Canadian Pop-Rock Frontman Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Sexual Assault
Former Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard has been sentenced to five years in prison relating to a 2016 sexual assault.
According to CBC, the ruling was announced Thursday (Oct. 20) by the Toronto-based judge presiding over the case.
On Feb. 13, 2018, rumors of sexual misconduct with young fans started to circulate, and the band canceled their Juno Awards appearance shortly after. The band was then dropped by their management three days later, while the support acts of their current tour also bowed out over concerns from the allegations. Then, on Feb. 25, 2018, an Ottawa woman accused Hoggard of sexual assault stemming from a hotel room meeting in 2016. In July of 2018, Hoggard was charged with one count of Sexual Interference and two counts of Sexual Assault Causing Bodily Harm.
Hoggard was convicted on June 5 of this year of sexually assaulting the woman, with the sentencing being revealed Thursday morning.
"Mr. Hoggard's conviction and sentence sends a message to our community that sexual violence will not be tolerated by our community, by anyone," said Crown attorney Jill Witkins in a statement to the media.
The conviction is a significant one, as a wealth of sexual misconduct accusations have been levied toward musicians after the #MeToo movement, but this is one of the first to result in jail time.
Hoggard plead not guilty to two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm during his trial back in June, with his legal team arguing that the sex was consensual, but after jury deliberation, the musician was found guilty of the charges against him.
The singer had also been charged with sexual assault causing bodily harm against a 16-year-old fan and sexual interference involving that complaint, but was found not guilty on those charges.
Hedley enjoyed most of their success in Canada, being nominated for 27 Juno Awards and winning twice, including a victory for 2012's Pop Album of the Year, Storms. They also won five SOCAN Awards, 12 iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards and five Canadian Radio Music Awards over the course of their career.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, resources are available for help. Visit the RAINN website (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) or dial 800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673).