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Klassen/Kvello civil action

A self-represented litigant's major accomplishment

injusticebusters thank all the journalists who got on board to help make this the story of the century. This trial represents a culmination of the 5½ years we have been on the Internet and the 5 years before where we tried to get the story to the public.

Questions persist after woman asks for lawyer

Brian Dueck

A suspect in a ritual child abuse case asks for her lawyer during a 1991 videotaped police interview played in court Monday, but the police officer continues to ask her questions.

That's the second videotaped interview played this month at a lawsuit filed by 12 people wrongly accused of child abuse in which then-corporal Brian Dueck continues to interrogate people alone after they've asked for a lawyer.

On the tape played Monday, Dueck begins the interview by telling the woman she's being detained for questioning. The woman cannot be named because it could reveal the identity of other plaintiffs who were minors at the time of the allegations.

Dueck says she has the right to call and get instructions from a lawyer at any point without delay.

He tells her that she doesn't have to talk to him.

She asks Dueck whether she should call a lawyer at that point, and he says it's up to her.

The interview begins with small talk, but Dueck then tells her that he believes the six children who are making allegations against her and the others.

The children included her own foster children, as well as the three Ross children -- Michael, Kathy, and Michelle -- who were fostered by another extended family member.

The Ross children have consented to have their names published. They have since testified they all lied, and that none of the plaintiffs abused them.

"I believe what these children told me. You do not lie about things like that," Dueck tells the woman on the videotape.

Shortly after this comment, the woman remarks, "I think I'm going to get a lawyer."

Dueck says "fine" but then goes right into another series of questions.

The woman is now sitting with her arms folded and appears to laugh nervously.

Dueck tells her of specific allegations made by one child, "and he will remember more. He just got into therapy."

She repeatedly denies abusing any children. The only instance of touching private parts of children was when she had to give her foster child suppositories to relieve constipation, she said.

Dueck then asks if she'll take a lie detector test and she says "yes" immediately.

"I'm willing to take a lie detector test," she repeats several times.

"I guess we'll have to do that," Dueck replies.

But after she denies several other specific allegations, Dueck backs away from his offer of a polygraph.

He says "the evidence is so overwhelming" that he doesn't know why he'd even give her the chance to take the test.

"Polygraphs do take a lot of time and I'm not sure we should even bother," he says. The interview ends shortly after.

The woman was in court watching the video, crying through much of it.

She testified Monday afternoon that Dueck never got back to her about the polygraph.

She said her life has been ruined since the day they were charged in July of 1991.

"They just totally took over our lives and turned it upside down," she testified, crying loudly.

"Today, I'm scared to be around children."

Her husband, who was also charged, died recently. The case hurt their relationship, and they became reclusive, afraid of the public ridicule. They couldn't even undress in front of each other anymore, she said.

"I hope this (lawsuit) will clear my name. I want people to know I did nothing wrong," she said.

Earlier in the lawsuit, another Dueck interview was played. One of the people charged, Anita Klassen, repeatedly asks for her lawyer, but questioning continues for about an hour.

Another witness Monday, retired Saskatoon police officer Jim Walker, said that if someone asks for a lawyer during an interview, the proper thing to do is let them do that.

Under cross-examination by Dueck's lawyer, David Gerrand, Walker admitted -- as other police witnesses have -- that police will sometimes bluff or lie to suspects in order to elicit a confession.

Gerrand asked if Walker ever questioned Dueck's integrity and professionalism. Walker, who worked closely with Dueck, said no.

But plaintiff lawyer Robert Borden then asked Walker if he knew about an investigation of a postal worker handled by Dueck. In that case, a judge ruled Dueck used "Rambo-like tactics" and criticized the investigation.

Walker said that he knew of that incident.

Borden and Richard Klassen, the only plaintiff representing himself in the suit, also introduced an audiotape of another Dueck interview Monday.

In that tape, Dueck questions a complainant about alleged sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of Richard Klassen.

The complainant was in prison for a double murder at the time.

