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Judge paints picture of private Saskatoon school’s culture at time of sexual offences [Video]

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Saskatchewan News

Details about the overreaching culture of a private religious school were read on record by a judge for the first time on Thursday.

Judge Marilyn Grey described Legacy Christian Academy as a “very insular community with little outside influence” that requires students to blindly obey authority.

Grey painted a picture of the environment of the school, ahead of sentencing Aaron Benneweis — a former gym teacher and athletic director of the school. Benneweis pleaded guilty to sexual assault and sexual exploitation of his then-13-year-old student, Jennifer Beaudry.

Grey noted Benneweis did not have “any professional training as a teacher.”

She said the majority of teachers at the school did not have accreditation; the school assigned staff from the church, that operated the school, and hired them as teachers. Family, church and school all overlapped.

“If a family joined the church, the children were required to attend the academy. Church members …

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