Former student says she was 'groomed' by Saskatoon educator accused of sexual assault
WARNING: Some readers may be troubled by details contained in this story
Aaron Benneweis, 46, has been charged by Saskatoon Police with sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a minor while in a position of trust or authority.
A former student of Legacy Christian Academy — who requested she not be named — says she came forward to SPS in August of 2022 alleging she was involved in several incidents with Benneweis between 2008 and 2013, starting on her 13th birthday.
“He would just like lock eyes with me, but he would smile just like bigger than normal,” she said.
“He wouldn't like look away. It was kind of like 'Hey, he's looking at me a lot.'”
Benneweis is named in the proposed class-action lawsuit involving former students and staff at the school and adjoining Mile Two Church.
The former student says Benneweis was the athletic director while she attended the school.
“He was my first kiss, and I was 14 at that time,” she said.
She says Benneweis, who was in his early thirties at the time, pressured her into keeping their relationship a secret because his family life and career “depended on it."
“We never had sex, but he would make out with me and be like hands all over bodies, all over each other, but I was never like fully naked with him,” she said.
“He had me stripped down to my underwear in his own bedroom in his house, that kind of thing. He had a condom on multiple times.”
She says when she was 17 years old in 2013, she came forward to then-pastor Keith Johnson to discuss what she calls the “most disgusting thing” she’d ever been a part of.
“The very first thing that Keith said after like five seconds of silence was 'Okay, so obviously we have to make a police report because of the nature of the incidences, but will you lie about your age and say that you are older than you were?'"
Attempts by CTV News to reach Johnson have been unssucessful.
She said she agreed because she “just wanted it to be over at that point."
“I was perfectly groomed and conditioned to see myself as a scapegoat,” she said.
“I thought I was coming out to the proper people. I was already conditioned to agree to whatever they wanted me to do.”
She says Benneweis was relocated to Edmonton shortly after.
SPS says Benneweis turned himself in on Tuesday where he was arrested and released on conditions.
In an email, the pastor at Mile Two Church Brien Johnson says due to the legal situation, the church and school will not be giving interviews or comments.
“We will continue to cooperate fully with the legal process and authorities,” he said.
Benneweis is expected to appear in Saskatoon Provincial Court on March 13.
“I am happy that this is finally happening with the proper legal weight behind it because there have been a lot of injustices and a lot of severe stories of abuse for a lot of different people over a lot of years,” said the former student.
“To be honest, Aaron shows up in 95 per cent of my dreams at night to this day because I've never had the proper closure. It's never been dealt with.”
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