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Crown alleges Hedley singer violently raped teen girl, woman in 2016 incidents

Jacob Hoggard has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault causing bodily harm and sexual interference
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. A panel of jurors has been chosen to hear the sex assault trial of Hoggard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story contains graphic court statements describing sexual assault

Prosecutors allege Canadian musician Jacob Hoggard repeatedly and violently raped a teen girl and a young woman in two separate incidents months apart, leaving each of them bleeding, bruised and sore as they left his Toronto-area hotel.

In an opening statement to jurors Thursday, Crown attorney Kelly Slate laid out the evidence prosecutors expect will emerge in the singer’s trial over the next few weeks.

Each complainant is expected to testify that what happened in Hoggard’s hotel room in the fall 2016 wasn’t what she envisioned or wanted, and that she was “crying and saying no” throughout the hours-long incident, Slate told the court.

An agreed statement of facts read in court Thursday said Hoggard had a “sexual encounter” with each of the complainants on the days they came to his hotel.

The musician has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one of sexual interference, a charge that refers to the sexual touching of someone under the age of 16.

Prosecutors said court will hear the first complainant was a longtime fan of Hedley, the band Hoggard fronted, and went to one of their shows for the first time at age 10.

The girl met Hoggard after a show she attended when she was 12, Slate said. Hoggard exchanged phone numbers with the girl’s parents and, over time, helped them obtain tickets and backstage passes for other Hedley shows, she said.

They began communicating directly after the girl copied Hoggard’s number from her mother’s phone when she was 15, and the Crown alleges the messages became “romantic and sexual in nature.”

Hoggard “told her she was beautiful, that he loved her and that he saw a future with her,” Slate alleged.

Hoggard arranged for the teen to come to a Hedley show at what is now the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto in April 2016, sending a limo to pick up the girl and two friends in their hometown north of the city, according to the agreed statement of facts.

The Crown alleges that once backstage, the singer was “overly affectionate” with the teen, touching her buttocks and at one point trying to kiss her neck when she was too young to consent.

Months later, when the girl was 16, the two made plans to meet up in Toronto on one of her PA days, the Crown said. Hoggard had a limo pick the girl up and bring her to his hotel in Mississauga, Ont., where prosecutors allege he repeatedly raped her, attempted anal sex, slapped her and spit in her mouth.

“This lasted for several hours,” Slate said.

The girl left early after pretending she had been called in to work, then blocked Hoggard from messaging her and never went to a Hedley concert again, prosecutors said.

The agreed statement of facts said the girl went to the hospital on Oct. 12, 2016, nearly two weeks after the alleged incident.

The second complainant met Hoggard on Tinder when he was in Ottawa to perform for WE Day, and the two began exchanging messages through text and Snapchat, the Crown said.

They planned to meet in Toronto in November 2016, and while the woman anticipated they would be having sex, she did not consent to what happened, Slate said.

Hoggard purchased train tickets for the woman to come see him in Toronto, according to the agreed statement of facts.

Prosecutors allege Hoggard raped the woman vaginally, anally and orally over several hours, slapped her, spit in her mouth and choked her so she couldn’t breathe. At one point, the Crown says, he dragged her to the bathroom by her legs.

The woman took the train back to Ottawa that evening and her then-roommates are expected to testify that she was “upset, crying and emotional” when she got home, Slate said. One observed that she could barely sit down and had trouble walking, the Crown said.

She went to the doctor within a week of the alleged incident, according the the agreed statement of facts.

Hoggard was arrested and charged in 2018 and a preliminary hearing was held the following year.

He was originally set to face trial in January 2021 but the case was postponed on multiple occasions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw new jury trials put on hold for months.

Neither complainant can be identified under a publication ban. The identities of several witnesses are also protected under the ban.

RELATED: Sex assault trial getting underway for Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard