Sex Assault Survivor: Jacob Hoggard 'Took Away My Worth'

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An Ottawa woman who was sexually assaulted by Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard on Nov. 22, 2016 said Thursday that a part of her died that day.

“My life as I knew it was stolen from me and shattered beyond recognition,” she said at Hoggard’s sentencing hearing in Toronto. “The assault took away my worth, my privacy, my body, my confidence and my voice.”

The woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, filed a lawsuit earlier this week against Hoggard, seeking $2.8 million in damages. (Hoggard has not yet filed a statement of defence.)

Hoggard, who was arrested in 2018, was found guilty in June of sexual assault causing bodily harm in connection to the encounter at a hotel in Toronto. (The jury acquitted him of charges related to another alleged victim.)

“The months following the assault were the loneliest and darkest days of my life,” the woman said Thursday. “I would wake up every night paralyzed with fear over the continuous nightmares I had of that day. To this day I can close my eyes and put myself back in that hotel room.”

She said it was difficult to see Hoggard remain free while awaiting sentencing. “Videos were posted online of the last few months of him dancing and living a normal life,” she said. “The lack of empathy and remorse is not only painful, it’s terrifying.”

Hoggard, who previously told the court he is working as a carpenter in Vancouver, is required to be home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., except in the case of family emergencies or approved commitments. He must submit to regular check-ins and is subject to random compliance checks.

Jacob Hoggard: iHeartRadio.ca Music News Coverage

The woman addressed Hoggard, 38, directly. “I would like to offer a piece of advice to Mr. Hoggard. In his own words. ‘Don’t worry – it will be over soon.'"

(You can read the full victim impact statement here.)

Ontario Superior Court Justice Gillian Roberts delayed sentencing until after an Oct. 14 hearing at which Hoggard will be allowed to speak. Prosecutors have said they are seeking a sentence of at least six years. (The maximum sentence is 14 years.)

Jacob Hoggard, second from right, in Hedley.

In March, Hoggard was charged by Ontario Provincial Police with sexual assault causing bodily harm in connection with an alleged encounter at a Comfort Inn in Kirkland Lake, Ont. in 2016 with a woman who was 19 at the time. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Oct. 17 in Haileybury, Ont.

The B.C. native placed third on the second season of Canadian Idol before breaking out as lead singer of Hedley. The band released seven studio albums between 2005 and 2017 that spawned hits like "On My Own," "Cha-Ching," "Kiss You Inside Out" and “Perfect.”

Accusations of inappropriate behaviour with female fans began to surface online in early 2018, causing Hedley to be dumped from the JUNO Awards and the band’s songs to be scrapped from radio playlists. At the time, Hoggard said in a statement: “I have never engaged in non-consensual sexual behaviour in my life. Ever.” But, he admitted that he hasn’t treated women well. “For this,” he said, “I am truly sorry.”

Hoggard tied the knot with Rebekah Asselstine on New Year’s Eve 2018 (he was previously married from 2005 to 2009). The couple have a son.

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