CONTENT WARNING: The following story contains details of sexual assault

A Saskatchewan man who committed several sexual assaults while acting as a traditional healer could be handed a nearly ten-year long prison sentence.

Earlier this year, Cecil Wolfe plead guilty to 12 counts of sexual assault over a 9 year period from 2013-2021 in areas around Saskatoon and Muskeg Lake Cree Nation.

At a sentencing hearing in Saskatoon on Wednesday, the court heard that the Crown prosecutor on the case and Wolfe’s defense lawyer brought forward a joint submission of a 9.5 year prison sentence for Wolfe for the judge to consider.

Also at the hearing, the court heard the agreed statement of facts, which described the 12 sexual assaults in detail. According to the statements, Wolfe inappropriately touched twelve different women while providing them with traditional Indigenous healing services.

The court heard Wolfe touched the women during theses sessions on the breasts and genitals and put his finger inside them all the while telling them they had “bad medicine.” Some victims also reported inappropriate questioning by Wolfe involving their sexual history.

The statements also show many of the women were initially afraid to speak out because Wolfe was an elder and only came forward when news of the first charge against Wolfe was released.

Crown Prosecutors also put forward Wolfe’s criminal record, which had charges from 1983 and 1985.

The hearing was then delayed, as the court learned Wolfe was having a difficult time understanding the proceedings as English is not his first language.

Two Cree interpreters were then sworn in and read the statement of facts to Wolfe in Cree to ensure he understood them and to affirm his guilty pleas.

While Wolfe admitted to touching the women in the matter laid out by the victims and accepted his guilty pleas, he maintained his actions were part of a traditional Indigenous healing practice.

However, the statement of facts contained comments from Indigenous elder Maria Linklater who said no Indigenous healing practice would include this kind of violation. Linklater was scheduled to testify at the sentencing hearing, but the proceedings went long.

Because the proceedings were delayed the sentencing hearing has been adjourned until December 9.

While the Crown and defence submitted a 9.5 year prison sentence for Wolfe, it will ultimately be up to the judge on what Wolfe’s sentence will be.