The tape only came to light a couple of days ago, even though both sides are supposed to disclose all relevant material well in advance of the trial. Dueck didn't realize he had the tape until last week, court heard.

On the tape, Dueck promises the man -- who is still in jail -- that the tape will never be played in court or used as evidence.

This raised a discussion among lawyers and media whether to ban the tape, but Justice George Baynton decided to allow the tape to be played.

"The administration of justice requires it be made public," Baynton said.

On the tape, the man tells Dueck that Richard Klassen abused him when the two were children. Klassen has never been charged in the matter.

Dueck tells the man that he visited the man's brother, who was about to disclose abuse, but was too high to make a statement when Dueck arrived at his house. Dueck left his business card on the brother's table.

The next day the brother was murdered, apparently with an instrument shoved up his anus, said Klassen. The court heard no further details about the killing.

This is Day 16 of testimony, but the plaintiffs expect to wrap up their case with one final witness tonight at 7 p.m. The rare evening session is being held to accommodate lawyer Darryl Labach, whose schedule is booked this week during the day.

Klassen and the other adults were charged with abusing the Ross children and several others in the case which was known as the "scandal of the century" at the time.

The charges against them were stayed on the eve of the trial because Klassen's father, Peter, pleaded guilty.

Twelve of those charged are now suing Dueck, prosecutors and a therapist for $10M, alleging malicious prosecution.


Police notes destroyed, trial told

A Saskatoon police officer who interviewed a boy about sexual abuse while living in a foster home has no recollection of the interview and no record of what was said.

Even though Sgt. Ronald Schindel is named in a 1990 foster home investigation report as having interviewed Michael Ross, he said he no longer has his handwritten notes.

Schindel testified on Friday in Court of Queen's Bench at the $10M malicious prosecution lawsuit filed against police, prosecutors, and a therapist by Richard Klassen and 11 members of his extended family. In 1991, they faced charges of sexual assault stemming from horrific allegations of ritual abuse made up by Ross and his two sisters who were the foster children of Richard's brother and his wife.

Schindel said he would have kept his notes for about seven years and then they would have been destroyed, "probably by myself."

When asked to produce the report he would have written, Schindel, a 33-year veteran with Saskatoon Police Service, said before coming to court he checked with the police department's central records.

"I tried to pull it up on our system," he said, but the report couldn't be found.

The charges of sexual assault against the family members were stayed in 1993 after Richard's father, Peter Klassen, pleaded guilty to sexual assault in a plea bargain.

Peter Klassen's lawyer in 1993, Jay Watson, also took the stand on Friday.

"It was our belief that if he pled guilty, the problems for his family would go away," said Watson.

But he told the court that all the time he was Peter Klassen's lawyer, Klassen maintained that "he did not do the things with respect to the criminal charges."

Despite that, Watson was concerned it would be difficult for Klassen to plead not guilty because he had a previous conviction on similar charges.

The court watched a videotaped interview where the lead police investigator, Brian Dueck, said he was giving the man interviewed the opportunity to admit to the allegations.

The man, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban, repeatedly denied sexually touching children.

"I honestly can't think of anything that I've done," he said. "I'm trying to run things through my mind."

When asked another time by Dueck if he had touched the children, he replied "not that I can remember."

Dueck pressed the man by saying he takes a statement like that to mean he can't remember what he did.

The taped interview ran for about an hour before Justice George Baynton adjourned court until Monday. The playing of the tape will continue then.

The court case, which began three weeks ago is nearing an end. The lawyer for 11 of the plaintiffs, Robert Borden, said he and Richard Klassen, who is representing himself, plan to finish their case on Tuesday. The lawyers for the defendants told the court they will need about a week-and-a-half to present their case.


Klassen details arrest before packed courtroom

The courtroom gallery was nearly full to watch Richard Klassen testify Wednesday.

He and his relatives are seeking more than $10M from police, prosecutors, and a therapist for malicious prosecution.

Klassen described the day he and his wife, Kari, were arrested and charged with abusing their brother's three foster children.

