Update: March 22, 2018 — The B.C. Court of Appeal subsequently overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial. T.J.B. was acquitted at that second trial.
T.J.B.’s mother and best friend both testified at trial Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court in Penticton they never saw him act inappropriately with the boy he’s accused of sexually abusing.
T.J.B., 23, is charged with sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching and sexual assault in relation to offences alleged to have occurred from June 2011 through August 2012 with a boy who is now 12.
The alleged victim’s name is protected by a routine court-ordered publication ban.
As the trial resumed after a six-week break, Cruz Rodriguez testified that T.J.B., a lifelong friend, “showed affection in a brotherly way” towards the boy.
“Maybe a hug when they first (saw) each other, something like that,” said Rodriguez.
He also offered a competing version of an incident the boy described in earlier testimony.
While the boy said that T.J.B. placed him on his lap during a movie at a theatre in Kelowna, Rodriguez said the child actually “tried several times to jump up onto T.J.B.’s lap.”
T.J.B. eventually relented and allowed the boy to sit on his knee for about a minute, then lifted the child off, Rodriguez continued, and offered to instead get a booster seat.
The accused’s mother, Margie, contradicted another element of the boy’s testimony concerning allegedly being sexually assaulted while sleeping in T.J.B.s bed in Margie’s basement.
According to Margie, the two always slept separately, with her son on a couch in a downstairs living room and the boy alone in T.J.B.’s bed.
Margie testified she’s confident that was the arrangement since she is “very, very nosey,” and, “I’d go downstairs all the time.”
She later said she forced her son to cut off contact with the boy in July 2012 after she caught the child “taking a screwdriver to my pool liner.”
Although she wanted an apology from the boy, one was not forthcoming, so she banned the child from her property.
When T.J.B. brought him around a few weeks later, it prompted a fight between Margie and her son that ended with T.J.B. staying at Rodriguez’s house and only moving back home after promising to cut off contact with the boy and his family.
Margie also said she learned of allegations against her son at a 2013 Valentine’s Day dance in Oliver, where rumours about T.J.B. and the boy were swirling.
She suggested T.J.B. go to police to clear the air, which he did, “because these are serious accusations to have over somebody’s head.”
T.J.B. denied all of the allegations when he testified during the first week of trial in August. The matter was then put over to Tuesday, with closing arguments expected Wednesday.
In his testimony in August, the boy alleged in graphic detail how he was instructed numerous times to masturbate T.J.B. and have anal intercourse him.