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In order to convict a Torontonian of a crime, the Crown must provide considerable, credible evidence, if it cannot, a defendant must be acquitted. The Crown needs to convince a judge or jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did what he or she is accused of, an extremely high burden and one that is meant to prevent wrongful conviction. This also means that police and prosecutors cannot rely solely on speculation and hunches, they must have clear evidence.
That requirement has not stopped Toronto police from reporting to the media that they believe a 54-year-old reverend of a Romanian Orthodox Church near Birchmount and Danforth roads has been involved in several sexual assaults. Though police have only charged the reverend with one sexual assault and it is unclear if there is any evidence linking him to other assaults, police continue to speculate on other assaults.
City News reports the assault allegedly happened in the church. The reverend is accused of trying to sexually assault a woman but stopped when another couple entered the church. The man will appear in court in mid-October.
Between now and his court date, police and prosecutors will need to find evidence that links the reverend to the sexual assault, and if they wish to charge him with further assaults, they must find enough evidence for every single charge. If they cannot, they are merely tarnishing his reputation, destroying his career and severely interrupting his family life. While a sexual assault is a terrible thing and anyone who commits one should be prosecuted, police should not make accusations without enough evidence to support their claims.
Source: City News, “Toronto reverend charged with sex assault,” Erin Criger, 13 Sept. 2013