On July 10, 1991, two police officers came to the door of their Red Deer home. Richard Klassen thought the police were coming to speak to him about unpaid parking tickets, so he hid upstairs.

Kari answered the door, and the officers said they came to take both of them into custody.

Richard then came to the door, and one officer said he was "the bearer of bad news." The officers said they were arresting them for alleged sexual assault.

One officer started to cry, Richard Klassen testified, and the other told him to do his job.

Kari Klassen fell to the floor in shock.

They were taken into custody, and their children were taken to stay with relatives in Outlook. Various other members of their family were also taken into custody that day.

After five days in custody in Red Deer, they were transported to Saskatoon.

They spent the night in Saskatoon holding cells, and then appeared in court the next day.

Because of Richard Klassen's prior criminal record, bail was set at $250 each, and they were prohibited from contacting various family members.

Once released, they were shown newspaper clippings with headlines such as " 'Scandal of the century' feared."

The Klassens were not named, but some of them realized word would soon spread anyway, Richard Klassen testified.

The group were eventually committed for trial, but charges against them were stayed after Richard Klassen's father, Peter, pleaded guilty.

All three of the foster children, Michael, Michelle, and Kathy Ross -- have testified this month to lying about the allegations.

The lawsuit trial is expected to last at least until the end of next week.

Richard Klassen continues on the stand today. He is being questioned by Robert Borden, who represents the other 11 plaintiffs.

The trial has drawn interest from a number of different parties. On Wednesday various family, friends, and neighbours of the various parties attended, as well as a class of students with pens and notepads. Members of the Stonechild family also came to see part of the testimony Wednesday.

The three foster children who made the allegations were in the gallery, as they have been for most of the trial.

One defendant, Saskatoon Police Service Supt Brian Dueck, has sat through almost the entire trial. None of the other defendants have attended, other than during the opening remarks by the judge two weeks ago.


Neighbour 'terrified' by allegations: Plaintiffs' friend feared his children had been molested

A prominent businessperson who had a close relationship with some of the people falsely accused in a sexual abuse case became "terrified" his children had been molested after learning of the allegations against his friends, court heard Friday.

Louis Dupuis, co-owner of Prairie Meats, and his family were close friends and neighbours with people who are part of a $10M malicious prosecution lawsuit led by Richard Klassen and 11 other plaintiffs against police officer Brian Dueck, Crown prosecutors and other justice officials.

From 1983 to 1987, the Dupuis lived near the plaintiffs in the Pacific Heights area and "interacted almost on a daily basis," he said, including playing cards and taking fishing trips. The plaintiffs frequently baby-sat Dupuis' three daughters. Over the years, Dupuis met several members of the Klassen family and Dupuis hired Dale Klassen to paint his store. Dupuis briefly met the Ross children as well, and described them as "hell on wheels" because they were so hyperactive.

Michael, Michelle and Kathy Ross, who had been foster children of Dale and Anita Klassen, claimed they were victims of bizarre ritual sex abuse while living with the Klassens in the late 1980s. The children, now in their early 20s, testified earlier that they lied about the allegations. Michael was actually abusing his sisters repeatedly.

These false allegations, repeated to Dueck and a therapist, led to charges against more than a dozen people in a 1991 case known as the "scandal of the century." The charges were stayed as part of a controversial plea bargain that saw Dale Klassen's father, Peter, plead guilty.

During Dupuis' sometimes emotional testimony, he related his family's relationship with some of the plaintiffs, who cannot be named because it would identify a plaintiff who was a youth at the time of the charges.

Dupuis told Robert Borden, the lawyer representing 11 of the plaintiffs, that the first he had heard about the allegations against his friends was when he read a 1991 newspaper article detailing the case.

He said he had never heard neighbours voice concern about the plaintiffs, nor had any social workers or police officers ever asked him about the plaintiffs.

Dupuis became worried after reading the article and called police demanding to get more information.

"It was imperative that police tell me if there was a cause for concern," Dupuis said.

