Tue, September 28, 2004
A BARRIE judge was found guilty of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behaviour involving seven female court employees. Justice Kerry Evans was found to have kissed, groped, patted buttocks and made "inappropriate comments with sexual innuendoes" in Barrie or other satellite courthouses, an Ontario Judicial Council judgment stated yesterday.
But the council -- which can recommend that the attorney general remove the 54-year-old judge from the bench -- cleared Evans of the most serious allegation involving oral sex in his chambers in August 2002.
"There were a number of inconsistencies between her testimony and previous statements, not the least of which relates to the number of incidents of oral sex," the judgment said.
Evans tried to refute the allegations by showing photographs of his shaved pubic area at the time of the alleged incident.
The complainant, Ms. H., "failed to note anything unusual about Justice Evans' genitals" during the fellatio incident, the judgment stated. It added the shaved groin evidence wasn't "particularly helpful in assessing Ms. H's overall evidence."
Council member Madam Justice Louise Charron stated, "The Council is unanimous in finding that many of the particulars have been proven and, consequently, we find there has been misconduct.
"It is our view that Justice Evans demonstrated on a number of occasions a disturbing insensitivity to other persons' comfort zones. On other occasions, he has clearly crossed the line."
'GRAB HIM HERE'
Evans once touched a woman's pelvic area to show her how to treat a male co-worker with whom Ms. A was having work-related problems.
"You could grab him here," Evans said, indicating the penis area as he touched A's groin.
Evans was praised by character witnesses as a "warm, caring, compassionate, friendly" individual who would often help others. The judge, who was appointed to the court of justice in 1997, was described by another judge as "the conscience of the court."
But Evans' "touchy-feely approach," while welcomed by friends and peers, was "intrusive and offensive" when applied to staff, the council ruled.
"Any touching to the buttocks, legs, pelvic genital area that is not immediately acknowledged by an apology would be reasonably construed as an undesired sexual contact," Charron wrote.
Evans, who has been suspended with pay since December 2002, found the judgment "disappointing and regrettable," his lawyer Brian Greenspan said.
The council's sanctions hearing has yet to be scheduled.