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Sask. 'medicine man' accused of sexual assaults has guilty pleas withdrawn

It’s back to square one for a sexual assault case involving a man who identifies as a traditional Indigenous healer.

Judge Sanjeev Anand expunged, or erased, Cecil Wolfe’s guilty pleas on Tuesday.

Wolfe is facing 12 counts of sexual assault stemming from his work as a self-proclaimed medicine man from 2013-2021.

Last year, Wolfe pleaded guilty to all counts.

Mid-way through his trial, Wolfe fired his lawyer Loretta Pete Lambert and applied to have his guilty pleas cleared.

Anand ruled Wolfe’s guilty pleas “were not informed.”

In the judge’s decision, Anand said Pete Lambert didn’t explain the criminal consequences of Wolfe’s guilty pleas.

“He was not even aware that he was agreeing to go to jail for nine-and-a-half years and would not have entered guilty pleas had he been so aware,” Anand said.

“Miss. Pete Lambert did not discuss that one of the ancillary orders that would flow from his convictions would be his registration as a sex offender.”

Anand said Wolfe has limited formal education; he plead guilty solely on Pete Lambert’s advice.

“The only reason that Mr. Wolf entered guilty pleas was because he was told that he would be unlikely to succeed at trial,” Anand said.

Anand said Pete Lambert did not outline the pros and cons of electing a trial in the Court of King’s Bench, and did not present Wolfe the option of a jury trial.

“Because of the ineffective assistance of counsel, the process involving Mr. Wolf was fundamentally unfair,” Anand ruled.

One of Wolfe’s alleged victims cried in the gallery as Anand read his expungement decision.

The 12 female victims in the case are former patients who turned to Wolfe for traditional healing for a variety of health issues, including stomach pain, infertility and cancer.

According to a previous agreed upon statement of facts, Wolfe told his victims they had “bad medicine” inside them and he had to take it out. They allege he would insert his fingers in the women’s vaginas and claim to remove “trinkets” — such as ribbon, animal bones and snakeskins.

As a result of the expungement, Wolfe can make new pleas — he can plead guilty to some charges and not-guilty to others.

The case is scheduled to be back at Saskatoon Provincial Court on Sept. 25.

Harvey Neufeld is Wolfe’s new lawyer. Top Stories

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