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Alleged victim disappointed as former Saskatoon gym teacher appears in court by phone


A Saskatoon woman who is unable to identify herself due to a court-ordered publication ban she's fighting to remove says she is disappointed she wasn't able to face her former gym teacher in court on Monday.

"I walked in there thinking I was going to see him," the alleged victim said. "Which I was very mentally ready for, (I'm) kind of ready for that closure."

Aaron Benneweis was the athletic director at Christian Centre Academy, now known as Legacy Christian Academy. He is charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation.

Benneweis is also named in a $25 million class action lawsuit filed by dozens of former students last summer for various sexual and physical abuse allegations.

His alleged victim came forward to Saskatoon police last August with a series of allegations involving incidents between 2003 and 2013.

She says Benneweis, 46, was her gym teacher when he first started to stare and smile at her when she was 13 years old. Her first kiss was with Benneweis, her gym teacher at the time, when she was 14 years old.

"It's been a decade" the complainant said outside of the courthouse. "It feels really good that the process has started, but it's a little disappointing that I didn't see him. It will happen later, I'm sure. But it feels really good that the ball has finally started rolling."

The complainant says she was repeatedly told by Benneweis to conceal their relationship because his family life and career "depended on it."

She says when she approached then-pastor Keith Johnson, the head of the school at the time, along with Johnson's wife about the relationship when she was 17, Johnson agreed to file a police report, but told her to lie and say the relationship began when she was 16 years old.

She obliged because she wanted the ordeal to be over. She says Benneweis was relocated to Edmonton shortly afterwards.

Attempts by CTV News to contact Johnson have been unsuccessful.

The complainant says she decided to reengage with police this summer not only for her own closure but to protect others out there as well.

"Enough is enough and what happened is a crime," she said. "We need to actually start taking legal action on it."

Benneweis turned himself in to police at the end of January and was released on conditions. He was out of the province and had his lawyer appear on his behalf via telephone Monday.

Benneweis is next scheduled to appear in Provincial Court on March 23. Top Stories

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