Woman tells court Hoggard choked her during sex assault, making her fear for her life

The woman testified she knew she was meeting up with Hoggard to have sex

By Paola Loriggio in Toronto

An Ottawa woman told a Toronto court Tuesday that Canadian musician Jacob Hoggard choked her hard enough to make her fear for her life as he sexually assaulted her in his hotel room more than five years ago.

The woman, who is the second complainant in Hoggard’s sex assault trial, testified that she agreed to meet the singer in Toronto in November 2016, nearly two weeks after the two of them crossed paths on the dating app Tinder.

The woman said she knew they were meeting up to have sex, but that Hoggard raped her anally, vaginally and orally, repeatedly slapping her and spitting in her mouth. He called her a pig and a slut, and made “some sort of pig noise” at her, she said. He didn’t use a condom, she said.

At one point, Hoggard dragged her off the bed and into the bathroom by her legs, she said. He sat on her chest on the tile floor and said he would urinate on her, then asked her to urinate on him, both of which she refused, she said.

The woman testified that at another point, Hoggard choked her hard enough that she couldn’t breathe.

“I thought he might kill me,” she testified, adding she was worried no one would know where she was.

Hoggard, the frontman for the band Hedley, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one of sexual interference, a charge that relates to the sexual touching of someone under 16.

An agreed statement of facts says he had a sexual encounter with each of the complainants after they came to his hotel on separate occasions in the fall of 2016. Neither woman can be identified under a publication ban.

The complainant testifying Tuesday, who is now in her late 20s, recalled getting up early to take the train to Toronto on Nov. 22, 2016 – it’s an agreed fact in the case that Hoggard bought the ticket – and going to meet him at the Thompson Hotel.

He came down to fetch her from the lobby and they went up to a room together, and Hoggard told her his regular room wasn’t ready yet, she said.

Once inside, he pushed her up against the wall and aggressively tried to kiss her, the woman testified. She resisted, and Hoggard appeared angry, telling her she could go home, she said. She thought he was “rude,” but she didn’t have anywhere else to go, she said.

Hoggard was drinking something and told her it was “lean,” she said. He seemed high and appeared to be slurring a bit, she said.

Eventually there was a knock on the door and someone told them Hoggard’s room was ready, she testified. Hoggard went first and told her to come in after him, which she did, she said.

“That’s when he pushed me on the bed and raped me,” she said, tearing up on the stand.

The woman testified that Hoggard was acting “like a psychopath” during the encounter and that she was afraid of him. “His eyes were absolutely terrifying,” she said.

She said it was like Hoggard had become “a different person,” noting he had been nice in all their conversations before that day. She wouldn’t have gone to meet him had she expected him to act this way, she said.

Afterwards, Hoggard called her a taxi and she went to a Tim Hortons near the train station to wait for her train back to Ottawa, she told the court. She felt “numb,” she said.

Hoggard sent her a message while she was in the taxi, saying it had been a wonderful time and he couldn’t wait to see her again, she said. The woman said she felt “very confused and disgusted” after receiving his message.

“He knows what he did and I don’t know why he would say that after doing that to someone,” she said.

The woman said she never planned on telling anyone what happened, aside from a few close friends, but she did go to the doctor five or six days after the incident because she was worried there was a tear in her vagina.

“I didn’t think that anyone would believe me, because I went there thinking that we would have consensual sex and I got raped instead,” she said.

In 2018, she did an anonymous interview with the CBC and later went to police, she said.

The other complainant, who was 16 at the time, has testified that Hoggard repeatedly raped her vaginally and orally, and attempted to do so anally, on Sept. 30, 2016.

She told the court she was brought to Hoggard’s hotel by limousine and expected that they would be spending part of the day together shopping and sightseeing.

She also testified the singer groped her backstage after a show in Toronto in April 2016. Defence lawyers have suggested the alleged groping did not happen.

They have also suggested the two of them had consensual sex and the young woman made up a “rape story” because she was embarrassed about being “used” by a rock star for whom she had developed romantic feelings.

Banner image: Canadian musician Jacob Hoggard appears before Justice Gillian Roberts, as his wife Rebekah Asselstine (left) and lawyer Megan Savard (right) look on in Toronto on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 in this artist’s sketch. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2022.

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