A Saskatoon judge has lifted a publication ban withholding the name of the complainant in a sexual assault case.
Jennifer Beaudry stood up in court Thursday morning and requested that the publication ban be lifted on her identity so she could share her story. The judge granted her request.
“I celebrate the little victories,” Beaudry said, calling the publication ban lift a win. “It felt really good.”
Former athletic director of Legacy Christian Academy, Aaron Benneweis is charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation while he was in a position of power. He appeared before the court by phone Thursday morning, and the session was adjourned.
Legacy Christian Academy, known then as Christian Centre Academy, run by Mile Two Church are being sued by dozens of former students in a $25 million proposed class action lawsuit for historic sexual assault and physical abuse.
Benneweis and other former teachers and staff are named in the lawsuit. A former statement from Legacy Christian Academy read “The community of Mile Two Church is deeply troubled by the details of abuse reported by former students in the press.
The allegations against Legacy Christiam Academy and Benneweis have not been proven in court.
Beaudry, a 2013 graduate of Legacy Christian Academy, reported Benneweis to the police in August 2022. Forty-six-year-old Benneweis turned himself in to the Saskatoon Police Service on Jan. 31, and was released on conditions after his arrest.
He has not entered his plea to the charges yet.
Beaudry said that Benneweis started paying more attention to her in school when she was 13 years old. She said she was 14 when someone in the institution swore her to secrecy about the abuse.
“I wasn’t given the justice that I needed. There is a crime that happened here, and nobody sees that, and it is not treated like that… this is an interprovincial issue.”
Beaudry said she wanted the ban lifted on her name to give herself closure and to give others courage.
“That’s not everybody’s role, everybody doesn’t need to come forward and speak publicly but I want to, to help give other people courage and closure,” Beaudry said.
“It’s for me and it’s for all of the other people who are really thinking about what happened because there are hundreds of people that have been affected by what has gone on, not just with Aaron, but with the whole church and school.”
Beaudry said that she felt sheltered growing up and attending Legacy Christian Academy.
“We weren’t allowed to live a real life. We didn’t have a social life, we didn’t have a dating life, we weren’t allowed to work, we didn’t play club sports and stuff like that.”
Having the lawsuit and allegations before the court has been helpful during Beaudry’s, and other complainants’, healing process.
“It’s been a wakeup call for some, but for some it has been so healing.”
She has not seen Benneweis in court yet.
“I look forward to being (in court) and looking Aaron in the eyes after not seeing him for a decade with the roles swapped and having the control swapped,” Beaudry said. “That will bring a lot of closure to me.”
Global News was unable to reach Benneweis’ lawyer for comment.
— with files from Global News’ Nathaniel Dove