New charge against Jacob Hoggard surfaces as he awaits verdict in sex assault trial

WARNING: This article contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced​ ​​​sexual violence or know someone affected by it. 

Jacob Hoggard, the former frontman for rock band Hedley, is facing a new rape allegation related to a June 2016 encounter in Kirkland Lake, Ont. 

Hoggard was charged in March with sexual assault causing bodily harm involving a woman who was 19 at the time.

Court documents indicate the alleged assault took place on or around June 25, 2016, when the band headlined Homecoming week celebrations in the northern Ontario town, located about 300 kilometres northeast of Sudbury. 

In an exclusive interview with CBC News, the complainant alleged that Hoggard forced himself on her six years ago at the Comfort Inn in Kirkland Lake, where the band was staying. 

“He knew what he was doing was wrong and he did it anyway,” said the woman, who is now 25 and living in British Columbia. Her identity is protected by a court-ordered publication ban.

The identity of the complainant, who now lives in B.C., is protected by a court-ordered publication ban. She alleges Hoggard raped her in June 2016 following a Hedley concert. She was 19 at the time. Hoggard denies the allegation. (Judy Trinh/CBC News)

After filing a formal complaint with police this February, the woman said she felt “relief” that she had taken a step to hold Hoggard accountable.

In an email, Hoggard’s lawyer, Megan Savard, says her client denies the alleged 2016 assault.

“Mr. Hoggard is innocent,” wrote Savard, who declined a CBC request for an interview. “He will plead not guilty. He has no further comment as this case is before the courts.” 

Hoggard’s next court appearance on the Kirkland Lake charge is scheduled for Aug. 4.

Verdict expected in separate sex assault case

In June 2016, the B.C. woman, a Hedley fan, was hoping for a moment to discuss music and play guitar with Hoggard. Instead, she claims he raped and degraded her.

“I did not consent to sexual intercourse. I kept telling him ‘No, don’t. Stop,’ over and over again,” said the woman as she recalled the alleged assault.

“I felt powerless.”

The new charge has surfaced as Hoggard, 37, awaits a verdict in a trial in Toronto where he is facing two other counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm. 

One count is related to an Ottawa woman and the other to a girl from the Greater Toronto Area who was 16 at the time. Those alleged assaults occurred in the fall of 2016. He also faces one count of sexual interference in connection with the teenager. He has pleaded not guilty to all three counts.

Hoggard took the stand in his own defence in the Toronto trial, which began on May 2. 

Since he was first charged with sexual assault four years ago, Hoggard’s music career has imploded and Hedley is no longer together. He said that he is now working as a carpenter and is married with a young son. 

Hoggard told the court that he did act callously in the past during numerous one-night-stands, but asserts he’s not guilty of a crime. A verdict in the Toronto trial is expected soon.

Hoggard, 37, is seen with his wife, Rebekah Asselstine, right, and lawyer Megan Savard, centre, arriving at a Toronto court on May 6, for his sexual assault trial. He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one of sexual interference. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Police did not name Hoggard

According to Ontario Provincial Police, on March 2, 2022, Hoggard, accompanied by his lawyer, turned himself in at the South Porcupine OPP detachment in Timmins, Ont., about 140 kilometres west of Kirkland Lake. 

He was arrested, charged then released on a promise to appear. 

Though he was named in court documents, Hoggard was not identified by OPP in a March news release when they said they charged a 37-year-old Vancouver man in relation to a 2016 sexual assault. 

The complainant provided CBC with emails in which she asked police to release Hoggard’s name. Instead, she said an investigator told her that they were not naming the singer in order to protect her identity. The woman is not named in court documents. 

Provincial police say the decision not to name Hoggard was made after consulting with senior management. 

“The fact that the two individuals involved do not live in the same community was a factor that we looked at, but in the end, the safety and security of the victim is our bottom line,” said Bill Dickson, the acting manager of OPP media relations, in an email.

“The profile or employment of an accused is not the deciding factor.” 

Hoggard’s lawyer declined to respond to CBC questions about the arrest. 

“We do not litigate cases in the media and this case is no exception. What we have to say will be said in a court of law,” said Savard.

‘I should have reported him a long time ago’

The woman, who now lives in B.C., said she had previously considered reporting what happened to police in 2018, when allegations of inappropriate behaviour toward young female fans first surfaced on social media during the band’s Cageless album tour.

In February 2018, before any other allegations of sexual assault had been published, she also spoke to a CBC reporter but, ultimately, decided not to share her story.

“I should have reported him a long time ago, but I was worried no one would believe me because he was a celebrity,” said the woman, who now feels more confident in coming forward. 

Since the alleged assault, she has graduated from college and has found comfort in a new relationship.

