Pastor forced sex on women, jury told

The Toronto Star/December 11, 2007

The pastor of a Toronto church, who claimed to heal people by giving them spiritual baths and naked rubdowns, impregnated two young women he coerced into having sex, a prosecutor says.

Frank Seeko Lawrence, 58, ordained minister of Toronto Mount Zion Revival Church of the Apostles, fathered a child by each of the women then threatened them with death when they asked for child support, assistant Crown attorney Paul Zambonini said yesterday.

"Rev. Lawrence abused his position of power, trust or authority to have sex," he told a Superior Court jury as he opened the Crown's case.

Lawrence has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault, four of threatening death and one of assault in incidents alleged to have occurred between 2000 and 2005.

"I hid under my bed with my newborn baby for three months and I didn't want to go outside because I thought this man was capable of killing me," testified a 29-year-old woman, who cannot be named.

At age 17, ill with constant vomiting and migraines, the complainant was taken to Lawrence by her mother.

He said a woman had cursed her and that he could heal her, she said.

First came spiritual baths, she said. He instructed her to buy liquor, fruit and other goods from the folk magic store he ran on St. Clair Ave. W. near Keele St. He put the ingredients into a spiritual bath, for which he charged $150.

While she bathed naked, he scrubbed her while she recited, "The Lord is my shepherd." He ordered her to stand and rubbed her with a brown ointment, she said.

She started to get better, she said, and believed he had great powers. "I saw him as a saviour," she said.

During the third bath, he decapitated a pigeon and poured its blood over her head, she said.

Then he gave her a foul-tasting medicine that made her vomit and have diarrhea for two days, she said.

He explained it was the evil coming out.

The prosecutor told the jury she will testify that in 2003, she asked to stay at his house after she left home following a fight with her mother.

He let her live there, but forced sex upon her. She complied, fearing his powers, Zambonini said.

When she had his child and asked him for child support he threatened to kill her, the prosecutor said.

A second woman is expected to testify that he had sex with her during healing.

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