|Woman Tells of Sex with Minister
By Sam Pazzano
October 30, 2008
A United Church minister abused his position of trust by having a long-term sexual relationship with a parishioner, a woman told court yesterday.
The now 54-year-old woman said Rev. William Major masturbated, had oral sex and fondled her during counselling sessions designed to deal with her childhood sexual abuse.
The woman said she and Major only had intercourse once during the six-year physical relationship which was followed by a few years of "phone sex" contact.
Major, now 65, was a federal candidate for the NDP in Sudbury during the 1988 election and has worked extensively for anti-poverty groups.
He has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting this woman between Jan. 1, 1996 and Dec. 20, 2005.
"There was some form of sexual touching during every meeting or counselling session," the woman told Justice Elizabeth Stewart in the judge-only trial.
The woman, who cannot be legally identified, was married in Great Britain and emigrated to Canada as a 19-year-old.
She sought Major, then the minister at Manor Road United Church in Toronto, in the 1990s for counselling since she had "no feelings" in intimacy.
Major started by hugging the woman, kissing her on the cheek and then showed her how to masturbate, she said.
The woman, who suffers from MS, is painfully shy and has a stuttering problem, said Major had overcome his own stuttering problem.
"I considered him three things: My minister, my counsellor and my friend," the mother of four testified.
She admitted she once spoke out in favour of the minister during an internal church investigation when another female parishioner made allegations against him in 1998.
The woman testified that Major asked her to conceal their sexual contact.
The trial continues today.
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