Pastor sexually assaulted mother and daughter in Mississauga church for years, court finds

By

Published May 17, 2023 at 3:23 pm

The senior pastor of a Mississauga Pentecostal church has been convicted of sexually assaulting two of his congregants, a mother and her daughter, on numerous occasions over several years.

The mother, MM, worked for Pastor Clyde Williams as an administrative assistant and worked with church youth for years. She accused Williams of sexually assaulting her several times between 2004 and 2007. All of these incidents occurred in the church, save one.

The daughter, DD, accused Williams of two years of sexual exploitation, starting when she was 16 years old, from 2006 until 2008. She, too, was a churchgoer at the time. She claimed Williams assaulted her several times in his car, including on her 18th birthday, and in the church prayer room. She worked with the church for years after her mother left, becoming Williams’ unpaid assistant.

She later testified in court before Justice Cynthia Petersen that Williams instilled a “huge level of submission” in her. “She claimed that he manipulated her and exercised an inordinate amount of influence over her life decisions, both as a minor and as an adult, such as her decision to conceal the location of her residence from her parents,” Petersen wrote in her decision.

Beliefs of the church

Williams, MM, and DD all believe in demons that try to inhabit human bodies. Furthermore, they believe Williams has a rare ability to expel these demons through prayer and the “laying of hands” on the person. He calls this process a “deliverance.”

DD testified to witnessing 10 of these “deliverances” over her years with Williams, all of which occurred in the church. She said the “deliverance” subjects often “roll around on the ground, cry, scream, and behave aggressively” and require congregants to restrain them.

Additionally, they believe Williams receives messages from his God. While Williams downplayed this belief in court, saying he gets messages from reading the Bible, text messages and recorded conversations indicate the belief Williams audibly hears these messages.

The court found that Williams often used the belief in this superpower to control his congregants. On one such occasion, as DD drifted away in November 2018, he threatened to pray away a new job she had gotten just as he had prayed for her to get it.

“The message is unequivocal. In it, he belittles her by stating that she did not obtain her job based on her own ability, reminds her of his supposed role in invoking the supernatural powers of God to secure the position, and urges her to reflect on how he ‘can pray for it to go.’ This constitutes an undeniable warning that, if he wanted to, he could use his ‘gift’ to invoke an act of God to take the position from her,” Petersen wrote.

MM

The long history of Williams’ abusive behaviour, in this case, begins when MM took a job at the church around 2004. Shortly after she joined, Williams began asking her for massages while the two were alone together in the church. This progressed to forced attempts to kiss MM, touching her and lifting her shirt, placing her on top of him, gyrating on her, and sticking his tongue in her ear on many occasions between 2005 and 2007.

On a couple of occasions, Williams manipulated MM into positions where he was lying on top of her, pinning her down. He would then “simulate the sexual act,” as Petersen describes, while fully clothed. All of the incidents ended with MM rejecting Williams’ advances and leaving deeply upset.

MM eventually left the church in 2007 and later recounted her allegations to friends and her by-then estranged husband after they reconnected. She later brought her allegations to the church board of directors and to the governing body that ordained Williams. Neither organization acted on them. It wasn’t until 2018, when her daughter, DD, said she too had been abused, that MM went to confront Williams and file a police report.

Williams denied all allegations on the stand, but Petersen found his testimony “completely untrustworthy.” Conversely, she found MM’s testimony “entirely plausible and credible.” She found him guilty of sexually assaulting MM.

DD’s exploitation

On his relationship with DD, Williams told the court they were “Pastor and congregant” and “spiritual daughter and spiritual father.” Petersen writes there was “no question” Williams was a father figure to DD, noting she and her sister, KK called him “daddy” from a young age. Both DD and KK stood with Williams in 2009 when MM brought her allegations forward to the church board.

DD began to spend time in the church at age 15. Williams quickly took an interest in her, and the two began to spend time together. Petersen would later describe this period as “grooming.” As DD grew closer to Williams, he began driving a wedge between her and her family. Her parents’ marriage was already strained and they split up in 2006. Williams used this to alienate DD and KK from their parents further.

Williams led DD to believe her father was under demonic influence and worked to alienate them from each other. He began asking DD to come to his house over the summer to clean up and mow the lawn. It made her feel special to be picked to help, Petersen writes. He continued to push this, telling her she was gifted and having her sit on his lap during conversation, “breaking down physical barriers and blurring the line between what was appropriate and what was inappropriate.”

She frequently visited his house, where they would sit closely on the couch where he would rub her legs and back unless his wife or son were present, in which case he would sit “normally.” Later that summer, as he drove them to his house, Williams kissed her on the mouth. Following this, “It progressed to more intimate touching in places where she normally would not let anyone touch her.”

These car rides grew in frequency from 2006 to 2008, as did the explicit nature of Williams’ behaviour toward DD. He instructed her to touch him and frequently touched her in highly intimate ways. In addition to the car rides, he would frequently bring her into the church prayer room for the same purpose.

She testified these interactions left her feeling both special to be chosen–which Williams encouraged–but was confused about them at the same time. She felt a desire to protect Williams from the secret getting out. Williams told her about other pastors who had been charged with sexual offences and stressed the victims were in the wrong to report the abuse.

