Surrey pastor facing 25 charges in series of sexual assaults
A Surrey, B.C. pastor and father of five has been charged with 25 offences relating to a series of sexual assault allegations dating back to 2014, and police believe there may be additional victims.
Mounties say they were made aware of the allegations in May of this year, but the offences are alleged to have occurred between 2014 and 2016.
Some of the alleged victims are under the age of 16.
Samuel Emerson, 34, was a pastor at the Cloverdale Christian Fellowship Church. Four of the complainants were members of the church, according to court documents.
He has been charged with 13 counts of sexual assault, 11 counts of being in a position of authority and touching a person for a sexual purpose, and one count of sexual touching of a person under the age of 16.
His wife, 37-year-old Madelaine Louise Emerson, has been charged with three offences: one count of sexual assault, one count of being in a position of authority and touching a person for a sexual purpose, and one count of uttering death threats.
Cpl. Scotty Schumann said investigators believe there's a strong potential that there are other people affected who have not come forward to police.
Surrey Mounties are urging people to get in touch if they have information about the pastor and his wife.
“Calling the police to report a sexual assault is a very difficult thing to do -- especially when the suspect is someone you knew and trusted -- and can leave lifelong emotional scars,” said Schumann.
“Our highly-skilled investigators take sexual assaults very seriously, and, supported by our Surrey RCMP Victim Services workers, are here to listen and provide emotional support.”
Randy Emerson, Samuel's father, told CTV Vancouver that the congregation is reeling from the allegations.
The number of parishioners has dropped from 250 people to just 60 in the wake of the investigation, and most left right away, he said.
"It was devastating. You can imagine how hurt people would be for accusations of sacred trust being broken," Randy said, adding that the allegations were made by people he has loved and prayed for.
Samuel Emerson quit his position at the church since the first allegations were made against him five months ago, according to his father.
He says the church has had rules in place that people of the opposite sex can't be alone with minors.
Randy and his wife are now taking care of the couple's five children.
"It's very hard. My position is one of reconciliation, and repentance if that is necessary, and to love," he said.
"He's my son. He is no longer my employee."
The accused are not in custody and but are under strict, court-imposed conditions.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Breanna Karsten-Smith
Breaking: CTV News has learned a Surrey pastor has been charged with 25 sexual assault related charges. His wife has been charged with 3 offences. The story tonight on @CTVVancouver #yvr #Surrey pic.twitter.com/6n5kTD1QTJ— BreannaKarstensSmith (@BreannaCTV) October 3, 2017
Surrey RCMP believe there may be more people impacted. They are asking those people to come forward. 34 year old Samuel Emerson is no longer a pastor at the church @CTVVancouver #yvr #Surrey. pic.twitter.com/bO02OIvfXU— BreannaKarstensSmith (@BreannaCTV) October 3, 2017
“There is a giant hole in my heart.” I’m live in Surrey at 6pm with more from the father of the pastor now facing 25 sex assault related charges. Hear what the church has to say on @CTVVancouver #yvr #Surrey. pic.twitter.com/VdnzFzCTie— BreannaKarstensSmith (@BreannaCTV) October 4, 2017