inJusticebusters has learned that the 12-year-old First Nations complainant in the Tisdale rape case was removed from her parents' home and placed in foster care almost immediately after the traumatic assault. Social worker Susan Pasieka was responsible for the apprehension. inJusticebusters is working on a story about Pasieka who as a history of apprehending FAS foster children and leading them to make allegations of sexual abuse, using the same methods as Carol Bunko and Brian Dueck in the Foster Parent case and Rod Butler in Martensville. In discussing the settlement with wrongfully charged Saskatoon policeman John Popowich, Justice Minister Chris Axworthy assured the public these methods were no longer being used. -- Sheila Steele, Nov. 21, 2002
TISDALE, SK. - The preliminary hearing in a high-profile sexual assault case has been delayed, but there are few details about the reason.
Three white men from Tisdale are accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old Cree girl, last fall. The preliminary hearing was expected to proceed later this month, but the Crown requested and received an adjournment in the case.
Prosecutor Cameron Scott says the evidence is not all ready yet, but that's all he will say.
"I'm not prepared to comment on any of the evidence," he told a CBC reporter, adding, "that's something that will come out in court."
Tuesday's court appearance in Melfort was quick. The Crown requested an adjournment in the case, and that application was granted with no debate.
Dean Trevor Edmondson, Jeffrey Kindrat, and Jeffrey Brown (below) stand accused of the crime. The preliminary hearing is now set for late June.
Tisdale Saskatchewan changed its motto in August 2016
TISDALE, SK - A small meeting room at the local civic centre was not enough to contain the crowd who arrived Monday morning to catch a glimpse of three clean-cut white men accused of picking up a 12-year-old aboriginal girl and sexually assaulting her two weeks ago.
About 25 of the girl's family members and supporters packed the hallway outside as Dean Trevor Edmondson, 24, Jeffrey Chad Kindrat, 20, and Jeffrey Lorne Brown, 25, made their second court appearance and quickly left the building.
Few, if any, were inside the courtroom when two of the men appeared before Judge Edward Gosselin. RCMP officers -- who had been warned a crowd was coming -- told most of the complainant's family and friends to wait outside while the judge dealt with speeding tickets and other matters.
Instead, Edmondson and Brown took their turn, telling court they have retained veteran Prince Albert lawyer Cline Harradence to represent them. Harradence did not attend and could not be reached for comment.
Each of the men is charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of being a party to a sexual assault. They have not entered pleas and will return to court Nov. 5.
The men were charged after the girl, who is not from Tisdale, told police she was looking for a ride near Peesane, northeast of Tisdale, on the afternoon of Sept. 30 when three men picked her up. Her identity is protected by a publication ban.
The girl told family she'd been held for several hours, taken to a bar and later sexually assaulted. She required medical attention when she was dropped near a farm that night. Another child who saw the vehicle drive away took down the licence plate number, said a family member.
A man who attended court with Edmondson shoved a TV camera operator out of the way as they left the building, telling her, "There'll be none of that." RCMP are investigating the incident as an alleged assault.
The girl's supporters reacted angrily when they discovered the court appearance was over.
"I was deliberately lied to by the RCMP from the start," said one of the girl's uncles. "They snuck the criminal charges on with the traffic charges, like it was nothing important."
RCMP Sgt. Ken Homeniuk attributed the problem to a "misunderstanding" about how court would proceed.
"Our courtroom just does not accommodate that many people," he said.
However, observers suggested the three men are getting preferential treatment because of their skin colour.
"If Indians did that to a white girl, they'd be in jail," one man told an RCMP officer in a heated confrontation outside the building.
Jim Sinclair, vice-chair of the Treaty Four bands and president of the Saskatchewan Aboriginal People's Congress, travelled to Tisdale from Regina at the family's request Monday.
"It's almost like a community court where everyone seems to know each other," Sinclair remarked.
People in the girl's community want to know why the men were released from custody without a bail hearing, and why they appeared individually rather than together, he said.
"We want to make sure this isn't played down. If anything, we want to raise the temperature on this," Sinclair said, adding there's no need for a public inquiry, as long as the justice system does its job.
The three accused are well-known in Tisdale and have lived there for most of their lives. Melfort lawyer Stuart Eisner, who represents Kindrat, called it an "awkward situation." He agreed there is an obvious racial element to the case, but said anyone who thinks justice won't be done is pre-judging the process.
Eisner said he knows the girl's relatives personally and considers them "extremely fine people."
"I understand why they're upset," he said. "It's a very tragic event."
At least one of the accused men is highly regarded at his workplace, where people are shocked he has been accused of such a crime, Eisner said.
Three Tisdale men charged with sexual assault against a 12-year-old girl elected trial by judge and jury at a brief court appearance Monday.
Dean Trevor Edmondson, 24, Jeffrey Chad Kindrat, 20, and Jeffrey Lorne Brown, 25, were released from custody last month without a bail hearing.
They are each charged with a single count of sexual assault and one count of being a party to a sexual assault.
