Toronto

Emotional, graphic testimony from complainant at police sexual assault trial

The woman who says three Toronto Police officers took turns sexually assaulting her in a hotel room in 2015 fought back tears as she recounted graphic details of that night to a packed courtroom on Wednesday.

Warning: this story contains graphic details that some readers may find disturbing

Video evidence from the trial shows the complainant and two of the defendants arriving at the Westin Harbour Castle hotel, where the assault allegedly occurred. (Trial exhibit)

The woman who says three Toronto Police Service officers took turns sexually assaulting her in a hotel room in 2015 fought back tears as she recounted graphic details of that night to a packed courtroom on Wednesday.

Officers Leslie Nyznik, Sameer Kara and Joshua Cabero are each charged with one count of sexual assault and are being tried by judge only.

They appeared to take notes, looking straight ahead and occasionally in the direction of the complainant during more than two hours of emotional testimony.

The woman's identity is being withheld due to a publication ban.

"I was powerless. I couldn't move. I couldn't talk. I couldn't stop what was happening," the woman said when asked by Crown lawyer Ted Ofiara about how she felt during the alleged assault.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

The complainant recounted the night of Jan. 16, 2015, when she said she attended a party with a group of Toronto police officers, including the three accused.

She testified that Kara invited her to the party and when she arrived at CC Whiskey Bar there were about 10 to 12 officers and they were "pretty intoxicated."

Toronto police officers Leslie Nyznik, Joshua Cabero and Sameer Kara are charged with sexually assaulting a female colleague. (CBC)

The complainant told the court she had one drink when she arrived at the bar and a shot of tequila with Kara on the way out.

The party left for Pravda Vodka Bar where the complainant said she had another drink. She testified she did not see who poured the drink and it was handed it to her by another officer.

Later on, the woman told the court she ordered another drink at the bar with Kara. "At that point there was a kiss between us," she testified.

Shortly afterwards, the woman escorted Kara outside where he began to vomit. Kara, who she said was very intoxicated, was taken to the Westin Harbour Castle hotel by another officer.

The complainant was unfamiliar with many people at the party and she testified that after Kara left, she approached Nyznik, whom she knew better than most, and told him, "You're responsible for me now."

She said she hoped Nyznik would look after her and see that she took a taxi home, since she was drinking.

Party moves to strip club

Later on in the night, the woman testified that five people from the party, including herself, Nyznik and Cabero, went to the Brass Rail strip club.

There, she said she ordered a vodka and cranberry juice from a waitress.

At that point she testified that Nyznik excused himself to go to the washroom.

Nyznik returned to the table around the same time the waitress arrived with their drinks.

She testified that Nyznik "seemed very friendly with the waitress" and that he told her the group worked in the adult film industry and were all from Miami.

"I was shocked at the stupidity of the whole thing," the woman told the court.

New video in police sexual assault trial

5 years ago
Duration 3:59
The sexual assault trial of three Toronto Police officers has seen its first images of the complainant and the accused in the critical moments directly before and after the alleged incident took place.

After finishing the drinks, the woman testified that she took a taxi to the hotel along with Nyznik and Cabero. She said the plan was to check in on Kara and then meet other officers who remained at Pravda.

"Do you remember your level of sobriety?" How did you feel when you immediately left the Brass Rail?" Ofiara asked.

"I felt ok-ish. A little bit tipsy. I felt ok," the woman answered.

But once in the taxi, she said she felt a change.

"I had a sudden, intense headache. I felt my vision was impaired. Like tunnel vision," she said of the taxi ride to the hotel.

In the hotel room

"What was your expectation of what was going to happen in the hotel room?" Ofiara asked.

"We were waking Sameer [Kara] up and dragging him out," the complainant said.

Once in the room, the complainant said she attempted to wake up Kara, who was sleeping on one of two beds in the room.

"I was calling his name and I remember being on all fours on the bed and hovering over him."

The next thing the complainant testified she remembered was lying on her back on the bed.

"Les [Nyznik] was standing, jeans around his ankles, penis exposed. He was going ahead towards me," she told the court.

"Les was holding my head and he said, 'Suck my cock' and he penetrated my mouth with his penis."

"How were you physically feeling at this point?" Ofiara asked the woman.

"I was unable to move," she answered.

The woman testified she was also unable to speak.

"I was trying to talk but I wasn't able to form words. I was essentially just moaning," she said.

'Come on, stop'

She then told the court she remembers someone touching her legs.

She does not believe this was Kara as she remembers him sleeping beside her on the bed.

"I remember Les saying, 'Suck my boy's dick' or something like that," the woman testified.

The woman testified she remembers being vaginally penetrated as the oral penetration continued. She said she believed it was Nyznik who was orally penetrating her.

Then she told the court she heard Kara's voice from beside her.

"He said, 'Guys stop. Josh stop. Come on, stop,'" she testified.

The woman said the penetration stopped and she remembers being covered with a blanket.

At some point after that, the woman said Kara tried to wake her up. She said she remembers her chest area being wiped with a towel.

"And immediately after that I was being penetrated vaginally," she told the court.

'I felt like I had what happened written all over me'

Asked if she recalled when the penetration ended, the woman said she only recalled the sensation of ejaculation on her lower stomach and pelvic area.

"Next thing I remember is hearing a conversation between the three of them about whether or not they still wanted to get a hooker for the night," the complainant said.

She told the court she awoke later with an "excruciating headache" and quickly got dressed and left the room.

She testified she ordered a taxi and wanted to leave the hotel as fast as she could.

"I felt like I had what had happened written all over me," she said.

'Never been sick like that'

At home she said she passed out on her bathroom floor, where she awoke later that morning "choking on my own vomit."

The complainant believes she had five or six alcoholic drinks during the evening but they seemed to affect her more than usual.

"I've never been sick like that," she said.

Throughout the testimony the complainant became increasingly emotional yet stayed composed enough to retell the story clearly.

She told the court she began to realize what had happened to her after she looked at herself in her bathroom mirror.

"And I think it just hit me, kind of all at once," she said.

'I felt like if it got out, they would kill me'

She told the court she realized she had been assaulted but at that point vowed not to report it because she was scared.

"The fact that they were police officers would make it a lot easier to cover up the fact that there's three of them, that their word would be stronger than mine. They carry firearms. There was no way to report it because I would essentially have to go tell the police, their friends," she testified.

"I felt like if it got out, they would kill me."

She did report the incident to police nine days later. 

Defence lawyers for the three accused plan to cross-examine the woman tomorrow.

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