Warning: Contains graphic content
An Ottawa woman made up rape allegations against Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard as a “form of revenge” because he hurt her feelings and injured her during consensual sex, his lawyer suggested Wednesday during cross-examination.
The complainant, now in her late 20s, maintained that Hoggard repeatedly raped her over three to four hours in a downtown hotel room on Nov. 22, 2016, while she resisted and told him to stop.
Hoggard has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault causing bodily harm related to the complainant, who was in her early 20s when she met Hoggard on Tinder in November 2016.
Hoggard has also pleaded not guilty to sexual touching of a person under the age of 16 and sexual assault causing bodily harm, charges relating to allegations he groped a 15-year-old fan after a concert at the Air Canada Center in April 2016 and that he raped the girl, who had since turned 16, in September 2016 at a hotel near Pearson airport.
Hoggard has admitted to having a “sexual encounter” with both complainants and his lawyer has suggested the allegation that he grabbed the bum and tried to kiss the neck of the 15-year-old fan never happened. The identities of both complainants are under a publication ban available to sexual assault complainants.
The Ottawa woman testified that, in the days after the sexual assault, she told Hoggard he had raped her and sought an apology, but that he denied it in messages and in a 30-second phone call.
On Wednesday, Hoggard’s defense lawyer Megan Savard played a recording of a 15-minute phone call between Hoggard and the complainant that she suggested was made two days after the alleged sexual assault. The complainant said she did not remember the call, saying she had “blocked out what happened so I could survive.”
In the audio recording, the complainant’s voice is strained and emotional. She repeatedly suggests Hoggard sounds scripted or coached, as if he’d consulted a lawyer.
The call — which was played to the complainant first over the lunch break before it was played in court — begins with Hoggard saying she sounds upset, and the complainant saying she is really upset.
As the call played in court, the complainant was in tears and Superior Court Justice Gillian Roberts twice asked if she would like to stop, saying she did not have to suffer.
“This is traumatizing,” the complainant said, but opted to continue because it would just be upsetting on another day. She said it is difficult to hear Hoggard’s voice from her.
In the call, Hoggard said her being upset “came out of left field.”
“I thought we had a really nice time together, and I hope you can agree. Like I mean it seemed just organic and like a chill time. I really thought you felt like that,” Hoggard said.
“Not exactly,” she said.
“What happened that you felt like that?” I replied.
“Every time like I was trying to say no to you,” she replied. “You just pushed me like to the point where it was just so painful.”
“I really don’t know what to tell you. That really shocks me, only because I know that we talked a lot about the way we were sexually before we even got together,” Hoggard said. “And all those texts that we have. And it seemed like we were entering, you know, a very agreeable situation.”
In the call, the complainant suggested Hoggard was just trying to save his “own ass” and that it seemed like he had had this kind of conversation before.
She told Hoggard it was “extremely embarrassing” to go to a doctor because she needed stitches in her vagina and said she was going to contact a lawyer. She testified Wednesday that she was trying to scare him into admitting what he did, and that she never planned to or actually did ever contact a lawyer and did not need stitches, though she was in pain.
“I don’t feel like there was a moment where that could be, you know, the result,” Hoggard said in the call when she told him about the stitches. “And I mean between you and I, it was very obvious I paid close attention to how you felt and wasn’t ignoring how you felt.”
“I guess I just have a different opinion than you do,” the complainant replied.
Savard suggested the woman didn’t mention the long call or Hoggard’s concern in her testimony and instead said he blocked her after a short call because that was how she thought a rapist would respond, and that she thought it would make the jury more likely to believe her allegations.
“(Hoggard) is the only rapist I know,” the complainant responded.
In a text exchange produced by Savard and shown in court, Hoggard texted the complainant after the alleged sexual assault and said: “I had an incredible time with you Monday and I’m really sorry you’re feeling this way.”
She replied: “You bruised me and made me bleed for a few days.”
The complainant claimed she deleted all her messages with Hoggard and didn’t take photos of her bruises because, at the time, she never intended to tell anyone what happened, Savard said.
“But that’s not true, you wanted to tell people as a form of revenge,” Savard said.
“No, I wanted him to tell the truth,” the complainant said.
The complainant testified that in 2016 she did contact Hoggard’s then ex-girlfriend, and now wife, Rebekah Asselstine, and told her that Hoggard had raped her and wanted to know if she had a similar experience. She said Asselstine told her Hoggard had “done this to other people” and that she needed to go to the police.
As the complainant said this, Asselstine, who was sitting in the public gallery in court, shook her head and leaned forward with her mouth open in disbelief.
Savard later showed the complaining screenshots of messages between her and Asselstine, and suggested that Asselstine never said she knew Hoggard had physically hurt any women and only referenced cheating.
Savard suggested that the complainant was upset because Hoggard injured her during consensual sex, that he was inconsiderate, and that she had hurt feelings as a result of having been “essentially dropped by this rock star.”
“No,” the complainant said firmly.
Savard said that during the call the complainant said she couldn’t care less if he had another girl in his hotel room. The complainant agreed.
“So presumably you are saying you couldn’t care less if he had a girl in the same position you were in two days ago?” Savard asked.
“That’s not fair,” the complainant whispered.
Savard asked the complainant if she thought having a written apology from Hoggard would give her “power” over him and force him to talk to her. The complainant denied this. She also denied that she was hoping for money.
Savard questioned the complainant about why she went to a second hotel room with Hoggard after he kissed her and pushed her against the wall, and she resisted, and he made rude comments. The complainant said she now understands that it would be sexual assault but did not at the time, and she still thought they would have consensual sex in the second hotel room.
The complainant did an anonymous interview with CBC in 2018 and afterwards went to the police.
Savard asked if she told a CBC reporter that she was celebrating Hoggard’s downfall. “I don’t remember saying that,” the complainant said. “But I was, absolutely.”
The trial continues Friday.
If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual violence or abuse, you can call the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 416-863-0511 or 1-866-863-0511 or text #SAFE (#7233) on your Bell, Rogers, Fido or Telus mobile phone.