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Jury convicts Kamloops serial rapist

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

A man facing ten counts of sexual assault was convicted in Kamloops after an eight-day trial.

The jury returned after more than a day of deliberations to find Joel Eric Carlson guilty on six of ten charges.

Seven complainants testified against him throughout the trial, with some incidents dating back more than ten years ago. Some were in Kamloops and some were in the Lower Mainland. The most recent was in 2018, but he was charged in 2021.

They each had very different accounts of how he sexually assaulted them. The first woman to testify said he refused to use a condom despite it being her "rule." What ensued, she recounted, was a forceful rape that she could not fight off.

"It made me feel very... small, insignificant, powerless, tiny, like I didn't matter, worthless," she told the jury.

The verdict is now his second after he sexually assaulted an 18-year-old woman in Vernon four years ago. He was convicted in July 2022, but he was ordered to take a year of counselling rather than jail time.

For the Vernon sexual assault he was charged in 2020. Police issued a news release with a mug shot and the announcement spurred most of the complainants in the Kamloops trial to come forward.

Carlson's lawyer Lisa Helps told the jury the complainants were all women who had an "axe to grind." Some he dated and some he cheated on ex-girlfriends with. They were angry with him.

"Some of them, I think, have decided after the fact a type of buyer's remorse, that they never should have done anything with him and decided it was sexual assault," Helps said in her closing arguments.

The jury was sequestered on June 19 after receiving instructions from Justice Paul Riley. At around 8:30 p.m., June 20, they returned with their verdict.

Now guilty on six of the 10 sexual assault charges, Carlson is in custody as his bail was revoked while he awaits his sentence. Lawyers will appear in court again next month, but it's not clear when he will be sentenced.

— This story was corrected at 9:02 a.m., Jun 21, 2024, to say Joel Carlson is in custody.


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