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Trial underway for teenager facing sexual assault charges that rocked Stephenville High

Stephenville High School.
Stephenville High School. - Star file photo

Facing three trials for alleged sexual assault, a male teenager started his trial in provincial court in Stephenville on Tuesday.

The allegations rocked Stephenville High School earlier in the school year and students there pushed for the province to update its safety policies when the student remained in the school for some time after the charges were laid.

The teenager, who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, pleaded not guilty to all charges Tuesday.

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Records released by Judge Lynn Cole after The Canadian Press applied to provincial court say those charges include sexual assault, forcible confinement and using “a stupefying or overpowering drug” to help commit sexual assault.

The documents say the alleged attack happened last October at or near Stephenville.

The alleged victim appeared in court via teleconference from a different room in the building, answering questions by both Crown prosecutor Susan Gallant and defence lawyer Mark Mills.

She told the court she and the accused had been drinking from a small metal flask, and that she drank most of it when they went for a drive in the fall of 2017. She said that after getting ice cream they stopped by Tip Top (auto body) to eat, then drove around a little more before he took her to Indian Head Park.

It was there, she said, he offered her a pill that would help her relax, and, after kissing for a while, she felt nauseous. She said that when they got in the back seat of the car, he pulled her on top of him and they had sex without her consent.

She reported “things being cloudy” during the alleged assault, saying she passed out on top of the accused, and she doesn’t fully recall the entire incident.

In January, the police questioned her about the accused and another female, and she initially denied everything before telling the police about the alleged assault.

During cross-examination, Mills questioned gaps in some of her timelines in her report to the police and during her testimony on Tuesday.

She said the testimony in court was likely more accurate, because when she was interviewed by the police she was trying not to think about the incident, which had an effect on her that friends noticed.

She admitted she hadn’t asked any questions about the pill offered to her by the accused, and she had taken it because she had a bad week and he told her it would have a relaxing effect.

The alleged victim said the incident was quite upsetting to her and at first was more just hurt, but coming forward, she was very fearful of him. She said she asked him on Snapchat what was in the pill, but he didn’t answer.

The trial continues today.

A separate trial set for June 26 to 29 involves three counts, including sexual assault, assault and an alleged attempt to choke his accuser with his hands in December in or near Stephenville.

In a third matter scheduled for trial Aug. 2 in Stephenville, he pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference involving someone under the age of 16. The incidents allegedly happened between Sept. 22 and Oct. 9, 2017.

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