Former preacher headed to trial on sex charges
A former pastor at a church in Upper Hammonds Plains has been committed to stand trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on historical sex-related charges.
Michael Oliver Fisher, 39, of Antigonish was arrested last year and charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation.
Fisher is alleged to have committed the offences against a 17-year-old girl in 2008, when he was an associate pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church.
A preliminary inquiry was held Thursday in Halifax provincial court. Judge Amy Sakalauskas sent the matter on for trial after hearing evidence from the alleged victim and another civilian.
There are publication bans on the identity of the complainant and the evidence presented at the inquiry. Fisher, who is represented by Dartmouth lawyer Michelle James, will appear in Supreme Court in Halifax on Sept. 6 for arraignment. He has elected to be tried by a judge alone.
Officers with Halifax’s integrated sexual assault team launched an investigation in August 2016 after the alleged victim filed a complaint with police.
Fisher has worked at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish since 2014. He was placed on leave from his job as co-ordinator for students of African descent in the spring of 2017.
When the charges were announced, a St. F.X. spokeswoman said there was no evidence students at the university were ever at risk. Fisher remains free on an undertaking with conditions to have no contact with the complainant and notify police within 48 hours of any change in his address or employment.
Earlier this year, the Crown agreed to remove conditions that required him to remain in Nova Scotia and surrender his passport.