A Red Deer mother denied in court on Tuesday that she sexually assaulted one of her sons or regularly abused all four of her children.
Taking the stand in her own defence, the 63-year-old said she had no idea why one of her sons would accuse her of climbing into his bed and sexually assaulting him between 10 and 15 times when he was between the ages of 12 and 15.
He first accused her of the sexual abuse in 2004 and then stopped speaking to her, she testified in Red Deer provincial court.
Asked by defence lawyer Dave Inglis if her son provided any details of the alleged abuse.
“Not to me,” she answered.
The former licensed practical nurse admitted she once punched her other son in the face when he was about nine years old giving him black eyes. But that was the only time something like that happened, she said.
“I felt so ashamed of myself for hitting my own boy,” she said, choking back emotion.
“I apologized to him many times about that.”
The only punishments her two sons and two daughters received was to be paddled on the buttocks with a wooden or plastic spoon or spatula, she testified. It was part of a discipline plan that she and her husband had agreed on.
The woman faces charges of sexual assault, sexual interference, assault causing bodily harm, aggravated assault and assault. The charges are in relation to what the Crown says was a long series of abuses during the 1980s and 1990s. They lived for most of that period on a Bentley-area farm.
The accused’s identity and the identity of her children are protected by a court-ordered publication ban.
The mother denied the litany of beatings described by her children during earlier testimony, including striking them in the head, dragging them by their hair and beating them on their backs and legs.
One son testified about being cut with a knife and hit with a butcher knife, which she denied.
“In my mind, it did not happen.”
Another son’s claims in testimony earlier that day that she hit him almost daily? “Not true,” she said.
The children’s father, the accused’s husband of 43 years, also took the stand and described a home where he dealt out spankings with a couple of swats on the youngster’s clothed buttocks with a spoon.
A retired police officer and firefighter, he said that other than the one incident with the black eyes he didn’t see any other injuries on the children other than red marks from being spanked on the buttocks.
In morning testimony, the son who got the black eyes said he received black eyes from being hit by his mother three other times.
Growing up, the children were so afraid of their mother they feared she was capable of killing them, he testified.
Questioned by the defence about why he didn’t go to the authorities, he said he didn’t think he would be believed. Teachers and church leaders didn’t seem interested in what he had to say when he was young.
Asked why no one seemed to notice the bruising from beatings, he said they were kept home from school when they were fresh.
The Crown prosecutor and defence lawyer will make their closing submissions to provincial court Judge James Glass today.