Mother tells court of shock over Prayer Palace pastor’s alleged assault

Toronto Star

Staff Reporter
Fri., Oct. 28, 2016

One of Paul Melnichuk’s two alleged sexual assault victims testified Friday that it felt like a “strong animal” had grabbed her the day she and the popular pastor were walking alone in a church hallway.

“You don’t even have a second to react or think,” the woman, whose name is covered by a publication ban, testified in a Finch Ave. courtroom, right next door to Melnichuk’s Prayer Palace, the massive evangelical church he founded decades ago and also the scene of the alleged crime.

The flamboyant 83-year-old pastor pleaded not guilty on the first day of his trial Thursday to sexually assaulting the woman and her daughter, who were once members of the congregation.

The woman said she was walking to Melnichuk’s left one day in 2014 when she testified he suddenly grabbed her shoulders, pressed his genitals up against her buttocks and made a shaking motion with his hips. She said she then jumped and turned around and he did the same.

The woman demonstrated all of this in court on her Spanish interpreter.

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