First of seven alleged victims tell Kamloops jury of sexual assault 11 years ago | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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First of seven alleged victims tell Kamloops jury of sexual assault 11 years ago

Joel Eric Carlson.
Image Credit: Kamloops RCMP

CONTENT ADVISORY

The accounts of seven alleged sexual assault victims will be different as they each unfold over more than a week in a Kamloops courtroom this week.

That's what Crown prosecutor Katie Bouchard told a jury Monday, June 3 when she laid out the overview of what they'll hear during the trial as Joel Eric Carlson faces nine sexual assault charges.

The seven women were allegedly assaulted separately over a period of five years, with the most recent assaults occurring in 2018. The names of the victims are protected by publication bans.

Carlson, 31, appeared in court dressed in a suit. He has been out of custody on conditions since he was charged.

The oldest incident the court will hear came from the first woman to testify.

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She's now 29, but she told the court it was 11 years ago that Carlson forcefully had sex with her without a condom. It happened after the pair met at a Lower Mainland gym, she said.

She was just 18 and had only just started working out. Usually she would go with a family member who taught her how to workout and to use the gym equipment. This time, she was alone.

While using an incline leg press machine, Carlson told her how to use it. It was the first time the two had spoken.

"He said something about how my feet placement was incorrect," she told the court.

She and Carlson periodically saw each other at the gym after and eventually started dating, but it wasn't long after that the alleged assault happened.

They went to a dance club together. They drank and eventually headed back to Carlson's apartment at the end of the night, where he lived with his mother. The woman said she drove them back from the club, but she wasn't drunk at that time, while Carlson did appear to be drunk.

They got ready for bed and once there Carlson tried to have sex with her. She paused it for a moment after they got undressed.

"I had a rule," she told the court. "I only wanted to have sex with a condom on."

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Not only did Carlson ignore that, she said he laughed it off.

"He made me feel weird for wanting to have a condom on, like I was some weirdo," she said. "He was basically laughing at me, making fun of me. I don't remember his words exactly about that particular thing, but I remember it was making me feel insecure about wanting to have safe sex."

That's when he turned her over. She told the court she weighed just over 100 lbs at the time, while Carlson was muscular and likely doubled her weight. With his hand on her upper back, she lay flat on her front with her legs together and Carlson sat on top of her.

She wasn't able to fend him off, but she did struggle. As she did, she remembered Carlson's mother was in the living room watching TV, so she began hitting the wall and yelling, hoping she would help.

Instead, she heard Carlson's mother say, "Go to bed, Joel."

She said she then gave up on calling for help and stopped fighting. Crown prosecutor Laura Drake asked why, and she said it was pointless.

"It's a waste of energy," she said, knowing there would be no help.

"I just stopped. Just the quick problem solving your brain goes into came to the conclusion you're wasting energy by fighting. If you wait, it'll be done. So that's what I did," she said. "I kind of dead-bodied it."

She told the court Carlson continued to have sex with her, but he relieved some of the pressure that held her down. That's when she quickly flipped onto her back and raised her legs. She described a motion similar to using the leg press Carlson tried teaching her to use, she pushed him off of her, launching him onto the floor. He landed on his behind, hitting his back to the wall.

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But then he got up and started again.

At that point, she stopped fighting and waited for it to be over, she told the jury.

"I did not fight. I just waited until it was over," she said. "When it was done we just went to sleep."

The entire time, there were condoms in her purse, but there was no effort to get them at any point that night, she said.

A friend of hers would later ask how their date went that night and she recanted what happened, but she didn't see it as a sexual assault at the time.

"I told her what happened. She was the one who told me, 'You got raped,'" she told the court. "I was like, 'No, what are you talking about?' ... It was very hard to accept. You don't want to confirm it to yourself."

The pair continued to see each other for months after that, but she told the court it was years later that she came to see what happened was rape.

"The hardest part to forget was how it made me feel," she said. "It made me feel very... small, insignificant, powerless, tiny, like I didn't matter, worthless."

The woman was the first of seven alleged victims the jury will hear from this month. Each victim's incident will be different, Bouchard told the jury.

Bouchard said two women met Carlson on Tinder. She said she expects the jury will hear from one who alleges Carlson had sex with her without a condom. The other is expected to allege Carlson had anal sex with her against her wishes.

Another victim will allege the pair were in a relationship and, after they broke up, he came to her balcony three separate times. She's expected to tell the jury that he raped her those three times and, on the third, her screams prompted a neighbour to call police.

For six of the alleged victims, Carlson is facing one count of sexual assault. He's facing three separate charges for the seventh victim.

The trial is expected to continue for two weeks.

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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