British Columbia

Curtis Sagmoen gets absolute discharge in 1st of multiple criminal trials

A North Okanagan man accused of threatening and assaulting sex trade workers in four separate incidents has been given an absolute discharge after pleading guilty to a lesser charge at his trial for mischief.

Judge agrees to discharge after guilty plea to lesser charge, leaving him with no criminal record

Curtis Sagmoen faces additional assault charges. (Plenty of Fish)

A North Okanagan man accused of threatening and assaulting sex trade workers in four separate incidents has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge at his trial for mischief connected to an incident near Falkland, B.C., last summer.

In a Vernon courtroom Thursday morning, a judge agreed to an absolute discharge for 38-year-old Curtis Sagmoen, based on a joint submission from Crown and defence lawyers.

That means that despite his guilty plea to a charge of mischief to property, no conviction will be entered on Sagmoen's record.

Sagmoen was charged with mischief under $5,000 in connection with a homemade wooden spike belt that was placed across a road in the area where Sagmoen's family owns a farm. 

During Thursday's hearing, Sagmoen agreed that he had access to the road and knew the spike belt was there but did not inform the woman who was driving along it. The tires were flattened on the woman's Jeep and had to be repaired. 

Alleged threats, assaults against sex trade workers

Sagmoen has been in custody since he was arrested last October and charged with several offences related to alleged threats against a sex worker in August 2017.

The charges include disguising his face with the intent to commit an offence, intentionally discharging a firearm, and uttering threats.

Police search a farm near Salmon Arm, B.C., in October 2017. (Desmond Murray/Canadian Press)

Days later, the RCMP began a large scale search of a farm on Salmon River Road south of Salmon Arm belonging to Sagmoen's parents, where investigators found the remains of 18-year-old Traci Genereaux​. 

Police said at the time that the 18-year-old's death was suspicious. No charges have been laid in connection with Genereaux​'s death, and Sagmoen has not been named a suspect.

In January of this year, the RCMP announced more charges against Sagmoen for alleged crimes against two sex trade workers. 

Sagmoen was charged with assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm for an incident that allegedly occurred in August 2017, and assault for another alleged incident in July 2017.

"The new charges involve two different victims working as online escorts who used backpage.ca/backpage.com to advertise their services," said Cpl. Dan Moskaluk in a news release at the time.

"The victims attended locations in close proximity to 2290 Salmon River Rd., Salmon Arm, in response to inquiries on their ads, where the alleged offences then occurred."

Sagmoen will stand trial on those charges next year at dates yet to be determined.

Traci Genereaux was 18 when she went missing in May 2017. (RCMP)

He will also attend a five-day trial in February next year in Port Coquitlam on one count of assault causing bodily harm for alleged offences against another sex trade worker in 2013, this time in Maple Ridge.

Rally for missing local women

Protesters rallied outside the Vernon courthouse ahead of Sagmoen's trial on Thursday morning, as they have done at each of his court appearances.

Organizers say they hope to draw attention to several missing women from the area and the fact that no one has been charged in Genereaux's death.

Sagmoen has not been named a suspect in any of the cases of the missing women.

Since his arrest in 2017, protesters have rallied outside the Vernon courthouse at many of of Curtis Sagmoen's court appearances to oppose violence against women and raise awareness of missing local women. (Curtis Allen/CBC)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brady Strachan

CBC Reporter

Brady Strachan is a CBC reporter based in Kelowna, B.C. Besides Kelowna, Strachan has covered stories for CBC News in Winnipeg, Brandon, Vancouver and internationally. Follow his tweets @BradyStrachan

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