Decades before she told police that fashion titan Peter Nygard raped her in his Toronto office in 1989, she told her boyfriend about the incident.
But the pilot recalled different details than those she told jurors this week at his trial, where Nygard, 82, pleaded not guilty to five counts of sexual assault and one count of forcible arrest.
The identities of the five women who carried out detailed attacks at Nygard’s fashion headquarters between the late 1980s and 2005 are subject to a routine publication ban.
The final complainant testified earlier this week that when she was about 20, she agreed to meet Nygard in Toronto because he said he could help her with her budding fashion career. But after a tour of his building, she said he locked her in a locked bedroom, where he held her and, after unsuccessful attempts to analize her, handed her over and raped her. Only after many requests, she said, did he finally let her go.
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Her mother told the jury Wednesday that she could immediately tell something was wrong when her daughter called the next morning. When they met for coffee, she told her what had happened.
“She said, ‘Mom, he raped me, he raped me. “She said he was a big, strong man and he pushed me onto the bed, pinned me down, took off my underwear and raped me,” the mother said, sobbing. “She said she was hysterical and he said to her, ‘Your mother would be ashamed of you.'”
The complainant said she also told the man she later dated and eventually married about the incident, but did not tell him the name of her attacker. When news broke about Nygard in 2020, her former husband texted her: “Hey, was that idiot guy in Toronto a long time ago Peter Nygard?”
“Yes,” she replied.
Her ex-husband testified that many details of their conversation were burned into his brain: She told him that she had dated an unnamed, high-ranking fashion executive and that it had “ended badly.” She said they went on a tour of his warehouse, which ended in a secret bedroom. “She said she felt like she couldn’t get out; she felt like she was trapped.”
Nygard’s allegation of forcible detention relates to this fifth complainant.
However, her ex’s account differed from hers as he described how he was told the couple eventually had sex.
“He verbally – not physically, I don’t think – pressured her into sex, basically insulted her a lot for wasting his time, and as he continued to do that, she eventually gave in,” he told the jury.
He said she told him that pornography was being played on screens and the man told her that they were imitating the acts; He also remembered her saying he tried to have anal sex and she refused.
After she confided in him, he said he was shocked and she was conflicted.
“She asked me directly, ‘Do you think I was raped?'”
Society’s attitudes were different more than 30 years ago, he said. “We both knew it was wrong, we both knew she was being exploited, if not raped, but we both had a hard time figuring out whether she was being exploited or not raped,” he testified.
“She said, ‘He didn’t beat me up. He didn’t hit me. He didn’t hold me. I made him wear a condom – so is that still rape?'”
He said he knew it wasn’t a good idea for her to go to the police. “I said, ‘You know what’s going to happen if you pursue this: He’s going to hire the best – well, maybe not the best, but the highest paid – lawyer he can possibly find, and they’re going to put you on the list Get up and they will tear you to pieces.’”
And she would endure this character assassination, he warned, with no guarantee of conviction.
“You were locked up. “It’s not right what happened to you,” he told her. “But would it hold up in court and would he be convicted of rape? I don’t know and she didn’t know either.”
Three decades later, the same question remains.
The trial continues on Monday.