A BC Supreme Court justice ruled Tuesday that testimony of similar past behaviour of sexual touching of underage boys can be included as evidence in the case against Codie Anderson (Hindle).
Anderson is on trial for one count of sexual interference under 16. He is alleged to have sexually touched an 11-year-old boy in 2010.
Two other young males also say Anderson sexually touched them, one on a camping trip, the other on a sanctioned sleepover event at the Cheam Centre.
The now 20-year-old complainant, who cannot be named due to a publication ban, spent hours on the stand early on in the trial, which is in its third week, recounting the touching that took place in his own house.
After he took the stand, Crown counsel Henry Waldock called two other young males who recounted their own allegations about similar incidents of sexual touching when they were young boys involved in sleepovers.
One young man recounted attending Freakout Friday events, later called Friday Night Overdrive at the Cheam Centre. This was a recreation event that included children sleeping over with youth leaders.
The first boy recounted a camping trip led by Anderson that included a number of other children. He said in one particular night, Anderson told scary stories, and the accused later slept in a tent with one boy on either side of him.
“I remember trying to go to sleep and Codie asking if I was scared,” he said. “I said I was. I recall him pulling me towards him, and kind of pulling me on top of him. I was kind of laying sideways on top of him and he was facing up… I recall feeling him touch my penis.”
The second allegation came from a young man who was on the stand as Crown played a video of him in an interview with an RCMP officer from when he was a young boy.
He recalled sleepovers at the Cheam Centre. During those sleepovers, the boys would sleep in Anderson’s office, with Anderson sleeping on a recliner chair.
In the video, the officer asks right away why he thinks they are conducting the interview.
“Codie touched me, at the sleepover. He touched me inappropriately,” the boy said.
The officer asked the boy what “inappropriately” meant.
“While I was sleeping, while I was sleeping on a chair he touched me inappropriately.”
Eventually the boy explained that because it was dark, he got scared and Anderson would pick him up and let him sleep on the chair. The boy said Anderson would touch his genital areas inside his pyjamas as he was falling asleep.
Anderson is not charged with any crimes connected to the allegations made by the two young males. Crown put forth their testimony as similar fact evidence, and applied for that to be included in the case.
On Sept. 17, Justice Crabtree gave a synopsis of his ruling to allow the evidence. Crabtree had to decide if the evidence proffered was capable of belief, if there was collusion, and if the evidence was probative for the case and not prejudicial to the accused.
He agreed it was believable, and there was no collusion.
“Having weighed both the probative values and prejudicial effect of the evidence, I come to the conclusion the probative value outweighs the prejudicial effect and accordingly, the Crown’s request is granted,” Crabtree ruled.
Immediately following the decision, Anderson’s lawyer Martin Finch said the trial would continue and he would call nine witnesses, mostly as character references, starting with Anderson himself.
Questioning of Anderson began with his history in sports management, his work at the YMCA in Ontario and doing promotional work for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors. He also talked about his work at the Cultus Lake Waterslides, and then his being hired as youth director at the YMCA in Chilliwack, which at that time had two facilities, on Hocking Avenue and the YMCA ran the Cheam Centre.
Anderson explained protocols regarding touching of young people when dealing with children. This involved not touching children other than in emergencies, or a touch on a shoulder when consoling a child, and never being alone in a room with anyone else one one one.
He wore a white dress shirt, tie, dress pants. He is clean cut and articulate in answering questions from his counsel.
In the years prior to allegations against him, the now 36-year-old Anderson was involved in other youth sports in the community coaching basketball at G.W. Graham and with the Chilliwack Sports Academy that put on the Steve Nash Youth Basketball.
When he was first charged, the Chilliwack RCMP suggested there might be other victims who should come forward.
None of the allegations have been proven in court, and the trial continues.