Merritt man guilty after rape of longtime friend | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Merritt man guilty after rape of longtime friend

A Merritt man has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman who said he was like a brother to her.

He was her sister’s former boyfriend and became friends with her entire family — and with her because they often exercised their dogs together. But all that ended when he fed her alcohol and raped her in 2020 while she was drunk, according to a recently published B.C. Supreme Court decision.

The identities of the victim and the accused are protected by publication ban. Any information that could identify the victim was removed.

The victim said she knew the man since she was 12 or 13 and he is two years older; she was 18 years old when she was sexually assaulted. She joined her assailant for a drive, bringing her dog along, around 10 p.m., Jan. 8, 2020. They often would spend time together, driving around Merritt, usually bringing their dogs with them.

This time, he didn't have his dogs and he took her to his home, where she had never been before.

When she testified, the victim described how she drank some wine before leaving the house and at least one beer once she got to his house, but she felt in "control" when describing her intoxication. Later, her friend and eventual rapist, handed her another drink and told her to "chug" it, which she did, she testified.

She found herself extremely intoxicated, falling in and out of consciousness, after about 10 minutes, according to the decision.

While the two were watching a movie in his bedroom, he sexually assaulted her.

Once it was over, the victim recalled that he put on his pants and left the room, saying nothing to her.

She contacted her sister immediately to tell her what happened and sought a ride home.

A friend soon came to pick her up just after midnight and drove her to the Merritt hospital.

She described the victim as "hysterical" during the drive. She was extremely intoxicated, losing consciousness and her eyes were rolling back, according to the decision.

It was like something out of a horror movie, she testified.

The victim gave a statement to a Merritt RCMP officer at the hospital after he arrived around 3 a.m.

The ordeal continued for hours because she had to go to Kamloops — there were no rape kits at the Merritt hospital.

Around 7:30 a.m., the victim was finally home after going to Royal Inland Hospital for a rape kit.

In her decision, Justice Sheri Donegan she found the accused "took no steps" to ensure the victim consented, without even an "honest but mistaken belief" she had.

While he's been found guilty, he won't be sentenced until another hearing is set.

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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