“I have a supportive partner now, and it’s very helpful. It makes me feel stronger,” said the woman. But, she said, she still has nightmares about what happened. 

CBC cannot independently verify the woman’s account of events but has confirmed that Hedley band members did stay at the Comfort Inn when they visited Kirkland Lake in 2016. 

CBC journalists have also seen a selfie of the then 19-year-old woman and Hoggard taken at a party after the concert that night.

A selfie of Hoggard and the complainant was taken around a campfire at a party in the woods behind the band’s hotel in Kirkland Lake in the early morning hours of June 25, 2016. The complainant’s face has been blurred to protect her identity. (Submitted by complainant)

From concert to alleged assault         

On June 24, 2016, the woman attended a Hedley concert at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex in Kirkland Lake with a family member. After the concert, they hopped in a van that was taking fans to the Comfort Inn to party with the band. The woman’s relative left before she did.

While hanging out at a campfire pit in the woods behind the hotel, the woman said, she drank multiple Coors Lite beers with the band. She became drunk and said that’s when Hoggard took her to his hotel room.

Once inside, the complainant saw several guitars and hoped she and Hoggard could “jam” together. She said he accused her of being “talky, talky,” took away her phone, then assaulted her. 

He acted like he owned me, like he could do whatever he wanted.– Complainant, who alleges she was raped by Jacob Hoggard, when she was 19.

Despite her attempts to rebuff his advances, she said, he took off her clothes and took a naked photo of her without her consent. He then undressed himself, revealing tattoos of a snake and what looked like a panther on his body.

“He acted like he owned me, like he could do whatever he wanted,” she said.

The woman said Hoggard wanted to know how old she was. She said she told him she was 19 and pushed the singer off her as he tried to kiss her. She said she fought off his attempt to anally penetrate her, but was vaginally raped.

“I was fighting him the whole time. I felt stuck while he was on top of me. He was very strong,” said the woman. 

She told CBC she screamed for him to stop. 

WATCH | Woman describes alleged 2016 assault by Jacob Hoggard:

‘I did not consent,’ says woman, describing alleged assault by Jacob Hoggard

6 hours ago

Duration 1:33

WARNING: This video contains distressing details | A woman alleges she was raped by Canadian singer Jacob Hoggard after a concert in Kirkland Lake, Ont., in June 2016. She was 19 at the time and her identity is protected by a court-ordered publication ban. He denies the allegation.

Allegations of choking and slapping

During the alleged assault, the woman said, Hoggard alternated between calling her a “dirty little piggy” and a “good girl.” 

The woman alleged that he choked her during sex and slapped her, leaving a red handprint on her thigh “that lasted a week.”

After the alleged assault, the complainant said she felt so nauseated that she went into the bathroom to vomit.

When she stepped into the shower to wash up, the woman said, Hoggard walked into the bathroom and asked if he could urinate on her. She said she refused but that he urinated on her stomach anyway.

“It made me disgusted and sad,” said the woman.

“I was just an average girl that was going to go meet a celebrity and talk for a few minutes and then that happens.”

A view of hotel room sliding doors that open onto the parking lot of the Comfort Inn in Kirkland Lake. The woman alleges that she was sexually assaulted by Hoggard at the hotel on June 25, 2016. (Jimmy Chabot/CBC)

To cope, complainant destroyed her diary

The complainant said Hoggard didn’t use a condom during the sexual assault. 

When checkout time came, the woman hoped Hoggard would pay for a taxi. Instead, she said, he told her to stay in the room for 30 minutes after he left and to leave through the back patio door.

She said some band and crew members may have seen her leave the hotel. Previous attempts by CBC to track down those people to verify her account were unsuccessful.

In an attempt to cope with the trauma, the woman said she burned the diary where she wrote about her feelings in the days after the concert. 

A few days after the alleged assault, the woman said, she went to the Centre de Santé in Kirkland Lake to get an STD test, which she said was negative. CBC has not been able to verify if there is a record of her visit to the centre.

Besides the police, the woman said she has only discussed what happened with her current partner, a mental health counsellor, and the CBC. 

The woman’s partner confirmed to CBC that she told him last summer about what allegedly happened and that he encouraged her to go to police. 

She said she deleted videos she took of the concert and the afterparty, but the memories keep resurfacing, sometimes manifesting in bouts of fitful sleep or jolting her awake in the middle of the night. 

She said she has flashbacks where she is paralyzed by the look in Hoggard’s eyes during the alleged assault.

“They scare me. His blue eyes. Flashbacks of him make me feel stuck. I feel degraded — like I’m just a thing.”


Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. ​​If you’re in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911. 


With files from Andreas Wesley and Allie Elwell

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