Edmonton

Former co-owner of Edmonton bar pleads guilty to sexual assault

A former co-owner of the now closed Needle Vinyl Tavern pleaded guilty Friday to sexually assaulting one of his female employees.

James Leder admitted to grabbing an employee’s buttocks in March 2017

The Needle Vinyl Tavern is has been closed since November 2017. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC)

A former co-owner of the now closed Needle Vinyl Tavern pleaded guilty Friday to sexually assaulting one of his female employees.

James Leder admitted in Edmonton provincial court that he had grabbed the employee's buttocks on four occasions on March 10, 2017.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 19. 

The court also lifted the publication ban that had been placed on his victim's identity. 

At the time of the offence, Leder was co-owner of the Needle. The music venue closed its doors in November 2017 when the sexual assault allegations surfaced. 

His victim, Brittany Lyne Rudyck, was the Needle's social media manager, and had also worked there as a bartender.

Leder was intoxicated when he showed up at the bar that day in March, and continued to drink, according to an agreed statement of facts filed in court. 

"After making a comment about the complainant's appearance, he grabbed her buttocks while she was near the main bar," the court document said. 

"She told him to stop, but he grabbed her buttocks again. The complainant walked away from him."

Leder grabbed Rudyck's buttocks a total of four times that day, and was told to stop by another employee.

The bar owner struck an employee who tried to intervene, and was escorted out of the bar by staff. 

He tried to apologize the next day. A copy of his email to Rudyck was included in the statement of facts. 

"I feel loads of shame and guilt," he wrote in the email. "I don't know what can be said to make it right, but I hope you forgive me."

Leder also wrote that he didn't remember what had happened, and said "there is no excuse for such actions."

Rudyck quit her position with the Needle after going public with her story in November 2017.