The Toronto pastor accused of sexually assaulting a minor back in the ’70s took to the stand in a Nova Scotia courtroom on Thursday.
Brent Hawkes said there was no sexual activity at his then home, a trailer in the Annapolis Valley, during what a witness described as a drinking party.
Hawkes is facing charges of indecent assault and gross indecency.
Earlier in the trial, a witness testified that Hawkes had taken him to a bedroom in the trailer and performed sexual acts on him.
“I do not recall… walking (the complainant) down the hallway,” Hawkes said.
At the time, Hawkes was in his 20s and a basketball coach at a school in the Valley.
On the stand, he said it was not unusual for students in the small community to come by his trailer regularly.
“I think it would be accurate to say I was a pretty popular teacher,” Hawkes said.
Hawkes denied ever serving alcohol on the day in question.
Defence lawyer Clayton Ruby is questioning the alleged victim’s claims. He pointed out that in a previous unrelated civil case, a judge discovered that the complainant reconstructed actions rather than recalled them from direct memory.
Hawkes has been a senior pastor at Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto for nearly 40 years, and became the first openly gay man to receive an appointment to the Order of Canada in 2007 for his work in social justice circles and human rights.