Sask. city councillor implicated in physical, emotional abuse allegations at private Christian school, church

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The rising checklist of officers accused of bodily and emotionally abusing kids at a private Christian college and church in Saskatoon now features a sitting city councillor.

The lawyer representing former Christian Centre Academy college students says allegations towards longtime councillor Randy Donauer are being added to the handfuls of felony assault complaints made to Saskatoon police.

“We’re pushing ahead on it,” Saskatoon lawyer Grant Scharfstein stated.

“If in reality he is completed what [the students] are alleging, and I’ve no motive to disbelieve it, then sure, I believe he must be handled like all people else.”

Former scholar and church member Coy Nolin made a assertion to police concerning Donauer and has shared it with CBC News. Nolin described an alleged “paddling” incident by Donauer at a church camp, in addition to Donauer’s actions afterward.

“I cried. [Donauer] waited until I ended, then hugged me and we prayed,” reads the assertion.

Donauer declined interview requests, however emailed an announcement to CBC News.

“My understanding is {that a} consultant of the varsity will probably be making statements at some level concerning the college’s present and former practices, as soon as the Statement of Claim has been obtained and reviewed with authorized counsel,” Donauer wrote, referencing the $25-million lawsuit lately filed by college students towards different officers.

“Personally, I don’t count on to have any function in the courtroom course of given my conduct and I see no worth in offering any additional feedback.”

When CBC News obtained additional particulars from college students and shared them with Donauer, he once more replied briefly by electronic mail.

“If there are rumours being shared about me, I vehemently deny any wrongdoing. If any authorized claims involving me are made I’ll vigorously defend [against] them,” Donauer wrote.

Two former college students of the Christian Centre Academy, now referred to as Legacy Christian Academy, say present Saskatoon city councillor Randy Donauer was considered one of roughly two dozen officers who emotionally and bodily abused them. A lawsuit has been filed, and police are investigating felony complaints from greater than 40 college students towards varied officers. (Jason Warick/CBC)

Earlier in the summer season, Donauer admitted in an electronic mail to CBC News that Christian Centre Academy college students have been recruited throughout class time to marketing campaign for the varsity’s most well-liked political candidates. He admitted he obtained inappropriate endorsements throughout church providers at the adjoining Saskatoon Christian Centre earlier than his first election victory in 2010. Donauer additionally organized distribution of marketing campaign supplies for different politicians throughout church providers.

But now college students interviewed by CBC News say Donauer was additionally concerned in the bodily violence, and the tradition of concern and intimidation. Two of them say Donauer was one of many officers who beat them with giant picket devices, a observe generally known as “paddling.” Other college students advised tales of a usually mild-mannered Donauer all of a sudden turning into enraged and threatening kids throughout Sunday college or different occasions.

The college and church, nonetheless working out of a constructing in Saskatoon’s Lawson Heights neighbourhood, are actually generally known as Legacy Christian Academy and Mile Two Church.

Donauer was not a trainer, however served varied roles inside the adjoining church. The college students stated that for a few years, Donauer was the “enforcer” for former pastor Keith Johnson. Johnson wrote the kid self-discipline manuals utilized by the varsity and church. Students and a workers member say Johnson demanded unquestioning obedience.

“Randy was in Keith’s inside circle, his proper hand,” former scholar Christina Hutchinson stated.

Donauer would “be all calm, however then simply change. He could possibly be so atrocious,” her sister, Stefanie Hutchinson, stated.

Each summer season, Christian Centre officers rented Living Waters Bible Camp, 100 kilometres north of Saskatoon, stated former college students Coy Nolin and Caitlin Erickson. In 2003, once they turned 14 years outdated, Nolin, Erickson and others have been “volun-told” by church officers that they’d be working as camp counsellors, Erickson and Nolin stated.

Donauer was one of many major officers overseeing the camp, Erickson stated. She stated that, like the opposite youth counsellors, she was not paid, regardless that she was an authorized lifeguard and gave private swim classes in addition to her counsellor duties.

In an interview, Nolin stated he was accused at some point of spreading a hearsay about a few of the campers. He stated Donauer took him to the grownup cabin and berated him.

“Then he made me bend over a chair,” Nolin stated.

Nolin stated he knew what was coming subsequent. He realized he was about to be hit with a big picket paddle, simply as he and different college students say they’d been paddled by different officers many occasions at college.

But Nolin stated this incident with Donauer was notably memorable as a result of paddlings at college have been completed over a desk, a tough chair or the lap of a witness. This was a “comfortable chair” that left him awaiting the punishment “at a bizarre angle.”

