Shin Wook Lim, 45, is shown in this undated police handout photo. A former Taekwondo Canada coach has been found guilty of sexual assault and other sex-related offences involving a teenage student. Shin Wook Lim pleaded not guilty to 15 charges involving two female students, including sexual assault and sexual interference. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Toronto Police Services

Shin Wook Lim, 45, is shown in this undated police handout photo. A former Taekwondo Canada coach has been found guilty of sexual assault and other sex-related offences involving a teenage student. Shin Wook Lim pleaded not guilty to 15 charges involving two female students, including sexual assault and sexual interference. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Toronto Police Services

Former Taekwondo Canada coach found guilty of sex-related offences involving student

Shin Wook Lim was found guilty of 10 charges, including sexual assault and sexual interference

A high-level taekwondo coach gradually took control of a teenage student’s life, abusing his position of trust as he began a years-long stretch of escalating sexual assaults that culminated in rape, a Toronto judge ruled Thursday.

Shin Wook Lim was found guilty of 10 charges, including sexual assault and sexual interference, in connection with a series of incidents involving an elite athlete who trained with him at the Black Belt World martial arts studio in Toronto.

The incidents took place in a number of locations, including training camps in South Korea, between 2015 and 2017, Ontario Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy said in her ruling.

But she noted Lim, also a former Taekwondo Canada coach, began behaving inappropriately towards the girl before then: sending “suggestive” text messages and instructing her to delete them, commenting on how beautiful she was, and hugging her in his office.

“Bit by bit, Mr. Lim took control over all aspects of her life, deliberately excluding her mother, and directing (the teen) to keep information away from her. He built a culture of secrecy, not just one of trust. Then he began the precursors to sexual assault,” Molloy wrote.

“When the sexual assaults started to happen, they came in small increments, progressing from long hugs to kissing, and then to touching above the clothes, and then under the clothes, then penetration, and finally rape,” she said.

With each escalation, the girl, now 21, “accepted this small change as her ‘new normal,’” the judge said.

Lim, who is in his 40s, did not testify at his trial, but court heard from another witness that he proclaimed his innocence and dismissed the allegations as lies when speaking to a group of friends.

Molloy addressed this in her ruling, saying Lim’s “bald denial to friends in a social setting” did not cause her to have a reasonable doubt as to his guilt.

Defence lawyers had also questioned the complainant’s credibility and reliability, flagging more than a dozen inconsistencies in her account of the incidents and suggesting her memory may have been tainted by a paper she wrote for a university criminology course after leaving the sport.

In that paper, the complainant analyzed the case of a Winnipeg taekwondo coach convicted of sexually assaulting a number of his students, court heard.

During her testimony, the complainant said she had “never really processed” what happened to her and neither researching nor writing the paper stirred up any new insights into her experiences. Instead, the epiphany that she had been sexually assaulted came later, when she was listening to a lecture in that same course, she told the court.

While it “may seem odd” that the complainant didn’t make that connection earlier, particularly when writing the paper, that does not make her account untrue, nor does it render her memories unreliable, the judge wrote.

It does not appear that the incidents reported by the complainant resemble the details of what happened in the other case, “except in superficial ways common to most victims of assault at the hands of an authority figure,” Molloy said.

Furthermore, the inconsistencies highlighted by the defence do not undermine her credibility or reliability as to the core of the charges, she said.

The court is set to hear submissions next week on whether some of the charges Lim was convicted on Thursday should be stayed because they overlap with each other.

He also faces another five charges related to sex offences against another teen student, which are set to be tried separately later this year.

Neither complainant can be identified due to a publication ban.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

sexual abuse

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has stepped up, in spite of COVID, for a number of charities. (Submitted)
Sahtlam firefighters step up

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has a long history of supporting charities

A mobile home fire prompted a quick response from firefighters Saturday around 3:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Mobile home up in flames at Duncan RV Park

One patient burned, EHS on scene

Phaecelia used as a cover crop attracts bees and provides them with high quality nectar. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Cover crops keep soil healthy and productive

We don’t harvest a cover crop and instead dig the tops under when they’re immature and soft

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson Column: Home is where you know your neighbours

My mom has lived at that address for 43 years.

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ in Metchosin

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read