Surrey pastor convicted of sexual assault, wife acquitted

A pastor in Surrey, B.C., has been convicted of sexual assault, while his wife was cleared of all charges against her.

Samuel Emerson of the Cloverdale Christian Fellowship Church was found guilty of one count of sexual assault in provincial court in Surrey on Wednesday, Crown confirmed. 

He was acquitted of four other counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual exploitation and one count of sexual interference.

His wife, Madelaine Louise Emerson, was found not guilty of two counts of sexual assault, one count of sexual exploitation and one count of uttering threats.

More than 20 further criminal charges against Samuel Emerson were stayed before trial. All were related to alleged sexual offences.

Emerson was freed on court-ordered conditions Wednesday to await sentencing, a date for which is scheduled to be set on Nov. 29.

Samuel and Madelaine Emerson were 34 and 37, respectively, when they were first charged in 2017. At the time, RCMP said the case was "disturbing" and related to one child as well as "several" young adults. Any victim's name is protected under a publication ban imposed in court.

Samuel Emerson's father, Randy Emerson, who has worked as a senior pastor at the Cloverdale church, said the allegations against his son fractured the congregation, which lost a quarter of its members after the charges were made public.

"A sacred trust has been broken in many people's minds," Randy Emerson told CBC News in October 2017.

The elder Emerson said his son spent his life in the church and had been a pastor for seven or eight years. The family became aware of the allegations at the time of the arrests and the younger Emersons avoided the church afterward.

The couple was not previously known to police.

A third former member of the same evangelical church was charged with sexual offences in October 2018. Brian David Batke, who was 72 at the time of his arrest, faces charges sexual assault and sexual exploitation.

His next court appearance is set for February 2020.