Brother of com­plainant tes­ti­fies Cairns acted in­ap­pro­pri­ately

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Local - ALI­SON LAN­G­LEY

The brother of a man who claims well-known busi­ness­man Jef­fery Cairns sex­u­ally as­saulted him mul­ti­ple times when he was a teenager tes­ti­fied their “fam­ily friend” also acted in­ap­pro­pri­ately with him.

The Ni­a­gara man, now 25, tes­ti­fied Thurs­day he re­calls five in­ci­dents dur­ing which Cairns cupped or grabbed his gen­i­tals.

The in­ci­dents, he said, oc­curred when he was in Grade 8 through Grade 11 but he has no rec­ol­lec­tion of spe­cific dates.

“I would laugh or make a loud noise and shoot my hips back and away from him,” he told as­sis­tant Crown at­tor­ney Robert Mahler in Su­pe­rior Court of Jus­tice in St. Catharines.

Cairns, 60, has pleaded not guilty to a num­ber of charges in­clud­ing sex­ual as­sault and sex­ual in­ter­fer­ence.

Court heard the older brother went to Ni­a­gara Re­gional Po­lice in Septem­ber 2016, a month af­ter his sib­ling told au­thor­i­ties he had been sex­u­ally abused by Cairns.

“You and your brother are ex­cep­tion­ally close, yes?” de­fence lawyer Jonathan Shime asked the wit­ness.

“Yes,” he replied.

“You are very loyal to your brother, aren’t you?”

“I love my brother.”

The wit­ness de­nied a sug­ges­tion by Shime that he fab­ri­cated sto­ries about be­ing grabbed by Cairns in or­der to ben­e­fit his younger brother.

“I wanted to pro­vide ad­di­tional de­tails on how Jeff in­ter­acted with young men,” the wit­ness replied. “I would not lie in court for my brother.”

The com­plainant, now 23, tes­ti­fied ear­lier that he was 14 years old when the sex­ual abuse be­gan.

He told the jury Cairns would per­form oral sex on him, and also had the teen per­form oral sex on him, a man he de­scribed as his “sec­ond fa­ther.”

The in­ci­dents are said to have oc­curred in St. Catharines and else­where be­tween March 2010 and March 2011.

The Cairns fam­ily is prom­i­nent in St. Catharines and known for their phil­an­thropic en­deav­ours.

They have made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to Ni­a­gara or­ga­ni­za­tions over the years. Cairns’ fa­ther, Roy, who died in 2011, do­nated $6 mil­lion to Brock Univer­sity. Jef­fery Cairns was a mem­ber of Brock Univer­sity’s board of trustees. He re­signed from the board in Au­gust 2016, the day af­ter his ar­rest.

The fam­ily made a $500,000 dona­tion in 2014 to FirstOn­tario Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre in St. Catharines and the recital hall at the venue is named Cairns Recital Hall.

The com­plainant’s older brother tes­ti­fied Thurs­day he was aware the Cairns fam­ily is very wealthy but that he had no idea what the de­fen­dant’s net worth was.

The trial con­tin­ues Mon­day be­fore Judge Paul Sweeny.

Jef­fery Cairns

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