Cormier, 57, who is defending himself, delayed the hearing by arguing that a spouse can't be forced to testify against his or her spouse.

Calling it "triple victimization," Cormier said the girl shouldn't be obliged to divulge the personal and intimate things said in their "marriage."

Cormier also argued that the fact the court assigns a lawyer to cross-examine the victim, so he won't, is unconstitutional.

The girl is to continue testifying Thursday.

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