Hedley's Jacob Hoggard In Court To Face Sex Assault Charges

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Warning: Contains allegations that may be disturbing to some readers.

Jurors at the trial of Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard heard Thursday from one of his alleged victims, who said she was brutally raped when she was only 16.

Now 21, the woman testified that she was a Hedley fan who started exchanging text and Snapchat messages with the singer when she was 15.

“He would always say things like ‘I love you and I see a future with you and I want you to have my babies,’” she testified. “At the time, I felt like it was love.

“Now, looking back, I realize it was infatuation and manipulated feelings. But at the time, I fully believed everything he was saying.”

They exchanged nude photos and Hoggard sent her an explicit video, she said. During a backstage meet-and-greet at what is now the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Hoggard allegedly groped her and tried to kiss her neck.

Once she was 16, the age of consent, the fan accepted an invitation to meet Hoggard at his hotel near the Toronto airport, where, according to Crown prosecutor Kelly Slate, Hoggard repeatedly raped her, attempted anal sex, slapped her and spit in her mouth.

“She was bleeding and sore. She had bruises between her legs and on her back,” Slate said. “What happened in the hotel room was not what she thought the day would be like, was not what she wanted.

“She did not consent to what Jacob Hoggard did to her.”

The teen went to a hospital nearly two weeks after the alleged incident.

Hoggard, who was arrested in 2018, has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault causing bodily harm and one count of sexual interference (a charge for sexual touching someone under the age of 16).

He has also pleaded not guilty to a second charge of sexual assault causing bodily harm involving a woman he met on Tinder while he was in Ottawa to appear at a WE Day event.

Slate told jurors how Hoggard made plans to meet the woman in Toronto for sex.

Hoggard allegedly raped the woman vaginally, anally and orally, slapped her, spit in her mouth and choked her until she could not breath. He also dragged her by her legs to the bathroom, Slate said.

The woman went to a doctor within a week of the alleged incident.

Jurors heard that Hoggard, in an agreed statement of facts, acknowledged having “sexual encounters” with his accusers. He has previously insisted they were consensual.

Neither of the two alleged victims can be identified due to a publication ban, which also applies to several witnesses.

The trial is expecting to continue for several weeks.

Hoggard, 37, left the Toronto courthouse Thursday afternoon holding his wife Rebekah Asselstine's hand.

Hoggard’s trial was scheduled to begin in January 2021. It was postponed to April 2021 because he hired a new lawyer and then it was pushed to January 2022, and then to this week, due to COVID-19.

Jacob Hoggard: iHeartRadio Music News Coverage

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.

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 Asselstine on New Year’s Eve 2018. He was previously married from 2005 to 2009.

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."

Hedley has been on "an indefinite hiatus" since the end of its Cageless tour in March 2018.