Defence calls sexual contact with fire chief consensual
There was sexual contact between then-Kingsville fire chief Bob Kissner and a male high school student, but it was consensual, the defence claimed Friday at the former chief ’s sexual assault trial. On the second day of a threeweek trial before Superior Court Justice Pamela Hebner, it was the defence’s turn to cross-examine the first of eight alleged victims. Lawyer Ken Marley argued the first complainant to testify had willingly participated in events that took place between him and Kissner in the early 2000s. “(Kissner) respected your wishes by not having any further contact of a sexual nature with you again,” Marley said to the complainant, referring to earlier testimony that he had confronted Kissner in 2009, warning him he would “come forward” if he heard about any others. But the complainant responded that that had been years after the alleged incidents occurred. “I had been living away for a number of years,” he said, adding it was therefore not possible for Kissner to continue any sexual contact with him. “I took myself away from the situation.” The complainant had testified Thursday he decided to come forward after news in 2016 that the Ontario Provincial Police had arrested and charged Kissner with sexual assault. Others subsequently came forward, and Kissner now faces 17 criminal counts: 11 for sexual assault, five for sexual exploitation, and one for sexual interference. The names of the eight alleged victims, who were as young as 16, are subject to a publication ban. Under questioning Thursday by assistant Crown attorney Jennifer Holmes, the first complainant to testify described bathing in a Jacuzzi-type tub, followed by massages as well as sleepovers, during one of which he said he awoke to the fire chief touching his genitals. A male high school friend of the first complainant followed him on the witness stand Friday afternoon. The Crown’s second witness stated he saw Kissner touch the complainant “on many occasions.” When asked to describe the touching, the witness said it was “a lot of massaging on the shoulders.” “I asked (the complainant), ‘ Why is this gentleman touching you?’ He just kind of looked at me and brushed it off, and said, ‘That’s just Bob,’” the witness said, recalling a conversation he had with the complainant over 15 years ago.
On one occasion, the friend testified, Kissner started to massage his shoulders, but he said Kissner stopped after being asked to. “You expressed a concern about it, and he respected it,” Marley said during cross-examination of the witness, who agreed. “Unlike you, (the complainant) didn’t say anything,” Marley added. Again, the witness agreed. The male witness testified Kissner once offered to draw him a Jacuzzi bath after he’d helped Kissner and the trial’s first complainant move an organ into Kissner’s basement.
“I found that kind of odd myself considering I did not have swim trunks,” the witness said. “It was an awkward situation from which I managed to remove myself as quickly as I possibly could.” When Marley suggested the bath was offered to him as an opportunity to ease whatever strain his back had incurred moving the organ, the witness disagreed. “It was never offered to me in that manner, sir,” the witness said. The trial resumes Monday.