(VitalNews.org) – Peter Nygard, former head of a Canadian fashion empire, has been found guilty of four counts of sexual assault for offences that occurred between the 1980’s and 2000’s. The 82-year-old was acquitted of one further charge of sexual assault and another of forcible confinement.
Nygard maintains his innocence, claiming not to remember ever having met four of the five women who accused him, and telling the court that it would not be the sort of behavior he would exhibit. It is not yet clear whether his legal team will appeal the convictions.
During the course of a six-week trial the witnesses for the Canadian Crown prosecutors gave often emotional testimony in which they related being lured by Nygard to a private bedroom suite at his company’s headquarters. Once there, they say they found that the doors had no handles and were kept shut by an automatic locking system controlled by Nygard. It was then that
Nygard sexually assaulted them, with one alleged victim saying that after the attack she was handed an emergency contraceptive pill by an unnamed woman on her way out of the building. She was only 16 years old at the time.
Nygard was once one of the wealthiest men in Canada, worth $700 million at the height of his success. By 2020, his firm had filed for bankruptcy shortly after the FBI had raided its US offices. Nygard was arrested and jailed later that year. The clothing mogul is yet to stand trial in Montreal in 2024 and faces further charges of assault and confinement in Winnipeg; once these Canadian cases have been concluded, he faces extradition to the US due to accusations by the authorities of a decades-long pattern of criminality, with more than a dozen alleged victims from around the world.
Nygard’s son, Kai Zen Bickle, has been one of Nygard’s most outspoken critics since the allegations emerged, publicly voicing his support for the women who reported him to the authorities. He described the conviction against his father as a victory for justice. The sentencing hearing will begin on November 21.
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