Former Cloverdale youth pastor Samuel Emerson and his wife Madelaine Emerson appeared in provincial court Monday (April 1), for the first day of their 12-day trial.
Both have pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including sexual assault, sexually touching a minor, and threats to cause death.
Samuel Emerson, 35, was formerly a pastor of Cloverdale Christian Fellowship Church, which is known locally as “Cloverdale Church.” In October 2017, Surrey RCMP announced that he faced 25 total charges. He is currently on trial for five counts of sexual assault, two counts of touching a young person for a sexual purpose, and one count of sexual interference of a person under 16.
Madelaine Emerson, 38, is on trial for two counts of sexual assault, one count of touching a young person for a sexual purpose, and one count of threatening to kill someone.
Madelaine is alleged to have been party to some assaults and to have facilitated others, including driving victims to the pharmacy to purchase Plan B and birth control.
The alleged assaults happened between 2013 and 2017, during which Samuel was a youth pastor at Cloverdale Church.
The offences are alleged to have happened at the Emerson family home and at sleepaway camp, specifically the Cowichan River Bible Camp where Samuel Emerson preached as a youth pastor and Madelaine Emerson accompanied him. None of the offences are alleged to have occurred at Cloverdale Church.
The court will see several victim and witness testimonies over the course of the 12-day trial.
There is a publication ban on any information that could reveal the identity of alleged victims or witnesses.
A year after charges against the Emersons were announced, former Cloverdale Church elder Brian Batke was charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a minor for incidents that allegedly occurred in 2005. Batke has not yet entered a plea, but a preliminary inquiry has been scheduled for February 2020.