Dupuis' daughters still occasionally visited the plaintiffs because the two families still saw each other socially, although the Dupuis family had moved from the area.

At Dupuis' insistence, then-corporal Dueck offered to interview his daughters, assuring Dupuis that he would be able to tell if the girls had been abused in any way.

"There's a lot of apprehension and fear when you're dealing with this," Dupuis told the court Friday. "I was terrified that it would be conclusive that my children had been abused."

But Dupuis' apprehension turned to anger after he watched Dueck interview his daughters.

"They were being asked to point a finger at (the plaintiffs)," he said, calling Dueck's interview techniques "ridiculous."

"I was angry beyond belief," Dupuis said, remembering. "Where was the skill and sophistication that I'd been promised? It just wasn't there."

Court watched videotape of the 1991 interviews on Friday. The girls, who were 11, 9, and 7 at the time, were interviewed separately and the interviews appeared to be conducted by Dueck alone. Dueck asked each girl if they knew about "places on the body that other people shouldn't touch." The girls said they did.

He repeatedly asked each girl if anyone in the plaintiff's household had touched them in a bad way, and each girl repeatedly answered no without hesitation.

During the interviews, he offered one girl as a gift an autographed picture of a Blades player and another an autograph from a character in a colouring book.

Dupuis said he simply wanted to know "100 per cent" that his daughters had not been abused.

Dueck said after interviewing the girls that he didn't think they had been abused but he advised Dupuis to cut ties between the plaintiffs and his family.

Dupuis saw the plaintiffs over the years, but told Borden they did not discuss the case or lawsuit.

Dale Klassen also testified Friday. On the stand, he told Borden he had no knowledge of the plea bargain his father Peter made, but on cross-examination admitted to government lawyer Don McKillop that he had signed a statement describing him and his brother's efforts to "encourage" their father to plead guilty. Dale Klassen said he hadn't completely read the statement before he signed it.

Borden submitted photographs of a large scar on Dale Klassen's leg, which he explained was a distinguishing mark that was never brought up during the police investigation.

Testimony will resume on Tuesday, when Dr. Joel Yelland, who examined the Ross children, will take the stand.

Richard Klassen and his wife are also expected to testify early next week.


Lack of recall remarkable

The StarPhoenix editorial

By any measure, the allegations by at least three children that led to dozens of horrendous sex abuse charges against 16 adults in 1991-92 in Saskatchewan were bizarre enough to warrant the moniker "scandal of the century" and stick in the minds of most persons.

Even though it took some time for their testimony to become known -- it was proffered in a courtroom closed to the public and media and arranged to prevent the accused directly from facing the children -- it was of a shocking nature rarely heard in a Canadian court. The horrors the children claimed to have experienced or witnessed ranged from being forced to have sex with the adults to engaging in sex acts with bat-like creatures and eating eyeballs and drinking blood to seeing human babies killed and eaten.

Among those charged were the biological parents of the three children, along with the mother's 68-year-old boyfriend whom the kids called "grandpa." While all three were found guilty, a StarPhoenix investigation at the time that involved "grandpa" taking a lie detector test raised serious doubts about the circumstances surrounding the conviction. The man eventually was exonerated by the Supreme Court, while the Crown didn't proceed with retrials ordered for the parents.

Others charged in the case came from foster families and others related to the families in whose care the children were placed upon removal from the parental home. The foster families weren't told of the children's background and inherited a huge problem that included the eldest child, a boy then 13, sexually abusing his twin 10-year-old female siblings.

Of the 13 foster-family persons charged, only one, a man with a previous record of abusing kids, pleaded guilty to four charges in a plea bargain that saw charges against the others stayed. The children have since admitted to fabricating their story and 12 adults wrongly charged are suing Justice officials for malicious prosecution.

Retired Crown prosecutor Terry Hinz testified Thursday that he refused to take the case against the foster family because the police work was incomplete but that colleagues proceeded with it because of "political pressure" from Regina to take it at least to a preliminary inquiry.

