In a landmark ruling on Sunday, former fashion mogul Peter Nygard was found guilty of four counts of sexual assault by a Canadian court. However, he was acquitted of a fifth count and a charge of forcible confinement. The jury reached this verdict after five days of deliberations, concluding a six-week trial held in Toronto.
Allegations from the 1980s to the Mid-2000s
Nygard, now 82 years old, had pleaded not guilty to all charges. These charges were based on disturbing allegations dating back to the 1980s up until the mid-2000s. As a protective measure, the identities of the five women who testified against Nygard have been shielded by a publication ban.
Invitations to Nygard's Headquarters
During the trial, each of the five women revealed that they were invited to Nygard's Toronto headquarters under various pretexts. From tours to job interviews, these encounters ultimately led them to a top-floor bedroom suite where four of them were sexually assaulted. Multiple complainants recounted similar stories of initially meeting Nygard on a plane, at an airport tarmac, or at a nightclub. Subsequently, they received invitations to his headquarters. Regrettably, all their meetings or interactions with Nygard concluded with non-consensual sexual activities.
Forcible Confinement and Descriptions of Trapped Conditions
One complainant detailed her experience of being confined against her will in Nygard's private suite for an extended period, resulting in the charge of forcible confinement. Others also shared their accounts of feeling trapped within the suite. They described doors that required keypad codes or the push of a button near the bed to gain access or exit.
Disturbing Testimony: Assault on a Minor
Among the testimonies, one woman revealed that she was merely 16 years old when she accompanied an older man she was dating to Nygard's headquarters. Here, she alleged that Nygard sexually assaulted her, and before leaving, another woman handed her an emergency contraceptive pill.
These verdicts serve as an important step towards justice for the victims of Peter Nygard. The conclusion of this trial highlights the significance of believing survivors and holding perpetrators accountable for their actions.
Nygard Faces Sexual Assault Charges in Trial
Fashion mogul Peter Nygard, founder of Nygard International, testified in his own defense during his trial, vehemently denying the sexual assault allegations made by five women. In fact, he claimed to have no memory of ever meeting or interacting with four of the accusers. Nygard adamantly declared that he would never engage in the type of behavior he was accused of and asserted that it would be impossible for anyone to be confined within his private suite.
Prosecutors contended that Nygard's testimony was evasive and unreliable. Moreover, they highlighted the striking similarities in the stories shared by all five women, pointing to a clear pattern in his alleged misconduct.
To counter the allegations, the defense put forth the argument that the complainants had fabricated a "false narrative" about Nygard. They insinuated that the motive behind these sexual assault claims stemmed from a class-action lawsuit filed against Nygard in the United States.
However, this trial is not the only legal battle Nygard is currently facing. He also awaits criminal charges in three separate jurisdictions. These charges include sexual assault and forcible confinement related to incidents dating back to the 1990s in Quebec and Manitoba. Additionally, he faces charges in the United States.
Nygard's legal troubles began when he was initially arrested in Winnipeg in 2020 under the Extradition Act. The arrest came after he was charged with nine counts of various offenses in New York, including sex trafficking and racketeering.
Although the federal justice minister at the time announced that Nygard would be extradited to the United States once his Canadian cases concluded, resolution remains pending.
Following the FBI and police raid on Nygard's New York City offices in February 2020, the fashion magnate resigned as chairman of Nygard International. The subsequent bankruptcy filing and receivership declaration have driven the once-thriving company into an uncertain future.