CBC Investigates

Ex-SMU groundskeeper charged with 3rd sex assault after 2014 case reopened

Matthew Percy, who is accused of raping two women last fall and recording the attacks, is now facing a new charge related to a rape allegation at a Dalhousie University student residence.

Police originally closed file without charges after a month, but re-examined case after other charges

Matthew Percy, 34, has been in custody since Dec. 18. (Matthew Percy/Facebook)

A former Saint Mary's University groundskeeper accused of raping two women last fall and recording the attacks is now facing a new charge related to a 2014 sexual assault case that was recently reopened.

Matthew Percy, 34, was charged with sexual assault causing bodily harm Thursday morning when he appeared in Halifax provincial court via video link from jail.

CBC News has learned two of the three cases Percy is now charged with involve women who were attacked in university student residences — one on the Saint Mary's campus, the other at Dalhousie University. 

On Dec. 8, 2014, a 19-year-old woman reported being raped by a 31-year-old man in Halifax two days earlier, according to Halifax Regional Police. CBC News has learned she identified the man as Percy and said the incident happened in a residence at Dalhousie University.

Crown prosecutor Rick Woodburn, who is assigned to the three cases, couldn't comment on why exactly the case was reopened.

"As the result of media attention, and other circumstances, another charge arose out of this and some others were reviewed," he said. 

He said he couldn't comment on whether there are further allegations or investigations involving Percy. 

Case initially closed after 1 month

Police initially concluded the 2014 investigation without charges less than a month after the complainant came forward. 

In a statement to CBC News in January, police spokesperson Const. Carol McIsaac said sexual assault investigations are "very complex" and there are no time limits for charges. In a later statement, McIsaac confirmed the case had been reopened on Jan. 19.

Percy remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in Halifax provincial court again by video on Feb. 28.

He is also facing two charges of sexual assault and two charges of voyeurism related to attacks last September.

Lawyer now reviewing evidence

Percy's lawyer, Brian Warcop, said he would be reviewing video evidence from the first two cases before his client's next court appearance. He said it was "unexpected" that he would ask for bail on the most recent charge.

Woodburn said if he did, the Crown would oppose it. 

Percy does not have a criminal record and was first charged in November with sexually assaulting a woman in a campus residence at Saint Mary's University on Sept. 15. At the time, Percy was employed by the university as a groundskeeper. He no longer works there.

Percy was initially arrested on Sept. 15 in a university dorm room. He was released without charges and then arrested again on Nov. 29. (Robert Short/CBC)

Percy was initially arrested in a dorm room after a woman asked residence staff to call for help at 4 a.m. on Sept. 15. He was released without charges and then arrested again on Nov. 29, and spent six days in custody before being released on bail on Dec. 5.

That same day, a second woman came forward alleging she'd been sexually assaulted in a Halifax home on Sept. 3. Percy was also charged with choking to overcome resistance in that case.

He was denied bail after the second set of charges and has been in custody since Dec. 18. ​

About the Author

Elizabeth McMillan

Elizabeth McMillan is a journalist with CBC Nova Scotia. Over the past eight years, she has reported from the edge of the Arctic Ocean to the Atlantic Coast and loves sharing people's stories. She can be found on twitter @elizmcmillan.