Credits: SUN NEWS NETWORK
TORONTO -- Heartbroken hockey coach Mike Sanderson was speaking on the TV show W-5 about the tragic on-ice death of his son Don Sanderson in 2009 when a torrent of emotion overcame the viewer.
The woman, who can’t be identified, told a Toronto court that Sanderson’s voice unleashed vile memories of how her former figure skating coach took her virginity as a 13-year-old more than three decades ago.
“When I heard his voice, I had a rush of blood and sickness come to me, a reminder of what happened to me,” testified the 44-year-old mom of two.
Sanderson, 55, who testified in his own defence, has pleaded not guilty to all charges, including having sexual intercourse with a girl under 14, at a judge-alone trial before Madam Justice Bonnie Croll.
He also faces a charge of gross indecency relating to a separate incident in the fall of 1978. The second complainant was a 16-year-old North York club skater at the time of that alleged offence.
Croll will render her verdict on Friday.
The first complainant met Sanderson in 1978, when she was 10, and began taking skating lessons from him at the Thornhill Figure Skating Club, she testified.
Sanderson became a trusted family friend who visited the girl’s family cottage, attended family birthday parties and drove the young skater home when her mom was busy, court heard.
He once picked her up to take the girl to watch other competitors skate in Uxbridge when she was 13.
En route, he detoured at his mother’s apartment in Thornhill and Sanderson brought the Grade 9 student inside.
The woman testified Sanderson started to kiss her and touch her breasts. She was silent. She accused him of picking her off the couch and taking her to a small bedroom where she had intercourse for the first time.
The woman fought her emotions on the witness stand as she recalled being an 80-pound girl with a six-foot, 200-pound, 24-year-old man on top of her.
Sanderson, a skating coach for 37 years, admitted he knew both talented skaters, but denied all allegations.
The woman testified she felt she was Sanderson’s “secret girlfriend,” and “was awestruck, infatuated and excited” by his presence as a teen.
Those feelings were replaced by repulsion over the years and buried in the back of her mind until she saw Sanderson on television.
“When I heard his voice, I could not control my feelings,” said the woman, her voice quivering as she wept.
The next two occasions of intercourse allegedly occurred as she was standing outside of Sanderson’s car after he’d driven to deserted locations in Uxbridge and Thornhill.
Sanderson testified that while he knew the girl and coached her for many years, he never engaged in any act of sexual misconduct with her.
“I deny all their allegations,” Sanderson said, referring to the accusations from both women.
The second complainant testified Sanderson drove her home when she was a 16-year-old skater and her parents were away.
Once inside her home, he allegedly kissed her and touched her pubic area, court heard. After a couple of seconds, she rebuffed him and he left.
Sanderson testified he was never inside the girl’s home, adding he had to hurry off because he had skaters waiting for him.
“I could not have gone into (her) house in 1978 because I had a scheduled coaching session back at the arena with other skaters,” he told court.
Under cross-examination, Sanderson said he could not be late for the coaching session and he could not have arranged for a replacement.