Warning: Contains graphic content
Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard acted like a “psychopath” when he repeatedly raped a young Ottawa woman in a downtown Toronto hotel room in November 2016 and choked her so severely she thought he was going to kill her, the woman testified Tuesday.
“He was crazy,” she said. “His eyes of him were absolutely terrifying.”
Hoggard, 37, has pleaded not guilty to sexual touching of a person under the age of 16 and two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm. He has admitted to having a “sexual encounter” with each of the two complainants, one of whom was a 16-year-old fan at the time.
The identities of both women are under a publication ban available to sexual assault complainants.
On Tuesday, the older of the two complainants, now in her late 20s, told the jury she met Hoggard on Tinder in November 2016 in Ottawa. He was using a fake name but she recognized his face from her and he sent her a photo on Snapchat to confirm it was him.
Hedley was in town to perform at We Day and the complainant happened to be volunteering there as well. She said Hoggard told her to meet him in the green room before her performance but she declined.
They made plans for her to take the train to Toronto two weeks later to meet him and have sex, she said. She arrived at the Thompson Hotel on the morning of Nov. 22, 2016.
She said Hoggard met her in the lobby and they went to a hotel room that he told her was not his usual one, she said.
She was a little nervous but it was fine about meeting him, she said.
When they got into the hotel room “he pushed me against the wall and he tried to kiss me,” she said. It was “uncomfortable and awkward” and she pushed back with her body. He then lay in the bed and was drinking what he told her was “lean,” she said — a drink typically made from prescription cough syrup and soda. He appeared high, she said, and different from the nice person he’d seemed in his messages from her to her before.
She said he was not behaving like the person she was expecting to meet, she said.
She said he seemed annoyed that she appeared “standoffish” and that he told her she could just go home if she wanted. He said she was all “talky-talky” and he expected more, she said.
She said she decided to stay because she was already there and she had no way to get home until later that day.
At around noon they moved to his regular hotel room and immediately, she said, he pushed her onto the bed, removed her clothes and anally raped her. Over three or four hours, she said he raped her anally, vaginally and orally multiple times. He did not use a condom, she said.
She said she repeatedly told him: “no, stop, you’re hurting me” and was crying but it made no difference.
At one point he patted her head, called her a “good girl,” to be quiet and that it would be over soon, she said. He also made pig noise sounds and called her a pig and a slut, she said.
He choked her using both hands until she could not breathe, she said. She could see her face turning red in the mirror above the bed’s headboard, she said.
“I remember looking in the mirror and thinking he might kill me and no one knows where I am,” she said.
He slapped her on the face multiple times while he was raping her, she said. He kept telling her to hit him back and she did n’t because she was afraid of him, though she wanted to, she said. He also forced her mouth open and spat in it, she said.
At another point, he grabbed her legs and dragged her off the bed, she said. She hit the floor and he pulled her into the bathroom, she said. She said he sat on her chest de ella and he was going to pee on her, and asked her to pee on him. She refused, she said, and it did not happen.
Over the three or four hours, I have ordered room service, she said.
When she went to use the bathroom, she realized she was bleeding and told Hoggard, she said.
He eventually called her a cab and she went to the train station, she said. He messaged and said it had been a “wonderful time” and that he couldn’t wait to see her again, she said.
She testified she was “disgusted” by the message.
“He knows what he did and I don’t know why he would say that after doing that to someone,” she said.
She called a friend and told her a little about what happened but said it was hard to do so because she felt embarrassed and ashamed.
She felt stupid that she went there and let someone do that to her, she said.
The next evening she told a friend and a roommate what happened, and they told her to message Hoggard. “You raped me,” she told him, and said she wanted an apology. She said he replied and said it was consensual. The message seemed different from his usual casual tone, she said. He also called her briefly, she said. She told him again that he raped her and she wanted an apology, but he did not apologize and denied he raped her, she said.
Six days later she went to a doctor for an STD check and because she was worried about the pain in her vaginal area, she said.
She said she didn’t save any messages or take photos of the bruises on her body. Her plan for her at the time was not to tell anyone else and to “pretend like it never happened.”
“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.
But in 2018 she was introduced to a CBC reporter and shared her story anonymously.
“It felt very freeing to say it out loud,” she said. “For someone to believe me.”
After that interview she went to police, she testified.
In cross-examination, Hoggard’s lawyer Megan Savard pointed out that the complainant was left alone three times while Hoggard showered and that she had access to her phone at that point and for an hour before she left. The complainant could have left at any time, Savard suggested.
“You can’t leave the room when you are being raped,” the complainant said. She agreed that she was not being held down the entire time and that she could have spoken to hotel staff.
Savard also suggested the complainant was upset because she was expecting to go to an event later that day with Hoggard and she’d brought a change of clothes and makeup with her, but instead he asked her to leave. The complainant said that it was not the plan and that it was typical of her to bring extra clothes and to have makeup so she could do touch-ups.
Savard suggested that, in the immediate time after leaving the hotel, the complainant was not sure she had been sexually assaulted and that in a phone call to her friend she said maybe Hoggard was just interested in rough sex and she was not sure if he crossed to line. The complainant said she did not say this. She maintained that she was sure that she had been raped but said it was embarrassing and awkward to talk about it.
The trial continues.
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.