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Former Legacy Christian Academy student says he was ‘paddled’ for being gay: court

A former student of Legacy Christian Academy testified in court Monday, saying the school's former director beat him with a wooden paddle for being gay. File / Global News

A former student of Legacy Christian Academy testified in court Monday, saying the school’s former director beat him with a wooden paddle for being gay.

John Olubobokun, former director of Legacy Christian Academy, is charged with nine separate assaults with a weapon. He is also named in a $25-million lawsuit launched against Mile-Two Church, which operates the school.

Olubobokun turned himself in to Saskatoon police in June 2023 after a group of former students alleged they were physically and sexually abused by staff at the school.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

The Nolin brothers testified against Olubobokun in Saskatoon court Monday, sharing their stories from their time at the school.

Oldest brother Coy Nolin told the court Olubobokun came to his house and struck him three times with a wooden paddle after finding out he was gay.

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According to Nolin, another student came forward and confessed their relationship and “sin” to Olubobokun.

He said Olubobokun was waiting for him at his house when he returned home and called him a “disgusting perversion.”

Nolin told the court he remembers Olubobokun and several other members of Mile-Two Church laid their hands on him and started “speaking in tongues.”

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He claimed it was their attempt to heal him from being gay.

According to Nolin, Olubobokun wanted to send him to a church in Edmonton, but his mom pulled him and his siblings out of the school first.

Nolin’s brothers Cody and Cole also testified, saying students were also hit at school for disobeying the rules — anything from talking in class to cheating.

They compared the paddles to cricket bats or two-by-fours.

“There were multiple occasions where the paddle cracked or broke over my body,” Cole testified.

He claimed Olubobokun came to his house one Saturday when his mother wasn’t home and paddled him three times for not reading a chapter of the Bible every day.

In total, Cole said he was paddled 254 times by Olubobokun and other Legacy Christian Academy staff members.

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The brothers transferred from public school to Legacy Christian Academy in the early 2000s. They said the change was quite a shock.

Coy described sitting in small cubicles at the school, separated from the other students, and facing the wall while they completed workbooks.

“They were colouring books for children pretending to be education,” Nolin said.

The school used a strict demerit system for misbehaviour, according to the brothers. Several demerits resulted in a “caution” and a note that had to be signed by parents.

Paddling was saved for more serious offences, but the brothers said the occasion varied.

“You were forced to bend over a desk or a chair to present your bottom and they would strike you with it three times,” Nolin’s brother Cody testified.

Cody said one time he refused a paddling and was sent away to live with his father for a summer. He wasn’t allowed to have any contact with his siblings or return to the school until he was paddled.

“I was seen as a corrupting influence on my siblings and I was to be sent away, forced to have no contact because I might coerce them to rebel as well,” he said.

Cody said his family was all he had.

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“We were not allowed to associate with anyone outside of the church or outside of the school,” he testified.

During cross-examination, Olubobokun’s defence lawyer asked the brothers why they didn’t tell their mother about each paddling or if she had suggested they go to a different school.

Cole and Cody both said she already had a lot on her plate as a single mother of four, working two jobs and volunteering for lunch programs at the school.

The remainder of the Crown’s witnesses are expected to appear in court Tuesday.

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