While the lawsuit by the extended foster family, the Klassens et al, is serving to jog the memory of many Saskatchewan residents who'd read or heard details involving the original charges, it appears that this group doesn't include the person whose job it was to supervise Saskatchewan's Crown prosecutors at the time.

Ellen Gunn, now a justice of the Court of Queen's Bench, made an unusual appearance in the witness box and testified that she has no memory about the sex abuse case when she was questioned by Richard Klassen, who is representing himself in the lawsuit.

Coming from someone whose current position as a senior court justice of more than 11 years and whose former position as executive director of provincial prosecutions attest to her substantial intellectual capabilities, the total lack of recall about this case seems odd.

She doesn't remember seeing the file in 1991 in a high-profile case that featured, among other things, child sex abuse allegations involving about 36 adults (20 persons implicated by the children weren't charged), that suggested satanic ritual abuse and that involved allegations of dozens of horrific acts of degradation visited upon children.

Time and again, she told Klassen she couldn't recall details of two conversations she had with Crown prosecutor Matt Miazga about the case, beyond her cryptic notes that were limited to: "re: sex abuse charges -- foster parents."

"I have no memory of the conversations which led to those notes being made, and I have no other memory of having any information about the case."

It wasn't clear whether the person responsible for directing Crown prosecutors at the time couldn't recall the details because she had forgotten what Miazga told her or whether it was because she'd left the call on prosecution entirely up to him and delved no deeper than to ascertain he was making a plea bargain in a case that involved sex abuse charges against foster parents.

Meanwhile, just a stone's throw away, a parade of witnesses ranging from a grieving mother to a man with alcohol abuse problems to medical professionals and others are having far less difficulty giving detailed accounts of events surrounding the freezing death of a Native youth 13 years ago.

Odd thing about memory, huh?


Sex case likened to witch trials:
Prosecutor thought case too weak to proceed

The Saskatoon Crown prosecutor first handed the Klassen sex abuse file more than a decade ago compared the children's claims to the complaints made during the Salem witchcraft trials.

"I was completely floored when I read the documents," prosecutor Terry Hinz testified Thursday at the malicious prosecution lawsuit filed by 12 people charged with ritual abuse of several foster children.

"It made me feel I was transported back into the 17th century reading about the Salem witchcraft complaints."

The children detailed stories of baby killings, drinking blood and eating eyeballs, Hinz said, who reviewed the file in the early months of 1991.

"I had a file with inconsistencies, bizarre allegations and no corroboration," he said.

Hinz had read the file over the weekend at home. The following week, he gave the file back to Saskatoon police Cpl. Brian Dueck, who had interviewed the children and compiled the file.

Hinz said he told Dueck, "Where are the bodies? Find me the bodies."

He said Dueck replied that "these cultists are too clever" and would have long ago disposed of the bodies of the babies.

Hinz recalls asking Dueck if he would go through various records to see if any neighbourhood children had died or gone missing.

Dueck told Hinz that people like this work with "brood mares" -- women who breed children specifically to sacrifice them. These children are never registered with any agencies and are impossible to trace, Hinz told the court.

Hinz said he couldn't prosecute without more information. The conversation ended cordially, and Hinz never talked to Dueck about the case again.

In July of 1991, Hinz was at the courthouse on another matter, and heard that the Klassens and their relatives had been charged with more than 70 counts of sexual assault, incest, and gross indecency.

Hinz went into the court office and looked at the file to see if there was any new information, but there wasn't, he said.

"There was really nothing new in there," Hinz said.

Hinz, who retired last year after 25 years as a prosecutor, said the ritual sacrifice allegations "coloured" all the other allegations, calling the entire case into question.

The prosecution went ahead, led by prosecutors Matt Miazga and Sonia Hansen.

The Klassens and their relatives were committed to stand trial. On the eve of the trial in 1993, a controversial plea bargain was reached.

Peter Klassen pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault in exchange for staying the remaining charges.

