Bruce Waddell (Worker)

No jail for former evangelist who admitted molesting child

Betty Ann Adam – The StarPhoenix  Friday, October 15, 2010

A former travelling evangelist who went to the police to confess he had molested a seven-year-old girl while staying with her family six years ago evaded a jail sentence Thursday in provincial court.

Bruce Waddell, 55, told the child’s parents about the fondling about a week after it happened in 2004 in Thompson, Man., Crown prosecutor Mary Matchett said at his sentencing hearing.

The parents didn’t take the matter to the police, apparently because the child seemed unconcerned about the incident and the parents thought the criminal process might traumatize her, Matchett said.

Waddell was sentenced to a four-month conditional sentence to be served in the community, followed by three years on probation.

The single incident was at the low end of the spectrum of sexual assault, defence lawyer Nicholas Blenkinsop said.

Waddell had no criminal record, reported himself to the police, voluntarily sought psychological treatment to address his problem and has not abused any other children since beginning treatment, Blenkinsop said, citing reasons why Waddell should be allowed to serve his sentence in the community instead of in jail.

In an interview outside court, Waddell said he victimized other children but he was only charged with the Thompson, Man., case.

There was no mention of other child victims during the court hearing.

“There’s been other victims but that’s been looked after,” Waddell said.

“We looked after the others before,” he said.

“Everybody forgave me. The ones that I did, the parents forgave me. We believe in repentance and forgiveness.”

Waddell said none of the parents wanted him to go to the police.

“They didn’t want to go to the law of the land. They wanted to leave it in God’s hands,” he said.

Waddell said he told authorities about all of the victims and believes they will all have access to funds for counselling provided by victim services.

During the court hearing, Blenkinsop said about a year after the incident, Waddell left the non-denominational ministry and moved to Saskatoon to seek help for his problem.

Waddell went to the Saskatoon Health Region, where he obtained one-on-one counselling with therapists and treatment from psychiatrist Dr. Mansfield Mela.

He has been in treatment for paraphilia for five years with Mela, as well as participating in group therapy and graduating to a treatment maintenance program, Blenkinsop said.

The therapists told Waddell the best way to help his victim was to report himself to the RCMP because then the victim would be eligible for funding for counselling if she should ever seek it in connection with the abuse, Blenkinsop said.

Waddell went to the RCMP and was subsequently charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and breach of trust.

He pleaded guilty to sexual assault and the other charges were stayed by the Crown.

Judge Marilyn Gray agreed the circumstances were unusual in handing down the sentence.

Waddell will not have to register with the national sex offender registry because it was created after the crime was committed, Gray decided.

His DNA profile will go into the national data base and he is prohibited from possessing firearms for 10 years.

Waddell is also subject to a wide-reaching prohibition against contact with children under age 16: He isn’t allowed in parks, swimming pools or other places where children might be expected to be; he may not take any job or volunteer work that would put him in a position of trust or authority over young people; and he may not use computers to communicate with young people.

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2010

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