Evidence Concludes in Sexual Assault Case against Former Catholic Priest Gabriele Delbianco
By Neil Bowen
October 22, 2013
Testimony ended Tuesday in the sexual abuse trial of former priest Garbriele DelBianco but the judge's verdict is not expected until mid-December.
Submissions to the judge from Crown and defence lawyers have been set for Dec. 18 in Sarnia Superior Court. Justice Joseph Donahue’s decision has tentatively been scheduled for Dec. 19.
Donohue said he expected the lawyers to address two key issues, possible consent to sexual activity and the reliability of the evidence.
DelBianco pleaded not guilty to 16 offences involving four teenage girls during the 1980s.
The trial started Oct. 16 and testimony from four women, now in their 40s, ended Thursday. DelBianco chose not to testify.
On Thursday, the number of charges was increased to 18 to agree with testimony from the four women regarding the offence dates. No further allegations are contained in the new charges.
The final testimony heard Thursday came from a woman who previously testified she performed oral sex on DelBianco in a church when she was a Grade 7 student.
Defence lawyer Andrew Bradie asked her why during a 2011 counselling session the counsellor had stated the woman questioned the truth of her memories.
"I had a difficult time remembering the abuse by Father Gabe. I didn't want it to be true," she testified.
But she rejected Bradie's suggestion she was mistaken about the abuse.
The woman had previously testified she felt special because DelBianco had chosen to spend time with her.
Other woman also testified to having similar special feelings towards DelBianco.
One woman described that as a teenager she felt the outgoing and popular priest was like a rock star.
DelBianco left the priesthood in 1996 after serving at churches in Wallaceburg and Windsor.