The case began when three children, Michael, Michelle and Kathy Ross, began to fabricate fantastic stories of ritual abuse against their former foster parents, Anita and Dale Klassen, and 14 other adults.

Carol Bunko-Ruys

The Ross children were living with a new foster family, the Thompsons, at the time that many of the allegations were recorded by foster mother Marilyn Thompson.

Dueck and therapist Carol Bunko-Ruys (right) questioned the children and the adults extensively.

The children have all since admitted to lying, including the allegation about Peter Klassen.

Twelve of those charged are now suing Dueck, Bunko-Ruys and prosecutors for $10 million, alleging malicious prosecution.

During the lawsuit's pretrial questioning known as "examinations for discovery," Dueck's lawyer, David Gerrand, successfully argued that Hinz would not be able to testify about any conversations he had with Dueck.

Justice Mona Dovell agreed that these conversations were covered by the solicitor-client confidentiality rule.

Richard Klassen was prepared to argue this point again at the trial, but Gerrand stood and told court last week that they have removed their objections.

That cleared the way for Hinz to answer any queries about his involvement with Dueck.

Under cross-examination by Gerrand, Hinz was shown to have confused details about a previous case involving Peter Klassen.

"And that's one of the firm recollections you have?" asked Gerrand.

Hinz also said he had no doubts about the integrity of Dueck, Miazga or Hanson.

Also Thursday, there were some emotional moments when Richard Klassen questioned his niece, Jackie Klassen.

Jackie, now 21 years old, recounted being questioned at her elementary school by police and a social worker about abuse. She denied ever being abused or seeing her parents abuse anyone.

She and her brother were taken for medical examinations.

She was again questioned about the same matters after the family moved to Red Deer, and was taken "kicking and screaming" to the doctor for another medical exam.

When she began to discuss being taken from her parents and placed in foster care, both she and Richard Klassen broke down and a five-minute recess was called.

The third Ross sibling, Kathy, finished her testimony Thursday afternoon.

Like her brother and sister, she admitted to lying about being abused by the Klassens and their extended family members.

The case is expected to run at least another week.


Judge says she has no memory of Klassen case

SASKATOON -- Court of Queen's Bench Justice Ellen Gunn testified Wednesday she had absolutely "no memory" of the Klassen child sex abuse case of the early-1990s, even though she was Saskatchewan's director of public prosecutions at the time of the charges.

Gunn, wearing business attire, spoke clearly and deliberately while on the stand Wednesday at the malicious prosecution lawsuit trial filed by 12 of the people wrongly accused of child abuse.

It's rare to see a current Queen's Bench justice sitting in the witness box. It's particularly unique because Gunn was questioned by a man with just a Grade 7 education, self-represented plaintiff Richard Klassen.

Gunn told Klassen she was the supervisor of the province's Crown prosecutors when the charges were laid in July 1991. Charges included more than 70 counts of incest, gross indecency, and sexual assault against Klassen and 15 others.

The case was dubbed "scandal of the century" at the time and garnered much media attention.

She stayed on as executive director until being called to serve as a Queen's Bench justice in December of that year.

Gunn testified Wednesday she remembers nothing about the case.

She said she doesn't remember if she saw the case file in 1991 and doesn't remember what was said in two phone conversations she had with prosecutor Matt Miazga about the case that year.

In her notes made at the time, Gunn writes she had two phone conversations with Miazga "re: sex abuse charges -- foster parents."

But her notes don't contain any further information about their conversation.

"The only information that I can tell you, Mr. Klassen, are the notes that I have referred you to," Gunn said.

"I have no memory of the conversations which led to those notes being made, and I have no other memory of having any information about this case."

She repeated this statement in slightly varied ways several times, and was on the stand for approximately 15 minutes in total.

The case began in 1990 when siblings Michelle, Kathy and Michael Ross made horrific accusations against their foster family -- the Klassens -- and a number of other adults. The allegations included stories of animal mutilations, baby killings and graphic descriptions of sex parties involving adults and children.

