Gang sexual assault caught on video at Little Italy bar, court hears as 2 men go on trial
Warning: This story contains details some people may find disturbing
The trial of two men accused of gang sexually assaulting a woman in a Little Italy bar began Monday with the Crown telling the jury the attack was caught on security video — and also that the two accused plied the victim with alcohol and encouraged her to snort cocaine.
In its opening statement in Ontario Superior Court, the Crown said it would present video from eight cameras inside the former College Street Bar on Dec. 14, 2016. The prosecution said the video shows two men repeatedly sexually assaulting a woman who passed out at times after she was given drinks, and was propped up at a bar to inhale lines of cocaine.
"It is important that you see the entire interaction between [the woman] and these two men the entire night to have a full picture of all the evidence when making your decision whether [the woman] consented, and had the mental capacity to consent, to all the sexual acts that took place," Crown attorney Rick Nathanson told the court.
The former owner of the bar, Gavin MacMiIlan, 44, and manager Enzo De Jesus Carrasco, 34, each face a charge of gang sexual assault, administering a stupefying drug and forcible confinement. Carrasco also faces two additional charges of sexual assault.
MacMillan and De Jesus Carrasco have both pleaded not guilty.
The College Street Bar closed in early 2017. A public outcry after the alleged assault led to protests outside the bar. Activists, including sexual assault survivors, launched a petition that was signed by more than 1,600 people demanding the business be shut down.
It was sold later that year and now operates under new ownership and a new name.
Nathanson told the jury the victim had met a friend on the night of the alleged assault, who was taking a bartending course at the College Street Bar.
The prosecution is alleging that after the course was over the woman's friend left, and she was alone in the bar with MacMillan and De Jesus Carrasco. Nathanson said the video will show both men "serving [the woman] three drinks over the course of about the next 12 minutes."
The Crown said MacMillan then left the bar for about 45 minutes, leaving the woman alone with De Jesus Carrasco. Nathanson told the jury the woman began to show "increasing signs of intoxication ... Her walk and balance appear to become more wobbly."
The crown told the jury the video will show De Jesus Carrasco pulling the woman over to the bar and slapping "her 10 times on the face — to which she barely seems to react." He then allegedly positioned her head on the bar over what appeared to be cocaine.
After MacMillan returned, the prosecution alleges, both men engaged in sexual acts with the woman, who "appears to be physically overpowered, and the sexual activity is forceful and rough."
The Crown told the jury in addition to the bar surveillance video, it appeared that one or both men recorded the sexual acts with their cellphones.
The Crown said it will present evidence the woman was disoriented and doesn't remember much of what happened throughout the night.
The prosecution alleges she got into a taxi with De Jesus Carrasco believing he was going to take her to where she was staying, but instead he took her to his apartment "where he took her inside and forced sexual intercourse on her."
Nathanson told court the woman eventually left and a friend called 911 so she could report the assault. The woman also went to the hospital where a sexual assault nurse documented "extensive bruising and injuries, particularly to her inner thighs and vaginal area."
Blood and urine samples revealed the presence of alcohol and cocaine.
Nurse Judy Waldman testified on Monday she examined the woman on the night of Dec. 15, 2016, and pointed to injuries she noted on a diagram.
During cross examination, MacMillan's defence lawyer Sean Robichaud asked her, "Looking at the injuries ... you can't confirm whether the injuries caused by sex were consensual or not consensual?"
"That is correct," Waldman replied.
The nurse also couldn't say for certain exactly when the woman got the bruises and abrasions on her body.
The trial, which is being presided over by Justice Michael Dambrot, continues Tuesday. The Crown says it will begin showing the jury the video evidence at that time.