Warning: This story contains disturbing allegations.
Prosecutors allege that Canadian musician Jacob Hoggard violently raped a teenage girl and a young woman in two separate incidents two months apart, leaving both of them bleeding, bruised and in pain as they left their Toronto-area hotel.
In an opening statement to jurors on Thursday, Crown attorney Kelly Slate laid out the evidence that prosecutors expect will appear 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 of 2016 was not what she envisioned or wanted, and that she was “crying and saying no” throughout the hours-long incident, Slate told the court.
An Agreed Fact Sheet read in court on Thursday said Hoggard had a “sexual encounter” with both complainants on the days they arrived at his hotel.
The musician has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one counting of sexual interference, which refers to sexual touching of a person under the age of 16.
One complainant began testifying on Thursday, describing herself as a longtime fan of Hedley, Hoggard’s front runner. She said she went to one of the band’s shows for the first time at age 10, watched it 10 to 15 times over the years, and collected a bunch of memorabilia, she said.
The complainant said that she met Hoggard after a presentation to him when she was twelve years old. She said that Hoggard exchanged phone numbers with her parents and over time helped them obtain tickets and backstage passes for Hedley’s other shows.
She said they started communicating right after she copied Hoggard’s number from her mother’s phone when she was 15. The young woman testified that when she told Hoggard that she got his number during a meet-and-greet event in April 2016, he replied, “You should use that number at some point.”
The complainant said they started texting shortly thereafter and eventually moved some of their conversations to Snapchat, an app where photos and messages only appear temporarily.
“The conversations slowly started to develop into a more sexual nature,” she said, and Hoggard eventually requested pictures of her nude, adding that she complied with his request.
She also said he sent her nude pictures and a video of himself masturbating. The Agreed Fact Statement acknowledges the existence of a masturbation video but does not say whether it has been shared with anyone.
The young woman told the court that Hoggard also sent her romantic messages saying that he loved her and saw the future with her and wanted her to have his children.
“It almost felt like a relationship,” she said. He tells me I’m such a beautiful person that he likes ‘It almost felt like ‘pinch’ me.
A few weeks after they started texting, Hoggard arranged for the teenager to come to Headley’s show at what is now Toronto’s Scotiabank Stadium, where he sent a limousine to pick up the girl and two of his friends in their hometown north of the city, according to The Guardian. Agreed statement of facts.
She said that when they met backstage after the show, Hoggard lifted her up by placing his hands under her buttocks and swinging them around. She said that every time they took a picture together, his hand would slide from her lower back to her buttocks, sometimes squeezing her.
The complainant said that she repeatedly turned away from the road or grabbed his wrist, hoping that he would receive a message that she did not like her.
On the way home, she and her friends talked about “how weird it was that he was touching me like that,” since it hadn’t happened before, she said. Eventually, she said, she dismissed his behavior that night as something out of his nature.
She is expected to continue her testimony on Friday.
In its opening statement, the Crown said the complainant and Hoggard had planned to meet months later in Toronto, when the girl was 16. Hoggard had picked the girl in a limousine and escorted her to his hotel in Mississauga, Ont., where prosecutors allegedly raped her repeatedly, attempted anal sex, and slapped her and spat in her mouth.
“This went on for several hours,” Slate said.
Prosecutors said the girl left early after pretending to be called to work, then prevented Hoggard from messaging her and never attended Headley’s party again.
The Agreed Statement of Facts stated that the girl went to the hospital on October 12, 2016, approximately two weeks after the alleged incident.
Crown said the second complainant met Hoggard on Tinder when he was in Ottawa to perform on WE Day, and the two began texting and Snapchatting.
Slate said they planned to meet in Toronto in November 2016, and while the woman expected they would have sex, she didn’t agree with what happened.
Hoggard bought train tickets for the lady to come see him in Toronto, according to an agreed-upon statement of facts.
Prosecutors allege that Hoggard raped the woman vaginally, anal and orally for several hours, slapping her, spitting in her mouth and strangling her until she could not breathe. On one occasion, says the crown, he dragged her to the bathroom by her legs.
Slate said the woman took the train to Ottawa that evening and colleagues at the time were expected to testify that she was “upset, crying and emotional” when she got home. The crown said one of them noticed that she could barely sit up and had difficulty walking.
She went to the doctor within a week of the alleged incident, according to the agreed statement of facts.
Hoggard was arrested and charged in 2018 and was due to face trial in January 2021 but the case has been postponed on multiple occasions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has delayed new jury trials by several months.
None of the complainants could be identified under the embargo.
This report was first published by The Canadian Press on May 5, 2022.