CONTROL AND POWER: Seven women testify against alleged Kamloops serial rapist | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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CONTROL AND POWER: Seven women testify against alleged Kamloops serial rapist

Joel Eric Carlson is seen entering the Kamloops courthouse on June 13, 2024.


The jury in the Kamloops trial of an alleged serial rapist is yet to return to court after it heard from the Crown's last witness this week.

Joel Eric Carlson is being tried for nine counts of sexual assault against seven different women more than five years after the last alleged incident. Some, but not all, were former girlfriends and at least one other was a friend that agreed they wouldn't date.

Each complainant's account is different, with last week's first testimony coming from a woman who said she would have only consented to sex if he had worn a condom. When he didn't, she tried to fight him off as the assault escalated.

More witnesses testified at the Kamloops jury this week. The names of each complainant, and details that could identify them, are protected by publication bans.

On Tuesday, June 11, a woman said Carlson raped her three times in three months. The first time was just weeks after she broke up with him.

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She was one of the complainants to tell the jury they came forward after seeing news stories about Carlson four years ago.

Each time he showed up at her apartment unannounced by climbing onto her balcony, she said. She found him outside those three times and he appeared to be drunk. She would let him with the condition that he sleep on the couch.

“If someone’s intoxicated I’m more likely to let people inside so they don’t drive home," she said when Crown prosecutor Katie Bouchard asked why she let Carlson inside.

The woman also said she wanted to avoid making a scene outside. Both reasons factored into why she let him in all three times.

Each time, he refused the couch and went to her bed, where she would also go.

“I felt disrespected because I let you into my home and you’re not listening to what I’m offering," she said.

He would then hold her down and forced himself on her. The first time she fought for about ten minutes, she said, until she gave up because she couldn't overpower him.

“I said no, get off me," she said. "It was almost like it was egging him on. Like he wanted to prove a point... that he was in control and had power over me.”

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Bouchard asked how she felt about being being allegedly raped inside her own home.

“Like the safety in my own home had been taken away from me. And like I had been violated in what’s supposed to be my own safe space," she said.

The evening played out in a similar way the next time, but she tried and failed to fight him off for just two minutes that time, she said. She then slept on the couch.

The third time, however, she managed to break free after screaming and spitting in Carlson's face. She said she screamed louder than she ever had in her life, but it was the spit that startled him, loosening his grip on her arms. She ran to the kitchen and grabbed a frying pan for protection, she said.

This time he left the apartment instead of sleeping in her bed.

A neighbour heard her scream and called police, but she didn't tell them what happened when they came to the door.

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"I think I was ashamed that I even let it happen, and also you hope that the first time it happens that's the only time. I wanted to wipe my hands clean of it and be done with it, have no interaction with him," she said.

Carlson kept his gaze forward during her testimony. He didn't appear to react as she testified other than to periodically write notes.

On Monday, June 10, another complainant told the jury Carlson raped her after the the pair went out to a bar after they had both established they would be friends and wouldn't pursue a relationship.

She met with Carlson after she got off work, joining him and some of his friends at The Duchess, a former Kamloops strip club. She only finished part of her drink when she started to feel unwell and far more intoxicated than she expected.

The woman, who came to suspect she was drugged, was welcomed to Carlson's home to sleep. Her memory was vague, but she recalled his mother being at the house when she got there.

She had no desire to have sex with Carlson, nor any expectation as he wanted to remain friends, she told the jury.

She thought she would be sleeping on the couch, but instead was in Carlson's bed with him, while his mom was on the couch in the basement suite. She remembered Carlson kissing her and that she didn't want it, but she was unable to fight him because she was so intoxicated.

She awoke in the morning with a vaginal tear, something that she said isn't abnormal even after consensual sex.

The jury heard that she couldn't be sure who spiked her drink and did not allege it was Carlson.

The two women to testify are among seven complainants against Carlson, each one with a different account of how he allegedly sexually assaulted them.

The Crown gave all its evidence to the jury after a week-and-a-half, but it's not clear yet whether Carlson will call evidence or how much longer the trial will continue.

NOTE TO READERS: If you find yourself in need of support please contact one of these organizations. Help is available 24 hours a day at each of these phone numbers:

  • VictimLinkBC: 1-800-563-0808
  • Vancouver Rape Relief crisis line: 604-872-8212
  • Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre crisis line: 1-888-974-7278

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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