Nygard used secret bedroom in his company's Toronto HQ for sexual assaults: Crown
Published Tuesday, September 26, 2023 5:32AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 26, 2023 4:43PM EDT
Warning: There are graphic details in the following story
Former fashion mogul Peter Nygard had a private bedroom constructed within the walls of the Toronto headquarters of his fashion empire, where he sexually assaulted five women starting in the 1980s, prosecutors said in their opening statement in a Toronto courtroom Tuesday.
In the first detailed look at the criminal case against Nygard, Crown attorney Ana Serban took jurors through the summaries of the stories of the five women, saying that Nygard used his wealth and influence to lure them through job offers or exclusive experiences — but brought them to the secret bedroom instead.
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“Peter Nygard leveraged his power and status as a wealthy fashion designer to lure and assault young women, “ Serban said, repeatedly referencing the former Niagara Street address of Nygard’s former headquarters.
“Within these walls there was a bedroom suite, with a giant bed and a jacuzzi, a bar and doors with no handles, with automatic locks. Keypad operated locks, locks controlled by Peter Nygard,” Serban said.
Nygard has pleaded not guilty to the five counts of sexual assault and one count of unlawful confinement. Publications bans in the case prevent media outlets from reporting on the names of alleged victims and witnesses.
Once a household name and synonymous with fashion, Nygard’s eponymous company is now bankrupt.
The 82-year-old’s signature white mane was pulled back when he arrived at the courtroom in Toronto Superior Court in a wheelchair. He was helped into his seat by a Toronto special constable.
Serban described one case in 1988, when Nygard was 46 and the alleged victim was 26. Nygard approached her on a flight to the Bahamas and offered her a job and to stay at his property there. He invited her to a job interview at the Niagara Street property but assaulted her in the bedroom, Serban said.
In 1988 or 1989, another woman met Nygard at a club in Quebec when she was 21 and he was 47, Serban said. They also ended up in the private bedroom, Serban said, and the woman called him after the alleged assault, worried about “making an enemy of someone so powerful,” Serban said.
In 1989, when Nygard was 48, he met a 28-year-old actress on a flight, and took her on dates for several months, including front row tickets to a Rolling Stones concert. Nygard also took her to this private bedroom, assaulted her and threw a $100 bill at her. The woman did come forward in 1998 but decided against pursuing it further, Serban said.
In 1996, when Nygard was 54, he met a 24-year-old model on a flight and offered her hostessing jobs. She accepted, and on one occasion Nygard hired her to host a party at the Toronto headquarters. Uncomfortable, she made herself a drink and passed out and woke up to a sexual assault, Serban said.
In 2005, when Nygard was 63, a man in his 30s invited a 16-year-old to a party at the Niagara Street headquarters. There was no party, Serban said, and the woman felt disoriented after a drink. After the sexual assault in the private room, another woman called the alleged victim to ask her to take pills she later discovered were emergency contraceptives, Serban said.
The women involved are expected to testify, as well as a police architect who will take the stand to describe the room with a drawing to scale.