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Brent Hawkes trial: Toronto pastor takes stand, denies sex assault allegations

Toronto pastor Brent Hawkes arrives at provincial court in Kentville, N.S. on Tuesday, November 14, 2016.
Toronto pastor Brent Hawkes arrives at provincial court in Kentville, N.S. on Tuesday, November 14, 2016. Darren Calabrese / The Canadian Press

Toronto pastor Brent Hawkes says no sexual activity took place in his home on the day he is accused of gross indecency on a 16-year-old male.

Hawkes took the stand at his trial Thursday in Kentville, N.S.

READ MORE: Toronto pastor Brent Hawkes’ trial told of teen stripping game, sex at N.S. home in 70s

On Tuesday, a man testified that Hawkes led him down a hallway naked during a drunken get-together at his Nova Scotia trailer in the mid-1970s and performed sex acts on him in a bedroom.

Hawkes, then a teacher in his mid-20s in the Annapolis Valley, said Thursday it wasn’t unusual that students and teachers would come by his trailer, especially around that time to say goodbye because he was moving to Toronto.

“I think it would be accurate to say I was a pretty popular teacher,” he testified.

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READ MORE: Toronto pastor Brent Hawkes pleads not guilty in historical sexual assault case

He said students often attended parties with teachers following a school event like a musical or a hockey game. But he denied serving students alcohol on the day in question, and said there was no sexual activity at his trailer.

“I do not recall … walking (the complainant) down the hallway,” he said.

Hawkes testified that he was not open about his homosexuality at the time, saying he would likely have been fired if he had been. But he said word got out that he was gay, and the complainant came by his trailer once to ask him if it was true.

“He said, ‘I think I might be gay,”‘ Hawkes said.

Hawkes said he asked him why he’d bragged about being with girls, and told him he was a good-looking guy and would be fine if he sought out a gay community. But the boy seemed very sad and left, Hawkes said.

Hawkes testified he decided to quit teaching after three years because he wanted to be part of a church that accepted gay people.

The high-profile rights activist has pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and gross indecency.

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Earlier, Hawkes’ lawyer, Clayton Ruby, suggested the complainant reconstructed some memories surrounding the alleged sex offences, rather than recalled true memories. He noted a judge in a separate civil case involving the complainant found he had reconstructed his actions during testimony in that case, rather than recalled them from direct memory.

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