A Trinidadian pastor has been found guilty of sexually assaulting three former parishioners and administering a noxious substance to two of them, an Ontario Superior Court Justice ruled Thursday.
Bishop Wayne Jones was also convicted of aggravated assault and theft of $20,000, jewelry and fraudulently selling a car.
“The similarities in the evidence are probative of the Crown’s position that Mr. Jones was using his position as a pastor to convince the complainants, members of his church who believed in him, that sexual intercourse with him was part of a larger spiritual plan,” Justice Suhail Akhtar wrote in a 57-page judgment.
Akhtar dismissed one count of sexual assault in connection with a fourth woman, known as Z.
He also dismissed three theft of monies charges. Akhtar said he believed two of the women gave money and other property to Jones, but agreed with defence lawyer Randall Barrs that the details of those transactions were “insufficiently” clear to convict him on those counts.
Jones, 57, admitted having sex with the women but argued it was consensual.
Barrs said Jones plans to appeal.
So what was the evidence?
He thumped the Bible but he humped the flock.
A whole lotta fornication going on . . .
Bishop Wayne Jones does not deny that he did the horizontal lambada with at least three members of his congregation — and we haven’t yet got to the defendant’s version of what occurred with a fourth complainant, the woman who testified that “Shepherd Wayne” extorted sex to perform an exorcism.
It was all completely consensual carnality, though, Jones insisted on Tuesday, as he took the stand in his own defence against charges of sexual assault, theft and administering a noxious substance — allegedly, drug-laced cherry Kool-Aid.
Each of the women has testified that Jones coerced them into sex while he commanded the pulpit at the United Spiritual Baptist Church in Scarborough and its various incarnations over the years. They submitted — gave their bodies, their money and their property — during purification rituals, to chase away voodoo hexes and, in one case, from fear of being reported as an illegal immigrant after over-staying her visitor’s visa.
These specific accusations hark back decades, when the women — two of them sisters elevated to “deaconess” status, now in their 60s — all worshipped at Jones’ Trinidadian-based Baptist church, a religion akin to Anglican Pentecostals or Charismatic Catholics.
“We make a lot of noise,” Jones told the judge-alone trial, describing the singing and the musical instruments and hallelujah preaching. “We use candles, we use perfumes and we read a lot of scriptures.”
Jones, who came to Canada from Trinidad in 1984 — he’s had jobs as a machine operator, in construction, as an assistant teacher and is currently employed as a social worker — was ordained by an archbishop in New York in the mid-’80s after taking a “crash course” at the Ontario Bible College. He was emphatic that voodoo and removing curses have no part in his ministry. “We believe in healing. We believe in miracles. But no, we don’t believe in voodoo,” he said under questioning from defence lawyer Randall Barrs.
After providing a long and convoluted history of his church’s evolution in Toronto — the community faithful started out in the basement of a rented property, known at the time as the Mt. Ararat Baptist Church — Jones plunged into his fraught romantic relationships with the women.
Yes, he was a married man when he first became involved with “Delilah” — not her real name; the women can’t be identified. A poor unemployed single mom with young sons, she’d moved into his apartment. His wife was working two jobs and he and Delilah found themselves alone together much of the time.
“She had developed a low self-esteem,” said Jones of the complainant. “We had intense conversations.”
They were drawn to each other sexually, he maintains.
“Eventually we started kissing. The kiss moved on to more intimate lovemaking. We had sex on the floor.
“While we were having sex, my bedroom door was pushed open and it was my wife. She left and slammed the door. And I was left wondering:
How do I explain this?”
This complainant had earlier told court that Jones invited her for a “spiritual rebirth” cleansing, in the church’s basement bathroom, which involved getting naked. On that occasion, after Delilah ripped off her blindfold and noticed Jones’ erection, she bolted lickety-split. In a subsequent incident, court heard, when she had been promised they’d discuss her on-going immigration dilemma, she claimed he’d given her a glass of Kool-Aid and the next thing she remembered was waking up some 10 hours later, wearing only her panties. Later, annoyed by her nagging about the immigration matter, Jones told her: “That’s why I f—— you and you can do nothing about it.”
Jones said, “That never happened. She was fabricating.”
Jones and his wife separated (later reconciling and then splitting again) after she caught him with Delilah. During the couple’s time apart, he says Delilah gave him a key to her apartment and they had sex four or six times a week.
“We were in love.”
But Jones admits he was troubled because he had also had an affair with Delilah’s older sister, another single parent. But “Isobel,” unlike her sibling, was in Canada legally, so they were able to make trips to the U.S. together to purchase the oils and unguents he needed for the spiritual baths. Isobel, said Jones, “was my getaway haven.’’
He was sleeping with both of them.
“(Isobel) suspected that I was having an affair with (Delilah) but I don’t think (Delilah) knew that I was having an affair with (Isobel).
Isobel testified last week that Jones wrangled sex from her over an 18-month period, forcing her to give him a key to her home. If she refused, he threatened to “make me walk the streets like a crazy woman and he would destroy my kids.”
Both women left the church, joining a breakaway sect.
Jones was originally charged on one count of sexual assault in 2014.
Afterwards three other complainants came forward.
On Tuesday, he described the accumulation of accusations as “a charade” and when Delilah came forward, “I could have had a heart attack.”
Twenty-three years would pass before the sisters gave statements to police. “This came out of some hat,” Jones objected, shaking his head.
Barrs then took Jones to the third complainant — we’ll call her “Yvonne” — who testified about one sexual episode with the pastor, intended to expunge the evil spirits which had been haunting her.
Jones recalled going to Yvonne’s rooming house one Saturday afternoon, at her invitation, and sitting on the edge of her bed while the woman moaned about her unhappy love life. “One thing let to another. We got talking, we got touching. I laughed because I realized she was not very experienced in kissing.’’
Yvonne went to the bathroom and came back with no clothes on.
“I did not take my clothes off. I undid my zipper.
“I’m not proud of it.”
Jones added: “I’m not going to sit here and be derogatory. But it was not very enticing. But I was a young man and one thing led to another.”
It never happened again, said Jones. “She wanted us to continue what we’d started. But it’s not something I wanted.”
While not originally claiming sexual assault, this woman took Jones to small claims court over a $1,200 loan he’d never repaid, and won.
Which brings us to Complaint No. 4.
“Margaret” believed a Montreal psychic had placed a voodoo curse on her and implored Jones to lift it. She told court that he claimed there was only one remedy — a sexorcism.
On Tuesday, Jones said he’d known Margaret casually for a long time.
He was surprised when, during a trip he made to Ghana for the ordination of 22 pastors, he discovered Margaret was staying in the hotel room next door. (Her boyfriend had recently been arrested for dealing drugs and was back in Canada in jail.)
In Ghana, Jones explained, the spiritual Baptists are heavily into prophecy.
It was at a large all-night “prophetory service” where the local bishop delivered alarming observations aimed at Margaret.
“He said, ‘I see a dark cloud over you.’ He spoke about guns and drugs. And then she started screaming.