Sexual touching, attempted intercourse, giving alcohol to minors and showing them pornographic pictures were some of the allegations leveled against a former employee of the Beauval Indian Residential School during a trial in a Battlefords court room on Thursday.

Paul Leroux, who was the supervisor of the boys’ dormitory at the school from 1960 to 1967, is accused of 17 separate charges of sexual assault.

Crown prosecutor Mitch Piché says because of the sensitive nature of the alleged crimes, recounting memories while on the witness stand has been difficult for those testifying.

“It is proving very hard, very emotional, for the witnesses,” he says. “They’ve been living with these allegations for many, many years. We’re talking 40 to 50 years in many cases.”

Twice during testimony on Thursday, it was requested that those in the gallery leave the courtroom.

Sid Fiddler, who was on hand to give support to the alleged victims at the trial, describes the former supervisor who also coached the boys’ hockey team and led the choir, as a two-sided figure.

“On his private side it was quite different than his public side and he’s really a master of deception,” he says.

In 1998, Leroux was convicted of sexual assault for crimes that took place while he was an employee at a residential school in the Northwest Territories in the late 1960’s and 1970’s.

Four of the 14 complainants against Leroux have testified so far.

The trial is expected to last three weeks.