Disgraced former fashion mogul Peter Nygard faces two more sexual assault charges involving two new accusers in Toronto.
The nature of the charges, and the dates or locations of the alleged crimes, were not made public during Wednesday’s brief court hearing.
In an email Thursday, Toronto police only said that on June 15, the anti-trafficking unit filed two counts of sexual assault against Nygard.
Nygard, 80, is currently charged with 11 counts of sexual assault and three counts of forcible imprisonment in Toronto, linked to allegations from the late 1980s and mid-2000s.
He has also been charged with one count of sexual assault and forcible imprisonment in Quebec and is scheduled to return to a Montreal courtroom on July 8.
In addition, Nygard faces extradition to the United States. on sex-related charges.
- Justice Minister says Peter Nygard will be extradited to US to face charges
Toronto police charged Peter Nygard with sexual assault and forced imprisonment.
He did not attend Wednesday’s court hearing in Toronto. Crown Attorney Neville Golwalla said he refused to leave his cell at the Toronto Southern Detention Center to go to a videoconferencing room.
A justice of the peace in an Ontario court suggested that Nygard might be ill.
“The words that were used were that he refused to be present at the arraignment,” said Shannon Moroney, a Toronto-based traumatologist who watched the court hearing online.
She supports dozens of people in Toronto and elsewhere who say Nygard attacked them. Some of these people watched Wednesday’s hearing with her.
“When some of his accusations are related to forced imprisonment and … all the accusations are related to how he forcibly entered the bodies of women and girls, the fact that he was not then forced to be present at the arraignment causes great anger among some of the survivors,” said Moroni.
Nygard’s Winnipeg attorney Jay Prober and his Toronto attorney Brian Greenspan declined to comment when they were contacted by CBC News on Thursday.
Nygard is due to reappear in Toronto court on June 29. In January, he was denied bail and ordered not to communicate with any of his accusers.
Nygard’s estranged son, Kai Bickle, also watched Wednesday’s court hearing online. He welcomed the new allegations and the courage of the women who came forward with their complaints.
He says that Nygard, who “was very powerful financially [and] had many connections”, pursued legal action “against any person who spoke out… [creating] a culture of silence where people felt isolated and alone.”
“Now the fact that he is incarcerated lets you know that you are not alone if you survived. And you also understand that he doesn’t have the power he once had,” said Bickle, who is also an executive ambassador for the All for Humanity Alliance, an international group working to end human trafficking and the exploitation of children.
“I wouldn’t be shocked if more accusations came in.”
The identity of all alleged victims is protected by a publication ban.
None of the charges against Nygard were proven in court, and he maintained his innocence.
He has been in custody since his arrest in Winnipeg in December 2020 on nine sex-related charges in New York. He was arrested by Toronto police and transferred there last October.
He will be extradited to the United States to face these charges after the Canadian criminal charges are dropped.
Questions About Manitoba Complaint Handling
Nygard ran his international fashion empire from Winnipeg, but no charges have been filed in connection with allegations of sexual harassment by eight women there.
Moroni and Bickle are calling for a public inquiry to find out how the Winnipeg Police Service and the provincial Justice Department handled these complaints, saying the women involved deserve answers.
“The investigation will show that there are no reasonable, acceptable responses to the fact that they are being targeted for lack of justice,” Moroni said.
“Justice cannot be just a matter of luck… It cannot exist for people in one province and not in another.”
Survivors in Nygard may feel empowered to share their stories, but this comes at a risk.
Police said Peter Nygard will not be charged in the Winnipeg case involving 8 women.
Survivors have mixed feelings as the new allegations are made, she said. While they support each other and find it important that Nygard can’t hurt anyone anymore, it’s a reminder that their complaints weren’t taken into account, she said.
“It is total re-victimization and re-traumatization for survivors in Manitoba when they see… the wheels of justice are turning for other survivors in other regions,” she said.
“No trust, no faith. And this is proven by the absence of accusations.”
Bickle also says Manitoba’s decision in the case sends the wrong message to survivors.
“It doesn’t tell them that they should go to the police. It says that they should remain silent because nothing will happen,” he said.
He wants answers to the question: “What were the failures and what can we do about it so that it does not happen again in the future?”
In a statement to CBC News, the Winnipeg Police Service said its Sex Crime Unit “did a significant amount of work to investigate these files.”
The written statement said eight cases were referred to the Manitoba court, which “refused to authorize criminal charges” against Nygard.
“We understand the courage it takes for any survivor of sexual assault to come forward. We recognize and respect the decisions made by the judiciary, and sometimes by the victims themselves, not to prosecute,” the statement said.
The Manitoba judge has not yet responded to CBC requests for comment.