by: Meghan Hurley
A 58-year-old man who was raped three times by his teacher 45 years ago apologized to the convicted sex offender’s family as they left an Ottawa courtroom.
A jury found Michael Slater, now 73, guilty of indecent assault, gross indecency and buggery involving the man and another complainant.
The victim, whose name is protected by a publication ban, said Monday that he sat down on a chair at the Elgin Street courthouse on Saturday after he told a relative he was sorry for destroying the man’s family.
“I felt sick because I looked at this young woman’s face and there was no anger. There was shock, shame and sorrow,” the victim said. “The fact that this young lady’s father is a convicted pedophile will be with her for the rest of her life.”
The victim said tears clouded his vision, but he believes that woman was Slater’s daughter.
The tears were from both the pain and suffering he has gone through since the first sexual assault in 1968 and for destroying Slater’s family.
“If I had of known I was going to hurt his family, I would have taken it to the grave,” the victim said. “I’ve caused incalculable damage to his family and none of them hurt me.”
The victim testified that he was raped between September 1968 and June 1970 in a classroom at Elizabeth Park school for children of military personnel and at a house in Alta Vista. Elizabeth Park school was operated in the 1960s by the Department of National Defence at Canadian Forces Base Uplands.
He alleged that he contracted two sexually transmitted diseases as a result of the rapes, requiring several hospital treatments.
The victim feared telling his family or the police about the rapes. Slater had told the then-13-year-old boy that his father — a warrant officer with the military — would kick him out of the house or lose his job if he reported the sexual assault.
The victim said he couldn’t tell any of his friends because they would have called him a “homo or a queer.”
He said he always stood up to bullies at school, but he couldn’t face the actions of his teacher.
For years, he said, the traumatizing experience gave him flashbacks. Slowly, it ate away at him, he said.
“It’s like an indexed tumour, and if you don’t excise it will consume you,” he said. “And it damn near did.”
Until 2009, the victim’s wife of 37 years was the only person who knew about the rapes.
When the victim’s parents had both passed away by 2009, he decided it was time to go to the police.
“It would have destroyed my mother,” he said. “To the day my father died, I’m sure he would have tried to kill Mike Slater.”
Before he reported the sexual assaults, he told both of his children what happened.
He then went to Slater’s home to confront him and tell him he was going to the police. Since Slater wasn’t home, the victim left his business card.
More than 45 years after he was sexually assaulted, the victim said he felt a sense of relief when the guilty verdict was delivered on Saturday morning.
He had already suffered through a week in court earlier this year before a mistrial was declared. One of the jurors knew the other victim, he said.
“I had to relive those rapes in front of 24 of my peers,” he said. “It was not nearly as bad as the initial rapes, but it was extremely painful.”
Slater will be back in court for a sentencing hearing on May 15.