NOTE: Graphic content warning
If this was really a horrific sexual assault at the hands of “psychopath” Jacob Hoggard, she could have left that Toronto hotel room during one of his several showers.
Or so suggested Hoggard’s defence lawyer Megan Savard as she cross-examined the Ottawa woman who is the second complainant to testify that she was brutally raped by the Hedley frontman in 2016.
But she added another devastating detail — she thought she was going to die as she watched her face turn red in the Toronto hotel room mirror until Hoggard finally released his grip from around her neck.
“He choked me very hard to the point where I thought he might kill me,” she testified as she fought back tears.
So why didn’t she leave? “You can’t leave a room when you’re being raped,” she retorted.
And while there were lulls between the three episodes of assault that afternoon, she said she was so scared. “He was crazy, he was like a crazy person. He was acting like a psychopath. His eyes were absolutely terrifying.”
Hoggard, 37, has pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault causing bodily harm of the Ottawa woman as well as a fan who was 16 at the time, claiming their sexual encounters were consensual. He has also pleaded not guilty to sexual interference in relation to the teen when she was still 15.
Unlike the teenaged complainant, the Ottawa woman said she knew they were arranging to hook up.
She’d met the pop-rock star a few weeks earlier on Tinder; they’d exchanged nude photos, and he bought her a train ticket, so they could meet him in Toronto on Nov. 22, 2016.
But when she arrived at the Thompson Hotel, she said he became a different person.
He aggressively pushed her up against the wall to kiss her, she said, and she pushed him away because he made her uncomfortable. He seemed high and rude and annoyed with her for being standoffish, she said.
They moved to a new room when it was ready, and she went along, she explained, because she had nowhere else to go. “That’s when he pushed me on the bed and raped me,” she said, her voice breaking.
After he first raped her, “I just saw his face and his eyes, and it was really scary,” she recounted.
Hoggard went on to sexually assault her multiple times and slapped her and spat in her mouth, she testified. “I said ‘No,’ and I said ‘Stop’ and I said ‘You’re hurting me.’ He kept patting me on the head and telling me I was a good girl, and it would be over soon … It felt like a long time.”
She was bleeding but, Hoggard not only didn’t care, she said, but he made animal noises and mocked her. “He called me a dirty little pig.”
At one point, she said, Hoggard pulled her off the bed by her feet — causing her to land hard on the floor — and dragged her to the bathroom where he sat on her chest and asked to urinate on her.
When the ordeal was finally over, and he called her a cab, she was ashamed, embarrassed and determined not to tell anyone. Who would believe her when she’d willingly gone to Toronto for a sexual encounter?
So while she was bruised and bleeding, she didn’t document anything with photos. “I was never going to tell anyone what happened ever, except for my close friends, and I was never going to talk about it again.”
She did visit a doctor on Nov. 28, 2016 who wrote in the chart: “Victim of sexual assault … does not want to start legal proceedings.”
The jury was instructed by the judge not to take that as evidence that it happened.
On her way home to Ottawa, she said, Hoggard texted to thank her for the “wonderful day.”
She sent him a different message: “You raped me and I want you to say sorry to me,” she wrote.
Instead, Hoggard replied in an unusually formal way, denying her accusation. They had a brief phone call, she said, but then he blocked her number.
In 2018, she gave an anonymous interview to the CBC and later went to police, setting the course for being on a witness stand and being asked, “Why didn’t you leave?”
Cross-examination continues Wednesday.