Trial underway for man accused of sex assault

  • Jun. 25, 2014 3:06 p.m.

The trial of a man accused of aggravated sexual assault and confinement against a Central Alberta woman has begun this week.

Nathan Desharnais, 25, of Red Deer, has been charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault and unlawful confinement and imprisonment as a result of an incident that took place at his Red Deer home in June of 2012.

He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Crown Prosecutor Maurice Collard said the incident was a situation where the complainant, who cannot be named as per a court order, entered into an agreement of sex for money with the accused. They had sexual encounters on two occasions, the first of which she described as being without difficulty.

The complainant testified during the opening day of the trial on Monday.

She said she posted an ad through Craigslist looking for a ‘casual encounter’. Desharnais contacted her and after speaking with him, she agreed to spend a couple of hours with him at a price of $150 for, “Discrete, no strings attached sex,” she testified.

“It was just everyday sex.”

The complainant said she went to Desharnais’ home on June 3, 2012 for their first encounter. She testified that she had part of a drink and that Desharnais offered her some drugs.

“I had a tiny bit of cocaine,” she said, adding that Desharnais suggested that is how she got paid. “I told him I didn’t want that.”

The complainant said she spent about four hours in Desharnais’ home having consensual sex. They also spent some time talking.

She added during their discussions, Desharnais expressed interest in binding, taping and suffocating during sex. “I told him that I was not comfortable with that and that was the end of the discussion.”

She testified that she left at about 2:30 a.m. on June 4, 2012 without payment. She agreed to return the next day to collect her money. She said she continued to receive text messages from Desharnais until about 5 a.m. “He wanted me to come back but I told him I had to sleep and would come back around noon.”

On June 4, 2012, the complainant returned to Desharnais’ home in the afternoon. “We sat and smoked a joint and proceeded to have sex again. When the intercourse ended and I went up to leave, I sat on the edge of the bed. He grabbed both of my arms from behind and he pushed my face into the pillow, put his knee in my back and tied my hands,” she said.

The complainant added she tried to scream. “I was screaming what are you doing? Why are you doing this to me?” she testified. “He told me to be quiet and to be a good girl and that he wouldn’t hurt me, but he was already hurting me.”

She added Desharnais put his hand over her mouth and nose and she couldn’t breathe. “He placed his hand on my throat and tried to strangle me. I lost consciousness,” she said, adding that she was in and out of consciousness during a period of time as Desharnais continued to choke her. “When I woke up I had duct tape on my face. He had wrapped it all around my head. I thought I was going to die.”

She added she remembers Desharnais dragging her off the bed and began unwrapping the duct tape off of her. “He was pulling all of my hair out.”

She asked him why he did this to her and he said that he had a fantasy. “He wanted to know what it felt like to rape someone,” she testified.

In hopes of leaving the residence safely, she said she told Desharnais she would not tell anyone what happened. She asked Desharnais if she was going to get paid and he said he needed to go to the bank.

“I drove him to the bank and he was in there for about two to three minutes and came out complaining he had a stomach ache. I took him back to his residence and he said he had no money.”

The complainant later went to the hospital to seek treatment. Hospital staff then called police.

She said as a result of the incident, her back, arms and neck were sore. Her face was also purple from being strangled and duct taped. She added she felt like she was in a cloud for some time after and that she had trouble with her memory after the incident.

When asked by Collard why she would go back to Desharnais’ home a second time, she said she didn’t think he was capable of what he did.

“He was actually really nice.”

The trial continues this week and is set to wrap up on Friday.