Canadian singer Jacob Hoggard convicted of sexual assault

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TORONTO — Jacob Hoggard, the frontman of Canadian band Hedley, was convicted Sunday of sexually assaulting an Ottawa woman, but was acquitted of the same charge involving a teenage fan.

Hoggard, 37, was also found not guilty of sexual interference, a charge of sexually touching anyone under 16, in an incident involving the same teenage fan when she was 15.

The singer hugged his wife in court after the jury verdict was read.

Prosecutors alleged that Hoggard groped the teen after a Hedley show in Toronto in April 2016, and raped her in a Toronto hotel room later that year, after she turned 16. They alleged that he raped the Ottawa woman in a Toronto hotel in November 2016.

Both complainants stated that they were left bleeding and bruised. They all said that Hoggard beat them, spit in their mouths and called them derogatory names, and that at one point he restricted their breathing.

During the trial, which lasted about a month, Hoggard testified that his memory of the encounters was not clear, but said he had “passionate” sex with the complainants and that he only sexually touched the teen after she turned 16. †

“I knew it when she turned 16,” Hoggard testified, adding that he made sure to “be responsible and not break the law.”

He denied swallowing the complainants or restricting breathing, but said some of the other things they described were part of his sexual preferences and could therefore have happened.

The jury began deliberating on Tuesday, twice stating that it was stuck on “some” points. Each time, the judges were asked to keep trying. They echoed most of the testimony of the two complainants and Hoggard, and also raised several questions about legal issues, including the definition of consent.

Hoggard’s band, Hedley, rose to fame after finishing third in the 2004 reality show “Canadian Idol”.

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