The girl, an aboriginal who does not live in the area, told police three men offered her a ride on Sept. 30 and kept her for several hours, taking her to a bar and later to another location where the assaults took place.
She was hospitalized for three days afterward.
The three accused are scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Tisdale Feb. 18, when a judge will determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to a trial.
TISDALE, SK -- Shy of five feet tall and barely 90 pounds, she stands in the doorway of her modest wood home and for a moment looks like any preteen in a FILA sweatshirt, jeans and hiking shoes clutching a gel pen and private notebook -- a little girl on the cusp of adolescence.
But the 12-year-old Saulteaux Cree girl living in this clean and claustrophobic cottage with her parents and six brothers won't lift up her eyes. The hand she reluctantly offers, its nails aglitter with blue polish, is limp. She shuffles over to a couch and flops onto a spot where she is hidden from view.
Six weeks ago, she had an argument with her mom and, fuming, went out for a walk. Several hours later, she was lifted out of a pickup truck -- beer-soaked, bruised and bleeding -- and left at a farmhouse in the dark. Her name is now protected by a publication ban.
Three young white men -- ages 20 to 25 -- from Tisdale, a farming town separated by a 30-kilometre yawn of dirt road and rural highway from her home, were each charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of being party to a sexual assault.
They were released from custody and returned to their jobs in welding, construction and steelworking within a few days. One has now hired Prince Albert's most famous lawyer, Clyne Harradence, to defend him. Last week they elected a trial by judge and jury and have not yet entered pleas.
"They are extremely well-regarded -- one comes from a highly regarded farming family and another is well thought of at his workplace," said Melfort lawyer Stu Eisner, who is representing the 20-year-old. The men contend no force was used, he said.
Hopelessness is stewing along with anger among the off-reserve natives who surround the girl's blink-and-it's-gone community -- a cluster of houses and a PetroCan station 20 minutes from Greenwater Lake Provincial park, several hours northeast of Saskatoon.
The men made their first court appearance in Tisdale's civic centre while the girl's father was driving her to Saskatoon to see a specialist. At the second appearance, native supporters and kin other than parents were kept in a hall as the three local men appeared before a judge.
"She's just a little girl -- they're not taking this case seriously" said her father, Pete, shifting restlessly in a chair at his kitchen table and tensing a forearm crudely tattooed with his surname. The mother hovered in the background, too shy to speak as she tended to their two toddlers.
A white businesswoman from Tisdale, whose own son knows the accused, says cynically, "You know the cliché -- it's just a native girl."
When she does look up furtively, she is beautiful. Big brown eyes, long silky hair and a heart-shaped face -- a Cree version of Jennifer Lopez, only much younger.
As the second-oldest of seven children, stuck in a small house and a community amid forests and farms, walking was her comfort and escape. After the argument with her mom that Sunday, the last day of September, she had wandered 11 kilometres from her home to Chelan by dinnertime.
She thought about calling home but she didn't. She sat down near a bar instead and dug through her purse. Three men came out, and she said Hi.
"I thought Pocahontas was a movie," she recalled one of the men saying.
She was offered a ride, she said in an interview. However, Mr. Eisner said instead she asked for one.
"C'mon, you can trust us," one of the men had told her. "I thought they were going to be nice," she said.
In the truck, she was handed an open beer, hesitated at first but then drank it. She lied to them about who she was -- she told them her name was Richelle and she was 14 years old and that she lived in Saskatoon. New beers were opened for her. "She did obtain beer from them," confirmed Mr. Eisner.
From the girl's home, Mistatim is a 15-minute joy ride down a dirt road that sees little traffic.
It wouldn't be a destination at all were it not for the Mistatim Hotel, a dreary rural saloon with peeling paint and a homemade sign that points to the cafe/lobby.
On a November afternoon, the bar is empty but for one table of three old-timers, a weedy poodle named Barney wearing a denim dog jacket, and the harpsichord sound of a video lottery terminal.
Children are regularly seen in her establishment, said proprietor Darlene Hill, despite its pool table, red velour banquettes and Budweiser pin-up posters. She is licensed for family dining -- and the girl's family members are familiar customers. So the girl's parents question why nobody intervened when this recognizable 12-year-old showed up on a Sunday night -- according to her own account, stumbling from intoxication -- with three white men in their 20s who had come to buy more beer.
At the mere mention of the event, Ms. Hill's face loses colour. Her eyes well up.
"I'm not supposed to talk about it," she said. But then she sits down.
"I've been licensed for children for 11 years. There are truckloads of kids through here all the time. They [the men] didn't look their age," she said adding, "This 12-year-old, she's ruined . . . But I don't think it's a racism thing."
The girl recounts the visit to the Mistatim Hotel.
She alleges that one of the men told her, "If I go in the bar naked he would make sure everyone would give me money," she said. "I said no. I was already getting scared."
She stumbled into the bar, and fell again on the way back out, she said. And then she blacked out and came to with men on top of her, one after the other, she said. Then she blacked out again. Later that night, she was dropped off at the farm of a friend of hers, a boy by the name of Jesse. He took down the licence plate of the pickup truck before it careened away into the night. His father drove the girl directly to the hospital in Tisdale.
