Church Volunteer Faces Alleged Sex Abuse Victims in Court

By Daryl Slade
Calgary Herald
November 26, 2008

Two women sexually abused by their youth ministry volunteer when they were in their early teens choked back their tears as they read their victim impact statements in court on Wednesday.

One victim, now 24, said it took her eight years before she could share her secret about what Kelly Malcolm Grant had done to her physically and emotionally while she was involved with the Centre Street Church group.

"The damage that he has done to me is intertwined with everything in my life," the woman said. "My relationship with my family echoed the relationship with my friends. I was a very angry teenager and I lashed out at my family.

"All of my church and youth memories are now permanently stained with what he has done," the woman said. "I still don't understand how someone I loved so much could do this to me. He meant so much to me and because of his own doing, what I thought I had - a friend, leader, someone to emulate - was ripped away."

Grant, 43, pleaded guilty in June to three counts of sexual touching of three girls under 14, two of them sisters, and two counts of sexual exploitation while being in a position of trust.

Crown prosecutor Ken McCaffrey, citing numerous aggravating factors, argued Grant should go to prison for three years.

He cited the numerous incidents over a long period of time, the fact the offender was in a position of trust over all three victims, there was a significant age difference, and the fact the incidents took place in the context of a church setting.

Defence lawyer Bob Batting said his client should be handed a conditional sentence of less than two years, under house arrest.

The eldest of the sisters, now 26, said it took her until she was 20 to discover the magnitude of the unhealthy relationship with a man twice her age. Her sister, now 28, was also abused.

The younger sister said the trauma she experienced was that a carefree young girl was turned into an older adolescent and young woman who developed bouts of both anxiety and depression. She has been tormented by nightmares.

"It's difficult to stand here before strangers who hold very little understanding of the manipulations of control and sexual abuse," she said. "I was but a girl trying, whether he was present or not, to make him proud in all things.

"But when I walked away, I learned that my growth had been neglected, stunted if you will, by this presence in my life. He had been not only a perpetrator and twisted father figure, but my God. The control that Kelly had over me was deep and firm."

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Bryan Mahoney will give the sentence on Friday.



Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.