Warning: This story contains disturbing details
A dozen victims of Cecil Wolfe, a Cree healer who pleaded guilty to sexual assault, will have an opportunity to tell the court how his actions affected them at a hearing in December.
Wolfe, 61, from Onion Lake Cree Nation, worked out of various centres and hotels in Saskatoon and is facing 9 ½ years in prison for sex-related crimes.
His victims can’t be named because of an automatic publication ban put in place for sexual assault trials.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Crown prosecutor Lana Morelli described Wolfe as “a medicine man” who “abused his power.”
The hearing was delayed after Wolfe told court he couldn’t understand English enough to accept the Crown’s statement of facts. A Cree interpreter was brought in to assist the Crown and interpret for Wolfe. That delayed the hearing.
The interpreter read the statement in Cree to Wolfe who then accepted his guilty pleas and the agreed statement of facts as read to him.
Wolfe pleaded guilty in April of this year to 12 sexual assault charges. Court heard he used similar approaches with women who saw him for healing treatments.
He asked some of the women to wear skirts for their treatments, and more than one was asked to remove their panties.
Morelli told court Wolfe would then touch their legs, buttocks, breasts and, in some cases, vaginas. He claimed he was pulling “bad medicine” from them and would produce what the Crown called trinkets from their vaginas.
He would show the women things like cat claws and snakeskin. Wolfe referred to the sexual assaults as “doctoring sessions.”
Morelli told court Wolfe met his victims after he was recommended by family members and employers. The Crown prosecutor said treatments were held at the Saskatoon Tribal Council office, White Buffalo Youth Lodge and hotel rooms.
Morelli said Wolfe was employed at White Buffalo from 2014 to 2017.
The statement of facts said some of the assaults occurred at Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and Loon Lake, where Wolfe lived.
The statement said the assaults spanned a period from 2013 to 2021 and some of the women saw Wolfe multiple times. They sought his help for a variety of issues, ranging from depression to cancer.
Due to the length of time it took for the interpreter to relate all the material to Wolfe, the Crown was not able to call its cultural expert Maria Linklater.
She arrived at court Wednesday morning and offered an opening prayer in Cree, but left mid-afternoon.
Wolfe will return to court on Dec. 9 where he will hear his victims read their impact statements.