Nolin stated Donauer struck him exhausting 3 times with the hand-made implement just like a cricket bat.

“Then we prayed after that. It’s prefer it’s out of affection, nevertheless it’s bizarre and creepy,” Nolin stated.

“It was much more awkward, too, as a result of I used to be a youngster when that occurred and since I used to be a counsellor, nobody was concerned or referred to as till afterwards.”

Nolin was not allowed to speak to Erickson for the rest of the camp, however she stated Nolin confided in her after returning to Saskatoon.

Nolin stated this paddling, like these he obtained from different officers at college, left him crying, limping and sore.

He stated it is not the worst violence he confronted — that was the exorcism and paddling he stated he endured as a 15-year-old at the arms of 4 different church and college officers making an attempt to rid him of his “homosexual demon.” But Nolin stated it is necessary to carry everybody to account, particularly these nonetheless in positions of energy.

“I’m disgusted that [Donauer] has gotten to the purpose the place they’re political-wise,” Nolin stated. “It makes me sick, realizing what he is completed.”

Nolin’s brother, Cody, wasn’t paddled by Donauer, however stated he and Coy would usually discuss concerning the paddlings and “brainwashing” they suffered from different officers earlier than their household left the varsity following the exorcism in 2004. Like different college students, it took them years to open up publicly.

Coy Nolin and one other former Christian Centre Academy scholar say present Saskatoon city councillor Randy Donauer bodily and emotionally abused them. Dozens of scholars have come ahead with allegations towards greater than 20 different officers following a CBC News investigation. (Travis Reddaway/CBC)

Cody stated that when Coy’s story was featured in the primary CBC News story on the varsity earlier this month, it gave Cody and others the braveness to do the identical.

“I’m so pleased with him,” Cody stated.

Another former scholar advised CBC News that Donauer additionally paddled them.

The scholar spoke on situation their identify wouldn’t be used. They stated they concern damaging their relationship with shut kin who’re nonetheless Mile Two Church members. They additionally stated the kin would face repercussions from the church.

The scholar stated Donauer paddled them almost a dozen occasions.

“I simply occurred to be what they thought-about a disobedient youngster and obtained in hassle so much. Randy Donauer was virtually all the time concerned in the disciplining,” they stated. “He alone was accountable for almost all of the abuse I obtained.”

Donauer and one other lady would take the kid right into a basement room throughout Sunday college or different occasions, the particular person stated.

The feminine official would pray in unintelligible sounds generally known as “talking in tongues” and maintain them down whereas Donauer administered the paddling, the previous scholar stated.

“I bear in mind it clearly. Sometimes they might take my pants…off in order to make the self-discipline much more painful,” they stated.

Other college students say they weren’t hit by Donauer however have been afraid of him, in half as a result of he was prepared to do something for Pastor Keith Johnson.

“If Keith was offended, so was Randy. If Keith wished somebody kicked out, Randy would do it. If Keith stated the constructing was too chilly, Randy would discover somebody to show up the warmth. If Keith did not like what somebody was saying, Randy would go inform them to be quiet,” Stefanie Hutchinson stated.

Hutchinson and Cody Nolin each stated they clearly bear in mind one explicit Sunday college service overseen by Donauer and others. Halfway by means of one music, Donauer stopped the youngsters, they stated. Hutchinson stated Donauer turned “all red-faced” and began yelling at them to sing louder. They stated Donauer advised them they weren’t placing their hearts into it.

“He turned unhinged. He was screaming at us. It was terrifying,” Nolin stated.

He stated Donauer ended his rant by threatening, “If you do not do it, I’ll paddle each considered one of you.”

They stated nobody doubted Donauer’s sincerity. The kids sang as loudly as they might and no punishment was administered.

When a CBC News investigation first printed a number of allegations of kid bodily and emotional abuse, solitary confinement and exorcisms at the varsity and church earlier this month, Donauer posted a response on Twitter.

“I denounce abuse of any variety and encourage anybody who has been abused to contact the police instantly,” Donauer tweeted on Aug. 2.

Since then, the variety of college students submitting felony complaints towards varied officers has greater than doubled, to 40, in accordance with the Saskatoon Police Service electronic mail this week.

The college students’ lawyer, Grant Scharfstein, stated 50 college students have signed on to the proposed $25-million class motion lawsuit. Donauer was not initially named as one of many almost two dozen civil defendants, however courtroom paperwork state the checklist shouldn’t be exhaustive and that extra names could possibly be added as extra college students inform their tales.

