Security guard convicted of sexual assault at 2017 Sun Peaks music festival | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Security guard convicted of sexual assault at 2017 Sun Peaks music festival

November 21, 2019 - 7:30 AM

More than two years ago, a young woman found herself separated from her friends at a Kamloops area ski resort festival. She was heavily intoxicated and stumbling through the snow when she came across a security guard and asked for help getting home.

He offered to walk her to her chalet — then followed her inside and raped her. 

Shawn Christopher Gray, born 1981, was found guilty of one count of sexual assault in August but that decision was made publicly available this week.

The woman, who is only identified by her initials, C.F., attended a three-day festival at Sun Peaks, approximately 60 kilometres north of Kamloops during an April 2017 weekend, according to the B.C. Supreme Court decision.

The woman was with a group of friends and had rented a chalet. She was close friends with one individual from the group and says she did not know the others very well.

At the trial, C.F testified she was drinking wine and acknowledges she drank a lot over the course of the evening but couldn’t estimate the quantity.

The group, including C.F., decided to attend a concert and then went to a festival venue afterwards. C.F. says she did not drink at the venue and became separated from her friends and decided to leave.

She was staggering and stumbling due to her intoxication, the decision says.

Gray was on duty during the festival and was involved in the asset protection aspect of the security — protecting valuable property or ensuring that people do not stray into hazardous areas.

C.F. told him she lost her friends and was trying to get home. He offered to walk her back to her chalet.

In the security business, this is called a “safe walk” but Gray’s employer was not set up to provide safe walks — it was not permitted under its insurance policy. The company had a policy to find someone else to help if such a situation arose, so Gray had no reason to walk her home.

There was general conversation during the roughly 20-minute walk and on one occasion C.F. fell into the ice and snow due to the slippery conditions and her level of intoxication. He then took her arm to stabilize her and at one point she told Gray just because he was walking her home didn’t mean he was going to “get lucky.”

When they arrived at her chalet, C.F. entered the pin to unlock her door. C.F. has no recollection of inviting Gray in but has a clear memory of standing by the front door and thanking him and telling him to leave. She described feeling uncomfortable at one point and that her stomach dropped when she realized he did not intend to leave. She testified Gray helped her with her shoelaces and her coat.

At one point, she managed to text a friend saying the guard was there and "needed to leave". That prompted her friend to return immediately.

At one point, there was sexual contact between C.F. and Gray in the upstairs section of the chalet. C.F. admitted she was unsure how they ended up upstairs and did not recall how she ended up naked on a mattress.

She denied that she ever touched, hugged, or kissed Gray and recalls thinking she did not want to have sex with him.

C.F. recalled when the assault began, she adopted a "freeze response" telling herself to make sure she did not get hurt. She decided to “play possum” and hoped Gray would get bored and leave. 

After the assault, the accused went to leave and C.F.’s friend came home. C.F. took Gray’s picture on her cellphone while her friend was nearby. They called 911 and two officers attended while she was "crying hysterically".

Gray was identified by his supervisor from the photo C.F. took on her phone. He was arrested and made a statement to police the next day. C.F.’s DNA was present on two portions of Gray’s underwear.

Gray’s version of events were that they were kissing and hugging while sitting on the bed but they never had sex. 

C.F. was described as a credible witness according to Justice Steven Wilson in the decision. C.F. acknowledged she was intoxicated and there were gaps in her recollection of the events.

Gray was not a believable witness, Wilson said. There were a number of aspects of his testimony that led the judge to believe he could not rely on his evidence.

For example, Gray testified he agreed to walk C.F. home after he radioed for permission to do so. But that's not what he told his supervisor shortly after his arrest.

The judge concluded Gray proceeded on the mistaken assumption that C.F.’s silence and passivity coupled with a lack of physical resistance constituted consent to sexual activity. But silence or passivity cannot equate to communicated consent because silence and passivity do not communicate anything, Wilson said.

The judge concluded Gray was operating under an error of law and that is no defence and found him guilty on the single charge of sexual assault. He said his defence "had no air of reality."

He was sentenced in October to three years in jail with a mandatory DNA order. 

For the full decision, go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards 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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