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Pastor named in lawsuit against Saskatoon school and church is 'evading the process,' lawyer says

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The proposed class-action lawsuit against former teachers and staff at Legacy Christian Academy, and adjoining Mile Two Church is moving forward, according to the attorney representing the former students.

Lawyer Grant Scharfstein says following an amendment to the claim in December where the Government of Saskatchewan and other parties were added, a court date is being set to determine if defendants have to file defences before the certification hearing of the lawsuit.

“They don't want to file defences until after certification, our position is they should be filing the defences now,” he said.

“So we're waiting for a court date to argue that. So lots of this kind of back and forth over the next little while, but it is moving forward.”

One of the individuals named in the proposed lawsuit, 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.

Scharfstein says Keith Johnson, the former pastor of Mile Two Church, who was named in the lawsuit, has still not been located.

“We thought we found him in Amarillo, Texas, and he was there, but now the church that he was at is saying they don't know him, and he wasn't there, so we have not been able to locate him,” said Scharfstein.

“He is absolutely evading the process. He knows the claim is out there. I have every reason to believe he's seen it and read it, and he knows what's in it. I just assume he doesn't want to face it.”

Scharfstein says more charges against people named in the lawsuit could follow.

“We're happy that one person has so far been charged,” he said.

“We know that there are dozens of other complaints that have been lodged with the police, and we'll see if any further coming down the pipe.”

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