A community leader who has played a key role in creating affordable housing options in Red Deer will learn in September whether he is guilty of sexually assaulting one of his workers.
Stanley Richard Schalk, 57, has been on trial in Red Deer provincial court, charged with sexual assault for putting his hand on the breast of 43-year-old employee while on a private picnic with her on June 15, 2015. Schalk is co-owner of Potter’s Hands Developments and a volunteer pastor with Potter’s Hands Ministry. The woman’s name is withheld under a publication ban that protects the identities of victims of sexual assault.
Judge Darrell Riemer, over the duration of the trial, has heard evidence from the alleged victim and her mother as well as from Schalk himself and another of his workers, who testified for the defence on Wednesday.
Daniel Martin, 51, testified that he had been asked to work with “Jane Doe” in the latter part of the construction season because she had been assigned to work on a downtown project and she was worried about her personal safety.
Giving evidence for defence counsel Lorne Goddard, Martin said Doe was upset to learn that there would be no more work for her after September, once her part of the project was completed.
“(She said) If he thinks he’s going to terminate me, he’s got another think coming. I am going to take him down,” said Martin.
Martin confirmed under cross examination by Crown prosecutor Dominique Mathurin that he is a friend of Schalk’s and depends on him for employment.
He said his relationship with Doe was purely as a co-worker and that texts between them before and after work were all job related.
“I was done with her the second day in. I’d had enough of her. I liked her as a person, but I just didn’t like working with her,” he said.
Mathurin asked Riemer to disregard Martin’s testimony entirely because he was not present at the picnic or on a previous occasion when Schalk is alleged to have put his hand on her buttocks.
Goddard said the earlier incident did not form part of the charge against Schalk and therefore could not be considered in the context of a sexual assault. He said the incident at the picnic was not a sexual assault because Schalk believed he had Doe’s consent and took his hand away as soon as she told him to stop.
He said that, while his client had been forthright in giving his testimony, the alleged victim had been evasive under cross-examination and that her behaviour after the incident was not that of a victim.
“Why did she talk to him if she is mortally offended by what happened? He brings her a gift. Does she throw it in his face and tell him to bugger off? No, she takes it.” She also asked him to come and check water damage at her house and went for a motorcycle ride with him after the incident, said Goddard.
Mathurin said Doe was vulnerable because the accused was her employer and a pastor in her church.
“The Crown believes there is no air of reality to the defence of consent,” said Mathurin.
Riemer reserved judgment on the charge, stating that he will announce his decision on the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 19.