“He instilled in DD a fear that, if she told anyone what he was doing with her, she would be judged not only by other congregants but also by God,” Petersen wrote. Petersen found DD’s testimony detailed and reliable, finding Williams guilty.

DD’s 18th Birthday

This abuse escalated until DD’s 18th birthday when Williams picked her up to take her out for dinner. He took her to Niagara Falls and parked his car in an empty parking lot after dinner. Here, he sexually assaulted her in the car more forcefully than before. This caused a great deal of pain for DD, who shouted for him to stop. After “a minute or two” of her shouting and squirming, he did. After this, she crawled into the back seat and wept as Williams drove her home.

While Williams denied this event ever took place, Petersen found his testimony “so disingenuous, inconsistent, and implausible as to render it untrustworthy” and was convicted of sexual assault.

Williams’ sexual predations stopped following this event, and DD remained a member of his church, eventually becoming Williams’ unpaid personal assistant.

However, DD grew disenchanted with Williams and the church as she came to feel exploited for her labour. She ultimately resigned in December 2018. Days prior to quitting, DD alleged Williams assaulted her in the church parking lot. KK witnessed this but was not called to testify. She remains a member of Williams’ flock. Soon after leaving the church, DD reconciled with her parents and the three of them are now alienated from KK.

DD leaves the church

On DD’s final day at the church, Williams asked her to fix his in-grown toenail and then count the tithing money by herself. This was the final straw for her, and she stormed off. Williams sent her 27 text messages that night, during which he bribed her with a trip and money, discouraged her from meeting other people, threatened her job, and lied about having a heart attack.

These messages continued for days, with Petersen writing they were “unrelentingly manipulative, vacillating between flattery, expressions of love, admonishments based on scripture, invocations of guilt, and menacing threats disguised as Biblical parables. Mr. Williams, through his texts, demonstrated an obsessive interest in DD’s relations with other men.”

During this time, Williams appeared at DD’s apartment. She and KK shared this home at the time, and Williams had keys to it. After DD refused to answer the door, he threatened her job with his ability of “invoking the supernatural powers of God.”

He randomly appeared at DD’s place of work “because he was starting to panic about his loss of control over her.” She was very upset by his presence, demanding he leave and stop texting her. In a recording of the meeting, she demanded her keys returned following his appearance at her home and told him she would pick them up from the church the next day.

The Parking Lot Assault

The next day, DD went to the church to pick up her keys from Williams and KK. She recorded the conversation from the doorway of Williams’ office. She demands her keys and repeatedly denies Williams’ request for her to enter the office. He claimed the keys were in his truck. As she continued her demands, KK reprimanded her for saying no to Williams and raising her voice.

Williams finally agreed to go get the keys from the truck when DD threatened to call the police. The three began to loudly talk over each other and argued outside. When they arrived at the truck, Williams stalled in getting the keys, frustrating her. She began to yell, hoping to draw attention from the neighbours.

Williams quickly grabbed the keys after she started to make a scene, and DD walked away with them. He yelled for her to wait and followed her to her car. As she went to sit in her car, he grabbed her wrists, crossed her arms and held them down to her lap. He began to pray as if exorcising a demon. As DD screamed for help, KK stood by and did nothing. “The desperation in [DD’s] voice is palpable,” Petersen wrote

DD finally managed to slip from Williams’ grip and sped away in the car.  After she left, Williams texted her threatening messages comparing her to the Biblical character Absalom, who died after disobeying his father. For this he asked, “decide what you want repentance or leprosy” again threatening her with his “supernatural powers.”

Petersen felt there was “overwhelming” evidence of assault and found Williams guilty of that offence.

Confessions

Following the assault, DD requested a meeting with Williams to resign from the church and confront him about his sexually inappropriate behaviour. Her parents came along in support, with MM also confronting Williams during the meeting. KK was also there and sided with Williams.

DD recorded this hour-long meeting but only submitted parts of it as evidence. While Williams testified there was a great deal of pressure placed on him to confess his crimes during this meeting, MM and DD testified the meeting was calmer than he implied.

“The conversation is quiet and calm,” Peterson wrote, “He apologizes repeatedly ‘for everything that has happened’ and says he was “wrong in any and in every area,’ but he refuses to be specific in acknowledging what he has done. D.D. urges him to clarify. She asks him, ‘When I said that you had been inappropriate with me, are you apologizing for that as well?’ and he responds, ‘I’m apologizing for that.'”

After dodging numerous questions, longwinded monologues and verbal obfuscation, Williams later admitted, “I violated you. I’m wrong.”

After this meeting, DD and MM brought their stories to the police, and Williams was later arrested. His trial concluded with Petersen finding him guilty on all counts on May 10, 2022. Petersen will decide his sentence at a later date.

There is no statue of limitations on sexual assault. They can be reported to police at any time after the assault for investigation. In Peel Region, survivors can contact the Peel Police Special Victims Unit at 905-453-2121 ext. 3460 to make a report. If they don’t feel ready, Victim Services of Peel offers numerous supports.

INsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising