Samuel and Madelaine Emerson. (Surrey RCMP photos)

Former camper claims sexual abuse at Cowichan River Bible Camp

Surrey pastor accused of sexual assault is former board member of Vancouver Island camp

Just weeks after dozens of sexual assault charges were laid against one of its board members in a series of incidents in the Lower Mainland, Cowichan River Bible Camp has been alleged as the scene of other assaults.

Surrey pastor Samuel Emerson, who was a board member of the bible camp, has been charged with 25 criminal code offences related to at least five victims, including: 13 counts of sexual assault, 11 counts of being in position of authority and touching a person for a sexual purpose and one count of sexual touching of a person under the age of 16.

Camp general director Gerald Wall confirmed this week the camp has cut ties with Samuel after police announced the charges earlier this month.

Samuel’s wife, Madelaine Emerson, 37, has also been charged with one count of sexual assault, one count of being in a position of authority and touching a person for a sexual purpose, and one count of threats to cause death or bodily harm.

Court documents show most of the offences are alleged to have taken place in Surrey, where until his arrest, Emerson was a pastor at the Cloverdale Christian Fellowship.

One alleged sexual assault, according to court documents, occurred in or near Cowichan Bay between July and August 2014.

RELATED: Cloverdale pastor, wife charged with sexual assault

RELATED:‘We grieve for the victims’: Cloverdale churches respond to recent charges against Surrey pastor

RELATED:Cloverdale pastor responds to charges of sexual assault against son

Duncan resident Alexis Masur attended Cowichan River Bible Camp on River bottom Road for four years starting when she was 15. She alleges she, and others, were assaulted at the camp and at the affiliated Oasis church by an adult that was not Emerson.

“It started out with really long hugs, then their face would get closer to me and they would start giving me kisses on the cheek and then they’d start kissing me on the lips and then the next thing you know they’re caressing me to the point where they’re touching my genitals,” she explained.

She said she knew what they were doing was wrong but she felt powerless.

“They were a really well respected leader in the church and respected at the camp too,” she said. “This person was smart, they knew how to make me take blame. I was so afraid that if I said it out loud that I would never be loved again. This person had power, and if I said a peep, almost everyone I respected would turn on me in an instant.”

Masur is haunted by the youth she left behind.

“When I left that church, I ran, and I never looked back. But I always feel guilty because I know if I had stayed, and fought that I could prevented other people from having the same thing happen to them,” she said.

Masur’s allegations took Wall by surprise.

“This is news,” he said Tuesday morning. “I won’t respond to that right now. All I know is that we do have protocols in place for our staff and that this comes out of left field. I have no prior knowledge of this. Until we have some confirmation through the RCMP, I won’t respond any further.”

Police are now calling on other victims to come forward.

“Calling the police to report a sexual assault is a very difficult thing to do especially when the suspect is someone you knew and trusted, and can leave lifelong emotional scars,” said Cpl. Scotty Schumann. “Our highly skilled investigators take sexual assaults very seriously, and, supported by our Surrey RCMP Victim Services workers, are here to listen and provide emotional support.”

On Tuesday morning Wall said the camp had more than 60 years of history and “thousands of great, kind and trustworthy individuals and leaders who have and continue to make Cowichan Camp a great place.”

“In the light of unfolding information and charges involving Samuel and Madelaine Emerson, we first want to extend our prayers and support for the victims of these reported [alleged] events. Words do not soften the pain of those victimized or take away the shock of those on the periphery.

“When the first news of these allegations were brought to light the Emersons were removed from our summer guest speaker lineup and Samuel resigned his position on the Board of Directors. They have not been to camp since,” Wall said. “We know that only a small portion of the Emerson’s itinerary involved time at Cowichan Camp, but we would encourage anyone who may have been a victim of the accused to reach out to the authorities.”

Masur has not reported her complaint to the RCMP.

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Cariboo Fire Centre: Smoke from pile burns to be visible from west side of Williams Lake

Burning could start as early as Monday, Nov. 18 and continue periodically until about Jan. 15, 2020

New owners resurrect Mt. Timothy ski hill

Mt. Timothy invites public to soft opening to check out facility Nov. 15-16

Hazardous debris from downtown lots being cleaned up after fire

Crew is using special equipment to remove asbestos from site

Spirit of Christmas writing contest underway

Winners in each class will be showcased in our annual Seasons Greetings Christmas publication

VIDEO: B.C. man trapped under ATV for days shows promise at Victoria hospital

Out of induced coma, 41-year-old is smiling, squeezing hands and enjoying sunshine

B.C. taxi drivers no longer exempt from wearing a seatbelt

Before, taxi drivers were allowed to forego a seatbelt when driving under 70 kilometres an hour

Car dash covered in papers not an excuse for speeding, Delta police warn

After pulling driver over for speeding, police found his speedometer blocked by a stack of papers

B.C. woman seeks return of jewelry box containing father’s cremated remains

Sicamous RCMP report handmade box was stolen from a storage locker

Vancouver police officer charged with sexual assault in apparent off-duty incident

Jagraj Roger Berar, 51, of Surrey, charged in incident alleged to have happened in Whistler

CN Rail confirms job cuts as weakening economy cuts into freight volumes

Railroad also said it was affected by a slowdown in the B.C.’s forestry sector

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

New case of vaping-related illness in Quebec brings national total to 8

Quebec health minister considering tightening the rules around vaping products

Greens to vote against Liberal throne speech unless carbon targets toughened: May

Green leader Elizabeth May and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Friday, discussing common ground

Most Read