BARRIE, Ont. – A man accused of sexually assaulting an Ontario woman while she slept last year suggested his genitals may have accidentally come in contact with hers that night after he mistakenly climbed into the wrong bed.
Shawn Roy told a Barrie, Ont., court he couldn’t explain how his DNA got onto Kassidi Coyle but said it was possible his genitals came out of his boxers during the night, noting that it had happened in the past “at least a couple of times.”
Roy testified Tuesday that he was drinking heavily with a group for close to 10 hours before he went upstairs to sleep at a friend’s house in the early hours of July 1, 2016 and that he couldn’t recall getting into bed. The 39-year-old said he eventually became aware that someone else was in bed and he panicked and fled to another room.
He said it was only the next morning that he discovered he was being accused of sexually assaulting Coyle, a 20-year-old woman who was also staying at the house that night.
During cross-examination, however, Crown lawyer Lynn Shirreffs pointed out that Roy unequivocally denied to investigators that his genitals could have accidentally come out during the night, and said he had failed to come up with a compelling explanation for why his DNA was on Coyle’s “intimate parts.”
Shirreffs suggested Roy was not as drunk as he made himself out to be, and that he sought to take advantage of Coyle, who he believed to be passed out from drinking.
Court has heard Coyle was friends with the daughter of another resident of the home and had met Roy briefly earlier in the night. Coyle told friends and police that she woke up to find someone trying to penetrate her and jumped out of bed, then saw Roy and spotted her underwear and shorts on the ground.
The young woman took her own life four months later but the statements she made shortly after the incident are being admitted as evidence at Roy’s trial.
In a ruling released last week, the judge overseeing the trial found Coyle didn’t have time or motive to fabricate the allegations against Roy, and noted the results of a rape kit corroborate her perception of physical contact as well as “the nature of that contact.”
The identity of sexual assault complainants is typically protected by a publication ban but the court lifted the ban at the request of Coyle’s family.
The family has pushed for greater support for those who experience sexual assault, noting that Coyle killed herself before she could attend her first counselling session.
Family members walked out of the courtroom during Roy’s testimony Tuesday and Coyle’s mother later said she found it too difficult to hear.
On the stand, Roy described driving from Quebec, where he now lives, to Barrie with 12 cases of beer in tow for what was supposed to be a fun-filled Canada Day weekend catching up with old friends.
He arrived at a friend’s home around dinner time and drank about four beers while there, he said. They then went to meet his friend Jeff Travis at a Jack Astor’s, where they drank some more, he said.
“We drank one after another” without keeping track, he testified. “I didn’t have my wife with me, I didn’t have my daughter, I didn’t have to worry about driving…I just let loose.”
Three of them took a cab to another bar, where they started doing shots, he said. At one point, Roy said he spit up a shot and the group was asked to leave. They went across the street and drank more before calling Travis’s roommate’s daughter to pick them up, he said.
Coyle, who was friends with the daughter, was also in the car, he said. There was almost no conversation on the drive back but once everyone got to the house, the drinking continued and some of them played pool, he said.
Roy ended up naked in the hot tub and said it was plausible that he had asked one of the women to join him, as court has heard, though he couldn’t remember.
He said he eventually got out and asked someone where to go sleep, but he couldn’t remember who.
“I don’t remember getting into a bed,” he said. “At one point I realized I was in the wrong room and there was somebody there and I panicked.”
Roy ran to another room, where he stayed the rest of the night, he said.
The next morning, he was woken up and told of the allegations, he said. He then went downstairs and apologized to Coyle and her friends “for going into the wrong room,” he said.