As a result of their accusations, the Ross's foster parents, Dale and Anita Klassen, were charged, as well as many of their relatives and the children's birth parents.

Most of the charges against them were eventually stayed in exchange for a guilty plea from Dale and Richard Klassen's father, Peter.

The children admitted in recent years and again in testimony this week that they lied, and that none of the Klassens ever abused them.

Twelve of the adults are now suing prosecutors, police, and therapists involved with the case for $10M, alleging malicious prosecution. Gunn is not named in the suit.


Ross admits 'telling lies'

The boy who made up fantastic stories of ritual sexual abuse against his former foster parents admitted in court Monday that he lied because he was mad at them.

"I was angry. That's why I started telling stories and stuff," Michael Ross testified Monday during the malicious prosecution lawsuit filed by 12 adults once charged with sexually assaulting children.

Their charges were later dropped.

Their $10M lawsuit against a Saskatoon police officer, a therapist, and various Justice Department officials is into its second week.

Michael Ross, now in his mid-20s, continues his testimony today.

Dale and Anita Klassen cared for Michael for three years beginning when he was eight years old, as well as for his younger twin sisters, Kathy and Michelle.

He was removed from the Klassen home because he was abusing his sisters and misbehaving in various other ways, court heard last week.

Michael was placed in the Warman home of Marilyn and Lyle Thompson.

"I was feeling abandoned by (the Klassens). I didn't know what was going on," he said.

"I didn't like that at all. I thought a family was supposed to stick together."

Shortly after arriving at his new home, Michael began telling the Thompsons about the "satanic ritual stuff" the Klassens and their relatives were doing to him.

The horrific allegations included the murder of animals and babies, and graphic descriptions of sex parties involving adults and children.

Michael also said his sisters were being abused by the Klassens. Shortly after making these allegations, the girls were removed from the Klassen home.

They were reunited with Michael in the Thompson household, and he continued to abuse them for three more years.

"I wanted them to come live with me (so) I said I felt they were unsafe at the Klassens'," Michael testified.

"I didn't care who I hurt."

Michael testified that he was a victim of abuse, but not by the Klassens or anyone involved in the lawsuit.

His birth father abused him, he said. The Ross parents were alcoholics and often fought violently. One day, Michael said his sister found him under his parents' bed bleeding from the bum.

"That's when I started abusing my sisters. That carried on for many years," Michael said.

Michael's birth parents were convicted of sexual assault, but the convictions were overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada.

For the first four hours Monday, several 1990 videotaped interviews of Michael were played for the court.

An 11-year-old Michael fidgets almost constantly and puts his face against the camera several times.

"I'll tell you everything!" he declares at the start of the session with Saskatoon Police Service Cpl. Brian Dueck and therapist Carol Bunko-Ruys.

Just like Michelle Ross did in the video interviews played last week in court, Michael uses dolls, knives, and other props to demonstrate the various allegations.

Near the beginning of the second video, Bunko-Ruys asks Michael why he is so tired, and what he was doing the previous night.

"Me and Michelle were s-c-r-e-w-i-n-g," said Michael, spelling out the last word.

Bunko-Ruys says only that Michael will have to deal with his "touching problem.

"What did we say about touching Michelle?" Bunko-Ruys asks.

Michael says he's trying to stop, but it's hard. When this video was made, Michael had been reunited with Michelle and Kathy at the Thompson home.

Michael tells them he's trying to be a better person.

"I have a little devil here. The angel is getting bigger and the devil's getting smaller," he says.

Dueck congratulates Michael for being "brave" enough to talk about the alleged abuse, and for saving his sisters.

Michelle Ross testified last week she felt safe at the Klassens' home after Michael left, and didn't want to be placed in the same home as Michael again.

She said he would cover her mouth so she wouldn't scream and then assault her on many different occasions.

The trial is expected to run at least two more weeks.

Following this trial will be a countersuit for libel against plaintiff Richard Klassen, filed by Dueck, Bunko-Ruys, and the other defendants.

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