May 1, 2008

9-year-old made first moves, sex-crimes defendant says

Sue Montgomery
Montreal Gazette

May 1, 2008

What I did was out of love, he insists. Child's mother approved of relationship and 'marriage,' accused tells court

Daniel Cormier, on trial for a series of morals charges, claims it was a precocious, sexually awakened 9-year-old girl who made the first moves on him, not the other way around.

"She was the one who initiated holding my hand or giving me a kiss," Cormier, who is 39 years older than the girl, told a police investigator in 2003. The girl's real name cannot be published.

"I never, ever forced anything," Cormier added. "I'm not a pedophile, I'm a Maria-phile," he said. (The girl's name has been changed.)

"I don't love children, I love Maria," he insisted on the videotaped interrogation, shown yesterday in Quebec Court. "I loved her at 9, at 11 and if she was 80 years old, I'd love her.

"The older she gets, the more I love her."

The girl began spending weekends at Cormier's apartment after he helped the girl's mother get off the street and kick her drug habit.

The mother has testified that Cormier was like a father figure and that she trusted him completely with her two daughters, who were 8 and 6 at the time.

Cormier, a self-described minister of a now-defunct downtown church, told Montreal police Det.-Lt. Alain Lépine that he wouldn't go into details about his sexual contact with the girl, because it was "sacred" and he wanted to protect her.

The girl "used every trick in the book to win me over," Cormier said, but everything he did with her was out of love and for her benefit.

"She was very sexually aware at 8 years old," he told police. "I don't know if she was abused before.

"She loved me a lot and had certain needs," he continued. "I'm convinced that what I did with her was for her and was good for her."

Cormier, who is defending himself, is on trial for sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, sexual assault and two counts of sexual exploitation of two girls. Yesterday, he admitted he might use a lawyer to conduct his defence.

Cormier, 57, claims he legally married the girl when she was 10. When he told the girl's mother of his intentions to marry, she agreed.

The mother's consent, he said, could be taken two different ways. Either it was a former prostitute wanting to make money off her daughter, "or she was a woman who saw her daughter in love with an older man and a chance to have what (the mother) never had.

"This mother made the right decision because she chose what was best for her daughter."

Cormier said the other girl he is alleged to have sexually exploited wasn't like the girl he "married."

"She was a manipulator and a liar," he said.

"She said you put your hand on her vulva," Lépine told Cormier on the video.

"It's true that I put my hand on her stomach and said one day there'll be a baby in there," Cormier replied. "The body of a woman is damned sacred."

The trial continues today with the testimony of Cormier's so-called "wife."

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