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Sex assault trial starts more than a year after complainant's death

By: ctvnews.ca 6 months ago
Sex assault trial starts more than a year after complainant's death

More than a year after Kassidi Coyle took her own life, the man accused of sexually assaulting her is set to face trial in central Ontario.

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BARRIE, Ont. -- More than a year after Kassidi Coyle took her own life, the man accused of sexually assaulting her is set to face trial in central Ontario.

Prosecutors in a Barrie, Ont., court today are set to lay out the allegations against Shawn Roy, who was charged with sexual assault on July 1 of last year.

Roy's lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment but has previously said his client is innocent.

The lawyer representing Coyle's family says the 20-year-old woman made video statements to police before her death.

But David Butt notes it's rare to have a trial of this nature when the central witness isn't there to testify.

He says Coyle's death has been "immensely difficult" on her family.

"To lose a daughter...such a promising young woman, at a young age, is tragic at the best of time," he said. "But to lose a daughter in circumstances surrounding an allegation of sexual assault is doubly traumatic."

Coyle sought counselling after the alleged incident but couldn't get a timely appointment, though she received acute psychiatric care for a few crisis episodes, Butt said.

Her story "raises another important, broader issue," he said. "Here, somebody who self-identified as a sexual assault survivor and desperately needed help was not able to access that help in sufficient time to make a difference."

One of Coyle's sisters started an online petition calling for more support for those who have been sexually assaulted. Close to 36,000 people had signed it as of Wednesday afternoon.

On the petition, Chelsea Coyle said her sister was placed on a four-month waiting list for counselling and took her own life weeks before her first appointment.

"Kassidi suffered with post traumatic stress disorder. She had repeated nightmares and wasn't able to go anywhere by herself following the attack. Kassidi, who was once a bubbly and vibrant girl, was gone," she said.

"We need to raise awareness of this growing problem and prevent someone else from losing their sister, aunt, daughter, or friend, because of the faults of the system."

assaulttrialstartsmorethanyearaftercomplainant'sdeath