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Sask. RCMP not investigating historic rape case involving church elder, woman says

A woman who says she survived years of sexual abuse at the hands of a church elder in Maple Creek is questioning why police haven't laid charges in her case.

Cheryl Hope said she first reported her sexual abuse to the RCMP a year ago. Based on her story, she thought police would move quickly.

On April 26, when RCMP announced the arrest of a different Maple Creek man in an unrelated historical sexual abuse case — just one day after they received the report — she was “absolutely outraged.”

"I was just shocked … for [him] to still be walking the streets as freely as he is," Hope said. She is alleging she was abused by a high-ranking Plymouth Brethren Christian Church member.

After hearing of the arrest in April, she reached out to the lead investigator on her case, and she says she was told it was on pause because they don’t have the staff to work the investigation.

One of several key witnesses has yet to be contacted by police, she said.

When she first reported her story to police, Hope says she was told they would be investigating "child sex abuse, sex trafficking and torture." (Courtesy: Cheryl Hope)

In a statement to CTV News, RCMP said due to privacy regulations, it can not name individuals who are under investigation unless they are charged.

However, RCMP did confirm that it received reports of alleged historical sexual assaults involving members of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church in Saskatchewan and is actively investigating the reports.

A spokesperson for the church told CTV News that to their knowledge, Maple Creek RCMP had not been in contact with the church or any of its local members.

“The Plymouth Brethren Christian Church takes any allegations of any unlawful conduct very seriously. When such allegations are made, the PBCC’s long-standing policy is to cooperate with law enforcement, and it recommends that its members do the same,” the spokesperson said.

“In the event that the PBCC is contacted by the RCMP it stands ready to assist them in their search for the truth of any allegation.”

Hope grew up in Maple Creek as a member of what’s now known as the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church.

Decades after fleeing the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church in Maple Creek, Cheryl Hope came forward to RCMP with accusation of sexual abuse against an elder member of the church. (Courtesy: Cheryl Hope)

The church has members across the world, and also runs its own private religious schools called OneSchool.

“You are trained in there from birth you are above the law, right? They are the highest law of the land,” Hope said.

Her alleged abuser was protected by the more powerful families in the church, she says.

Hope says many people have come forward since she went public in 2022, sharing stories of abuse in Maple Creek and elsewhere, but they’re afraid to go to police. Those who criticize the church are shunned, even by their own family, she says — a devastating blow to people who depend on other members, socially and financially.

“They go by this doctrine of separation,” she said. “They separate themselves from the world.”

Police need to show the victims they have a safe place to land, she says.

“These people need a landing pad. They need a landing pad that they can trust and know that if they do come forward, their lives are going to be protected, because this church is very, very ruthless.” Top Stories

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