Pastor on trial for sexual assault awaits verdict
A jury is deliberating the fate of a Toronto pastor charged with sexually assaulting two women with whom he has children.
The Crown told jurors Rev. Frank Lawrence, 59, abused his position of trust when he had sex with the women he was claiming to rid of evil spirits.
The Crown says Lawrence admits having sex with the women, now aged 29 and 45, because he admits to fathering a child by each of them.
Even if the sexual intercourse was consensual, the Crown argues Lawrence is still guilty because he abused his position of trust, power or authority over them.
The women say the pastor forced sex upon them when they came to him with emotional or physical problems.
The complainants testified that he claimed he would rid them of evil spirits with healing baths. He then allegedly rubbed oil on their naked bodies and raped them.
The older woman alleges Lawrence raped her beside a freshly dug grave in a final healing session for which she paid $1,000.
The incidents are alleged to have occurred between 2000 and 2005 when Lawrence ran Toronto Mount Zion Revival Church of the Apostles, in the city's west end.
Lawrence has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault, four counts of threatening death and one count of assault.
Defence lawyer Anthony Robbins told the jury the sex between his client and the women was consensual and at no time did Lawrence use coercion.
Robbins, who added the women gave inconsistent testimony, said his client has no criminal record and is a man of good character.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Chris Eby