Scharfstein stated they intend so as to add Donauer as a defendant in the approaching weeks. Scharfstein stated different officers are being implicated as extra college students come ahead. When all new data has been compiled, they plan so as to add these new names to the lawsuit by means of a single modification, he stated.

Students interviewed say it has been extremely irritating to talk publicly concerning the abuse they suffered, nevertheless it’s even more durable to call Donauer and others nonetheless in positions of energy.

“Going towards Randy has someway been much more troublesome,” Coy Nolin stated.

In the emailed interview request despatched earlier this month, CBC News requested Donauer, “Have you ever paddled a toddler related to your roles (in the church or college)? If so, please present dates and all particulars. If not, have been you conscious that this observe continued to happen there after the January 2004 Supreme Court ruling (banning all corporal punishment by officers), in accordance with a number of college students and the previous youth pastor?”

Donauer declined to reply instantly, as a substitute saying, “I don’t count on to have any function in the courtroom course of given my conduct.”

Erickson, the Hutchinsons and different college students describe bringing dwelling waivers for his or her mother and father to sign that might permit college officers to proceed paddling them after it was outlawed by the Supreme Court. They additionally say they have been advised to name paddlings “time outs” if any police or outsiders requested about them after January 2004.

None of the allegations towards officers have been examined in felony or civil courtroom. But the church’s former youth pastor, Garrett Davis, advised CBC News final month he witnessed many traumatic incidents, and the “cult-like” setting described by college students is “100 per cent true.”

In Donauer’s earlier emailed response, the place he admitted to inappropriate political exercise, Donauer distanced himself from former pastor Keith Johnson.

“I’ve NO relationship with Keith Johnson,” Donauer stated in an electronic mail. “We are estranged and have been for a few years. Our relationship was toxic for a number of years previous to his departure as a result of my views are in direct opposition to his on many issues.”

Keith Johnson, who left Saskatoon a decade in the past and is believed to now be preaching in the southern U.S., couldn’t be reached for remark.

A man with grey hair wearing a suit stands on a stage.
Keith Johnson previously held the highest function at the Saskatoon Christian Centre church and Christian Centre Academy college. Two former college students say present Saskatoon city councillor Randy Donauer was Johnson’s ‘proper hand’ and was one of many officers who bodily and emotionally abused them. (Lifehouse Fellowship Church/YouTube)

Keith Johnson’s son, Brien, is now the pinnacle pastor at Mile Two Church.

“I’ve a wholesome relationship with Brien,” Donauer wrote. “He is my Pastor and a good friend. He has labored exhausting to take the church in a drastically totally different path than Keith, and to create a wholesome setting and to welcome reconciliation with people who Keith harm, each inside and outdoors the congregation. He has been a catalyst for change.”

Brien Johnson and different present church and leaders have promised at varied factors to do interviews with CBC News, however then declined. In emails, they stated they’ll comply absolutely with any investigation and inspired anybody who “feels” they have been abused to contact police.

They additionally made three central factors: that no paddling has occurred there in greater than twenty years, that exorcisms have by no means been carried out at the varsity and that they’ve apologized a number of occasions to victims.

More than a dozen college students interviewed stated that primarily based on their experiences, all three of these claims are false. They stated nobody has apologized to them, that paddling was frequent observe effectively after the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada ban on corporal punishment by any officers, and that exorcisms did occur at college and elsewhere.

They additionally pointed to a latest sermon by Brien Johnson, posted on the church’s personal social media, in which Johnson says a few of the abuse allegations are “exaggerated.”

The former college students say this all reveals the persevering with efforts to “gaslight” traumatized college students and deny duty.

Former college students, provincial Opposition NDP Leader Carla Beck and others are calling on the Saskatchewan Party provincial authorities to close down the varsity or at least droop its $700,000 in annual public funding. Instead, Education Minister Dustin Duncan appointed directors to supervise Legacy and two different private Christian faculties the place individuals named in the scholars’ lawsuits have been now working.

Saskatoon police are encouraging every other college students who imagine they have been abused to contact them. Some of the recordsdata have already been investigated and handed to Crown prosecutors to determine if expenses are warranted. Students are nonetheless eligible to sign on to the lawsuit, and there is no time restrict on submitting felony complaints for assaults on kids.

Scharfstein stated Donauer and people in positions of energy must be handled no otherwise than every other residents.

“I imply, all kinds of individuals concerned in this have gone on to different careers,” Scharfstein stated. “But in the event that they did what’s being alleged that they did, they’re going to should cope with the justice system.”

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