The trial for a Red Deer pastor who has been charged with sexual assault began in court last week.
Stan Schalk has been charged with one count of sexual assault.
The victim, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, was the only witness to testify during the first day of the trial.
The alleged offense took place between June 15th-30th, 2015. The victim was working for Schalk at his residence doing some painting and staining. The job was offered to her after Schalk learned the victim was in need of financial help.
“When it first started, it was great,” the victim said. “Then it started getting weird and our conversations were longer and deeper. The conversations were very personal and very deep.”
The victim testified that Schalk would request hugs from her when she arrived for work. During one particular hug, she said that Schalk’s hands went down her back onto her buttocks, adding that after he did that she stood back and told Schalk to not do that and he apologized.
“It was a violation to me,” she said.
About a week after that incident, the victim testified that Schalk picked her up from his residence and took her in his truck to a field.
“He said he wanted to show me something. He said it was one of his favourite places. I didn’t know where we were going,” she testified. “We pulled up to a farm gate and drove into the farm field. I felt uneasy – I didn’t know why I was there.”
She added Schalk put a blanket down and asked her to sit down and visit with him.
“I sat down and things moved fast. This is where everything happened,” she said.
The victim testified Schalk ended up on top of her and she pushed him off.
“I was in a state of shock,” she said. “It was like I was frozen.”
The victim said Schalk asked her to calm down and sit back down on the blanket. She did.
“As fast as it happened, his whole hand went up my t-shirt, right underneath my sports bra and onto my left breast,” she said, adding she told him he had less than two seconds to move his hand. “It was the worst thing ever.”
After the incident, Schalk and the victim drove back to his residence.
The victim added the drive home was, “Awful. It was stressful and I was in survival mode.”
Once at Schalk’s residence, the victim went home. “I replayed everything over and over and over,” she said.
The following day, the victim returned to Schalk’s residence to continue working.
“He knows I needed the job. I had no choice in my mind. I had to pay bills and just keep going, I was already losing everything,” she said.
The victim stopped working for Schalk at the end of September 2015 after she allegedly recorded a conversation between her and Schalk.
She testified that during the recording Schalk admitted to the assault and also said he told his wife what had happened between himself and the victim.
That recording was not played in court last Thursday.
Defense lawyer Lorne Goddard argued that if the crown had the recording available, which the crown said they did but they legally could not play it in court, that it would be the best evidence rather than the victim’s testimony.
During his cross-examination, Goddard asked the victim why she got in a vehicle with Schalk when she didn’t know where she was going and after the alleged first incident in his home.
“You were comfortable with my client a week after a vile assault to get into the truck with him and go with him – is that correct?” he asked.
Goddard also raised questions of the victim flirting with Schalk, showing phone records of the victim calling Schalk multiple times while he was on vacation in Florida with his wife, as well as a number of text messages that took place between the victim and defendant. Goddard also questioned the victim on a car that Schalk had bought her and she still drives today. He also asked about numerous “presents” she had given Schalk including a heart-shaped pendant and a manicure. When questioned about these presents, the victim replied, “Absolutely not.”
The trial will continue Aug. 22nd.