A Prince George man accused of sexually assaulting his two stepdaughters began grooming them to satisfy his fetishes at a young age, according to the opening statement by Crown prosecutor Cassandra Malfair.
The man, who can't be identified due to a court-ordered publication ban, faces 10 charges in B.C. Supreme Court in relation to the sexual assaults. He also faces two counts of making child pornography and two counts relating to bestiality involving the family dog. He pleaded not guilty to all 14 counts. Four other charges relating to unauthorized possession of firearms were stayed by the Crown.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Selwyn Romilly is hearing the judge-only trial, which opened Tuesday and is expected to last 21 days.
The man is represented by Quesnel-based lawyer Tony Zipp. He has yet to provide any evidence or make any formal statements of defence.
In her opening statement, Malfair said the man moved into the home with the girls and their four siblings when the girls were eight and 10 years old. She said the girls, now both adults, will testify he began fondling them in a sexual manner around age 12, which escalated to oral sex and intercourse by age 14 and continued for a decade.
The victims are expected to testify that their stepfather filmed many of the encounters and rationalized the sex acts by saying he was sparing them from being promiscuous at school and that his actions were endorsed by God.
Malfair said she will provide evidence the man systematically isolated his two victims from the rest of the family, which allowed him to spend more time with the two girls. She said she will demonstrate that he showed his stepdaughters pornography and read erotic literature to them, sometimes even substituting their names and his name for characters in the stories. Malfair said the erotic stories often centered around father-daughter incest or older men engaging in sexual acts with younger women.
According to Malfair's opening statement, the abuse of the older daughter occurred almost daily and lasted for 10 years, until she was in her early 20s. The younger daughter was able to stop the man from abusing her after her 18th birthday.
Malfair also said the man tried to have anal sex with one daughter, encouraged the two sisters to perform sex acts on each other and spread peanut butter on the genitals of one girl when she was 15 years old and had the family dog lick it off.
Throughout Malfair's opening statement, the accused showed little emotion and took copious notes.
The Crown said the man installed a closed-circuit video system so he could see from the master bedroom if anyone was coming in the driveway or even up the stairwell.
The cameras were installed after the girls' mother almost caught the man in bed with the younger of the two victims.
Malfair said the mother will testify she arrived home to find the bedroom locked and it took her husband a long time to unlock it.
Malfair said the youngest daughter will testify she had to hide in the closet until her mother fell asleep, before exiting the room.
According to the opening statement, the mother eventually got wind of the abuse when she intercepted an intimate online video call between her husband and the eldest victim in October of 2010, although the man initially claimed his affair with his stepdaughter had only lasted four months.
The family went to the police in December of 2010 after the younger victim told her mother about the historic abuse. The man was arrested on Dec. 21, 2010.
Malfair said the man met the girls' mother at church, but after they were married he discouraged the family from attending religious services. Because the mother was often away from the home working or attending school, Malfair said he was able to establish himself as the lead disciplinarian in the household.
The Crown is expected to introduce a number of images of the daughters performing sex acts on a man as part of the evidence in the case.