Tim Bachman, who co-founded the Canadian rock band Bachman-Turner Overdrive, was found not guilty on Wednesday of sex charges brought by a woman who says he abused her when she was a preteen foster child in his home.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Neill Brown concluded the testimony of Stacy Bohun, now 24, was unreliable because of inconsistencies in her statements over the years.
"I did not find Ms. Bohun was a deliberately dishonest witness," the judge concluded.
But he noted the Crown's evidence fell short of what we needed to convict.
"I find her evidence unreliable to rest a criminal conviction upon it," Judge Brown said. "The Crown evidence falls short and leaves me with a reasonable doubt."
Ms. Bohun testified that, when she was between the ages of 11 and 14, she lived in Mr. Bachman's home and was in a "sick relationship" with him that involved groping and fondling, but never intercourse. She said on Wednesday she was disappointed with the verdict.
Ms. Bohun's name was originally banned from publication, but the judge granted her request for it to be released when she said she wanted the ban lifted because she was not afraid to talk about it.
Despite the acquittal, Ms. Bohun said outside court she was glad she came forward and hoped it would help other victims.
"I did the right thing here," she told reporters. "It's been a long 12 years and I think I'm going to close the book."
She said she now plans to focus on her new life as a mother. Ms. Bohun brought her infant to court for the verdict.
"I would love for all the children who were victims of sexual abuse to feel comfortable speaking about it. I want to let people know it's okay to talk about it."
Mr. Bachman was accused of sexual assault, sexual touching and sexual interference of a person under 14.
The court was told that Ms. Bohun first disclosed to a therapist that she had been touched sexually by Mr. Bachman. The court also heard that Mr. Bachman visited the therapist and said: "I touched her, but I didn't have sex with her."
The counsellor testified at the trial that Mr. Bachman was in tears when he said this, but the judge noted that, unfortunately, the counsellor didn't ask Mr. Bachman what he meant by touching.
Judge Brown also noted Ms. Bohun had given four different dates for the worst incident of sexual touching, although he acknowledged Ms. Bohun had been a methamphetamine addict in her teens, leaving her with a "terrible memory" for dates.
Mr. Bachman did not testify at the trial, a decision that is his right to make, the judge noted.
Court heard Ms. Bohun had a troubled childhood.
In August, 1989, when she was a year old, her three-year-old sister, Casey Bohun, vanished without a trace from the family home in Delta, B.C. Her mother, Barbara Bohun, took her own life in 2001 while Stacy was in foster care at the Bachman home.
Ms. Bohun testified she was put in foster care because she started "acting out" and her mother felt unable to cope.
She told the court that while she was in foster care, Mr. Bachman would grope her breasts and caress her buttocks and vaginal area.
She ended their four-year sexual relationship in 2004 when she was 14 and ran away from the Bachman home, she testified.
She blamed herself for allowing it to happen and she started taking drugs to help kill the painful memories, she said.
Ms. Bohun went to police in 2009 and Mr. Bachman was charged in 2010.
Under cross-examination by Jack Harris, Mr. Bachman's lawyer, Ms. Bohun admitted her drug use affected her memory.
The lawyer pointed out that when Ms. Bohun testified at Mr. Bachman's preliminary hearing, she said she had "flashbacks" of what happened with Mr. Bachman.
The defence lawyer suggested she may have imagined or visualized a sexual relationship with Mr. Bachman, which she now believes are real memories.
"The drugs affected my memory, but the memories are still there," Ms. Bohun replied. "The drugs made it harder to remember the exact times."
Mr. Bachman, 59, has been a Fraser Valley real estate agent for many years.
The Winnipeg-based BTO released its first album in May, 1973. The band's second album, Bachman-Turner Overdrive II, released in December, 1973, became a huge hit in the U.S. and Canada, with hit singles Let it Ride and Takin' Care of Business. In 1974, Tim Bachman left BTO, which eventually sold almost 30 million records worldwide. He has rejoined BTO for tours over the years.
The Canadian Press