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Kamloops man found guilty of sexually assaulting woman after New Year's Eve party

May 23, 2017 - 11:43 AM

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KAMLOOPS - When Mathew Rittinger pulled a woman on top of him and grabbed her aggressively around her vagina without her consent, he was sexually assaulting her.

That's what a Kamloops Supreme Court judge has ruled in the case of a 25-year-old man who was facing two charges of sexual assault from two different complainants, all from the same house party. 

Judge Hope Hyslop acquitted Rittinger of the first count of sexual assault but found him guilty of sexually assaulting a different woman who had travelled to Rittinger's residence with him and the first complainant after a New Year's Eve party.

The complainant testified during trial that she and Rittinger kissed consensually throughout the night of Dec. 31, 2014, but she made it clear before she went to his home that she didn't want to have sex with him.

They ended up going to his bedroom where they talked and kissed, before she told him she was drunk and wanted to go to sleep. She testified she told him that because she didn't want to have sex with him.

"This is when the sexual assault... started," Hyslop told the court.

During trial, she testified that when she turned away from Rittinger in bed and had nearly fallen asleep, he pulled her on top of him and began grabbing her vaginal area.

She testified she told him to stop touching her up to 20 times and struggled with him until she was able to pull herself off of him. She told the court during trial that her phone was dead, so after she got away from him she found a laptop in the home and attempted to contact friends to call her a taxi.

Hyslop found him not guilty in the other complaint. A woman claimed she woke up to him on top of her, having sex with her, in the early morning hours of Jan. 1, 2015.

Hyslop said there were holes in the first complainant's testimony which created reasonable doubt in whether Rittinger committed the alleged acts or not.

"I find (the first complainant's) evidence troubling," Hyslop said.

The woman testified during trial that when she awoke, Rittinger was nearly finished having intercourse with her. Rittinger left the room shortly after, which is when he called a friend and asked him to pick her up.

The complainant said Rittinger came back into the room and began having sex with her again. She testified that in both encounters she wasn't able to speak and tell Rittinger 'No'. 

Hyslop pointed out the woman didn't give evidence as to why she couldn't say anything, or have an explanation as to how her clothes came off, or how she got on the bed during the second encounter.

During trial the first complainant was asked twice if she gave Rittinger oral sex before leaving his residence in the morning. She answered both times saying she did not recall.

Hyslop says there was no explanation or evidence as to why the complainant wouldn't have been able to recall that. She says although not all of Rittinger's evidence in this alleged assault was believable, she says the Crown failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the complainant hadn't consented to the acts.

Hyslop also said Rittinger's evidence that he was invited into the bed by the woman and that they had consensual intercourse had an air of reality to it.

Rittinger sat with a handful of supporters in the courtroom, one of whom immediately began crying and holding her head in her hands when the verdict was read.

Lawyers are expected to reconvene next month to fix a date for sentencing.

For more coverage on this case, go here.

– This story was updated at 1:44 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, 2017 to add more information on why the accused was acquitted of the first charge he faced.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 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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