Nygard faces sex-crime charges in Toronto, but not Winnipeg Former fashion mogul accused of Ontario offences between 1987 and 2006, won't face charges in Winnipeg
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 01/10/2021 (493 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Accused serial rapist Peter Nygard is facing criminal charges in Toronto — but not in Winnipeg, where he launched and grew his multimillion-dollar fashion empire.
Toronto police secured an arrest warrant Sept. 29 for six counts of sexual assault and three counts of forcible confinement. The charges cover alleged incidents, all involving women, between October 1987 and March 2006.
The Winnipeg Police Service investigated Nygard from February to December 2020. The service sent eight files, based on eight women’s complaints, to prosecutors for review.
However, one of the Winnipeg complainants and a Toronto advocate for victims both told the Free Press in October the Crown attorney’s office decided recently not to pursue charges against Nygard in any of the complaints.
A Manitoba Justice spokeswoman said there are no outstanding charges against Nygard in the province but would not comment about “matters that may come for a Crown opinion.” The disgraced fashion mogul has repeatedly maintained his innocence.
“Each one of the eight women learned separately from Victim Services, attached to the Crown, that for a variety of reasons, their cases were not going to be pursued,” KC Allan said in a brief phone interview Friday.
Allan alleges Nygard violently raped her shortly after she graduated from high school in the fall of 1979 at the age of 17. She said she wasn’t surprised to learn, in September 2021, that her June 29, 2020 complaint to Winnipeg police wouldn’t be pursued given how long ago the alleged offence occurred.
“(But) it’s been an incredible blow to see these women denied their day in court… and frankly I’m f—ing pissed off that Ontario had the prosecutorial gall to go after him… when Manitoba lacks the prosecutorial zeal to see this thing through,” she said.
“Peter Nygard is a homegrown monster and Manitoba exported him to the rest of the world, just like he was wheat or barley.”
Allan declined to speak further with Victim Services about why her criminal complaint wouldn’t be pursued.
“They merely said to me that they only bring charges that they can win, and I thought in my instance, fair enough, but I was deeply disappointed to learn that seven of my fellow sister survivors were not given their day in court,” she said.
Shannon Moroney is a Toronto therapist and social worker who counsels about 40 people affected by Nygard’s alleged crimes. She also said the women were contacted by Manitoba Justice during the summer and told the Crown was not pursuing charges.
“Frankly, the Crown in Manitoba needs to be honest and say, ‘Actually, we’ve already decided, we are not pursuing these charges and we have notified those survivors, and these are our reasons why,'” Moroney said.
“These survivors have already been told, they’ve already been grieving and angered for several weeks, having found out their charges are not going forward.”
The Toronto Police Service’s communication manager said she could not provide details on whether the warrant will be served on Nygard in Winnipeg and, if so, when. The new charges are complicated by developments Oct. 1 in a case seeking Nygard’s extradition to stand trial in New York.
“We are moving forward with our investigation while the extradition process continues,” Toronto police spokeswoman Meaghan Grey told the Free Press.
In a Winnipeg hearing on Oct. 1 Nygard, 80, consented to being extradited to the United States, where he is charged with rape, racketeering and sex trafficking after a lengthy criminal probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A group of 10 women filed a class-action lawsuit in the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York in February 2020 alleging Nygard had drugged, raped and sodomized them as part of a decades-long sex-trafficking scheme.
Many of the initial accusers were under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged offences.
The accusations against Nygard soon began to mount, with more than 50 accusers signing onto the class-action suit in the months to come, and others still who came forward with stories. The Free Press has interviewed more than a dozen accusers.
Despite years of rumours, out-of-court settlements and open allegations, the nine criminal charges from Toronto mark the first time in 41 years he has faced criminal repercussions in Canada.
Winnipeg police charged Nygard, then 39, with a single count of rape in 1980, after an 18-year-old woman said he’d assaulted her. The charge was quickly stayed by the Crown after the accuser refused to testify in court.
Nygard’s longtime lawyer Jay Prober has repeatedly maintained his client’s innocence.
Canadian law enforcement arrested Nygard in Winnipeg at the behest of U.S. authorities on Dec. 14, 2020, after prosecutors in New York secured a criminal indictment against him, alleging a long reign of terror involving dozens of victims in multiple countries.
Nygard is accused of using the “façade of legitimacy his fashion business created — as well as the Nygard Group’s business operations, reputation and resources — to facilitate and conceal his crimes,” U.S. authorities said.
His bail request was denied and he has been in custody since his arrest.
— With files from Dean Pritchard
Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.
Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.
Updated on Friday, October 1, 2021 8:47 AM CDT: Updates information on charges by Toronto police
Updated on Friday, October 1, 2021 8:57 AM CDT: Minor changes
Updated on Friday, October 1, 2021 9:35 AM CDT: Adds Nygard's consent to extradition
Updated on Friday, October 1, 2021 10:47 AM CDT: Edits details regarding extradition
Updated on Friday, October 1, 2021 5:56 PM CDT: Full write-thru with extra info, quotes, photos, formatting
Updated on Friday, October 1, 2021 8:45 PM CDT: Adds "The" to Winnipeg Police Service.
Updated on Thursday, December 2, 2021 12:36 PM CST: Updates date references