Former Scout leader guilty of sexual assault
By Jeff Bell, timescolonist.com
A former Victoria scout leader was found guilty in B.C. Supreme Court Friday on all five charges against him, including sexual assault of two boys, invitation to sexual touching and unlawful confinement.
John Viszlai, 53, showed little reaction when the jury's verdict was read. He was released on bail until his sentencing hearing, likely in about eight weeks. Crown prosecutor Tim Stokes said he will seek jail time for Viszlai, but did not discuss what the sentence request might be. Defence lawyer Don McKay said an appeal will be considered. "Mr. Viszlai and I have to talk about that," McKay said.
If jail time is considered appropriate at the sentencing hearing, McKay said he will ask that any time be conditional, or community-based. In often-disturbing testimony over the past two weeks, the court heard two men tell how they were abused by Viszlai when they were 12 and 15. The man who was 12 at the time gave testimony that he was coerced into sitting on a stepladder while a lubricated pole penetrated him from behind.
The man who was 15 broke down during his testimony. He said he was talked into sitting on a broom handle by Viszlai. The man, now a 35-year-old truck driver living in Alberta, said he was initially in denial about what happened with Viszlai due to embarrassment. He said he grew up in a Saanich home with an alcoholic father who mistreated him, and looked up to Viszlai after he joined the scouts in 1987.
The court heard that both of the men called to testify had thought highly of Viszlai as a scout leader before their relationship with him changed. Viszlai was a scout leader in Greater Victoria from 1973 until 2001. The charges against him relating to the 12-year-old covered Dec. 23, 1991, to Dec. 22, 1994. The charges relating to the 15-year-old covered Jan. 1, 1988 to Dec. 31, 1992.
In court, Viszlai denied that he left scouting after being confronted by one of his victims, saying that work pressure, a death in his family and a change in the scouts' meeting schedule were all part of his decision. He also testified that none of the incidents described by the complainants ever happened, despite a taped 2007 interview by a police detective in which Viszlai acknowledged wrongdoing,
In the interview, which was played in the courtroom, Viszlai said he had been sexually abused as a youth himself, but later denied the abuse in court. On tape, he said the abuse included the use of a rope-and-pulley device called a Judas chair, a device that one of the former scouts testified that Viszlai had also used on him.