Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Identifying the Victim

She looked upon the man who had been a close friend of her stepfather for years, a hunting companion, a man with a solid reputation in Richmond, Ontario, as a father-figure. By the time he had disproved that image of himself as a trusted family friend, she was 43 and he was 60. He, a father of four, married for 35 years, had sexually assaulted her.

Rachelle Denis reported the rape to local police. No charges were laid; instead police tasked one of their officers to do a review on the woman's mental health status. Can it be inferred that the father-figure, Tony El-Kassis, informed the police that there was nothing to Rachelle Denis's accusation against him, that yes, they did have a sexual relationship, but it was entirely consensual, despite that she was married, like him, the mother of four young children...?

Pallbearers carry the casket of Tony El-Kassis into the St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church in Ottawa on July 13, 2010. El-Kassis, who operated a chip truck in Richmond, died six days after being slammed into a wall by a woman driving a Jeep.  The Ottawa Citizen

Perhaps no one yet knows. And it's possible that during the trial currently taking place more will be revealed. What is known is that on July 2, 2010, Rachelle Denis drove her Jeep into Mr. El-Kassis, and he was crushed against a brick wall of the Richmond Plaza. Jurists at her second-degree murder trial heard from Crown prosecutor Fara Rupert that Ms. Denis deliberately rammed her vehicle into the 60-year-old man, causing injuries serious enough that he died in hospital several days later.

Cecile El-Kassis, who had been married to Tony for thirty-five years, was the first trial witness. She spoke of her husband's last months of life, when he confessed to her that he had been guilty of casual love affairs which he then said he regretted. "He said he was ashamed", she testified. Her husband informed her that Rachelle Denis was blackmailing him. Threatening, perhaps, to haunt him for his having raped her?

Her husband, she said, was a generous man who had helped Rachelle Denis with things like milk and diapers for her young children. She spoke of the harassment they experienced when Rachelle Denis continually bothered them by telephoning at all hours of the day and night. They changed their home and cellphone numbers and then the woman began appearing at their home, at the chip wagon business.

They sought the services of a lawyer to attempt to have her cease harassing them. They called the police and tried to obtain a restraining order. It seems they may have been no more successful in their trying to involve the law and public security than Rachelle Denis had been when she reported she had been sexually assaulted by the man she is now charged with killing.

It was months afterward that the violent ramming of Tony El-Kassis took place at a local shopping mall. Much earlier, in 2009, Rachelle Denis sent a Facebook message to Cecile El-Kassis, expressing the sense of betrayal she had experienced at her husband's violent abuse, a man whom she had trusted and regarded as a family friend, a man she related to as a close companion of her late stepfather.

The police had records and a photograph taken in November of 2009 of the side of Tony El-Kassis's chip wagon, with the word RAPIST spray-painted on its side.

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