The sexual assault trial against Jan Vanderzwaag continued Thursday in Charlottetown, with one of the two alleged victims testifying.
The man was in his teens and Vanderzwaag was a church youth group helper at the time of the alleged assault, he testified.
The alleged victim says Vanderzwaag, whom he considered a close friend, touched him sexually about 20 years ago during a sleepover at Vanderzwaag's home.
He and some other young people who attended the Charlottetown Christian Reform Church watched movies and played pool at the house before going to bed that night, he said.
He described waking to find Vanderzwaag next to him.
"I saw [him] kneeling beside the bed... I was completely frozen," he said.
After the alleged assault, "I felt disgusting, dirty and used… I remember crying myself to sleep," the man testified.
Jan Vanderzwaag (left) arrives at court in Charlottetown with his lawyer, Brian Ross. (Laura Meader/CBC)
The man said that when he told his mother about the incident, she called a church member and they met with church elders. He testified that the family was told the church had a process in place and would handle the matter.
"My mom was advised by elders and pastors not to go to police," he told the court.
Shortly afterward, he said, the family received a letter from the church, saying the statements they had made were untrue and demanding they apologize to Vanderzwaag.
He eventually went to police himself, about three years ago.
Defence questions changing details
The defence lawyer, Brian Ross, questioned the witness's memory of events, asking why some details from his testimony in court differed from those contained in his report to police a couple of years ago.
"Your memory of events of the sleepover has changed," he said at one point.
I'm going to suggest, if this trial was two years from now, we'd have a different version. — Brian Ross, defence lawyer
The witness responded, "My memory has improved," adding that counselling has helped him remember some things more clearly.
Ross answered: "It's remembering differently. I'm going to suggest, if this trial was two years from now, we'd have a different version."
The lawyer also questioned the witness's account of the church's response to the incident, saying that whatever happened: "Your family was happy to keep it under wraps."
The witness replied that his mother relied on the church.
The trial before a judge and jury is scheduled to last 10 days. It had a one-day hiatus on Wednesday because of illness on one of the legal teams.
A second alleged victim is expected to take the stand Friday.