Toronto pastor Brent Hawkes cleared of sex-assault charges

The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017

A Nova Scotia judge has cleared Canada’s most prominent gay pastor of sex-assault charges that hark back to a time when homosexuality was punishable by jail time and whippings.

Brent Hawkes, who officiated the world’s first legal gay marriage and is considered an icon of Toronto’s social-justice community, was facing charges of indecent assault and gross indecency for allegedly forcing oral sex on a teenager four decades ago. Both charges have since been wiped from the Criminal Code.

During the trial a man told a Kentville, N.S., courtroom that in the mid-1970s, Rev. Hawkes forced oral sex on him during a drunken party. The man was 16 years old at the time and Rev. Hawkes was a teacher in the Annapolis Valley.

Provincial court Judge Alan Tufts handed down the not guilty verdict on Tuesday afternoon, saying he found significant inconsistencies in the testimonies of the witnesses.

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