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Parents convicted of abusing children after jury deliberates five days



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After five days of jury deliberations, the parents accused of shocking physical and sexual assaults on their four children were convicted of 30 related counts Tuesday evening.

The 57-year-old father and 54-year-old mother went on trial 10 weeks ago and originally were charged with 47 counts.

Their convictions – 17 counts for her, 10 for him and three counts jointly – included incest, sexual assault, forcible confinement, aggravated sexual assault, invitation to sexual touching, extortion and administering noxious things.

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At the end of the Crown’s case, the indictment was reduced to 41 charges. At the time of Superior Court Justice Thomas Heeney’s final instructions to the jury on Thursday, the jury was asked to decide on 37 counts.

The jury retired to begin its discussions Thursday evening. They remained sequestered through the weekend.

It was a shocking and emotional trial. To the outside world, the family appeared to be a typical middle-class religious family. They lived in several Ontario cities, including London.

Four of the couple’s children, all of whom are now young adults and whose identities were protected by court order, gave gripping testimony and described being beaten, tied up, locked in sheds, basement and cupboards, force-fed dish soap and hot sauce, and scalded with hot water.

They also spoke of horrific acts of sexual violence at the hands of both parents.

Both parents testified and denied most of the allegations. The mother did admit to giving the children hot sauce, a discipline technique she said she read about, and to spanking.

The dates of the allegations ran from 2003 to 2020.

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Heeney thanked the jury for its “exemplary” service, telling them they had “discharged their duties with distinction,” noting they were engaged in the trial and didn’t rush their deliberations.

“Your work here on this case exemplifies all that is good and worth preserving about the jury system,” he told them.

“It is an awesome task to sit in judgment over your fellow citizens and I have no doubt you are feeling the weight of that responsibility right now.”

Heeney told the jury he would meet with them briefly after they were discharged to talk about their jury experience, but not the case.

Assistant Crown attorney Jennifer Moser asked Heeney to tell the jury there is an exception for jurors to speak about their deliberations if they are in counselling sessions with a therapist.

Heeney set Oct. 1 for sentencing submissions and likely victim impact statements. A pre-sentence report was ordered for the woman but not the man.

The woman remains out of custody on bail, while the man is in custody.

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