She woke up feeling sick, with her "private parts" sore and bleeding and unable to walk properly. She asked the nurse to keep her father out of her room -- she was too embarrassed to see him.
"There is no allegation from the girl that force was used," Mr. Eisner is quick to point out.
She bled for two days and developed an infection requiring antibiotics. Last Sunday, she took the family car and drove it herself to Saskatoon because, she said, she is so afraid. Her parents had to come and get her. The local RCMP considered pressing charges.
"They are going to use that against her," said her father Pete, who bristles with an angry energy. He does not trust that the justice system will serve an aboriginal in a rural setting.
He is making a mental list of things he believes will be dragged up to impugn her character: the time she broke into the local swimming pool where she worked to play a practical joke, whether or not she acts and looks her age, and taking the family car to Saskatoon without a licence.
At the Tisdale courthouse, one of the supporters of the accused told Pete's cousin that his daughter "deserved what she got."
The sign that welcomes a visitor to Tisdale proclaims it as the "land of rape and honey," an uncomfortable throwback to the time canola, grown in abundance in the surrounding countryside, was known as rapeseed.
With a population of under 4,000 inside the town boundaries, Tisdale is a not a place where a person can live anonymously.
The accused -- Jeffrey Chad Kindrat, 20, Trevor Dean Edmondson, 24, and Jeffrey Lorne Brown, 25 -- have reputations as "partiers," but nothing worse than that according to a local businesswoman.
Mr. Brown's parents own the Hi Fashion store on the main drag -- conspicuous in Tisdale for carrying the kind of brand-name sports mules and baggy pants associated with urban youth.
The accused "haven't been in a pile of trouble," said Sergeant Ken Homeniuk, who runs the Tisdale RCMP detachment.
Releasing them from custody without bail conditions is not unusual in a case where the accused have no prior records, have parents in town and are employed at full-time jobs, he said.
"You'd never see three Indian men accused of doing this to a white girl released without bail," protested Alvin, a relative of the girl who shares her surname. "They'd still be in jail."
Racism? "Absolutely not," Sgt. Homeniuk said.
The second time the accused men appeared before a judge, the girl's supporters were kept out of the Tisdale court -- a meeting room in the civic centre -- simply because it is so tiny and it was already full, he said. Her parents were inside.
"There was no intent to keep people out of court," he said.
And yet the courtroom had extra security in anticipation of trouble.
With a preliminary hearing set for Feb. 18, the trial is months away -- the girl will testify at both, unless a deal is struck to keep it out of court.
Meanwhile, the girl has gone back to her Grade 7 classes, where she feels "everybody knows." If she thinks about what happened, she starts to cry and can't get her work done. She blames herself. Her sleep is interrupted by crying jags at night. She won't go for walks any more.
"She is like a different person," said her father. Then he too averts his eyes and gulps in air, in a quiet, angry sob. .
MELFORT, SK -- Racist attitudes are "more acceptable" in small town Saskatchewan, so a rape case involving an aboriginal girl and three white men must be moved to a bigger city, says the president of the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism (SCAR).
"I fear having a trial here," SCAR president Bob Hughes said outside Melfort court Tuesday afternoon. "I don't believe she has a chance if it's here."
Hughes' comments came following the second day of the sexual assault preliminary hearing for Jeffrey Lorne Brown, Jeffrey Chad Kindrat and Dean Trevor Edmondson, all Tisdale men in their 20s.
They are accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl last September. The girl cannot be identified, and there is a publication ban on anything that occured in court during the preliminary hearing.
The case was scheduled for two days, but will take at least one more. The hearing will resume at the end of August in Melfort, nearly a year after the alleged incident.
If the case goes to trial, it must be moved to a larger city with a "less homogenous" mindset than Melfort, Hughes said.
SCAR sent a letter to co-prosecutor Cam Scott, asking him to apply for a change of venue if there is a trial.
"It is impossible to have a fair hearing in such an atmosphere," Hughes wrote.
"Such situations produce juries composed of predominantly, if not exclusively, Caucasian jurors."
Hughes said many people in the community value young aboriginal women less than young Caucasian women.
"We have a more serious problem here than in some places. That is a major concern for us," he said.
The girl's family agrees that the case should be moved to another part of the province, said Stan King, who has worked as translator and mediator for the girl's family with various government agencies, and who speaks to them daily.
"The family feels they would not get a fair hearing here," King said.
"People think these are good boys. (The alleged victim) is just an Indian girl."
Regional Crown prosecutor Gary Parker said he's concerned about the delays, but noted it's not unusual for some cases to take longer than scheduled.
The Crown has sent a letter back to SCAR acknowledging receipt of the letter, Parker said. It's too early to comment on venue issues, he said.
Tension has been high both in and out of court. Supporters of the girl loudly whispered several disparaging comments from the gallery during the proceedings.
Several supporters of the accused shouted profanities outside court when reporters attempted to photograph the men.