One of the seven women accusing a Calgary bar owner of sexual assault is speaking out in hopes of helping others.
“Now, I wish I would have done it in 2017,” Rachel said.
Rachel isn’t her real name. CTV News is protecting her identity due to a publication ban.
Rachel says she came to know Grant Lee Cichacki years ago while working in the Calgary bar scene in her early 20s,
She says Cichacki began buying drinks for her and her friends at a Calgary Stampede event in 2017.
After that, she says the group stopped at his downtown home on the way to an after party.
“I remember him giving me one drink and I remember after that, I was gone,” she said.
Rachel says she was drugged, then raped.
“I would kind of come in and come out, and I’m seeing what was happening and I was like, ‘I would never consent to this and never want this to happen to me,'” she said.
At the time, Rachel says she didn’t feel comfortable going to police.
“I wasn’t sure if it came out, how it would affect everything around me because I was working in the industry at the time,” she said.
‘Rachel’ isn’t her real name. CTV News is protecting her identity due to a publication ban. Corporate registry documents show Cichacki as a co-owner of Watchman’s Pub, located in the 1100 block of 17 Avenue S.W., as well as both Courtyard and Nixx Neighbourhood Pub on Edmonton Trail.
Rachel says her perspective on going to police changed when she heard in the news last fall that Cichacki had been charged with the sexual assault of a former employee.
Police said the woman was taken to Cichacki’s downtown residence after they attended a social function together in December 2022.
Police say that’s where she lost consciousness and was subjected to unwanted sexual acts.
Cichacki now faces charges involving attacks on seven woman between 2006 and 2022.
The women were his co-workers, employees and acquaintances, according to police.
“What had become very clear to us was that we were dealing with a serial sexual offender … Somebody that would take the time to, in a pre-meditated and specific way, take advantage and seek out his victims,” said Sgt. Tom Hanson with the Calgary Police Service’s sexual assault investigative unit.
“I would not be surprised in the least if there’s more victims out there.”
In Canada, there is no time limit to report a sexual assault.
“We want to make sure that people like this are held accountable and are taken off the streets so that people can be safer,” Hanson said.
Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse offers support, counselling and therapy for sexual assault survivors and their loved ones.
Danielle Aubry, the organization’s CEO, says people shouldn’t feel pressured to come forward, but says one person’s decision to speak out can have a ripple effect.
“It can be very helpful for people who, for years and years and years, thought they were the only one or thought that they did something to deserve something like that,” she said.
“It may give someone some confidence, some faith in the system to report it.”
Rachel says her life hasn’t been the same since the incident.
She has issues trusting people, especially when it comes to relationships.
While she knows the court process will take time, she says the prospect of getting justice is worth it.
“The only way he’s going to stop is if we all come together and put a stop to it,” Rachel said.
Cichacki is set to appear in court on Jan. 31.
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